Retained Search Firms ...
and How to Use Them to Find a Job
search firms often confuse job hunters. Many have the
impression that if they speak to someone at one of these firms, that
consultant will look at a screen of 50 or 100 jobs and pop them into
one that is appropriate. Or they think that when a firm learns that an
attractive executive is available, they'll place calls to their key
clients and work at placing the executive.
Retained search firms
don't work this way. Retained
firms are contracted by their client
company to fill a specific position, and are paid even if they don't
fill the position. Typically, they
are paid 1/3
of the first
year's compensation plus expenses to fill the position, with one-third
of the fee paid at the start of the engagement, the next third due
after 30 days and the final third due after 60 days.
Instantly email your resume to all major
Retained Search Firms
Search 10,000 six-figure jobs
All for only $94 a year
at a retained search firm (this is the type of firm that I run) works
on only a handful of positions in a given year (6 to 25 tops), with
very specific requirements. A typical assignment would be for a
VP/Sales for an aerospace components manufacturing company that makes
components of 1" in diameter or less (so if you are not working in a
senior sales management role for a company that does exactly that, the
retained firm will not be interested in you). Retained firms never take
your CV/resume after speaking with you, decide you are a marketable
candidate, and start contacting potential employers on your behalf, as
many contingency firms will. You will probably get the cold shoulder
when contacting retained firms cold, for job-hunters are rarely
candidates for current assignments. Even if you reach a consultant at a
large firm, and the firm is working on several hundred positions at a
time, the individual consultant will be focused only on his searches,
and will probably be unaware of what his colleagues are working on.
Our recommendation is to join RiteSite (click here to go to RiteSite)
it to email your resume to every retained search firm on their
list. They provide a list of 600 true retained firms - there are no
contingency firms mixed in, or pseudo-retained firms (some firms take
on an exclusive contingency listing and call it a retained search, but
they get paid only if someone is hired). Email to every
retained firm, regardless of specialty, as most firms work outside of
their listed specialties. Rite Site
is run by John Lucht, author of Rites of Passage at $100,000, and
provides many other benefits for its $94 a year membership fee, but
being able to automatically email your resume to the nearly all of the
true retained firms for $94 is worth the membership fee alone.
Kennedy Information sells the Directory of Executive Recruiters (The
Red Book). You can use this to get more detailed information on search
firms. They also have lists available that will enable you to mail your
resume to recruiters.
If, however, one of your contacts is close enough to certain
retained recruiters to connect you with them, then you should contact
these recruiters. You probably won't fit any of these recruiters'
personal assignments now or in the near future, but a couple of
positive things could come out of this. If the recruiter is at a large
search firm and your connection has a strong relationship with her, she
might check to see if there are any positions her colleagues are
working on that would be right for you (bear in mind that this is
unusual, and this will only happen if the person who introduces you has
spent a lot of money at this firm). In addition, recruiters are active
networkers and can be good networking contacts for you.
with retained search firms will be far more helpful to you if you do
not need a position right away. To learn more about how to develop
these longer-term relationships, click here to read, Cultivating Relationships with Retained Search Firms.
note on trying to get work through contingent search firms:
gently here. Most are ethical, but there are some who will
mail your resume out for you (without your knowledge or permission in
some cases). Do your best to learn about the firm you’ll be
dealing with before sending them your resume. They
generally limited to the more junior, sub-$100,000 positions anyway, so
are not good resources for executives.