Retained Executive Search

Find top talents for high-level positions in your company. Retained Executive Search is an invaluable investment for organizations seeking to enhance their leadership team.

Understanding Retained Executive Search

Retained Executive Search is a specialized type of recruitment highly focused on executive and senior-level positions. Companies and organizations that hire a retained executive search firm has an advantage from the firm’s knowledge and experience on high-level placements. These talents are often the “leaders” that help the company achieve their major and long-term goals such as Supervisors, Managers, Team Leads and C-Suite positions such as CFOs, COOs, and more.

Retained Executive Search for high-level positions

How does retained executive search work?

In a general set up, retained search requires the recruitment firm to have a deeper level of understanding of your company and knowing the needs of your roles on a broader perspective, not just based on the job description.

Here is how the process usually works:

1. Initial Consultation

The hiring company discusses their culture, values, goals, etc. to the recruitment team.

2. Agreement and Commitment

This is the contract signing phase, where the partnership is solidified, fees and payment structures of retained search service are planned and agreed upon.

3. In-depth research and candidate identification

The recruiting team studies all the required information, skills, and expertise for the position. They then tap their extensive network for candidates and perform a refined search.

4. Candidate Evaluation

The recruitment team conducts initial screenings, interviews, and assessments.

5. Presentation to the Client

The recruitment firm presents a curated list of the most qualified and suitable candidates to your organization.

6. Collaboration and Feedback

Your feedback on the presented candidates is crucial. The recruitment team uses your insights to fine-tune the search further, ensuring that the candidates presented match your expectations as closely as possible.

7. Interview and Selection

Once the ‘selected’ potential candidates are collected, the recruitment team might assist in coordinating interviews and providing additional insights.

8. Offer and Onboarding

Once a candidate is chosen, the recruitment firm can assist in extending the job offer and negotiating terms. They can also offer support during the candidate’s transition into your organization, ensuring a smooth onboarding and overall process.

Hire A Top Executive With Devore Recruiting

Our team knows that finding qualified talent remains challenging and retaining them could sometimes be even harder. The efforts for employee searching, posting for job vacancies, reviewing applications, conducting interviews – could be tedious especially when you do it together with your daily tasks at work.

With us you no longer need to be worried about performing these tasks again and again – we will tailor a great retained search recruiting strategy for your company so you could focus on your targets and continue to bring success to your organization.

6 Reasons for a Retained Executive Search

Collaborating with top retained executive search firms offers a multitude of advantages in the search for high-level talent acquisition. Retained executive recruiting involves a specialized approach where organizations engage the services of a seasoned executive recruiter to identify and attract top-tier professionals for senior executive positions.

Specialized for Senior Leadership Role Placement

When you’re in need of executives or leaders to steer your organization’s vision, a retained search service is invaluable. Senior leadership roles require candidates with extensive experience, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of your industry.

These positions have a significant impact on your company’s direction, and making the right hire is crucial. Retained executive search firms specialize in identifying and evaluating high-caliber executives who can drive innovation, navigate complexities, and inspire teams.

Ideal Option for Urgent and Confidential Hiring Needs

In situations where you have an urgent hiring need, especially for senior or specialized positions, retained search can be a game-changer. These services streamline the process, allowing you to secure top talent quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, if you’re dealing with confidential searches – such as replacing an incumbent or making a strategic move – retained search ensures that the search remains discreet, protecting your organization’s reputation and minimizing disruptions.

Establishes Partnership and Commitment

If you are looking for a trusted partner for your hiring needs, a retained executive search provider is one of the best choice. Having a committed hiring team in the long run amplifies the chance of having the right and best people to your team which increases the chance of your company’s success.

A "Quality over Quantity" Hire

Retained executive search prioritizes quality candidates over quantity. The search is meticulous and thorough, resulting in a shortlist of candidates who not only meet the technical requirements but also possess the necessary soft skills and cultural fit of your company.

Time-to-Hire Reduction

Having a retained executive search team for your organization means there is someone who will focus on doing the hard job for your recruitment. This is advantageous for industries that require swift placement for critical positions such as healthcare jobs.

Easy placement for hard to fill jobs

Retained executive search firms specialize in hiring for much more bigger roles such as seniors and managerial positions. They have extensive networks that include seasoned executives and professionals. This network provides access to a pool of senior candidates who may not be actively seeking opportunities but are open to the right offer.

This personalized and strategic approach enhances the likelihood of securing the best-suited senior executives for key leadership roles, making retained executive search an invaluable investment for organizations aiming to elevate their leadership team.

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    A deeper look on Retained Executive Search


    1. Quality Focus

    Retained search emphasizes finding the best candidates, focusing on quality over quantity. This results in higher-caliber hires who align with your organization’s needs.

    2. Exclusivity

    The exclusive nature of the arrangement ensures that the recruitment firm dedicates its resources solely to your hiring needs, leading to a more thorough search process.

    3. Targeted approach for bigger roles

    Retained search is especially effective for senior and specialized roles, as it involves a tailored strategy to identify candidates with the exact skills and experience required.

    4. Industry Insights

    Recruitment firms bring industry knowledge and trends to the table, guiding you in making informed decisions about job descriptions, compensation, and market competitiveness.

    5. Partnership

    The close collaboration between your organization and the recruitment firm leads to a strategic partnership, resulting in a deeper understanding of your needs and a more aligned selection process.


    1. Higher Costs

    Retained search often comes with a higher upfront cost compared to contingency-based models, as it requires an exclusive commitment and resources from the recruitment firm.

    2. Time-Intensive

    The thorough evaluation and assessment process of retained executive search can be time-consuming, potentially extending the time-to-fill for critical positions.

    3. Outcome Uncertainty

    Just like any other type of recruitment, there’s no guarantee that the presented candidates will ultimately be the right fit for your organization.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Retained executive search vs. contingency: what is better?

    In retained search, a recruiting agency is hired exclusively by a company to fill a specific high-level position, in contingent recruitment, multiple recruiting agencies might be engaged to fill a position, and they compete to present suitable candidates. The retained search firm is paid a fee upfront or in installments regardless of whether a candidate is hired while contingent agencies are only paid a fee if their presented candidate is successfully hired. Retained search is often used for executive-level positions and involves a deeper level of involvement with the company, while contingent recruitment is commonly used for mid-level positions.

    What is a retained executive recruiter?

    A retained executive recruiter is a professional or an agency specialized in recruiting top-level executives for organizations. These recruiters are hired on a retainer basis by companies and are paid upfront fees aside from other fees on a monthly basis. Their role involves in-depth market research, identification of potential candidates, and a thorough assessment process to ensure the right fit for the organization’s leadership needs.

    What are the biggest advantages of retained executive search?

    The biggest advantage of retained search is the specialized and dedicated approach to filling high-level positions. Some key benefits include:

    Exclusive Focus: The recruiting agency dedicates its efforts solely to filling the specific position.

    Access to Top Talent: Retained executive search recruiters often have extensive networks and resources to reach the best candidates.

    In-depth Assessment: A thorough evaluation of candidates ensures they are the right fit for the role and organization.

    Client Collaboration: Close collaboration between the recruiter and the client ensures alignment with organizational goals.

    How much does retained search services cost in the United States?

    The cost of retained search can vary widely based on factors such as the level of the position, industry, geographic location, and the specific recruiting agency being used. Generally, retained search fees are higher than those of contingent recruitment due to the exclusivity and depth of the service provided. Retained search fees can range from 20% to 35% of the candidate’s first-year salary or even more for executive-level positions. It’s important to discuss and negotiate the fee structure with the recruiting agency before engaging their services. Keep in mind that while the upfront cost may be higher, the investment can pay off through finding the right candidate for crucial positions.

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      Tracy Williams
      We were very fortunate to use DeVore Recruiting to find our new receptionist. Sean is realistic with explaining how the process works. He and Kim were always very professional with their daily updates. We were able to hire rather quickly and they found us an excellent, qualified employee. - 4/18/2024
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      Dalisa J.
      5 star rating I needed help getting into a good nursing facility and Jennifer Rodriguez helped me do just that I was placed at a great facility with nice people %100 recommend thank you so much Devore recruiting !! - 12/09/2022
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      Zakera Aruobi
      I am not one to leave a review but for this service I just have to share my gratitude.

      I had the pleasure of speaking with Sean and Patricia about a few days ago after I had applied to a few healthcare facilities and got a recruitment call from them. First off let me say how grateful I am that Sean took the time to go over my resume and go into details about my previous employment. I am so very thankful for his time and I appreciate the information and the valuable advice and feedback he had shared with me. I can say he definitely went above and beyond with his service, I cannot thank him and his team enough for all their professional help. Sean if you come across this review just know how grateful I am, so thank you once again.
      - 10/06/2022
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      Oscar Pena
      I would like to thank Rose, for the hard work and getting me employed. Thank you. - 9/29/2022
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      Stacey Westfall
      After many years in management and searching for employees and going through resume after resume just to find the one, I found DeVore. My experience has been nothing short of amazing. They are very responsive and found me quality candidates in a very timely manner. Working with them took so much stress off of me and I felt like they really had my best interest at heart. I will now use them for all of my hiring needs! - 6/09/2022
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      Nariseh Y.
      5 star rating I am extremely satisfied with De Vore Recruiting. Sean and Kimberly are great. Kimberly always checked up on me to see how my interviews went follow up with me and kept me updated. She definitely worked hard for me I can say I'm definitely lucky thank you so much once again. :) - 8/18/2020
    • Michael M. Avatar
      Michael M.
      Hey Sean,

      Also copying Heather so that she is in the loop.
      Bita is EXACTLY what our facility needs. We have been working for a while at changing our image. She has joined us at precisely the right time. She is knowledgeable (extremely), hard working and committed to Quality Care. Because she is new, some leadership is challenging her, but she can handle it. The licensed nurses and CNAs LOVE her. She already has had a very positive impact.

      I am extremely grateful....

      Michael Michael M.
      - 6/12/2020
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      Daniel Kay
      Finally a real headhunter! When I worked with other recruiters in the past, I discovered they were primarily reaching out to active job seekers that already had their resumes posted online. I was pleased to learn that De Vore doesn't take that typical lazy approach, they actually reach out to candidates specific to your company's openings and ensure they are the best fit possible for the position. In fact, they screen them thoroughly so there are no surprises and even check all of their references in advance. I think the best aspect of their service is they offer a 120 day guarantee and furthermore rates much cheaper than what I've been quoted by other agencies in the past. - 3/14/2018
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      Dane Wilson
      Sean DeVore is a hard working father of two who maintains no ties with past employees who have gone on to say awful things. He stands for liberty and human rights, and carries good values in his practice. Low ratings here reflect a misunderstanding perpetuated by internet tabloids and a single ex-employee who has long been shut out completely from the de Vore enterprise. I would recommend this company for anyone seeking recruiting, especially after speaking with Sean about the integrity he maintains in his business and clientele. - 1/24/2018
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      Sean Donovan
      Just spoke with the owner of this wonderful small business, Sean was very helpful, and clearly had nothing to do with these awful reviews about his company. A former employee is slandering his name, please don’t let someone who hasn’t worked for this company in years guide you away from using his services. A+ to the team at deVore. - 1/24/2018