Why it’s important to understand Retained Search and Contingent Recruitment when it comes to Insurance Talent Attraction

Understanding the differences between Retained Search and Contingent Recruitment will help you decide which is the best option for you. 

Navigating the pros and cons of both methods will help Insurance Talent Attraction Leaders or Hiring Managers decide which approach fits best for attracting the best insurance talent.
But before we compare and contrast the options, it’s important to understand what they both mean.
Two women discussing insurance retained search

What does Contingent Recruitment mean?

Working contingently involves payment on successful placement. The recruiter will only get paid for their time and efforts if the candidate they put forward joins the organisation.

What does Retained Search mean?

A Retained Search is an exclusive partnership between the client and the Search partner.  There’s an initial payment to secure their exclusivity and commitment to the search.

Working contingently when attracting insurance talent – what are the benefits? 

Fee Paid on Successful Placement of Candidate

The main benefit of working contingently when hiring insurance talent is you’re only paying for your recruiter’s work once the successful candidate starts their job with you.

Access to good candidates

Contingent recruitment can identify a great range of candidates. It really depends on the timing. If there’s a ready supply of active insurance talent looking for new roles, it could be a good option.

Working contingently – what are the drawbacks?

There’s no guarantee

Unlike a Retained Search, there’s no guarantee that any candidates will be found to fill the position.

Insurance recruiters will allocate more time on roles where they believe they stand a better chance of placing a candidate.  If a contingent recruiter is struggling to find you a suitable insurance candidate, you will slip down or off their list of priorities completely. You may well not even hear back from them.

The recruiter won’t be working exclusively for you.

Taking a contingent approach will mean the insurance recruiter will be sending the same candidates to other insurance businesses, looking to attract talent for similar positions.  They will more than likely be sending the insurance talent you desire to some of your competitors.

It’s not as rigorous

A little bit like the iceberg analogy, contingent recruiting will only look for insurance talent that is actively seeking new roles. The ice above the surface.  A Retained Search will dig deep beneath the surface to find the passive candidates. 

What are the benefits of a Retained Search Methodology?

Reliability and guaranteed completion

Any client working on a retained basis will be far more likely to be able to fill the role and the Search consultancy is unlikely to take on the assignment unless they are fully confident they can successfully deliver.

Working exclusively for you

A retained search consultant will be working exclusively for you, so you’ll know that 100% of the effort will be on securing the very best insurance talent for your business.

It goes deeper

A retained search maps the entire market. Insurance executive search consultants will dig deep to identify passive candidates who may not be actively seeking a new role and approach every single one.

Reducing the time to fill the role

Seeking out insurance talent with the exact skills, capabilities and experience a client is looking for, helps reduce the time to hire.

Insurance executives who may not match the job requirements won’t be sent over as speculative ‘maybe’ candidates.

A thorough candidate screening and interview process means you’ll only be presented with a shortlist who are genuinely looking for a new role.

Retained Search – are there drawbacks?

Some businesses may see paying a fee upfront as risk

But in reality, the financial investment at the outset gives security to both sides. A client can know that the search consultants are fully dedicated to finding the best candidates. It’s a partnership, showing both sides are committed.

A financial commitment from the client is rewarded with a dedicated insurance executive search consultant managing the hiring process with regular steering calls to provide feedback and progress on performance milestones.

Working on a retained basis allows a retained search partner to focus and commit time, energy, and resources into finding the best insurance talent to match an insurance business’ goals.


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