What are the benefits of a retained recruitment model?

What are the benefits of a retained recruitment model?

At Leonid, we work solely on a retained search basis. One question we are commonly asked is why we work this way and secondly, is it really more beneficial for the hiring company?  So, we thought it would be helpful to share a little more information on what ‘retained’ recruitment is, versus the more traditional ‘contingent’ approach.

While both have their pros and cons, we believe retained search works best for the sectors we recruit in: R&D tax and corporate governance.

Here’s why...

  • Retained search has a higher success rate. At Leonid, our retained searches have a 98% success rate versus a typical contingent search, which on average is lower than 35%.
  • Retained searches are more cost-effective in the long run. Attrition rates are proven to be much lower when a new hire joins via this method, thereby helping companies to avoid a costly re-hiring process.
  • We take a true partnership approach and build long term relationships with both clients and candidates, ensuring that we find the perfect fit for both parties.
  • Retained searches are more transparent and reliable than contingent searches. On average, contingent recruiters can be working on ten or more roles.  With the retained approach, consultants never work on more than three searches at any time.
  • Retained search is very much focused on quality. The candidate pools may seem smaller versus contingent, but the shortlisted candidates will have been carefully screened and selected.
  • Retained search is far more successful in seeking out those highly-coveted ‘passive’ job seekers, who aren’t actively looking for a new role.

·      However, retained search may not be right for every client, because…

  • It does typically cost more.  However, that is because it provides greater value in the long term.
  • It requires the hiring company to pay a portion of the fee upfront to secure the recruitment firm’s time to work exclusively on that search. 
  • Many contingent recruiters will argue that contingency recruitment is faster. However, at Leonid, we pledge to fill all roles within 30 days, which is three times quicker than the average retained search and easily on a par with the contingent approach.


While retained search has historically been the preferred solution to Board Member, C-Suite, Executive and Upper Management roles, it has its place at all levels, and particularly in industry sectors where the talent pool is small, such as R&D tax or trade compliance specialists.

For more information on retained search versus contingent recruitment, we have listed out the main pros and cons here. Or, if you would like to have a direct chat with us about our approach, please get in touch with our CEO, James Mitchell – james@leonid-group.com