Chicago Success Search Firm for Senior Level Recruitment


Chicago Success Search Firm for Senior Level Recruitment

DSML attended a business networking meeting in Chicago recently and was asked if DSML Executive Search was a retained or contingent search firm.  Our reply was to say that we are retained, however … “not in the traditional sense, as most of our fees are based on success”.

Typical Retained Firms Charge High Fees

Typically, in the recruitment industry, the “big billers” in our industry charge a relatively aggressive fee based on “total compensation”, which is split into three payments and billed whether an individual is placed at the client firm or not.

DSML Executive Search Does Not Operate This Way

In contrast, our fees are not to be found in the stratosphere, we only bill our second fee when the client is satisfied that the candidates presented are representative of the search specification, (which is an integral part of the project process), and we only bill our final fee when the candidate finalist joins the client firm.  DSML Executive Search fee calculations are constructed on the base compensation (rather than total “cash” compensation) only, and we do NOT charge an “administration fee” on top.  And, in most cases, if a client requests a “fixed fee” for the search, we are happy to oblige.

Difference: Retained vs Contingent

The difference between retained and contingent search is not just the method of payment.  Retained executive search consulting is, essence, a management consulting project which implies a partnership between DSML and our clients.  The process of contacting and introducing senior executives is extremely sensitive and must be handled properly.  Often there is an element of confidentiality involved and a retained firm has the experience required to handle many delicate and unusual circumstances.  Considerable harm can be done to both individuals and corporations when a proper process is not followed.

A retained executive search firm is engaged in all aspects of the search process, starting with defining a specific search strategy through candidate on-boarding. DSML continues the conversation by follow-up with both the client and the newly on-boarded candidate at intervals of 1, 3 and 6 months to assist in their collaborative success.

And, in our Success Based Model, candidates are treated differently as well.  Individuals are treated with respect and their career information is held in the strictest confidence.  DSML Executive Search ensures that candidates are never left “hanging” and never “ghosted”.  Telling someone that they were not successful as a finalist for a particular role is sometimes difficult, however it is a professional courtesy that simply can’t be pushed aside.  (It’s surprising how many candidates tell us how they appreciate our process from commencement to completion).

Speed over Substance

Contingent firms are totally focused on speed.  The goal of a contingent firm is to send a resume to a client, and “claim a particular candidate” as having been presented by them, before that candidate, or other candidates who might also be considered, are presented by another agency.  It’s a “first in – first served” process and thus there is little time to spend on “process”.  There are many excellent contingent search firms however there is also a very large number of very poor ones.  One annoying tendency of contingent firms, (a practice that will not find at DSML Executive Search), is not getting back to candidates after they have been interviewed and this practice paints a bad image of the recruitment industry as a whole.

Better Fit

Whether you work in the Food and Beverage Industry, on average, because of the consultant style recruitment process in place, a retained placement ends up being a better “fit” in their position and ultimately stays in the role longer than with any other type of recruiting scenario.

Criteria for Engaging the Right Search Firm for Your Business

What companies should look for in a search firm:

  • Thorough client in-take calls at the beginning of a search to understand the complexity of the organization, the unique requirements for the search, the level of confidentiality required, and the methods of communication desired
  • A professional, transparent, firm that can set clear expectations on how a search will be conducted
  • Experience and tenure of the team, the types of searches conducted, and the ability to provide references
  • Knowledge and experience acquired over years of recruiting candidates at the executive level
  • A thorough explanation of fees so that there are no hidden surprises

If your company is seeking to recruit for a key position, such as CEO, COO, President, VP or other Senior level role, have a conversation with DSML Executive Search to ensure your search includes a “success based” strategy.