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How to Best Leverage Your Retained Executive Search Firm

What is Retained Executive Search? Simply put, there are two types of search firms—contingent and retained. Contingent firms have no “exclusive” relationship with their clients, and as such, are prone to “shop” prospective candidates around to any number of potential client “buyers.” A firm such as ours, T. Eastwick & Associates, is paid on a retained basis. This structure allows our firm to reserve a complete universe of intelligently chosen candidates for the exclusive consideration of our clients, until such time as we mutually “turn off” a candidate, or in the optimal case, we successfully complete a search with a placed candidate or multiple hires. Our clients pay our firm a monthly retainer, and once a successful candidate begins employment, our firm bills our clients a final “success fee,” netting out all retainers paid to date.

Here is an important point: a retainer is paid to our firm regardless of the success of any particular search on our client’s behalf. Our clients make an investment in growth by seeking the best pool of human capital by engaging and trusting our firm with these mandates. We take this financial relationship very seriously. No client of ours pays good money for inelegant, lackluster or ineffective performance. It is in our clients and our own best interest to collaborate intimately on each and every search campaign.

We pride ourselves on the successful identification, engagement and closing of suitable candidates for our clients. With client consultation, we customize documents for candidate review, serving as our client’s mouthpiece to the financial services community. In fact, we make it our business to tell one consistent story to our client’s potential new colleagues in a sophisticated, informed and accurate manner. As one client likes to say, “they’re the best PR machine our bank can pay for.”

What Do We Do? What Do We not Do?
  • All candidates in an active search are engaged for our client’s exclusive consideration.
  • We do not “shop” candidates to other firms who are active on a particular client’s search.
  • We guarantee our placement by giving our clients the option of reinstituting the search for a new candidate in the event that the placed candidate leaves for reason of insufficient preparation for the job.
  • We do not give ourselves license to recruit client employees for a minimum of one year after the completion of our last project for our client’s firm.
  • We make it our business to understand each client’s business without the hubris of believing we are standing in their shoes.
  • We do not bid up candidate compensation to reward ourselves with large fees. Rather, we negotiate compensation between potential candidates and our client to match the market for candidates best suited to join our client’s firm. In fact, we work hard to and succeed at managing candidate expectations down, rather than up.
  • We relieve our clients of the burden of having to negotiate “full frontal” with a candidate when conditions of employment satisfaction and compensation terms are discussed. We are the ombudsmen of all money negotiations, absent of opinion and “charge” that can derail this very sensitive conversation—perhaps the most sensitive conversation in the hiring process.
The Process Consultation for the Engagement This involves multiple conversations between our search client and our firm about specific attributes of candidates and measurable results needed for the business’s successful campaign for human capital.

Preparation of the Search Universe Years of experience in our clients’ search sector have yielded valuable and resourceful relationships inside multiple financial services sectors. We are not neophytes in your business. Our deep experience, coupled with good old-fashioned sourcing of candidates through cold call dialing insures that we hone a viable list of well-suited candidates.

The Candidate Engagement Several days are spent finding, engaging, vetting and meeting with our client’s search universe of candidates. We put each candidate through a rigorous, yet personalized, conversation for the possibility of moving his or her career to our client’s firm. We do not take anything that potential candidates say lightly. We are expert at listening for the “self-revealed Achilles Heel” of a candidate’s current work environment.

The Final Candidate Slate Hard work ultimately yields the best-suited and most engaged candidate. At this phase in the process, we become the trusted conduit of negotiations between our client and the candidate.

Closing on the Selected Candidate(s) Any number of obstacles can fly in the face of having a candidate become amenable to an offer. There are usually a series of “psychological” conversations that ultimately lead us to this question: “Are you ready, sir or madam, for an offer from the firm.” This is called “Closing the Candidate.”

Presenting the Offer Offers should never be presented directly from the employer. This practice is a set up for ill will and a “lay up” for upset. Instead, we act as our client’s ombudsmen, communicating between our client and their desired new colleague the various components of an offer, including accountability, compensation, title and scope of the role—in short, subjects that have a charge attached on both sides. Ultimately, we achieve a meeting of the minds. Again, we do not bid up compensation to garner larger fees to our firm. In most cases, we manage the conversation for our client to pay a lower “all-in” compensation number.

Referencing We spend long hours meeting and calling our client’s prospective new colleague’s set of references. We speak with peers, bosses, issuers/client references and subordinates. Our reference conversations are driven by the position profile that was created to describe the qualifications and attributes needed for the particular position.

Candidate Follow Through Frequently, after a new colleague has been set up to join our client’s firm, the new hire experiences doubt and discomfort because a molecular-changing event Is about to happen—namely the job resignation. We hand hold each candidate, conducting mock role play conversations to prepare the new hire for resignation from their incumbent firm, including how to eliminate the temptation of being “bought back” by their current employer. This process is customized to each person.

Our next white paper regarding your relationship with our firm:
The Value Added Benefits of a Well Managed Search Campaign

Contacts Theodore T. Eastwick
+1 (917) 826-0994
[email protected]
Dina Lewisohn Shaw
(609) 924 3210
[email protected]
Abbe Goldfarb
+1 (917) 826 0994
[email protected]


New York: + 1 917 826 0994 | Miami: + 1 305 921 9066 | Facsimile: + 1 917 210 3609 | Email: [email protected]
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