When you fly first class, you don’t just get shipped from A to B; you’re not just paying for the end result. First class travel is about the journey, the experience, the calibre of service, the luxury, the calmness, the state of mind and body on arrival. It’s about the extras; the champagne, the chance to sleep, relax or work effectively, the chauffeur driven cars, the serenity. It’s about arriving ready for business, knowing that you could not have done more to make the necessity of travelling more enjoyable.

We set up Akascia with the belief that retained search should be a lot like flying first class. We believe it is the hands-down best way of finding the best possible people you can hire. The biggest difference in our case is that our clients get all the first class experience for no more than the price of the economy fare. Who wouldn’t travel first class if the cost was the same as an economy ticket?

For us, recruitment is not about sending an invoice on a candidate’s first day. It’s about the journey to and beyond that point. Right from the first day of our engagement, we delve deep in to the market, researching and identifying relevant people. In the first few weeks we spend around 80% of our working day dedicated to a search, all the while keeping clients updated with reports and calls to pass on valuable insight and feedback. By the time we submit our shortlist, we’ll have probably spent more than 125 hours working on gathering this info.

In my experience, recruiters working on a no-cure no-fee basis, rarely do market mapping because they simply don't have the time and / or can't take the risk. In a best case scenario, they'll find the best, available candidates on their database at that point in time. A retained search allows us to continue searching past candidates who are only a 60 – 70% fit that other recruiters would have stopped at.

It allows us to seek out the top candidates who are an 85 – 95% fit to the brief, near-perfect matches to the client's culture and organisation, and those who are productive from day one. This really is what it comes down to; awesome people making awesome companies!

Like first class offers a better way to travel, we believe Akascia, and retained search, offers a better way of recruiting and we’re extremely proud of how we do it.

We deliver the first-class experience; the extras, the attention to detail, the market insight, the turning of every stone, the calmness, the knowledge that you could not have done more to find the perfect candidate and the satisfaction that you’ve arrived at your destination in the best possible state.

Once our clients try it, they often agree it’s the only way to fly.

Do you have clients who retain you? Do you take on any work that isn't retained? Is it possible to offer the same, sustained level of service without being retained? What are your biggest sales points for positioning retainers?

Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments (I think)!


Views: 143

Comment by Chris Grove on April 13, 2013 at 7:06am

I only work retained in terms of looking for a candidate and wouldn't do contingent recruitment however I don't think retained is always the best or most appropriate solution for every vacancy.  In high volume recruitment I wouldn't see the point for instance.  Neither for say a newly qualified accountant or lawyer etc there are simply too many candidates out there and to retain someone to map a market that large is pointless when you can ring a few obvious recruiters and have 20 cv's on your desk by lunchtime.  

Retained works best for specialist or very senior roles where the market information is just as valuable ultimately as the end product.  For that though you do or rather should pay a premium, I cost more than a contingent recruiter to find you a board director because for me to do the search will take several weeks and will keep me occupied for longer meeting candidates and feeding back to the client.  That's not to decry contingent recruiters, it's just a different business model ultimately.  

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on April 19, 2013 at 1:19am

Chris, being retained is even more pertinent to volume recruitment because having one recruiter manage the whole assignment ensures that the attraction methods are consistent as well as all being able to benchmark all the candidates.  The direction the assignment is taking can be influenced far more easily than if several agencies are all doing their own thing in that particular candidate market.

The same rationales can be applied to those jobs where there are plenty of potential candidates.

The better quality candidates are going to be far more likely to respond positively to one recruiter who owns the job rather than potentially being contacted by several recruiters about the same role.  That just undermines the client's credibility when that happens - and I've heard of numerous cases where the best candidates have pulled out of the process because two agencies were arguing over representation.

There are scenarios where contingency is the better option - like if you don't know the client very well and want to ease yourself into a proper relationship for example.  Or it's the best option when you're not very confident you can fill the job, that the client isn't a particularly attractive employer or if you like having the option of walking away - which of course you can't do so easily if you're retained.

In most cases there being one recruiter whom owns the vacancy (be they internal or external) ensures a better experience for the recruiter, the client and perhaps most importantly, the candidate.

Comment by Chris Sargent on April 19, 2013 at 2:55am

@Chris - of course, there are always occasions when using several recruiters can work. But I think the problem arises when clients think "well, when we hired that new, junior lawyer, we just got lots of agencies to work on it and we had 20 CVs by lunchtime. So, why wouldn't we do the same for our new Managing Partner". Obviously this is using the wrong tool for the wrong job.

@Mitch - I agree that large recruitment projects can equally be applied to retained search either in the case where a client is looking for several of the same people or indeed to build a team with a mix of people, or across different territories. I guess from a client's point of view they always feel like they're suffering to have all their eggs in one basket. However, I've always found it's much easier to carry and manage 20 eggs in one basket rather than 20 baskets with one egg each!

Your last sentence "In most cases there being one recruiter whom owns the vacancy (be they internal or external) ensures a better experience for the recruiter, the client and perhaps most importantly, the candidate" is really the crux of what I'm trying to say. What I'm trying to highlight is that many customers tend to see a retained search as getting the same result and service as if they're using one or more recruiters, except they have to pay up front and take a risk. And, who can blame them for not wanting to take that risk for the same result and / or service. BUT, in my opinion, with a retained search, the payment schedule is probably the smallest difference between the two methods.



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