Contingent vs. retained executive search—which is right for you?

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The next time you bring a new leader into your organization, chances are you and your board will consider specialized guidance from an executive recruiting firm. Among your criteria will be a keen eye for talent, but also a diplomatic touch, gravitas and credibility in the marketplace. After all, these professionals will be acting as your company’s representatives while spending time with many talented would-be candidates—only one of whom will join you.

The question may arise, Do we choose a contingent or retained firm?

The allure of the contingent recruiter—that is, someone who accepts an assignment but only receives a

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