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Retained In A Recession

Often times companies don’t understand the true leverage you can give a professional recruiter by retaining them. Forget about the fact that your search goes straight to the top of the priority list and everyone else gets pushed down the ladder.

It’s not even about the fact that retained clients get the top candidates first. Just the sheer power of being able to market your opportunity as one that is retained says a thousand words. Let me tell you why.

This year more candidates have asked ME if I am retained or if I am working on a contingent search than ever before. That’s right, candidates ask ME if I have be retained. Are they crazy? No. I don’t blame them though for asking. Want to know why? Well for starters, being retained in a recession has now become just as important as the job itself.

When I am on a search and I am asked if I am retained when calling people that previously have not given an outside company or opportunity a second thought, I love saying ‘Yes, in fact I am’ Why? Because of the strong message it sends about your company. Sure, there are opportunities out there for the right people, but a lot of those ‘right people’ are not returning phone calls or getting online to hear about those opportunities.

So companies turn to recruiters, but the problem is not solved by just hiring a recruiter. The people you are looking for are too busy working their current jobs to want to hear about another regular, old contingent search by another regular, old recruiter giving them a call out of the blue. They are happy (safe) and things are good (boring). Your recruiter and your opportunity have been typecasted right on the spot. Without sizzle and leverage you have lost.

Recruiting requires strategy in order to achieve execution. That strategy starts on the front end when discussing how to go about attracting the top talent for a search. Being retained in a recession sets a standard and sends a clear message in an otherwise crowded market. Nothing says hear me out or call me back more than being able to convey the fact that you have been RETAINED. A retained search conveys many messages.

1) From the recruiter’s standpoint it says I am good enough at what I do to have been chosen to lead this search and you should listen to why I have called you. I’m not here to waste anyone’s time.

2) While companies gain recruiter’s top priority status by retaining them on the search…top candidates also place retained opportunities at the top of their priority list and remember it come decision time when on the fence.

3) This company has placed enough value and importance on this search that they have invested in it on the front end. This is clearly a stable company who is playing their cards right. I wonder what they are looking to do? Why am I being targeted for this opportunity?

4) This company understands how important it is to attract the best players for their team and they allocate the resources to do so. This is a company that knows what it wants, is aggressive, and goes after the best. It must translate into their business model if I were to join them.

In today’s market, candidates want to be on financially successful, winning teams; especially in a recession where feelings and thoughts of doubt and worry are more prevalent than hope and optimism. There are good people out there, potential difference makers for your company, but you have to make an immediate impact and get them off the fence.

There is no better way to do that while clearly separating yourself from your competition by giving the power and message of what a retained search says about your company and your opportunity. Give this power to the right recruiters and watch what starts coming in your front door.
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