Why do most external recruiters work on a contingency basis? And why does most retained work happen at the executive level? As a client, I receive better focus and (typically) better results from retained partners. And the client-agency relationship feels more like, well, a relationship. I also assume that most contingency recruiters would rather work on a retained basis knowing they are going to get paid for their work.
Following that line of thought I’ve wondered why there isn’t more retained work at the mid-management level. As a client I get better focus because the recruiter knows I have some skin in the game, and the recruiter is happy because, well, she knows she’s going to get paid. Perhaps top-tier executive retained search firms don’t want to work on these roles because they are less lucrative. However, I tend to think that mid-level retained work would happen if there was a more robust client need.