Retained Search Mistakes to Avoid and How to Avoid Them

Tips to Hire for Complex Senior Roles in Security More Effectively

When you select a staffing agency and hire them for retained search, it’s crucial to avoid mistakes that will derail the benefits of a retained search agreement. Suppose you’re hiring for a senior or niche role in security; a retained search should give laser focus to the search process and ramp up the quality of the candidates presented to you.

What could possibly go wrong?

Retained Search Mistakes to Avoid and How

It can be challenging to realize the mistakes being made when making them, which is why those mistakes are made, of course. Here’s a summary of the most common mistakes to avoid and the simple solutions that will ensure your retained search doesn’t suffer.

Retained Search Mistake #1: Selecting a Search Firm on Costs

Because of the nature of the work involved, retained search costs are higher than contingency search costs. But contingency search recruiters don’t have the same skillsets as retained search. And they also must manage many more recruitment requests simultaneously. In retained search, you’re paying for expertise and time dedicated to you.

The solution:

Focus your search for a retained search partner on the value they bring to the table.

Consider the experience of their staff, the people doing the sourcing, their particular niche, and their specific sector knowledge in recruiting for companies like yours.

Ascertain how many searches the company conducts simultaneously and the resources it commits to doing so.

Ask about the tools it uses and the network it has developed.

Finally, get a feeling for its client base. Has the firm built long-term relationships with its clients and helped them to solve business problems and achieve their business goals? How long do the candidates they find for their clients stay with their new employers?

Retained Search Mistake #2: Not Hiring to Solve the Business Issue

It’s easy to get caught up in the need to recruit and forget why you wish to recruit. This is especially true if the hire has been forced upon you by, for example, the unexpected resignation of a senior team member. In this case, you risk hiring someone who technically may be right but could be missing the business’s skills.

The solution:

Whenever hiring, try to be proactive in your recruitment strategy. Even when the need to hire is forced upon you, it’s crucial to ask yourself what qualities you need to hire for – the ones that will help the business achieve its strategic goals.

Develop a relationship with your staffing agency that is open and transparent, and discuss your business objectives regularly with them. This will help the recruiter fully understand your needs, not only for the role but also how it fits in with the rest of your company and your business strategy.

Retained Search Mistake #3: Not Structuring the Job Description Effectively

You know the skills you want to hire and the business reasons for making a hire. Now you need to document these. This will be the basis from which the recruiter operates. Get this wrong, and your executive search is likely to move in the wrong direction – and even a few degrees off course, can make a colossal difference to the candidates uncovered for you.

The solution:

Work with an agency that will help you write your job description and that asks probing questions around the main areas on which you’ll need to focus:

  • The role itself and the duties and responsibilities that go with it
  • The reason for the position and how it will help you achieve your strategic goals
  • The qualifications and experience needed to be successful in the role
  • The culture of your company and the personality that will help the new executive fit in

Retained Search Mistake #4: A Lack of Focus on the Candidate Experience

You need to make a hire, but you lose sight of the hiring process under the pressure of doing so. You rush through vetting for qualifications and experience and slack on assessing for cultural fit. You fail to be transparent and communicate effectively with candidates, and the process you had in place is shunted.

The result is that you create a bad impression of your company as an employer.

The solution:

Work with the staffing agency to create a transparent, streamlined process in which information flows freely between you and the candidate. A good search firm will ensure that all parties remain on track, acting as the vital cog that keeps the engine of the recruitment process moving smoothly.

The last thing you want is a candidate going cold on you because you haven’t reached out in a timely manner. Always remember that you are selling the opportunity to the candidate, who will likely be happy in their current role.

Retained Search Mistake #5: Leaving the Compensation Question Too Late

Conventional wisdom, confirmed by the approach to general hiring, is to leave the question of compensation until as late as possible in the hiring process. But when you are hiring for senior and technical positions, this is a poor policy to pursue. You risk missing out on the best candidate because they accept an offer elsewhere, or, perhaps worse, you go through the entire process only to find that your budget and the candidate’s expectations are a mile apart.

The solution:

Be transparent about your compensation budget, and ensure you have a little wiggle room for the ideal candidate. You get to take the pulse on expected earnings and what your competitors are paying by talking to your search firm. Finally, don’t forget that the personalization of the package can make the difference: learn what is most important to a candidate and demonstrate how your offer will help them achieve this.

Retained Search Mistake #6: Micromanaging the Search Firm

It’s wrong to assume that the search firm will do all the work for you. That’s not how the relationship works. There is a lot of collaboration in the process. However, it would be best if you did not fall into the trap of micromanaging the search firm.

Micromanaging the search can negatively affect your company’s efforts to find qualified candidates for your open positions. It can create stress in the relationship, making the search firm less likely to get creative. When you micromanage the search firm, you kick flexibility into touch and use valuable time and resources that the search firm could be putting to better use.

The solution:

If you have developed a strong relationship with your search firm, shared your business goals, and structured the job description effectively, there should be no need to micromanage a recruiter.

You’ve brought the staffing agency in its retained search capacity because they have the skills, experience, and network to find talented candidates for your vacant role and your business. Please trust the relationship, and allow the search firm to do its work!

Start Your Retained Search Journey with Tiro Security

We specialize in retained search in the highly complex and competitive field of cybersecurity, from governance and compliance to security strategy and engineering, at all executive levels. In doing so, we develop long-term partnerships with clients and candidates that allow us to understand the needs and personalities of businesses and candidates – matching them up and presenting clients with only the best-fit candidates for their specific roles and company/candidate fit.

We helped our clients to create compelling job descriptions and streamlined, mile-stoned hiring processes, allowing the client to continue business as usual. At the same time, we do what we do best – finding your next strategic hire who will help the company achieve its long-term goals.

To learn how Tiro Security can help you achieve your strategic goals through our retained search capability, contact us today.

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