An interesting piece here from Forbes, looking at the difference between Contingent and Retained executive search.

For those that aren't aware, Retained Search firms typically (not always, as this blog explains!) operate on an exclusive basis, looking to fill a specific role for a specific client. The vast majority of GatedTalent's client base will be retained executive search firms.

The author, recruiter Jack Kelly, gives advice to executives on which type of recruiter they should partner with. He makes the good point that retained search firms will "not generally be able or interested in helping someone who is not at that (C-Suite or Executive) level" - but I'd make a different point.

If it's true that Retained Search firms only operate for the Client (the company) and if it is also true that Search firms operate on an exclusive basis, then it stands to reason that a retained executive search firm is only likely to be interested in you if you are both at the right level (or have the potential to be), and you happen to be a good fit for a Search they are working (or likely to be working) on. Most retained recruiters will work on a small number of searches at any one time, and so it is unlikely that - unless you strike lucky - connecting with a specific recruiter will help you.

That's a reason why, in my view, an executive needs to maintain a relationship with multiple retained search firms - and that's exactly what our GatedTalent service does. 

By creating a profile in GatedTalent (which is entirely free), you'll be able to share detailed information on your career, aspiration, compensation, expectations and more, while maintaining your privacy. Our Search firms clients - each of whom will be working exclusively on specific opportunities - will then be able to approach you if they have a fit.

Registration is free at