A idiot lazy agent will still be shortlisting before deciding on who to send
LOL. Assume that's sarcasm...
retained executive search
What on earth is that?
"Contingency recruitment" - agencies that are paid on result. Generally hold big databases and run a lot of adverts, send out blanket emails and conduct in the usual bun fight that you might associate with recruitment agencies. Clients use and abuse them, hire them and drop them just like that. It's fast paced, high turnaround and quite messy. This part of the industry is being majorly challenged by LinkedIn and the rise of the in-house recruiter.
"Retained executive search" - retained on a monthly or project based fee by the client, or with money up front and then paid the remainder on result. Generally do a thorough search, often from scratch. This involves researching the relevant people and approaching them confidentially and asking them for referrals if they don't want the job. This way they pick up the passive candidates and people not yet on social networks. They also interview thoroughly, longlist and shortlist. Client has already invested in them so no reason to screw over, plus they are usually the only agency working on the role, so no bun fight with other recruiters. Longer process, much more reliable results.