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  J.C. Wilson Associates (JCWA) Large Search Firms
Search Quality Our firm is about quality and speed, not volume.  The maximum search load at JCWA is five searches per partner, which increases speed to completion of search and allows our high-touch approach to be fully maximized. Large firms tend to focus on volume.  The average partner carries 10 to 20 searches at one time, significantly slowing down the search process.
Search Length Searches at JCWA typically take two to three months to complete. Searches in large search firms typically take four to five months to complete.
Bait & Switch A Partner well-seasoned in business and search will contact potential candidates and sources.  From experience, we believe that high-level candidates react more positively to high-level recruiters for the critical "first discussion." Large search firms usually delegate the early phone calling to less-experienced associates who often are reading from a script and cannot field basic questions.
Off-Limits There are NO companies that are off-limits - JCWA has virtually unlimited access.  Any relevant company can be approached on the client's behalf, offering access to the best available talent. Because of "off-limits" restrictions related to their hundreds of clients and thousands of active candidates, large search firms are generally prohibited from contacting 30 percent to 40 percent of the target candidate universe across the country.
Parallel Processing JCWA will present candidates for only one search at a time.  We will never have one candidate in play on more than one search. Due to smaller candidate pools arising from "off-limits" restrictions, some partners at large search firms will "parallel process" (i.e. share) the best candidates for more than one search without the client's knowledge.
Minimum Retainer The minimum retainer fee for a search at JCWA is $45,000. The minimum charge for a search at most large search firms is $60,000 or often higher.
Retainer Fees The standard procedure for retainers in the search industry is to bill the client in three equal installments.  At JCWA, we can tie the retainer payments to major benchmarks throughout the search, guaranteeing your satisfaction prior to payment. Large search firms will charge their retainer fees at 30, 60 and 90 days, regardless of your major benchmarks or continuing satisfaction.
Allocated Charges JCWA's standard fee for allocated charges is 6 percent of each retainer fee - half of what some of the large firms can charge. Miscellaneous allocated charges in large search firms average between 8 percent and 12 percent of the each retainer fee.  This often raises the total search cost to more than 40 percent of the successful candidate's total cash compensation.
Candidate Book Option In the first four weeks of the search, the client will receive a "book" of five to 10 qualified, interested and interviewed candidates. Busy partners at large search firms cannot move nearly as swiftly.  Two months to present five or more candidates would be considered "fast."
Search Completions The model at JCWA allows us to successfully complete searches in the 90th percentile and above.  This is largely due to our timely "book" process. Large search firms complete only 60 percent to 75 percent of their total searches in the U.S., depending upon the firm.  A slow start and soft (or no) benchmarks are often to blame.
Final Fee The final fee for a search at JCWA averages 25 percent to 30 percent of the successful candidate's first year total cash compensation, depending upon degree of difficulty. The final fee at almost all large search firms is 33 percent of the successful candidate's first year total cash compensation.
Guarantee JCWA guarantees its search work for two years. Large search firms guarantee their work for a year or less.
 
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