Retained Searches

Are you looking for a world-class recruiting firm to handle your higher level and most confidential searches? Look no further! Columbia Search Partners is an industry leader in retained searches and considered by many as one of the top firms in the country in retained search.

Columbia Search Partners has conducted numerous successful manager and senior level retained search assignments for a wide range of clients. By engaging Columbia Search Partners, you are purchasing the undivided attention of our senior staff. Should you wish to engage Columbia Search Partners in a Retained Search contract, our normal retainer search fee is 33%. Our approach is composed of three distinct phases: Preparation, Search, and Selection.


We begin each search with an in-depth conversation with you, the client. The purpose is to learn as much as possible about your company (its purpose, its people, its product and/or service, its short and long-term goals, its management style/philosophy, its competition, etc.). We also want to gain insight into the position you are trying to fill (why it’s open, its purpose/responsibilities, the qualifications, experience and background you’d like to see in the ideal candidate, how this position fits in the overall organizational structure, etc.) as is possible. We like this conversation to be with the actual hiring authority and to be as in-depth as possible, to ensure that we fully understand what you need, and to ensure that we fully understand your organization’s culture. The product of this conversation is a position Profile. This is a written description of what we learned through our conversation(s) and is an important tool that we use throughout the search process.

The development of the Profile has the benefit of promoting a tighter focus by appropriate members of the management team on the type of executive to be sought as the search begins. It also ensures that the Columbia Search Partners consultant has a clear understanding of the needs of the organization and the views and perspectives of those involved in the hiring process. In this way, everyone is on “the same page” regarding the profile of the candidate we are seeking.


Columbia Search Partners uses original research for each new search we conduct, in addition to contacting individuals who are known to us through our extensive database or previous search projects. Senior level consultants manage your search personally, not junior level staff or researchers. We conduct in-depth interviews with each candidate and submit reports/resumes to those involved in the search process.


The final stage of the search involves scheduling candidate interviews and managing the search to closure. This includes coordinating the logistics of the interview process, debriefing candidates and providing feedback to you, checking references thoroughly, confirming educational credentials, and working with you to evaluate candidates and negotiate an offer with the finalist.

Examples of previous Retained Search Placements:


Corporate VP, Materials & Purchasing Major steel producer
VP of Materials & Purchasing Telecom equipment
Sr. Director, Materials Home appliances
Director of Logistics Consumer products – HBA
CFO Financial holding company
VP, Finance Outdoor power equipment
VP, Customer Service Telecom equipment
VP & General Manager Consumer products – toys
VP, New Product Introduction Telecom equipment
Sr. VP, Manufacturing Appliances (white goods)
Director of Logistics Consumer packaging
CFO Fire extinguishers
VP, MIS Telecom equipment
VP, Worldwide Sales Consumer products – toys
VP, Quality & Customer Service Telecom equipment
CFO Metal fasteners
VP, Operations Gas grills
VP, Engineering Recreational vehicle access.
Executive VP, Program Development Automotive components
VP, Product Development Plastic signage
VP, Operations Consumer products
VP, Sales & Marketing Appliance controls
VP, Operations Consumer glassware
VP, Engineering Gas grills
VP, Operations Toys
Executive Director, Process Excellence Environmental remediation
Executive Director, Process Excellence Consumer products – HBA
Corporate Director, Quality Assurance Consumer products – batteries
Corporate Director, Sales & Marketing Plastic tubing
Director of Six Sigma Electronics
Director of Quality Automotive components
Director of Finance Automotive components
Director of Operations Automotive plastic trim
Director of Continuous Improvement Consumer/office products
Director of Process Excellence Consumer products – HBA
Corporate Director of Quality Assurance Consumer products – HBA
Corporate Director, Process Excellence Ceramic tile
Director of Manufacturing Consumer products – HBA
Director of Sales & Marketing Metal flexible hose/tubing
Director of Manufacturing Marine depth finders
Director of Materials Planning Telecom equipment
Director of Operations Wooden cabinet doors
Director of Quality Telecom equipment
Director, Q6 Deployment Commercial lighting