There is a tremendous misconception that retained searches are too costly but the ROI proves differently.

The reason the majority of CXO searches are conducted through retained searches is because the ROI exceeds the cost of the search.  For cybersecurity positions, many of the same ROI reasons apply. 

Why should I consider a retained search for cybersecurity talent?

  • Shortage of Cybersecurity Talent:  

    Today there is projected to be more than 3.0 million more security job openings than there are qualified people to fill those positions. Retained Search firms who specialize in cybersecurity will already have the network and relationships to quickly identify where the right sources are.  

  • Cybersecurity Expertise:

We often find that clients do not understand the breath of the security role and do not have the expertise on staff to accurately and adquately identify if candidates truly have the skills needed to perform at an effective level.  By hiring a specialized cybersecurity retained search firm who interviews security professionals every day, they can help align and qualify candidates to ensure there is a good technical and cultural fit.

  • Top Talent Attraction:

    The top security talent (i.e. leaders, architects, engineers, etc. ) is in high demand. They are bombarded with recruiting emails every day.  A retained search will always attract many more of these embedded candidates who are very hard to get their attention.

  • Salary Cost Savings:

If you over pay for talent, you can generally find people, but then you are stuck paying for those salaries well beyond the hiring date.  Our firm, Fortify Experts, is frequently brought in to find Top Talent at market rates.  Clients often find that when you have highly targeted retained searches uncover more affordable talent because they don’t target active job seekers.

  • More Targeted and Refined Candidate Matching: 

    Only 20-25% of potential security candidates will even respond to typical recruiting calls or emails.  Retained searches increase the response rate to over 65%!  This allows a more rifle-targeted approach instead of a shotgun approach.

  • Commitment:   

Security searches are hard.  Contingent recruiters have no “skin” in the game to stick with hard searches.  They only get paid if they make a placement, therefore, they quickly gravitate to the newest and easiest position to fill.  Retained searches require a dedicated commitment to fill the position.

  • Confidentiality:

When replacing vital leadership many firms do not want to blast to the general public a position is vacant or open especially if this position is a replacement position.  Retained searches are much easier to conduct with complete confidentiality.

  • Reputation: 

Posting a security leadership position can attract many unwanted inquiries especially after a breach.  From the news media to every security leader “want-a-be”, most firms do not want the attention a security leadership posting will bring to the organization.

  • Exhaustive Search vs. Skimming: 

    Retained recruiters are being paid to stick with a search even when it becomes difficult.  A contingent is only paid if the search is successful so will move on to other searches when a search becomes difficult.

  • Professional Process:

Engaging with a reputable retained search firm will streamline the hiring process from position definition, to identifying, to qualifying, to interviewing and on-boarding, thereby, providing a much more satisfied business leader and a higher quality result.

  • Leaders Don’t Have Time to Waste:

    Retained search firms are responsible for understanding exactly the characteristics needed for the position, then streamlining the search and qualification process,  and only putting the top candidates in front of the hiring managers.  The hardest thing about the search should be selecting which of the 3 or 4 candidates to hire because they are all so perfect for the position.

  • Longer Placement Warranty: 

    The due diligence of a retained searches results generally translates longer tenue because of the detailed alignment of goals for both the company and the candidate.  However, if a candidate does not workout, retained searches generally have a longer-term replacement warranty.  Fortify Experts offers a full one year guarantee that our candidates will meet or exceed your expectations.

This is just a few of the reasons to justify why cybersecurity professional should be hired through a retained search firm.  If you would like to explore the topic deeper or have additional questions, please reach out to us as

About Tim Howard

Tim Howard is the founder of 4 technology firms including Fortify Experts which helps companies hire the Best Cyber Talent on the Planet as well as providing expert consulting and NIST-based security assessments

In addition, he has a passion for helping CISOs develop higher-performing teams through coaching, creating topic-rich CISO Forums, and by helping them create highly-effective team cultures.

He also teamed up with Lyndrel Downs to launch to help promote the most influential women in cybersecurity and provide a mentoring program to help encourage and support more diversity within the cybersecurity industry.

Tim has been leading technology staffing teams for over 20 years and has degrees from Texas A&M University in Industrial Distribution and Marketing.  

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