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Is it Time to Take Executive Search In-House?

UK Employment Law

Thursday, February 13, 2020

To overcome stories of global economic inertia we need to focus on something far more positive. What about the challenge of finding that key senior executive to fill that vacancy or newly created position?

Most organisations have well-drafted and rehearsed recruitment procedures and for 99 out of 100 vacancies this process works for you. But what about the executive hire? How do you ensure that you land the best possible candidate available for the package you have on offer? Do you outsource?

With such senior appointments, the levels of responsibility and thereby impact both financially in budgetary control and risk in their influence within and outside the organisation are significant. Given this importance, it’s essential that the selection is handled effectively and with great care but amazingly many small and large organisations decide it’s a job for a hired hand.

This is not an anti-recruitment consultancy piece, but it is hopefully a reminder that making significant decisions that can carry major implications for the business need to be owned not delegated out by HR.

Top Tips for Executive Recruitment

  • Design an ideal candidate profile
  • Create a clear brief for the role that meets the agreed needs of the organisation
  • Obtain approval from the senior management team to sign off on the brief and the agreed remuneration package
  • Be creative with the package and consider the broader attractions such as culture, location, progression beyond the advertised role.
  • Source notable alumni who may endorse the company and be mentioned to the candidates as referral points for non-partisan reassurance.
  • Create a job advertisement that speaks personally to the reader and is engaging
  • Place the advert in obvious locations for senior job seekers such as LinkedIn but also consider other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (if advertising the role is not a commercially sensitive issue)
  • Be proactive and use the candidate profile to search LinkedIn for suitable matches
  • If appropriate, consider making direct contact with individuals who meet the profile criteria. Members of the senior management team may be well placed to be involved in such early-stage discussions.
  • Make use of video calls to assess an individual’s personality and capabilities
  • Be ruthless, if the profiles and CV’s are attractive but they fail to impress on phone or video trust instincts and continue the search elsewhere.
  • Be open to candidate comments and suggestions with regards to the role – the scope of responsibilities and work/ life balance – don’t lose out on an ideal match by being rooted to a 9-5, Monday to Friday expectation.
  • Accept rejections with good grace and if in need of leads ask if they are aware of any suitable candidates – develop your network.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on psychometric testing, instead seek out a minimum of five reference points all of whom should offer a testimonial and direct experience of working with the candidate.
  • Be mindful of your culture and the importance of the fit.
  • Above all be professional and offer a strong positive reflection of your organisation


If you’re concerned about any matter that concerns recruitment, please feel free to get in touch. Call Robert Gibson or Sally Lomas Fletcher on 0191 2328451
or e-mail

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