Delivering Results: When you’re trusted with a crucial hire

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We’ve not tackled a case study for a while, so we thought it would be insightful to take a detailed look at a recent high-profile MD role in a specialist sector to explain how we really go about our business.

The case study format is a great way to illustrate the way we work, our laser-focussed recruitment process and, in this instance, to share the experience of both a new client and the shortlisted candidates.

The client is an industry-leading provider of independent macroeconomic research to financial market professionals. Their business is primarily focused on the US, Europe, UK, Asia and Latin America, with clients across the banking, hedge fund, asset management pension fund and property investment sectors.

Their Chief Economist and founder is a double winner of the Wall Street Journal’s annual US economic forecasting competition, with over 25 years of experience in independent and institutional macroeconomic research.

This is a client that has made its mark in a demanding environment. Their analysis leads them away from the pack, and their no-nonsense, jargon-free approach is always firmly grounded in meticulous data analysis. Their clients rely on them to make high-value decisions.

To put it simply, this is a client that required the same meticulous approach for their recruitment, and they chose to work with Barron Williams.

Executive summary

To make sure that the client ultimately selects from a great shortlist, we make sure that we “shake the tree”, vigorously. 

As well as those we already know and can contact immediately, we have access to many other senior executives via our high-quality Exec Bank of registered candidates and others who will respond to our marketing of the role brief, via various channels and the leveraging of our brand reputation.

And that brand is essentially a candidate brand. Good people will monitor our Current Opportunities and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up to date with our news and views on all people-related matters. They trust what we say.

The response to this role was of no surprise, with over 100 applications, enquiries and expressions of interest. In addition, we identified and directly approached a number of highly relevant search prospects whose background and experience were of particular interest too.

As a team, we then set to work reviewing, calling, talking and assessing. Ultimately, this led to over 40 exploratory discussions, then initial Teams calls to arrive at the longlist for us to interview and then present to our client.

Throughout these early stages, we are mindful that this is a 2-way process – we are pitching the role and our client.

After second interviewing the final longlist candidates with the client, we then worked closely with them to confirm their shortlist selection.

By this point, the process often becomes increasingly subjective. It must be tailored and adjusted to reflect the characteristics of the remaining candidates as we near final selection.

The perfect storm

After speaking with a shortlist of recruiters, the decision was taken to exclusively partner with the Barron Williams team and we started our comprehensive search and selection process in earnest.

One of the things we spoke about with the client prior to our selection was the need for agility. This was a pivotal role, requiring broad business management skills rather than sector experience.

Therefore, our approach and process would need to adapt and evolve as we engaged with high-calibre candidates from a range of backgrounds and sectors.

As a professional services business, it is imperative we quickly recognise the core client needs, react, and maybe most importantly, identify individuals they might not have intuitively thought of as the person most likely to fill the role.

This approach is not just how we work client-side, it is the same with candidates, and this was very much the case in this instance. Initial calls with interested candidates were exploratory on both sides – open, straightforward and insightful – both ways. 

Much of our role is a selling one. Finding people that are a good fit for the role and culture. Convincing them that the individual is the right for their organisation but also talking to candidates and establishing why this could be the right next step for their own path. 

When we are working with a client, we are pitching their organisation and the role, to ensure we attract the best.

We only do that if we are confident that you are an employer we are happy to represent.

Often when we start a search, we have a number of candidates in mind for the position. Some will be active in the market but many will be passive. We approach both in a professional and diligent manner. 

It’s a “hard soft sell”. We have to walk a fine line between persistence and respect.

The business end of the race

For this role, we had to narrow after interviewing an extremely high-quality longlist, down to a shortlist of 3 exceptional but very different individuals. 

All were more than capable of doing the role but each with a different background and experience. 

We designed the final stages of the process around meetings with the business owners, in order to make the final decision.

We worked closely with both client and candidate to ensure all were fully briefed, the process was closely managed to be as smooth as possible, and comms are kept open.

What we wanted was for the client to have three great candidates to compare fully and fairly.

And whilst this sounds straightforward, making it happen takes a unique skill set. Our clients demand that we are experts in our field, giving them total confidence that they are making the right choice. 

When we accepted this recruitment brief, we tailored our process to the unique characteristics of this client, ensuring we could identify and recommend the best people for the role.

For the candidates, they needed to trust us in our multiple conversations and interactions throughout the process. Trust is earned not given and we work hard to earn and honour theirs.

The Winners Podium

We think of shortlists as the podium of the 100m Olympic sprint final. You have 3 of the best athletes, we had 3 amazing candidates.  All potential champions, separated by fine margins on any given day.

In this case, the final 3 candidates were all great. The client had a tough choice to make. Fantastic!

Each on the shortlist had fully invested themselves in the role and process, and whilst breaking the good news to the successful is always a lovely thing to do, letting down those who just missed out, whilst never easy, is just as important.

We will always speak to each individual, explaining the reasons why, reflecting on the process, retaining goodwill.

Some of our best clients are past candidates who appreciated our approach, regardless of whether they were hired.

Client satisfaction

Working exclusively with a new search partner for such a critical role always carries a degree of risk, so we asked one of the founders what was it that made them select Barron Williams over their competitors for such a critical hire, and crucially, how was their experience?

Why did you choose to partner with Barron Williams?

“We knew that this recruitment was one of the most important decisions that we would make for our company. As we had no previous experience of recruiting at this level, we wanted a partner who would be very closely involved in helping us to refine the role and support us throughout the recruitment process based on a deep understanding of our values and requirements. We considered other firms but found that Barron Williams stood out in the degree to which they immediately “got” us rather than having an off the peg solution in mind before the first meeting. Diversity is important to us and they listened carefully from the start with an open minded approach to the role and candidates which resulted in a strong and diverse field. We were attracted by fact that Barron Williams are a relatively small team with a great reach both locally and nationally. This meant that they were able to really focus on our recruitment while having access to a great range of candidates.”

What in particular did you like about the way they managed this role search?

“Barron Williams took the time to understand not only the role but also our culture and values. They were quick and effective at getting the long and short list together and we were kept fully up to date with progress throughout. They were willing to offer opinions when requested and were very flexible and supportive throughout the process. It was a full service approach that left us free to make the final critical decision without any distraction from the process itself and we were very happy with the result. The support didn’t end at the appointment – the follow up showed that Barron Williams were highly invested in making sure that the placement was a success both from the company and the candidate’s point of view.”

Successful Candidate Testimonial

The successful candidate has now been in place since January 2023 and is a great example of a thorough search and selection process resulting in an excellent fit for the client. 

We recently had a catch-up call with them and asked how would you describe the recruitment process they experienced with Barron Williams, from their perspective as a candidate:

What is it that Barron Williams does differently from other recruiters?

“Personal approach. A great amount of time was spent discussing the role and matching my previous experiences. It never felt that Barron Williams were trying to shoehorn me into this role – lots of opportunity for me to ask questions and check my understanding of the position.”

What was it in particular that you liked when dealing with Barron Williams?

“Constant contact from the whole Barron Williams team. It was pleasure to deal with them from the first phone call. The process flowed in a collaborative fashion and I felt supported at every stage. This gives you the confidence to be yourself throughout the selection process.”

Delivering the perfect outcome for our clients is built on great candidates. And you can’t deliver the latter without a first-class candidate experience and a genuine partnership approach.

This is what we do here at Barron Williams. Try us!

If you’re looking to work with a team dedicated to helping you find the right people to fulfil those crucial roles for your organisation, please use our Client Upload Form or call us today.

If you’re looking to find or apply for a new role, then please feel free to Upload Your CV or call us for an exploratory conversation.

Barron Williams

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