Our Approach: 10 things you need from your senior executive search partner

Barron Williams post
Barron Williams

Find more articles

Last month we introduced a redesign and refresh of Our Approach, the document we send to prospective new clients looking to see how we work. 

We’ve transformed it from a simple word document to full PDF brochure, bringing it inline with our brand ID and website. 

Speaking to several trusted professionals on our network, we took their feedback, and gave it a full overhaul. 

We spent a significant amount of time re-writing and fine tuning the copy to provide a succinct overview of the way we approach Senior Executive Search & Recruitment.

Many pointed out that we didn’t shout loud enough about our unique approach, and we hope our new brochure has addressed this? 

And this is based on feedback from existing clients, HR professionals, people we have worked with for a number of years, people we can trust to tell us the good, and most importantly, the bad and ugly.

So, with that in mind, we thought it would be a nice to look at it in a little more detail. Back up what we say in Our Approach brochure, and list the 10 key things we think every client needs from their Senior Executive Search partner!

Our Approach to Senior Executive Search

One thing was (and is) loud and clear from those on our network… 

Our Approach is seen as a breath of fresh air in an industry that is often accused of placing profit before people. 

The words that are repeated often when we ask for feedback about the way we work are diligent and professional. 

Client or candidate, we strive to deliver the same high quality search and selection service. 

It is a mantra we oft repeat – We see candidates as future clients and clients as long-term partners. We earn trust.

One of the biggest critiques of our old document was that we didn’t get this across in the text.

Our personality is critical to our success. 

It builds confidence and trust.

Our knowledge, skillset and experience ensure we identify and place the best senior execs, with the right fit for your senior management team.

The key to good recruitment is building relationships. 

To attract high calibre individuals and place them in the right role, there needs to be honesty and integrity. Both ways. 

We won’t waste your time. Our Approach works, we do it very well, and the brochure is there to sell our philosophy to potential new clients.

As an industry, we’re facing competition from advances in IT such as AI, legislative change, a skills shortage, recession, all under the dark (and still very real) cloud of COVID. 

However, this is also an industry that has shown resilience. An industry that has had to evolve. 

The success of Barron Williams is built on a strong foundation created by forging partnerships with our clients. Trying to do things differently by remaining agile in a rapidly changing market.

According to the REC, the recruitment industry grew its economic contribution to £42.3 billion ahead of pandemic but saw business fall by over a fifth in summer 2020. 

It is testament to the industry’s resilience that we increased our contribution to the economy by a huge 8% in 2019 as that hard work placed our sector in good shape going into lockdown. Helped us weather the storm.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, stated in their April 2021 UK Report on Jobs that: 

“The jobs market is improving at one of the fastest rates we have ever seen, and that’s great news. We are bouncing back from a record low – and many people are still struggling – but the data shows that job creation is firing up again. This month’s numbers for permanent hiring are the best we’ve seen since the survey started in 1997. Temporary hiring has chalked up its ninth straight month of growth, demonstrating again how important temporary agency work is to getting families and businesses back on their feet. The message for government and employers alike is that the long-term challenge is less likely to be high unemployment than attracting and training enough staff to keep
our economy firing. Companies need to be thinking about their workforce planning and employee offer, which professional recruitment firms are best placed to support them with. Government needs to urgently tackle shortfalls in the skills system, and make sure the new immigration system is more responsive to our economic needs.” 

In their recent Economic & Social Impact study, the REC also shone a light 3 core themes that will be critical in helping the country recover from the pandemic:

  1. Recruitment is a major driver of UK productivity
  2. Giving candidates new opportunities and supporting a more inclusive jobs market
  3. The recruitment industry can help accelerate the recovery

As corporate members of REC, we support this view.

Good recruitment is essentially the life blood that will get our economy moving in the right direction. 

Furthermore, it is being predicted that recruitment agencies will place over 1 million candidates in 2021, taking us back to the  levels reported by the REC for (pre-pandemic) 2019.

I know here at Barron Williams we have had a very hectic first quarter!

What makes Barron Williams tick… 

How are we different? 

Many agencies claim to be different, so how are we unique?

Is different the right word or are we just trying to be better?

Why do we work the way we do? 

Why is Our Approach of such importance? 

Well, we represent our clients brands as well as our own – We need to align our values.

Senior Executive Search? Senior Executive Recruitment? Headhunting? 

We’re about finding the right people for our clients. Period.

Our processes, practices and approach is geared to that end.

And we do it to fill strategically important roles, including CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, CIO, MD, HRD, etc, with the model applying across sectors as well as functions.

A client will look to partner with us when they are looking to hire a new senior exec or a make a series of critical top team hires. 

They will come to Barron Williams because we have the resources and know-how to find that top talent. 

They know that because they’ve worked with us as client or candidate previously or, they’ve been referred to us by someone who has.

We will source and secure the best candidates for each role.

We will work with an organisation. Form a partnership. Share our expertise. 

Our Approach is designed to find and place the best, from the whole of the market, not just those actively looking.

Operating in an advisory capacity, we function much like your Auditors or Corporate Lawyers would. 

We offer trusted counsel. 

We’re polite but persistent. 

We’re fast but patient.

We’re agile but systematic.

And we’ve worked to develop our brand… 

Our Approach is our mission statement. 

This is how we will source the talent you need. 

Our brand must align with yours.

We want to add value and provide better service than some of the more established search firms. 

We’re the disruptor.

Expect more? That’s OK with us!

Do it better than the rest. 

Feedback from clients is testament to this. And if you’d like to speak to some, then please get in touch.

Your top management team needs to be made up of the top management talent. 

We can spot good people.

But… The best people are rarely ‘active’ in the market. They often need a little persuasion.

This is why senior executive search exists.

Do you really get this from your current provider? Or do you simply see the best of the ‘active’ candidates.

And what should an executive search firm be doing for your business if not presenting people that you cannot access yourself?

Where’s the real value?

What 10 things do you need from your senior executive search partner?

An executive search firm such as us can help you find and secure the right people to strategically drive your business forward, and do this by:

1. Identifying the best senior executive talent

Finding the right ‘fit’ at the senior exec level is complex. 

You need to find that perfect combination of skill/ability and cultural/organisational fit. That takes time.

With the added time pressure placed on HR teams to quickly fill senior executive roles can make for the perfect storm.

Our Approach has to be different. 


Our proactive approach opens you up to the whole of the market, as we say in Our Approach brochure:

“We use our brand strength, reputation and networks to market roles effectively and engage with people who most closely match our clients’ brief. Our mature, professional and structured processes and practices deliver exceptional Longlists and Shortlists to allow our clients to select from fully briefed and engaged candidates representing the best available people in the whole of the market.” 

2. Defining and selling your organisation and the role

Have you ever lost an excellent candidate at the 11th hour because they’ve decided to stay in their current role? 

Or worse, accepted an offer from another firm? 

It could be that you/your organisation were unable to engage with the client or best market/sell the role?

Our job doesn’t end when we present you the long or short list. 

It doesn’t end when you make the successful candidate an offer. 

Our approach ensures that that we sell that role and build the case for that candidate to accept your offer over any others.

It is very common for many organisation to take their own selling points for granted. We will be sure to spell them out. 

Candidates at the senior exec level are just as rigorous and discerning about the company that they choose to work for as you are about them – This is a two way process! 

This is where are counsel is critical. We act as the arbitrary. The middleman.

Open and honest communication at every stage of the selection process is key. With client and candidates! 

As we highlight in Our Approach; “we protect and build brand reputations – ours and yours”.

3. Offering industry insight and expertise 

Often, our clients requirements are very specific and difficult to find. 

Senior exec talent is a rare commodity. Finding it is hard.

This is where our systematic processes and expertise are priceless to your organisation. It is not something most organisations can do for themselves, that is why we are trusted by so many. 

We work across the UK in a range of diverse sectors but our focus is on the core senior management functions. 

We know how to find and place talent.

As we state in Our Approach; “our specialism is our ability to interpret complex role briefs, attract high calibre candidates and execute effective selection processes for our clients”. 

4. Supporting the interview, testing and onboarding process

As we also state in Our Approach brochure; “the role brief is just the start”. 

We work with you at every stage of the process. 

As we say… 

It is a two way process. 

Open comms are essential. 

We need your input and rapid response.

It’s a race for talent as well as a war.

Our Approach brochure provides a step-by-step breakdown of the process, from Role Brief to Offer & Appointment. 

We will manage that process for you. 

Work with us.

We pride ourselves on our Service Excellence, and as we say in our brochure:

“We select candidates for further consideration and engage with them early to assess their interest and motivation as well as match to the role brief. We brief them confidentially and develop their applications. We interview candidates together with our client and co-ordinate second and final stage interviews, attending as required. We can provide psychometric testing for Shortlist candidates and referencing to confirm your selection decision. We manage the offer negotiation and support the selected candidate through to their start date, following up with both client and candidate once onboarding is complete.” 

5. Extending your reach to find the best talent

We have touched on this but it is essential that any search firm you use has both an established bank of senior talent from which to draw, and more importantly the ability to extend that reach to locate the right individual. 

We have access to not only those candidates that are actively seeking a new role, but also talent that is currently in post and not looking. 

We will market the role using a mix of marketing strategies and tactics:

  • Systematic and thorough search process to identify and attract relevant candidates
  • Advertise role on barronwilliams.co.uk (unless search only) 
  • Post recruitment advertising (unless search only) to address active market 
  • Email and call relevant candidate & contact audience from Barron Williams ExecBank 
  • Post updates and links via Barron Williams social media presence to reach our extensive networks of contacts and passive candidates

7. Adding value to the process

A big part of Our Approach is that aforementioned Service Excellence. 

Going that extra mile. 

We make ourselves visible and accessible.

Many make the claim but do they actually deliver? 

We take and make calls.

We make sure we ‘pitch’ the role to potentially relevant prospects.

Our Approach is a guide but we will adapt and tailor to each individual role brief. 

It is never a cut and paste exercise. They are all bespoke. Unique. Different. In a nutshell…

“We execute individually tailored search and role marketing plans to deliver high quality candidates for our clients.” 

6. Saving you valuable time

As the common business adage goes; “time is money”.

Our Approach will save you both. 

We manage the process. We’ll need a steer but we do all the heavy lifting.

We keep things moving. Time to hire is critical. Talent/availability is finite.

We will ensure any time that you and your organisation spend on the search and selection process is spent wisely on viewing only those that fit your brief.

According to the 2018 Open University Business Barometer report, 70% of senior business leaders stated that the recruitment process often takes too long – By an average of 52 days! 

That is a staggering figure, and as a result, 64% have reported spending more money on recruitment to speed things up. 

Our recent Time-To-Hire vs. Quality-Of-Hire article looks at this in greater detail.

We find the right balance. Delivering quality at pace requires skill and application.

8. Saving you money in the short and long term

Organisations will often think that managing recruitment in-house will save them both time and money, and for some roles, it’s true.

However, for senior management and critical exec roles? No. You’re relying on luck that the right candidate is on your Careers page or gets the right linked in alert? Really?

The cost of sifting through an often large response of unsuitable CVs and conducting initial conversations quickly adds up, however, partner with Barron Williams and focus on a qualified longlist.

The Role Brief, Marketing, Search and initial Selection process is done for you, freeing your time to focus on other tasks. 

In the long run you’re also building a relationship with a trusted partner, saving further time and additional cost down the road.

Once we start to build a network to search for you, we gain a head start on completing your next crucial hire. 

9. Advertising roles (the right way)

This follows on from the previous point. We write the brief to sell your role.

And to do it in the right way, we engage with the people you want – It takes patience and discipline.

We save you time and money because we take care of those critical early stages of the hiring process for you.

…But it all starts with the target audience.

We know where to look. 

We know where to find the ‘who’. 

Then we get in touch.

We can schedule discussions and communicate with candidates to ensure they are fully briefed too. 

By the time we ask you to consider them, they’re usually ‘good to go’.

All you have to do is keep that diary open, prepare for the interview and turn up!

With search candidates we both have to work a bit harder but that’s OK. That’s a challenge we relish.

Key to successfully marketing a role is the role brief – Especially when searching. 

A poorly written one can fail to attract, or engage the right people. It needs to be compelling but accurate.

According to search firm, Glassdoor:

“61% of employees say new role realities differ from expectations set during the interview process.”

We are your “honest broker”. We will ensure the right people see your role and are on the longlist. From there it’s a team effort.

10. We know the senior executive search market

Your requirements might be very specific. That’s OK with us.

Deadlines are always tight. 

That is when you need us. 

We know senior executive talent. 

We know how develop a market map for your sector or role, no matter how niche.

We can do it quickly but don’t hesitate before calling us.

We have an ExecBank of talent and the ability to cast the net to capture the whole of the market.

Candidates trust us and that allows us to access great people quickly as part of our mix of potential candidate sources.

We will only shortlist candidates we think can fulfil your brief.

Even if that brief evolves, our agility means we will evolve with it.

Can your current senior executive search firm tick all 10? Genuinely?

You can View a PDF copy of Our Approach Brochure in your browser or Download a PDF copy.

If you would like to discuss Our Approach in more detail or see  a copy of the full brochure with our Summary Terms, then please Call Us today.

If you’re looking for a senior executive search partner for your organisation, please use our Client Upload Form or Call Us now.

If you’re looking for your next senior executive role, then please feel free to Upload Your CV or Call Us for an exploratory conversation.

Barron Williams

Find more articles


How do you get the most out of your recruitment agency?


How do you get the most out of your recruitment agency?

Read More

Stepping back into a senior exec role after time away


Stepping back into a senior exec role after time away

Read More

The 5 biggest challenges facing recruiters in 2024


The 5 biggest challenges facing recruiters in 2024

Read More