Not your typical Senior Executive Recruitment Agency…

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This month we wanted to deviate a little from our schedule and react to some recent feedback that really highlights what Barron Williams the Senior Executive Recruitment Agency is all about.

When it comes to our monthly Insight articles, we have a content plan in place. Subjects we feel we can share the benefit of our knowledge and experience. Articles that we feel our clients and candidates will find helpful, and that add value to the service we provide.

However, sometimes it is nice to break free from our content plan and react to some positive news or feedback…

It’s a subject we’ve covered in a number of recent articles to support the recent refresh of Our Approach brochure. A marketing tool we are very proud of. 

The way we work is something we feel is refreshing in an industry oft criticised for being too numbers/database-driven or showing a lack of candidate care. 

However, those articles were all very much from our perspective, an opinion/think-piece detailing the way we work, and why we refreshed the brochure. 

We discussed what makes us tick and the important things that a client needs from a senior executive search partner in Our Approach to Senior Executive Recruitment post.

In this Insight we wanted to approach it from your point of view.

Clearly illustrate how our unique approach works for both client and candidate based on real feedback.

Initially, we were going to present the client feedback as a Case Study, but when the candidate reference dropped into our Inbox around the same time, we felt it made sense to do a more in-depth article that combined both sides of the recruitment coin. 

The way we work doesn’t differentiate between client and candidate, although our articles often do in terms of subject matter. We’ll often try and produce something for each.

This article will hopefully be a nice follow on from last month, help to substantiate why Barron Williams is not your typical Senior Executive Recruitment Agency.

As we say on our Homepage:

“We’re here to address disillusionment with poor service in recruitment, often reported by both clients and candidates alike.”

So, this Insight will be a little different…

A walk-through of our approach backed up with real testimony. It will hopefully justify our method of approach and pique the interest of those considering working or registering with us for the first time. 

It will be part Case Study part Insight, but hopefully an interesting and honest look at our industry; how the way we work fits into the search and selection process; and how partnering with us as a client or registering as a candidate is the right decision for you and/or your organisation

The UK Senior Executive Recruitment Agency Landscape

Senior Executive Recruitment Agency Landscape

The REC’s Recruitment & Recovery report published in February 2021 highlighted how essential a Senior Executive Recruitment Agency like Barron Williams will be to the UK’s recovery from COVID. They state that:

“Getting recruitment right boosts UK productivity by £7.7bn each year.”

They go on to say that:

“Throughout the pandemic, the recruitment industry has helped keep vital services running. Looking forward, the industry is likely to play a key role in helping displaced workers find new jobs, helping companies adapt to shifts such as the rise of remote working, and helping build a more diverse and inclusive labour market.”

Recruitment agencies and their consultants are delivering talent to UK organisations and placing jobseekers in new roles. Pandemic or no pandemic that remained/remains the same. Underscoring the sector’s importance to the UK the report highlights that:

“2021 will be a crucial year for recruitment. Alongside adapting to the post-Covid economy, the labour market is also set to adapt to the significant changes brought about by Brexit.”

B-words and C-words aside, there’s definitely a sense of optimism in our industry, and that is most definitely shared here at Barron Williams. Senior Exec hiring is picking up and we are starting to see somewhat of a domino effect. 

According to the most recent quarterly Labour Market Outlook by the CIPD, employment confidence has continued its upward surge. 

The big headlines from their spring update report are as follows:

  • Sharp upsurge in net employment score
    The net employment intentions figure for Q2 has risen sharply to +27, from +11 in the last quarter. This is due to both a halving of redundancy intentions – down from 20% to 12% – and a rise in recruitment intentions. The improvement has again been driven by the private sector, which saw an 18 percentage point increase since the winter 20/21 report.
  • Employment confidence grows across sectors
    Healthcare (+54) and ICT (+37) have continued to increase in employment confidence, retaining the top spots among the sectors. But the biggest climbers this quarter are administration and support services, which jumped from +2 last quarter to +33, and hospitality from -6 to +29.
  • Redundancy intentions drop below pre-pandemic levels
    Redundancy intentions have continued to fall over the quarter. Just over a tenth (12%) of organisations expect to make job cuts in the next three months, down from 20% the previous quarter. The fall takes redundancy intentions to below pre-pandemic levels (16%) for the first time.

Source: Labour Market Outlook for Spring 2021 produced in partnership with Adecco.

In the previous report for winter 2020/21, they also highlighted that:

“Overall the net employment intentions figure rose to +11 from -1 in the autumn. This is a measure of the difference between the proportion of employers expecting to add jobs and those planning to cut jobs.”

As a Senior Executive Recruitment Agency in the current climate we would be wise to exercise caution. That said, at Barron Williams we are starting to see an increase in new roles with clients old and new as we head into summer 2021. 

Of course, there’s also significant variation in outlook between industries but this has minimal impact on us as our focus is on senior execs across multiple sectors, many of which are forecast to see an upturn in hiring.

According to the CIPD report:

“UK healthcare industry leads with 89 per cent of recruiters planning to hire in the year ahead. The majority of HR and recruitment professionals in the manufacturing (77 per cent), technology (69 per cent) and retail (69 per cent) are also expecting either to fill new positions or replace jobs lost during the pandemic. The future also looks positive for the leisure and hospitality industry, with 59 per cent of companies expecting to fill new positions in the trade.”

Client Focussed?

Client Focussed Senior Executive Recruitment Agency

Pre-COVID, late 2019/early 2020, their was much talk at the senior exec level of a talent shortage. 

Personally, we never felt there was. 

It was more a case of knowing where to look. Using our network to identify those not actively seeking a new role. 

Our Approach has always been on building relationships with clients and candidates. 

Working together as a trusted partner. 

Building a network that we can then leverage to benefit both. 

The landscape post-COVID might be shifting but our focus remains the same.

We aren’t shackled like the ‘usual suspects’. Large multi-discipline/level agencies where consultants are often driven by short-term goals. 

Do they have the impetus to go that extra mile to find the right talent for your next senior hire? 

Or will they simply look to send what’s easily available, drawn from those who are active?

They may have a large network but are they the right people? The best people?

Don’t Play It Too Safe!

Don’t Play It Too Safe!

Let us put it another way, as hiring managers, do you feel it is safer to go with a big name agency? 

After all, “Nobody gets fired for buying IBM!”

But should they? Well, not fired but the point stands. Are they (and in turn the hiring company) playing it too safe?

Is your organisation getting the best talent available from the whole of the market? Is their process really that rigorous?

Are the larger recruitment agencies client AND candidate driven?

Or are those doing the hiring in your company going with you-know-who because they always have?

There’s a different way, an alternative to the status quo. 

We’re happy to be hungry. We’re happy to try harder. To be agile. To work smart.

We’ll work with you, we will partner with you to identify the right individual for each specific role. Every time!

Just ask yourself… 

Are we getting what, and most importantly who we want, for our most important roles?

A New Clients View of Barron Williams

A New Clients View of Barron Williams

Earlier this year we were approached by an organisation that’s going through a period of transition, including a change of leadership in one of their subsidiary companies.

Their HQ is based in Northern Ireland and the subsidiary company is based in the North East of England; both engineering led and manufacturing focused.

They established the need to recruit a senior level executive with full responsibility for the North East site, who can combine a Technical/Engineering background with Manufacturing/Operations and General Management experience.

Those at the Northern Ireland head office had no experience of executive/technical recruitment in NE England, and no network or agency recommendations for suitable recruitment partners.

Why Barron Williams?

Clients View of Barron Williams

This search was a blank canvas and the need for a Senior Executive Recruitment Agency to oversee the search process on their behalf was essential.

The approach this company took was to start by researching the executive recruitment market in the North East and they quickly identified 12 companies to consider.

Having desktop reviewed the 12 they approached 4 to put forward proposals. Needless to say that list of 12 and 4 included some of the more established “names”.

Having met with the 4 companies and reviewed their proposals the decision was taken to partner with Paul Barron and the team at Barron Williams Executive Search.

They chose to work with us for a number of reasons, and in their words not ours, the following 5 points are where we really stood out from the crowd:

  1. Wide reach and established networks in both the region and the sector
  2. Genuine interest and enthusiasm in finding the best person for our Company.
  3. Previous success in similar roles/industries
  4. Dedicated project management team
  5. Single point of contact

The Search Process

Senior Executive Recruitment Agency Search Process

Now, this is a sector and region (of course) we know very well, and we were quickly able to draft an initial, provisional Longlist, including enquiries from potentially interested candidates wanting to discuss before deciding to apply.

As anticipated we had no problem attracting high calibre candidates for this role. We took a lot of calls and pitched the role to some very good people.

The Longlist was narrowed down. We then arranged more in depth discussions with people before presenting a still long Longlist to the client for review.

As our CEO, Paul Barron explains:

“By the time our Client sees a candidate CV from Barron Williams, we’ll already have held numerous discussions to ensure that the Candidate is well-matched to their requirements and fully briefed about the organisation and the role. Also, crucially, they are positively engaged in the process, and actively seeking to pursue their interest in taking this role. This of course takes time, knowledge and understanding, but it is essential in order to draw up a high quality Client Longlist.”

From our point of view, the client longlist was higher than anticipated, and more than we’d usually include. However, the client had specified that they were keen to consider a broad selection of qualified candidates, and we wanted to make sure that they could compare the best talent to the role brief and between each individual applicant.

Paul stated at the time to the Barron Williams team that he wanted a “quality/calibre/match to brief,” and for good reason, as he explains:

“Even with client input, it was very difficult to narrow the longlist down such was depth of talent. However, we selected for first interview, which we conducted jointly with the client.” 

At Barron Williams we do this to make sure that the client benefits from a consistent approach:

“We tend to lead that first formal interview, agreeing the criteria but allowing the client to observe as well as interact with the candidates.” 

At Barron Williams we look to offer consistency. This allows us to to establish fair and accurate candidate appraisal.

The client can be as active or as passive as they wish, of course, but our aim is to allow them to compare candidates effectively, and ultimately, make the best hiring/selection decision.

For this role, it was necessary to apply quite a firm selection criteria to narrow down after the first interviews, such was the high calibre of candidate.

And, of course, those that weren’t selected received a personal call and feedback once the decision was made.

The selected candidates were then invited to a second interview where we focused on more in-depth questions, discussed the key criteria for the role and asked individual questions to ascertain cultural fit, etc.

We kept in touch with all candidates regularly, keeping them full informed of process, timings, etc.

Ultimately, 2 were selected for final interview and invited to visit the clients North East premises and Group Head Office. 

The final stage also included presentations and meetings with key client stakeholders, with both candidates performing exceptionally well.

After the offer was made and the successful candidate was appointed the client sent us the following testimonial:

“Day to day, there was a true partnership approach to this project. Paul took the time to fully understand our business and our requirements; he supported us in shaping and managing the greyer areas of the role; offered his expertise and insight in how to the market the role to attract the very best candidates; brought the local knowledge that we were missing.”

They went on to say that:

“Paul and his team at Barron Williams navigated us through a comprehensive selection process and recommended selection tools at each stage. The outcome of our process was that we had to make a very difficult decision between two exceptional candidates.  We were delighted with this positive quandary; ultimately Paul fulfilled the brief in the timeframes expected. I would have no hesitation in working with the team at Barron Williams in the future.”

A Senior Executive Recruitment Agency Focused on Talent

Senior Executive Recruitment Agency Talent Focus

Our focus is not just on the client in this type of process though… 

Equal must be given to candidates. 

Yes, the client is paying for the search but our success is built on how we manage both sides of the coin… 

Building relationships is critical. Having confidence in, and the confidence of, the talent in our network goes hand in hand.

As we state on our Candidates page:

“At Barron Williams our candidates are also our clients. Our unique knowledge of chosen markets, our reputation, our communities and subsequent relationships put us in the perfect position to help deliver great career moves. As a Barron Williams candidate, we are with you throughout the process as a point of reference and support. We know how difficult it can be to combine work and career planning, and as such we’re happy to be flexible when contacting you in order to make things easier.”

A recent candidate testimonial for a high profile senior exec role we’ve just placed perfectly illustrates how we work and support:

“I must thank you again for your guidance and advice to both me and the team here throughout the recruitment process. I am not used to such a professional and personal service within the recruitment industry either as prospective employee or employer. PS The good luck card was much appreciated!”

Our article the The Barron Williams approach to executive search and resourcing went into detail about how and why we operate the way we do, and how important the REC Code of Practice is to our business.

We practice what we preach when it comes to duty of care. With both our clients and candidates!

Positivity is returning to the job market

Positivity in the Uk Job Market

Confidence is on the up in our industry. We are optimistic we will see a bounce back from 2020… 

At Barron Williams we would definitely say that that confidence is extended to finding the right talent for the right roles too. 

The latest LinkedIn Global Talent Survey identifies that 94% of recruitment professionals they surveyed are; “positive they will be able to find the right talent for roles”.

However, whilst the outlook is positive, they caveat that with the following:

“The ability to find and identify suitable, high quality candidates quickly will still be one of the biggest challenges for recruiters and talent acquisition professionals in the year ahead. One third of employers feel that the skills gap has increased compared to one year ago”

Many feel there is a growing talent/skills gap at the senior exec level (as touched on earlier in this post). This report highlights that the specific skills many seem to find it hard locate individuals with are critical thinking, communications skills and commitment. 

At Barron Williams we would largely agree with that it hasn’t increased due to the pandemic. 

Talented senior execs are usually difficult to attract as, by nature, they tend to be in demand and need to be approached appropriately. It’s great to engage with them when they’re in the market but often we need to do it the hard way when they’re not. 

Demand for new roles is returning to pre-Covid levels and the pandemic has made many reassess their current position, seek new challenges, refocus their careers and reflect on their priorities.

We need to respond to changes in attitudes and values. There has been a shift. There are “new norms” to adapt to.

We are dealing with multiple clients and candidates at once, we treat all the same – with respect and the professional courtesy you’d expect (but our industry regularly fails to deliver).  

Are the established agencies agile enough to move with the changing times? 

We talk to people every day, clients recognise the value of employee comms, flexibility and support.

Candidates want to work with organisations who demonstrate the same.

Does your agency get this? 

Do they present candidates who value what you value?

If not…

Candidate Care

Senior Executive Recruitment Agency Candidate Care

We looked at how critical candidate care is to our business/industry in our article, When is a candidate a client? 

In that article we stated that:

“We treat both with the professional courtesy that should be a given in our industry. However, there is no escaping the fact that recruitment as an industry still suffers from some negative perceptions. There’s an impression held by many that recruitment organisations, agencies and consultants are simply ‘salespeople’. And whilst there is some truth in that… We are, and strive to be, so much more at Barron Williams.”

In the bristling and competitive post-2020 job market, candidate care becomes even more critical.

For clients as much as your Senior Executive Recruitment Agency!

First impressions count. 

Make a bad one and it can be impossible to recover and attract the talent you need.

For us, candidate care starts the moment you register with us or apply for a role. Then it continues…

We build a relationship. Long term.

Get that relationship right, and we get candidate testimonials like the one above and those on our website. 

Good candidates will share their experience with fellow professionals on their network too. The power of which can’t be underestimated.

Many agencies will promote themselves as candidate-centric but are they really? 

We’re not the only good guys but we’re reminded regularly that we are in a minority!

In a metrics-driven industry sometimes people get lost.

Simple things… Keep in touch. Return phone calls and emails. Be open and honest.

It says a lot about an agency.

Client and candidate testimonials are always a good place to start but don’t just believe what you read on a website. 

The same goes for Barron Williams… If you want to speak to someone who has worked with us before, then pick up the phone and we can make that happen. 

It’s ok to go back to your known, established recruitment agencies, but… 

We are just asking that you consider an alternative. 

See what Barron Williams can do with your next senior hire.

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

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

Barron Williams

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