Recruitment - the importance of attracting top talent

6th of August 2015
Recruitment - the importance of attracting top talent

Recruiting the right people at the most senior level of any business can shape the direction and success of the company. And making the wrong choice can be disastrous. Filling a senior post is an intricate process explains Lorraine Thomas of Metzger Search and Selection.

There’s an old adage that says ‘people are your most important asset.’ But I would say it’s more that ‘the right people are your most important asset.’  This is certainly true when filling a senior level position. A top level hire will shape the direction (and success) of the company and if you make the right choice, the business will soar to new heights. Equally, making the wrong choice could be disastrous.

Engaging the best talent therefore requires meticulous planning and a committed, structured strategy.  It also takes time. Appointing a high level search and selection consultant can help reserve managerial resources and it can also enable a company to ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to drawing up a suitable shortlist. While companies are likely to have a clear brief – a new md may be brought in to drive new service lines, for example, or the board needs specific industry expertise – the chemistry and cultural fit of the candidate is hugely important too, and an external consultant can sometimes view this more clearly.

To fully understand the intricacies of a business – an essential prerequisite in senior level recruitment – high level search consultants must become strategic partners to the board. They need to understand the company culture, be aware of long term plans and appreciate where the business may lack certain skills or competencies. It’s highly sensitive information on many levels, but only then can consultants help shape and define the role’s requirements and necessary skills.

Another key consideration is that people at the top are often in high demand. They may not be considering a career move and they’re not likely to respond to a job advert. It can be a delicate area but approaching potential candidates with a compelling offer requires discretion (they may be employed by a competitor), as well as an appreciation of the personal considerations involved when candidates are weighing up a life-changing career move. For this reason, many companies simply feel more comfortable appointing an external consultancy to handle these aspects of negotiation.

New MD role

When Metzger was appointed to engage the new role of managing director to take over the running of a successful commercial cleaning services company, it was clear there were big expectations to fill.  Julius Rutherfoord was founded 20 years ago by Dominic Morris-Marsham and Andy Beilby who had run the company ever since, growing it to a significant, high quality contract cleaning organisation in London employing over 2,000 staff. Having being fully involved in the running of the company for two decades, Morris-Marsham and Beilby were seeking a talented md in whom they could have complete confidence when it came to handing over the operational side of the business and taking it to the next level.

Our brief was to attract the right top level talent with the necessary professional skills and experience, as well as the all-important qualities around ‘cultural fit’. The person also required certain complementary skills needed to grow the business in the right direction.  In short, the appointment would be developing the company’s direction and strategic focus.

Metzger carried out a highly targeted and confidential search process, conducting rigorous assessment and research to produce a shortlist of suitable candidates.  Crucially, we looked beyond the parameters of the cleaning sector, in order to seek out high calibre candidates with transferable skills and a fresh business approach.

As a result of our search, Julius Rutherfoord was delighted to appoint Andrew Marshall as its new managing director in April last year. With an impressive background in business services, Marshall was the perfect candidate for the job, bringing a wealth of experience to his new role having successfully managed multi-site operations for more than 15 years.  Metzger also fulfilled a second high level role at Julius Rutherfoord last year when the company appointed its new sales and marketing director.

Commenting, Julius Rutherfoord’s founding director Andy Beilby says: “The purpose of recruiting a managing director for the business was to take Julius Rutherfoord to the next level, involving  substantial growth within the next three to five years, so it has been a pivotal appointment for us.  Clearly, when you seek somebody at this level, the hiring process must be handled professionally and confidentially.“

In summary, finding the perfect match when making a high level appointment can be likened to finding one’s perfect lifetime partner. Not only is it about skills and competencies but the chemistry and cultural fit of the new person are paramount too.  In short, making the right choice is so important; working in partnership with strategic level consultants can therefore be fundamental to any company’s future success. 

Lorraine Thomas, managing director, Metzger Search and Selection offers some tips for attracting senior talent

• Engaging and securing talented senior level candidates can take time. Always plan well ahead, especially as you may need to allow for the person to exit their current role.  A considered approach is needed to find the right person

• Don’t just think about skill sets or key competencies. A good cultural ‘fit’ and the right personal chemistry is just as important for a successful match at this level, if not more so. Recruitment mistakes are painful for everyone involved

•  When you’re recruiting for top jobs in a business, it’s about the big picture. Don’t restrict the search to people with experience solely in your own industry sector – bringing somebody in from another business area can invigorate company performance with fresh ideas and take it to a whole new level

• Hiring at this level can be sensitive and involve delicate negotiations. One option is to use an external specialist search consultancy to take care of the process. While there is a level of investment involved with this, it can be more cost-effective in the long run.  Ask for recommendations and always do your research: a good consultancy will not only match you with a shortlist of highly suitable candidates but will take care of salary negotiations and provide follow-up.


Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited