My executive search journey

Article By
Carl Hinett
Carl Hinett
Posted On11th January 2022
Posted On11th January 2022
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I started my executive search career 16 years ago and traditionally I’ve always focused on HR recruitment. The dictionary definition of recruitment is ‘the process of finding people to work for a company or become a member of an organisation’. Executive search is a specialised recruitment service to seek out and recruit highly qualified candidates for senior-level and executive jobs.

For me, it’s about so much more than that.

Every brief is different and over the last 18 months, there have been a number of external market conditions that have turned everyone’s world upside down, presenting us with the most challenging and bizarre market I have ever encountered.

Someone once told me there is a home for everyone, and it is so true, a person can be brilliant in one company, but not so good in another and that is down to the different Cultures. Culture fit is a phrase that gets banded around all the time and it’s a minefield when trying to get it right. I see lots of blogs and posts talking about culture fit and finding the right person for the right role, but what does it actually mean? In my opinion, you need to really get under the skin of a business and determine what good looks like, what really drives the business and what goals they have long term. You then need to understand the team dynamics, the personalities involved and any gaps they have (tools like insights and the GC index are great for this). This approach enables me to really understand the kind of person that they need and ensure that I can deliver.

After years of recruiting HR roles, I was approached by one of my clients, (CPO, Hospitality Business) who needed to recruit an MD into the business and asked for my help, we had worked together previously in the HR space and got on well, this was the start of my journey into wider executive search. Although I’d never recruited this kind of role before, he was confident in my style “I realised that this is a little outside of their usual sweet spot, but knew that they would hit the mark quickly, and they did.” Taking the brief and hearing what would be needed from someone to be successful in the role, was exciting and got me thinking I wanted to do more of this type of search. I found it really interesting and engaging, so started asking our clients if we could help. You can see more about this case study here.

Since that time, as a business we have placed a number of senior exec roles:

  • Managing Director – UK’s fastest-growing privately-owned hospitality company
  • Director of Customer Experience – Private Equity backed Manufacturing Business
  • Director of Business Services – Multibillion turnover FTSE100
  • IT Director – Engineering business
  • Head of Procurement & Supply Chain – Engineering business
  • Head of Operational Excellence – Global Listed Pharmaceutical business
  • Head of Professional Services – Leading Russell Group University
  • Regional COO – Privately Owned Hotel and Restaurant chain
  • Group Property Director – UK wide retail business
  • Operations Director – Care business
  • Finance Director – Waste management company
  • Head of Change – Large multisite retail business
  • HR Director – B2B wholesale business, 12k employees UK wide
  • Head of Internal Communications – UK Pharmacy Company

I still love our bread-and-butter senior HR roles but enjoy doing a variety of wider executive search and it also helps our clients who like working with us as we understand their business and can move quickly.

Part 2 of Carl’s journey – recruiting senior roles – coming in Feb.

Carl Hinett is our Director & Executive Search Specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch carl@refind.co.uk.

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