How to Prepare for a Senior Leadership Interview

If you’ve ever aspired to climb the corporate ladder and secure a senior leadership role, you’ll know that the journey isn’t just about meeting the qualifications on paper. It also involves acing the interview that can make or break your career. The process of preparing for a senior leadership role interview requires meticulous planning, self-assessment, and a clear understanding of what’s expected from you in such a high-stakes situation. In this blog, we’ll delve into the intricacies of interview preparation, offering guidance on how to excel and secure your dream leadership position.

The Importance of Preparation

Why Preparation Helps

A key part of the preparation process is understanding why it’s so crucial. Adequate preparation not only boosts your confidence but also demonstrates your commitment to the role. When you enter the interview room well-prepared, you send a clear message to the interviewers that you’re serious about the position and have the skills necessary to excel in it.

Internalise the Job Description

One of the first steps in your interview preparation journey is to thoroughly understand the job description. Ensure that you can align your skills, experience, and personal attributes with the specific requirements of the role. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to showcase how you are the perfect fit for the job.

Research the Company

Studying the company’s history, culture, and recent achievements is another vital aspect of preparation. Demonstrating knowledge about the company and its values will highlight your genuine interest and commitment.

How to Prepare

Now that you understand the importance of preparation, let’s move on to the “how.” Effective preparation for a senior leadership role interview involves several key steps:


Before diving into the interview preparation process, take a moment to reflect on your career journey and your personal leadership style. What are your strengths, weaknesses, and values? Understanding yourself is essential to articulating your unique leadership approach during the interview.

Set Clear Objectives

Define your goals for the interview. What impression do you want to leave on the interviewers? What key points do you want to emphasise? Setting clear objectives will help you stay focused during the interview.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the most effective ways to prepare is by practicing your responses to potential interview questions. Seek out a trusted friend or colleague who can conduct a mock interview, providing you with valuable feedback.

Dress the Part

Don’t underestimate the power of appearance. Ensure you dress professionally and appropriately for the position you’re interviewing for. First impressions matter, and dressing the part is a step toward making a strong initial impact.

Ways of Preparing

While there are several ways to prepare for a senior leadership role interview, it’s essential to choose the methods that work best for you. Here are some common approaches:

Online Resources

Numerous online resources offer valuable insights into interview preparation. Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor provide information on common leadership interview questions and tips on how to answer them.


Consider reading books on leadership and interview techniques. “The Art of Possibility” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander and “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek are great options to expand your leadership knowledge.

Professional Coaching

If you’re seeking personalised guidance, you might benefit from hiring a professional interview coach. They can provide targeted feedback and help you refine your interview skills.

Examples of Leadership Interview Questions

In any interview, you should be prepared to answer a variety of questions. For a senior leadership role interview, questions may revolve around your experience, leadership style, and decision-making abilities. Here are some common examples:

  1. Tell us about your leadership experience.
  2. How do you handle conflict within your team?
  3. Describe a challenging decision you’ve made and its outcome?
  4. What is your vision for the company, and how will you implement it?

It’s essential to anticipate these questions and formulate thoughtful, concise responses that highlight your qualifications and suitability for the role.

How to Give the Best Answers

Nailing the interview isn’t just about what questions you’re asked; it’s also about how you answer them. Here are some tips for providing the best responses:

STAR Method

When answering behavioral questions, consider using the STAR method:

  • Situation: Describe the context or situation.
  • Task: Explain the specific task or challenge you faced.
  • Action: Describe the actions you took.
  • Result: Share the outcomes and results of your actions.

This structured approach helps you provide comprehensive answers.

Be Specific

Use concrete examples from your past experiences to support your claims. Specifics make your answers more convincing and memorable.

Stay Positive

Even when discussing challenges or failures, maintain a positive tone. Emphasise what you learned from those experiences and how they’ve made you a stronger leader.

What If You Struggle with Questions?

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and it’s not uncommon to struggle with certain questions. Here’s what to do if you find yourself stumped:

Pause and Think

Don’t rush to answer a question. Take a moment to collect your thoughts and structure your response. A brief pause is much better than an incomplete or unclear answer.

Seek Clarification

If you don’t fully understand a question, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. It’s better to ensure you’re answering the right question than to give an off-topic response.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening during the interview is crucial. Make sure you fully understand the question before you respond. If you’re unsure, repeat the question or ask for confirmation.

How to Stand Out

To stand out in a senior leadership role interview, you need to leave a lasting impression. Here are some strategies to help you shine:

Share Unique Insights

Offer fresh, original perspectives on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities. Interviewers appreciate candidates who bring innovative ideas to the table.

Emphasise Cultural Fit

Highlight your alignment with the company’s culture and values. Showcase your ability to seamlessly integrate into the existing team.

Showcase Emotional Intelligence

Demonstrate your emotional intelligence by showing empathy, self-awareness, and the ability to build strong relationships. These soft skills are highly valued in leadership positions.

Tips for Success

Achieving success in interviews involves a combination of factors. Here are some additional tips to ensure you make the most of your opportunity:

Confidence and Humility

Strike a balance between confidence and humility. You should exude confidence in your abilities while remaining open to learning and collaboration.

Elevator Pitch

Prepare a concise and compelling elevator pitch that highlights your strengths, values, and what sets you apart as a leader.

Ask Questions

Towards the end of the interview, be prepared to ask insightful questions about the role and the company. This shows your genuine interest and engagement.

Staying Calm Under Pressure

Maintaining composure during a senior leadership role interview can be challenging. Here’s how to stay calm under pressure:

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Before the interview, engage in relaxation techniques like deep breathing and visualisation to calm your nerves.


Practice mindfulness to stay present during the interview. Focus on the questions and your responses without getting overwhelmed by anxiety.

Positive Self-Talk

Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your qualifications and your value to the organisation.

Correcting Errors or Answers

If you make a mistake or feel you could have answered a question better, don’t be afraid to correct it:

Acknowledge the Mistake

If you recognise an error in your response, acknowledge it and clarify your intended answer.

Maintain Confidence

Correcting an answer doesn’t have to diminish your confidence. It can actually demonstrate your commitment to providing accurate and well-thought-out responses.

Learn from Mistakes

View any errors as learning opportunities. Use them to refine your interview skills and improve for future interviews.

In conclusion, preparing for a senior leadership role interview is a multi-faceted process that demands dedication and self-reflection. By understanding the importance of preparation, learning how to prepare effectively, and mastering the art of answering interview questions, you can increase your chances of securing your desired leadership position. Remember, success in interviews is not just about showcasing your qualifications but also about demonstrating your leadership potential and your ability to thrive in a senior role. With these tips and strategies, you can confidently embark on your journey to becoming a senior leader in your organisation. Good luck!


At re:find we have been in Executive Search for over 20 years. We believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our executive search practice and our CCS framework
please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

New Year, New Me? New Year Resolutions for Businesses

The start of a new year often heralds a period of reflection and reinvention, and New Years Resolutions.

For individuals, this might translate into personal commitments and aspirations. However, businesses are not exempt from this ritual. In fact, as the calendar year nears its end, many companies are already asking, “New Year, New Me?”.

Here we delve into the trend of businesses making New Years Resolutions:

The Tradition of New Year Resolutions

Historically, New Year’s resolutions date back to the Babylonians, who made promises to their gods at the start of each year. These promises often revolved around returning borrowed items and paying off debts. In today’s age, tradition has evolved but the essence remains: setting goals for positive change.

Why Businesses Can’t Ignore New Year Resolutions

Just as individuals pledge to eat healthier or read more books, companies might decide to enhance customer relations, increase profitability, or launch a new product line. The principle remains the same: improvement and progress.

  1. Growth and Expansion: For businesses looking to scale, the new year could mark the beginning of tapping into new markets, exploring diverse product lines, or even mergers and acquisitions.
  2. Strengthening Customer Relations: Modern businesses understand the importance of a loyal customer base. Thus, the new year is an opportunity to roll out loyalty programmes, enhance customer service, or introduce community engagement initiatives.
  3. Sustainability: With rising awareness about environmental issues, many businesses are opting for sustainable practices. Come 2024, we could see more firms vowing to reduce their carbon footprint or eliminate plastic from their operations.

Planning is Key

The allure of the New Year is strong, but successful resolutions are built on foresight and preparation. Here’s why and how businesses should start planning their resolutions well in advance:

  1. Market Analysis: Before setting any goals, businesses need to have their fingers on the pulse of the market. Understanding evolving consumer behaviours, emerging trends, and potential disruptors can guide goal setting.
  2. Feedback Integration: End-of-year feedback from clients, stakeholders, and employees can provide invaluable insights. Harnessing this information can shape the resolutions for the coming year.
  3. Resource Allocation: Whether it’s hiring new talent, purchasing equipment, or investing in training, businesses need to ensure they have the necessary resources to fulfil their resolutions.

Personal Resolutions Within a Professional Framework

New Year’s resolutions aren’t exclusive to business entities. Employees, irrespective of their designation or role, can draft their own set of professional resolutions. By aligning personal goals with organisational objectives, employees can find a harmonious blend of personal and professional growth.

  1. Skill Development: With industries constantly evolving, employees might resolve to learn a new skill, attend workshops, or pursue further education.
  2. Networking: Building a robust professional network can open doors to opportunities. Attending more industry events or joining professional organisations might be on the cards for many.
  3. Wellness and Work-life Balance: Burnout is a real concern. Employees could aim for a healthier work-life balance, integrating wellness routines into their daily life.

Case Studies: Resolutions That Transformed Businesses

Let’s delve into some real-life examples where resolutions have made a noticeable difference:

  1. Company A’s Green Pledge: Starting 2022, Company A, a renowned beverage manufacturer, pledged to go plastic-free. Through extensive planning in 2021, they rolled out glass bottles in 2022. Not only did this move enhance their brand image, but it also led to increased sales.
  2. Company B’s Focus on Mental Health: Recognising the rising concerns around mental health, Company B, a tech giant, introduced mandatory wellness breaks and counselling sessions for employees in 2023. This boosted employee morale, reduced sick leaves, and enhanced overall productivity.

In Conclusion

New Year’s resolutions for businesses aren’t just a trend. They’re an essential introspection tool, guiding companies towards sustainable growth. While 2024 awaits with its set of challenges and opportunities, preparedness, backed by resolutions, can set the stage for a prosperous year ahead.


At re:find we have been in Executive Search for over 20 years. We believe
that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term
partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients,
providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best
talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique
and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment.
That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the
specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a
full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service.
As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your
organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and
experience needed for each role.

For more information on our executive search practice and our CCS framework
please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

How to Best Find a New Job in Leadership

Whether you’re an experienced leader or someone eager to climb the corporate ladder, finding a new job in a leadership role is a journey. It requires the right mix of introspection, strategy, and action. This guide will walk you through the steps to help you land that coveted leadership role.

1. Knowing when the time is right to move on

It’s essential to recognise when it’s time to move on from your current position. Here are some signs:

  • You’ve outgrown your current role.
  • There’s limited room for growth or new challenges.
  • You feel undervalued or unsatisfied with your work environment.

Trust your instincts. If you consistently feel like it’s time for a change, it likely is.

2. Searching for a new job in leadership

There are various platforms to find a new job in leadership:

  • Job boards: Sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and often have a plethora of leadership roles.
  • Networking: Join professional groups and associations related to your industry.
  • Recruitment agencies: Many specialise in senior roles and leadership positions.

Before diving in, take these preparatory steps:

  • Update your CV: Highlight achievements, leadership roles, and significant projects.
  • LinkedIn: Ensure your profile is updated, professional, and mirrors your CV.
  • Research: Understand the current market, industry trends, and the skills in demand.

4. Choosing the right companies to apply for

Not all companies will align with your values or career goals. Research each potential employer by:

  • Reviewing their website and mission statement.
  • Checking employee reviews on platforms like Glassdoor.
  • Understanding the company culture and growth potential.

5. How to best prepare for an interview

Once you’ve landed an interview, preparation is key:

  • Research the company: Know its history, challenges, competitors, and up-to-date news.
  • Practice common leadership interview questions: This will help you articulate your thoughts clearly.
  • Plan your outfit: Dressing professionally makes a positive first impression.

6. How to stand out for the job

Standing out is more than just having the required skills:

  • Show passion: Be enthusiastic about the role and the company.
  • Showcase achievements: Quantify results whenever possible.
  • Ask thoughtful questions: This demonstrates your genuine interest and thorough preparation.

7. Knowing if a company is the right fit for you

Securing a job offer is exciting, but it’s equally essential to ensure the company is a good fit:

  • Company culture: Does the environment align with your values?
  • Growth opportunities: Will there be room for professional advancement?
  • Work-life balance: Does the company promote a healthy balance or expect constant overtime?

Remember, an interview is as much about them getting to know you as it is about you getting to know them.


Finding a new leadership role requires time, patience, and strategy. By knowing when it’s time to move on, searching in the right places, preparing thoroughly, and ensuring a company aligns with your goals, you can find a job that not only matches your skills but also brings joy and satisfaction. Happy job hunting!


At re:find we have been in Executive Search for over 20 years. We believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our executive search practice and our CCS framework please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

Understanding Imposter Syndrome: what, why, and how to Overcome it

Imposter syndrome is a term that’s been buzzing around a lot lately. But what is it? Why do we get it? And most importantly, how can we deal with it? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a feeling many of us face: that nagging doubt that we’re not really as good as we appear, or that we’ve fooled everyone into believing we’re more competent than we are. Even when we have plenty of evidence of our achievements, that tiny voice in our head says, “You don’t deserve this. They’ll find out soon.”

Why do we get Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter feelings can come from various reasons:

  1. Perfectionism: When we aim for 100% all the time, even a small flaw can feel like a massive failure.
  2. Upbringing: Some of us have grown up in environments where praise was rare or where there was a constant push to achieve more.
  3. New Challenges: Starting a new job, attending a new school, or entering a new social circle can ignite these feelings.

Who gets Imposter Syndrome?

Here’s a surprise: almost everyone! From students to CEOs, many people experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. It doesn’t discriminate by job, gender, age, or background.

When do we get Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome can pop up at various times:

  • After achieving a new milestone like a promotion.
  • While trying something new.
  • When receiving praise or accolades.
  • Comparing ourselves to others.

How can we deal with it?

  1. Recognise it: The first step is to acknowledge it. Understand that it’s just a feeling, not a fact.
  2. Talk about it: Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague can provide comfort.
  3. Document your achievements: Keep a list of your accomplishments. When doubt creeps in, you have evidence of your capabilities.

Top Tips to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

  1. Positive Affirmations: Reassure yourself with positive statements like, “I am capable” or “I deserve my success.”
  2. Stop Comparing: Everyone’s journey is different. Focus on your path, not someone else’s.
  3. Seek Feedback: Constructive feedback helps you understand areas of improvement and reaffirms what you’re doing right.

How can we Prepare for it?

Imposter syndrome can come and go. Preparing for it means building resilience and a positive self-image:

  1. Constant Learning: Equip yourself with knowledge and skills. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel.
  2. Practice Self-compassion: Be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them and move on.

Tips and Techniques for Handling Imposter Syndrome

  1. Visualisation: Imagine a scenario where you succeed. It helps in rewiring the brain.
  2. Grounding Techniques: If anxiety takes over, ground yourself by focusing on your surroundings or deep breathing.
  3. Seek Mentorship: Guidance from someone who’s been in your shoes can be invaluable.

In conclusion, imposter syndrome is something that many of us will face. But by understanding it, recognising its signs, and equipping ourselves with tools and techniques, we can navigate those feelings more efficiently. Remember, you’re not alone, and yes, you’re as competent and deserving as you appear.


At re:find we have been in Executive Search for over 20 years. We believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. We aim to build long-term relationships with our clients, providing ongoing support and advice to help them find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

In addition, as a business, we understand that every organisation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment. That’s why we offer bespoke recruitment solutions that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality service. As part of this, we ensure that we take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills and experience needed for each role.

For more information on our executive search practice and our CCS framework please get in touch with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

Charting Your Course To Becoming a Chief People Officer: The Exact Skills You Need to Become a Successful CPO

The career path to becoming a Chief People Officer (CPO), Chief HR Officer (CHRO) or Group HRD is a career goal that requires a combination of experience, education, and skill development. CPOs typically form part of the executive leadership team of a business, with a broad commercial role to play, as well, as a specialist area of expertise.

Chief People Officers are also responsible for managing all aspects of human resources within an organisation, including talent acquisition, employee engagement, retention, training and development, performance management, and compensation and benefits.

Gain the relevant experience:

To become a CPO, you need to have extensive experience in human resources or people operations. This can be gained through a variety of positions such as senior HR Generalist roles, Head of Talent, Head of OD, or Head of HR operations.

As I reflect on the candidates who have swiftly progressed in their careers. It is evident that those who have a good breadth of experience get there the quickest, this is typically by taking rotational roles in to an area of expertise such as Reward or Talent Management.

Advice: Start by building a strong foundation in HR, take on challenging roles that offer exposure to different aspects of the HR function. Seek out opportunities to lead cross-functional projects that give you a broader view of the business.

Here are some other experience areas to consider developing as part of your career path to Chief HR Officer or Chief People Officer:
Business acumen:

A CPO must have a deep understanding of the business they are working in, including its strategy, operations, financials, and industry. This understanding enables the CPO to develop HR strategies that are aligned with the business goals and contribute to the organisation’s success.

Advice: Seek out opportunities to learn about the business by attending leadership meetings, working closely with business leaders, and participating in cross-functional projects.

Talent management:

A CPO must have a strong background in talent management, including recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent. This involves creating effective recruiting strategies, developing training and development programs, and implementing performance management systems.

Advice: Take on projects that focus on improving the talent management function within your organisation. Consider developing new programs to attract and retain top talent, such as employee referral programs or leadership development programs.

Employee engagement:

A CPO must have a deep understanding of employee engagement and be able to develop programs that promote a positive workplace culture. This includes creating programs that improve employee morale, increase employee satisfaction, and reduce turnover.

Advice: Take on projects that focus on improving employee engagement, such as developing employee recognition programs or employee surveys to gather relevant feedback and data points that can influence senior leadership within your business.

Change management:

A CPO must have experience in change management, including the ability to lead and manage change initiatives effectively. This involves developing communication plans, assessing the impact of change on employees, and implementing change management best practices.

Advice: Seek out opportunities to lead change initiatives within your organisation. Consider developing a change management plan for a new initiative or leading a cross-functional team to implement a new HR program.

Data analysis:

A CPO must have a strong background in data analysis, including the ability to analyse HR metrics and use data to make informed decisions. By developing HR metrics, workforce trends, and using data to identify areas for improvement.

Advice: Develop your data analysis skills by taking courses or attending workshops on data analytics. Use can use HR analytics tools to analyse HR metrics within your organisation; such as turnover rates, employee engagement scores, or training and development ROI.


Although it is not a perquisite, most CPO’s I know have a CIPD qualification, a degree in HR, Business Administration, or a related field is typically as the minimum requirement for most HR roles in the UK.

However, to become a CPO, you may need to pursue advanced education such as a Master’s degree in HR, MBA or a related field. An advanced degree provides the knowledge and skills needed to develop HR strategies that align with the business goals.

Advice: Pursue a relevant degree or certification that aligns with your career goals such as an MBA, a Master’s degree in HR, or CIPD.

Develop your leadership skills:

As a CPO, you will be responsible for leading a team of HR professionals and influencing the organisation’s leadership team. Developing leadership skills is crucial to becoming a CPO. This includes the ability to communicate effectively, inspire and motivate others, and lead with empathy and emotional intelligence.

Advice: Look for opportunities to lead teams or projects, attend leadership development programs or conferences. It is important to seek out external guidance either in the form of mentorship from experienced HR leaders or finding a professional coach.

The HR market is constantly changing, and staying informed about industry trends is essential to being a successful CPO. This includes keeping up with changes in employment laws, emerging technologies, and evolving best practices in talent management.

Advice: Join professional HR organisations, attend industry conferences, and read industry publications and blogs.

Build a strong network:

Building a strong network of professional contacts is important in HR. This includes building relationships with other HR professionals, industry experts, and business leaders.

Advice: Attend networking events, join HR-related groups on LinkedIn, and seek out coaching from experienced HR leaders.

  1. Access to Opportunities: Networking opens doors to various opportunities that may not be advertised. Many senior positions, including CPO roles, are often filled through referrals and personal connections. Being well-connected in the industry increases your chances of hearing about these opportunities and being recommended for them.
  2. Knowledge and Learning: Through networking, you can gain valuable insights, information, and knowledge from experienced professionals and industry leaders. This can help you stay updated on the latest trends.
  3. Mentorship and Guidance: Building relationships with senior HR leaders can provide you with support as you progress in your career. Learning from their experiences and receiving advice can be helpful in your journey towards becoming a CPO.
  4. Influence and Collaboration: A strong network allows you to collaborate with other people in your industry. As you climb the corporate ladder, its important to have a strong support system. As well as having people who respect your opinion and who can be advocates for your career growth.
  5. Building Trust and Credibility: Networking allows you to show your skills, knowledge, and achievements to a wider audience. As people get to know you and your work, it helps build trust and credibility, which are vital traits for a CPO who needs to gain buy-in from employees and senior management alike.
  6. Opportunities for Personal Development: Engaging with diverse professionals through networking can expose you to different perspectives, cultures, and leadership styles. This exposure can aid in your personal development and make you a well-rounded HR leader.

How to build a strong network of professional contacts:

  1. Attend Industry Events: Participate in conferences, events, workshops, and HR-related events where you can meet with like-minded professionals.
  2. Join Professional Associations: Become a member of HR-related associations. These groups offer networking events and opportunities to connect with HR leaders.
  3. Utilize Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn can be powerful tools for expanding your professional network. Connect with colleagues, attend virtual networking events, and engage in discussions and industry groups.
  4. Attend Informal Gatherings: This can be an excellent way to meet people in a more relaxed setting and to form relationships.
  5. Provide Value: Networking is a two-way street. Be willing to offer assistance, share knowledge, and help others in your network. Building genuine relationships based on mutual respect is crucial.
  6. Maintain Relationships: Building a network is not a one-time event. It requires consistent effort and nurturing. Stay in touch with your contacts, congratulate them on their achievements, and be genuinely interested in their success.

Remember that networking is about building meaningful connections, not just collecting business cards. Invest time and effort in fostering authentic relationships…

Over time, your network will become a valuable asset in your journey to becoming a successful CPO.

Our view:

The path to becoming a CPO is a challenging yet rewarding journey that requires a blend of experience, education, and skill development. Aspiring HR leaders must build a strong foundation in human resources.

By taking on diverse and challenging roles that provide exposure to various aspects of the HR function.

Staying informed about industry trends and by building a strong network of professional contacts, HR professionals gain access to various opportunities, mentorship, and valuable insights that contribute to their personal and career growth.

Our focus on long-term partnerships

At re:find Executive Search we believe that recruitment is not a one-off transaction but rather a long-term partnership. By building long-term relationships with our clients, we help them to find and retain the best talent for their organisation.

Every organisation is unique. We feel that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to recruitment.

re:find offer bespoke recruitment solutions, that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. Whether you need help with a single hire or a full recruitment campaign, we can help.

We commit to providing our clients with the highest quality service. We take the time to understand your organisation’s culture and values, as well as the specific skills needed for each campaign.

For more information please get in contact with our Managing Director, James Cumming.

Executive search – ‘worst-case’ interview scenario?

Everyone gets nervous before an important meeting or interview. It doesn’t matter how much you may have prepared, there are some common intrusive thoughts that always manage to worm their way into your head the night before and cause you to think about possible escape routes should the worst happen. Through our executive search experience, we can help.

But worry not, you don’t need a getaway car parked around the corner to survive an awkward interview. There are tried and tested things that you can do to overcome these embarrassing moments. And who knows, if you flip the situation successfully it could work in your favour and become an example of how you have managed uncomfortable situations.

The person that you are meeting isn’t focused on you

If you notice that the other person is frantically typing on their laptop and hasn’t said in advanced that they may be taking notes or replying to a work email, then your brain may go into overdrive and wonder whether they are mind-numbingly bored in your presence.

Read the situation and your audience, and if you’re still not confident that you’ve got their attention then politely asking questions to advance the conversation could resolve any worries that you may have. If they need to rearrange to a more appropriate time, then this gives them chance to do so

Being too early can be just as awkward as being too late

When travelling to an interview you can sometimes misjudge the traffic and end up an hour early…. It’s better than being late and although tempting, it might not be the time to show them how keen you are!

The chances are that whoever you are meeting is busy and won’t be sat waiting around for you an hour before (or after) your scheduled appointment, so if you know that you’re going to be too early go and grab a latte and steady your nerves. 15 minutes is plenty early enough to get there.

You forgot your presentation or interview materials

This problem can be easily resolved by planning properly. Try not to rely too heavily on paper materials, which can be misplaced or lost. Instead, ensure that you have an offline copy of your work ready and waiting on your laptop that you will be able to bring up regardless of the wifi situation.

And if your laptop dies, make sure that you’ve sent an email to yourself with all of the key documents on, so you can at least access them on your phone as a last resort. After your meeting, ask the person that you’ve been with if they would like you to email over a copy of any document that you’ve just used so they will be able to access them when reviewing your meeting.

Everybody has at least one awkward interview story, and how you deal with any embarrassment can say a lot about you and how successfully you manage situations. Also, a little bit of humour can go a long way, and we can all be united in our common awkwardness.

To have a chat about your interview contact me at

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

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Let’s talk about time management

We’ve all heard of it and, although it’s something that comes around like clockwork, whenever it’s time for a performance review, it’s still something that we ironically don’t always have the time to work on, me included.

It’s easy to be ‘busy’ at work, but are we busy in the right context? Or are we all just busy being fools? And how can we make our time at work more productive?

Alleviate pressure

We live in a world where we are always switched ‘on’. Our smartphones constantly alert us to any new messages and emails, our smartwatches vibrate all day long and alert us whenever we make so many steps, and we always seem to be on the computer where there is no shortage of information being directed our way.

There’s pressure from our peers, directors, business owners and employees asking us questions, and there’s no longer an off switch for anyone.

So, how can we implement some simple structure that will help alleviate some of this pressure?

Plan, plan, and then plan a bit more. It’s not the most revolutionary answer I’ll admit, but it works.

Most people don’t plan for the following day, but you’ll be surprised at how effective setting aside time to assess the rest of your week can be.

Get organised

Create your own spreadsheet or write a list of all of your tasks for the week, whichever method works for you, and take a break every hour to assess what you’ve achieved since you last checked over your list. You will either be amazed at how much you’ve done, or surprised at how much you’ve procrastinated!

Treat your time like you would your finances – keep a close eye on them!

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself, and question how you should delegate your time. Doing this will help you identify your biggest waste of time, so you can change it!

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professionals specialist here.

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Nice guys finish last…or do they?

Being kind is important
Being kind is important

It’s nice to be nice, right? I always try to help people out – in both my personal and professional life. I recently read a blog by Gary Vaynerchuk about kindness and why it’s so important in business.

He says, “I want to build big businesses and buy the Jets, but I want to do it by being a good guy. I have zero interest in building the biggest building by tearing other people down.”

And it really resonated with me – being kind and helpful is at the core of re:find and how all of us here think and work. It’s important for us to do a good job and help people. There is a stereotype in business that ‘nice guys finish last’, but I just don’t believe that’s true. We can’t physically place all of the candidates we meet, but we can help, give our expertise, or even just point someone in the right direction and this costs nothing!

Being kind is important

I think being kind is important for lots of reasons:

  • It’s nice to be nice! It makes you feel good to be kind and help people out.
  • People don’t forget your kindness. If you look after someone, they remember it – which could end up helping you out in the future.
  • Most of my clients are candidates I have worked with previously and built long-standing relationships with through being helpful and kind.
  • Employees/colleagues like and respect you. If people like and respect you, they’ll work harder, do a better job and the team will be happier and more productive.
  • It’s rewarded – someone is always watching. Even when you think something hasn’t been noticed, it probably has.

When you strip back the titles and status

When you strip back titles and status, we’re all just people – and who wants to deal with someone who’s a bit of a t***!? Being kind gets people on side, which is important in business. Whether it’s dealing with clients, candidates or team members. If you get on well with a client, they’re more likely to continue using you. If you look after a candidate, they’ll remember your kindness. If you look after your team, they’ll work hard and be loyal – people don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers.

Ultimately, we’re all human and we all appreciate someone being decent and looking after us. So, I’d encourage everyone to be kind – you get a lot more out of it than you might think!

If you would like to discuss further, email me at

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

How to lose friends and alienate people…

How to lose candidates and alienate people
How to lose candidates and alienate people

We are in the 21st Century and candidates SHOULD be at the centre of what we do. Let’s be real for a moment. Candidates are key to our success – they are the one thing that stands between success and failure as a recruiter.

But I would be bold and say 40% of recruiters treat their candidates like shit. Treating a candidate badly can destroy the reputation of you/your business. Any press isn’t always good press and trust me candidates talk. And they talk even more when they have had a bad experience.


So, here’s what not to do:

1.   Sell them the dream…

I get it…recruitment marketing is a hot topic right now, everyone is getting training on how to write engaging job adverts, how to be witty and get candidates attention etc. That doesn’t mean you have a to be a billy bullshitter. Don’t sell the candidate the dream – unless of course, the job is Chief wine taster at an exclusive hotel in the Bahamas – because who would turn that down?

Anyway, my point is, be honest with a candidate when talking about a role. Yes, tell them all the good things about the role, but tell them all the bad things too! Talk them through the client’s challenges and shortcomings.

Jobs aren’t all about flexible working and table tennis tournaments, sometimes companies are in a bad situation, don’t have the best brand etc. and that’s ok, in fact, some people like that about a job!


2.   Force a candidate into a role they aren’t sure on

Picture this. After hours of searching on LinkedIn and your job boards, you come across the holy grail of candidates. Your purple squirrel, glittery unicorn, whatever you want to call them. They are the perfect candidate for your role.

You pick up the phone, excited to tell your candidate about their dream job. But to your shock, they aren’t keen.

Newsflash. Just because they are perfect for the role, doesn’t mean the role is perfect for them. Respect their decision.

Don’t try and push them into going for an interview. Don’t even push them to apply if they aren’t keen. You look desperate and pushy.

You risk them being offered the job and turning it down, or worse, you risk them leaving in that elusive rebate period. You also risk them thinking you are a bit of an idiot and that you only care about your fee.


3.   Drag your candidate into an ownership war with another agency

It is the most frustrating thing in the world when you spend time qualifying, meeting and briefing a candidate on a role, send them over to your client…only to get the dreaded email response.

‘ We have already received this CV from Cowboy Recruitment, sorry’.

The candidate has not been spoken to by Cowboy Recruitment about the role (they claim!) so doesn’t know how her CV is already in the process.

There are two ways of dealing with this:

–       Politely step away from the situation and allow the candidate decide how they wish to proceed in the process.

–       Demand that the candidate calls the other recruiter immediately and tell them how terrible they are, whilst simultaneously emailing you to confirm that you have the right to represent them on the role.

I advise the first. Step away and allow the candidate to decide how they process. Naturally, there is some subtle influence you can have on this, but doing the second option makes you look like a petulant teenager.

Candidates also don’t need the reminder that they are simply just a fee to you – it makes you look greedy. Show them you are supportive and have their best interest at heart.


4.   Call your candidate in the morning on the day they are due to start their new job and then every day for the next 3 months

Your candidate isn’t an 18-year-old teenager who may or may not turn up to work, depending on how pissed they were the night before (apologies to any sober, reliable 18-year-olds).

You don’t need to ring them the day they start their job. A simple call the afternoon before, to check they have everything they need or the following day will suffice.

Candidates are intuitive, they will sense that the fact you are calling them every day means they are a flight risk. Also, their first few weeks are really full on. Give them some space and allow them to settle in, then check in with them.


5.   If your candidate doesn’t get offered the job….ignore them

In my opinion, this is the worst possible thing you could do to a candidate and it is the most damaging thing for your reputation.

Nobody really likes to tell a candidate they didn’t get the job…but it is not acceptable to ghost them. Other unacceptable ways of delivering feedback include emailing, leaving a voicemail, or getting your resourcer to give the feedback instead.

Don’t be a terrible human being. Your candidate has worked hard for you, they have understood the brief, done their research, spent 2-3 hours of their time with your client to represent you to the best of their ability. The least they deserve is some honest feedback.


6.   Give vague feedback

Almost as crappy as giving no feedback, is giving vague feedback. If you are giving feedback on your opinion to a candidate, don’t be afraid to tell them the truth.

Think their CV needs some work? Tell them.

Don’t think they interview well? Tell them.

They don’t have the right skills for the role? Tell them.

You get the gist.

A separate challenge is when a client gives vague feedback about a candidate. It is ok to push back on your client and ask for further detail or examples of what the candidate did.

Feedback should be constructive. Tell them what they did well, where they fell down and how they could improve.

Candidates may not always agree with the feedback, but they will be appreciative of the feedback nonetheless.


7.   Only communicate by email

If you are afraid to pick up the phone to speak to a candidate, you are in the wrong job. Pick up the phone and speak to them, what is the worst that could happen? It takes as much time and effort to speak to someone on the phone as it does to type out that email.

Contacting people exclusively by email is impersonal, impractical and to be totally honest, just bloody lazy! I don’t care if your candidate isn’t based in the UK and there is a time difference, or if they are travelling, or you are ‘super busy’…pick up the phone!!

Now I’m sure some of you are reading this, thinking it all seems pretty obvious. I’m also sure a lot of you reading this are guilty of doing one of the above things.

We are all guilty of letting standards slip from time to time, but let’s do our best not to become one of the clichés in those recruitment bashing posts we see on Linkedin!



For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on


You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here.

Insider Story – Resourcing Transformation at Gowling WLG

For August’s instalment of Insider’s Story, I met up with not only one of my favourite HR professionals, but one of my favourite people in general, to talk about ‘resourcing transformation’.

The wonderful Jo Franklin, Head of Resourcing for Gowling WLG, agreed to sit down with me and have a chat about the huge ‘resourcing transformation’ journey they have been on.

She explains how they have transformed their resourcing strategy and well and truly stepped out of the ‘Wragge & Co shadow’.

Gowling WLG has been on quite a ride over the past few years…

What was once Wragge & Co, then Wragge, Lawrence Graham & Co, (before joining forces with top Canadian law firm Gowlings) and finally Gowling WLG was born.

Jo joined the business post-merger in the early part of 2016. They had gone from being in the Top 25 to overnight becoming a part of a major international law firm. As a result of this, their resourcing and talent strategies needed some serious development and she was in responsible for resourcing transformation.

“ It was a testing period”, Jo admits “as I joined, three of my most experienced team members were going on maternity leave. All of that knowledge and experience leaving at a time of considerable change!”

The Transformation

The vision was clear; to make Gowling WLG a recognised brand in the marketplace, to compete against the top law firms and to secure the best talent across lateral, business services and early talent.

The perception that the resourcing team was very much an administrative support function was something that Jo wanted to change. As around 60% of the team’s time had been spent on recruitment admin, they wanted to adopt a business partnering approach and get more stakeholder facetime.

Jo says, “We wanted to have a position in the market where we could source directly, because of our reputation.”

To put this into perspective in the legal sector, agency hire rates sits at around 60-70%. Jo had set herself a target of direct sourcing at 60%.

In order to achieve this, the team needed to look at a number of things including Employer Brand, EVP and Internal Engagement.

How did you do it?

One of the key pieces to landing any big transformation is to engage with your people and to take them along on the journey. They wanted to focus on their people, rather than the work they do.

Gowling decided to undertake 360-degree feedback to determine their true employer values.

This consisted of 12 workshops with people across the brand, from trainee to partner level. It also involved leadership interviews and market research to understand what made working at Gowling WLG different and unique.

From this developed an employer value proposition (EVP)framework upon which the new careers site would be based.

Headed up by the team members returning from maternity leave, they employed the service of two specialist agencies to convert their EVP into attraction messaging and built their careers site around this.

In order to meet their own challenging direct sourcing targets (60% of all offers), their social media and direct hiring activity needed to be supported by a creative, informative and content-rich careers website.

This is Gowling WLG’s first full careers site. For several years, the firm has had an early talent website, but the offering for fee earners and business service professionals was limited, and the team was keen to promote their new enhanced apprenticeship programme. Now they have detailed information on the firm, its culture and all the different job families in one place, which is presented in a creative and engaging way.

‘You can’t just tell people what your values are’

A common mistake that many organisations make is just announcing what their Values and EVP are, rather than engaging with people, which can alienate people and leave them feeling unsure of their identity.

Rather than just announcing firm values, it is far more effective to live and breathe them, and they slowly infiltrate into the business as usual.”

There must be a mindset change for any transformation to be implemented successfully.

Jo and her team did this through empowering the people around them.. Rather than focussing on what was wrong with the current approach, they demonstrated how great things really could be by sharing knowledge and helping people to understand that there are other ways of attracting great candidates…

Jo says, “Don’t tell people, let them experience it”

Developing a ‘Dream Team’

Jo recognised that in order to truly provide a value-add service to the business, developing her team’s offering was key.

At the time of joining, their agency spend was substantial…

Due to previously having a limited view of forthcoming requirements, the firm had become used to a reactive approach to recruitment and this was going to be a huge change for them.

Proving the model worked and providing tangible results in the first few months was vital, both in the quality of candidates introduced and time to hire.

One of the key hires to the team was Chris Lake, who had an exceptional track record in direct resourcing, having worked for a legal agency for 6 years prior to joining Gowling WLG.

Jo empowered the team to start taking a more forward-thinking approach. They began to identify and map the key markets within the firm’s key sector areas, understanding the active candidate market but more importantly building a picture of passive candidates that could be developed into a talent audience for the future.

The resourcing advisors started to build trust with key stakeholders and taking time to understand their business objectives and working with managers to plan for skills gaps and provide competitor insight and analysis to build credibility.

‘This wasn’t an original solution’

Now Jo, whilst undeniably fantastic, isn’t a part of some kind of secret recruitment magic circle!

The direct sourcing model isn’t an original solution, however, it’s usage within the legal sector is limited within the Top 100 law firms. In addition to this, varied results and methods are evident across the sector – i.e. direct sourcing limited to business services/non-fee earner roles or paralegal level recruitment in some firms.

What is clear, however, is that Jo has opened her stakeholders’ eyes to ‘what could be’ if they trusted in her and her team.

By really engaging with your people, being armed with knowledge and taking a genuine interest in your stakeholders, you can build fantastic relationships.

This doesn’t necessarily happen over-night. Jo herself will admit it has been in huge part down to her teams’ sheer persistence, determination and energy to truly add value that this transformation has been such a huge success

Where are they now?

12 months after Jo and Chris joined the business, Gowling WLG had succeeded in reducing its cost per hire by 41%. The time to hire for the new direct talent strategy 30% lower than for previous hires through recruitment agencies.

The success has continued with the team meeting their direct hire targets year on year, producing real and credible savings on agency spend, whilst still focusing time on building relationships with their key agencies to help with niche roles. By April 2018, they had exceeded their initial 60% goal.

The team were also delighted to receive a prestigious HR in Law award in May for their careers site, which they are now extending out to their international offices, the first being Dubai.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jo Franklin for taking part in my Insiders Story series! To find out more about life at Gowling WLG, visit their careers page at:

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here