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Executive Search

Posted 03/11/21


The pandemic has only accelerated a trend that has been unfolding over the last decade. As the world has grown more digital and complex, the range of decisions that leaders now need to make has broadened, spanning from big picture strategic thinking to careful execution, to advancing technology roadmaps and upskilling and engaging employees. 

Whilst decision-making criteria has also expanded, increasingly focusing on ESG considerations in addition to narrowly defined profit expectations. The past year has been particularly intense, pushing leaders to make decisions for which they had no previous experience – and to do this quickly. 

The pandemic has at times forced leaders well outside of their comfort zone. With the introduction of remote working and more flexible hours in most businesses, it is becoming accepted that it is less and less likely that teams will be in the same place together as often. 

At the same time, house building is currently at its highest rate in almost 30 years, while the property market and construction markets continue to soar. 

With the industry booming in this post-pandemic era, leadership roles are crucial, and hiring at an executive level is vital. Given the buoyancy of the sector, perhaps there has never been more of an opportunity than now to bring in elite talent from outside the sector. 

We understand that finding the right business to partner with is incredibly important. Find out more about our executive search process and how it benefits your business.

Executive search process

At Andersen James, we perform thorough research on the hiring organisation and its market. This forms the basis of our comprehensive search and selection framework when locating ideal candidates. 

The client is at the centre of any executive search process and we provide regular reporting and complete transparency. You will know exactly what steps we are taking and what your involvement needs to be at each stage. 

All engagement with candidates is at a high level to ensure the best possible experience. We aim to protect and promote our clients’ employer brand. 

Diversity and inclusion is important when hiring, especially at an executive level in the property and construction sectors. This is why we make a concerted effort to bring in a diverse range of candidates and discuss this when putting together a shortlist. 

In order to better explain our executive search process, we have broken it down into three phases: pre-search, search, and offer and aftercare


Our pre-search includes client research, client mandate, profile creation, and market mapping. This is all in order to prepare us for the candidate search. 

Client research

We conduct extensive research into the client, achieving a thorough understanding of the organisation and its external reputation.  

The following is looked at during this process:

  • Corporate history
  • Products and services
  • Leadership and strategy
  • Organisational strengths and weaknesses
  • Employer brand

Client mandate

We meet with the HR team and/or the relevant hiring manager to gain insight into the working environment, succession planning issues, diversity challenges, company culture, and values. 

Team dynamics, working style, and the approach to constructing a team are all investigated. Importantly, we discuss diversity and inclusion with the client, find out what their current setup is and where they’d like to see changes going forward. 

We also discuss requirements from a technical and managerial perspective, and create detailed vacancy notes to support the applicant selection process.  

This stage enables us to work as effective advocates for our clients in the marketplace, accurately representing and promoting their employer brand.

Profile creation

We create ideal candidate profiles based on research conducted during stages one and two of the pre-search process. This forms the basis of the search and selection stages.

The profile focuses on the technical, professional, managerial and cultural aspects of targeted candidates. In addition to the main responsibilities and requirements of the role, the profile also includes the job description to be used in any external advertising, should this be required. 

Market mapping

We take the ideal candidate profile and the client’s unique requirements and map the market across geographies, industries, competitors and any suitable internal candidates.

With this, we identify appropriate target companies, their organisational structures, key individuals and role profiles.

Special attention is paid to companies and individuals who match or complement your organisation and the role(s) in scope.

We won’t gloss over the details and we’ll look to find every nuance about your business to see how that looks against the market, and what it is exactly that you require. Learn more about why we do such thorough upfront work and what the benefits for you are.


We perform a candidate search, create a candidate longlist, conduct candidate testing, put together a candidate shortlist, and go through interviews. 

Candidate search

We use innovative attraction techniques to target both active and passive candidates. These techniques include referral and recommendation, proprietary database searches, job portals, industry-focused advertising, professional forums, and social media where applicable. 

Our overriding goal is to identify the best possible candidates for the role. This is why, depending on requirements, we may extend our search beyond the domestic market. 

Candidate longlist

From the research carried out during the market mapping stage, we present a long list of up to 10 candidates, including internal candidates if appropriate.

This report includes names, companies, positions, responsibilities and contact details, as well as detailed notes on the suitability of each candidate.

Candidate testing

Candidate testing plays a crucial role in our executive search process, providing an objective assessment of the individual’s key competencies and preferred working style. 

These assessments cover technical or theoretical expertise, cognitive ability, personality type, and emotional intelligence.

We prefer tests that provide an engaging, straightforward, and positive experience for the candidate. 

Candidate shortlist

We present a shortlist of 4-6 candidates, accompanied by a detailed report including candidate CVs, test results, and consultant notes based on pre-screening.

For this shortlist, we always include a diverse representation. In cases where we cannot do this, we give a detailed explanation on why this is not possible, for example, due to a skills shortage. 


We design a robust and consistent interview framework based on your specific requirements. Depending on the location of the candidates, this stage may involve a combination of telephone, video conferencing and physical interviews.

If appropriate, we’re happy to take a lead role in each interview or provide support in the form of organising, monitoring, and reviewing the separate stages of the interview process.

Presenting candidates that are relevant to the position you’re recruiting for is crucial. Work with a business who understands yours inside and out, and takes pride in the quality of candidates they attract.

Offer and aftercare

We do everything in our power to get the ideal candidate in the position as seamlessly as possible. This includes making an offer, getting acceptance from their side, candidate vetting, and onboarding and relocation, if applicable. 

Offer and Acceptance

Managing this stage effectively can mean the difference between hiring the best person for the job or having to start the lengthy and costly executive search process over again.

Once the successful candidate has accepted the offer, we help maintain dialogue between the new hire and the hiring manager. 

An experienced mediator will ensure any negotiations are smooth and ultimately successful. This protects against the risk of a successful counter offer or even a competing offer.

Onboarding and relocation


This stage includes using a digital contract management service. It combines the latest technology supported by readily-available expert consultants to ensure the very best applicant journey.

This stage includes using a digital contract management service which utilises state-of-the-art technology for a fast and efficient process. This incorporates document download and upload facilities, and a legally-binding electronic signature system.


If the successful candidate has been sourced from abroad, we need to give careful consideration to whether they require relocation support.

The candidate should feel they have been given adequate assistance. Support can range from providing information on the local property market, schools, nurseries, and other local amenities, to organising a familiarisation visit, a search for a new home, or even a full concierge service.

We work with our partner, a relocation specialist, ensuring regular communication with the candidate throughout the process.

Andersen James Executive Search 

Andersen James Group is a trusted Talent Acquisition Partner for Executive, Non-executive and Leadership appointments across the Public and Private Housing, Property and Construction sectors. 

We deliver rigorous Board Advisory and Assessment Services to help solve your leadership challenges. Our holistic approach includes talent mapping, benchmarking analysis, and leadership development to create solutions for board level and succession hires.

Unlike the volume-based approach of some competitors, our size, deep sector expertise and focus on quality means that we are able to invest as much time as needed in getting to know you, your business, its requirements and your stakeholders. 

Industry specialisation

We offer our clients deep industry knowledge of the housing sector through our dedicated industry practice group. Andersen James consultants have extensive industry expertise and keep up-to-date with market trends and current affairs within these sectors. 

Powerful network

We always seek out the best candidates, wherever they are located. The extensive cooperation within our network enables us to locate and attract highly skilled candidates in diverse areas. We deliver executive search and leadership consulting solutions through our powerful network.

Close working relationships and partnerships

At Andersen James, our executive search teams develop close and effective working partnerships with clients in order to ensure we understand your strategic challenges and search requirements. This relationship is based on listening, integrity, transparency, and trust.

Our search process

We deliver value and insight through identification of singularly viable candidates rather than CVs. Our work is founded on a comprehensive, disciplined approach that ensures finding suitable candidates who are above and beyond your technical requirements. 

Leadership consulting

Our approach is deeply rooted in consulting. We listen closely to our clients and their needs. We offer leadership assessment, management audit, cultural review, and other focused investigations. In addition to executive search, you may want to find out more about our other value-added services, such as market intelligence, leadership advice, competitive analysis or market benchmarking.

Our experience ensures our ability to go above and beyond your expectations. 

Introduction: Marcus Blackburn

Following a successful career as an Accountant for a mid-sized firm of Chartered Accountants, Marcus moved into recruitment where he spent 12 years with a large International business. During this period he led, in later years, the UK Executive Search arm. More recently he also spent 2 years with a London listed Search firm. 

He is a proven talent acquisition professional with a significant track record in both experienced NED, Executive and EX minus 1 & 2 leadership hiring across the Housing, Construction, Engineering, Energy and Utilities sectors. 

Culturally adept in interfacing across seniority, geographies and personalities. Capable of delivering with diligence and rigour to highly specific criteria, Marcus is equally capable of navigating opaque situations and esoteric requirements to deliver the same successful outcome.

He builds long-term relationships with clients, often helping them to establish out various functions.

He particularly enjoys supporting his clients through periods of change and growth whilst he is able to deliver results with highly specific criteria, as well as navigating unique situations and requirements to ensure a successful outcome.




Free market map/ salary benchmarking

Contact us today for a free top line market mapping and/ or salary benchmarking. Included in this service is a detailed breakdown of the following:

  • Who are your top competitors?
  • What are they paying people in an equivalent position?
  • How many people out there can do the job?
  • Where are they located?
  • Are there any trends affecting hiring patterns/ the market in general?
  • How diverse are the leadership teams of our competitors?

What our clients have to say

Cris McGuinness – Riverside

We had been looking at the barriers to progression our BAME colleagues and job applicants had been facing and recognised a need to overhaul our BAME recruitment. Having worked with Andersen James before, we decided to form a long-term strategic partnership with them focused on creating a clear talent acquisition strategy.

AJ outlined the key ways we could attract and recruit more BAME colleagues, including on an internal talent acquisition level, and developed our BAME Employee Value Proposition to ensure BAME applicants could see our focus on building an inclusive and diverse culture. 

They helped us create our BAME Guaranteed Interview Scheme to ensure that every suitable qualified BAME candidate who applies for a role at a management level or above would receive an interview. 

They also recommended training for colleagues on recognising and reporting discrimination in the workplace, resulting in our “Call it out, Clear it out” initiative for reporting incidents of discrimination. 

AJ provided us with a clear 6-step journey which focussed on:

  1. Building data:
    To show how we’re doing more to encourage employees and applicants to disclose their ethnicity, setting and publishing targets, and show how we’re progressing.
  2. Taking accountability:
    Embedding diversity as a key performance indicator, taking part in reverse mentoring schemes and being open about achieving success.
  3. Raising awareness:
    Undertaking unconscious bias training tailored for each role.
  4. Examining recruitment:
    Drafting job specifications in a more inclusive way, creating more opportunities, and recruiting for potential.
  5. Changing processes:
    Being transparent in our employee value proposition and being open about career pathways.
  6. Reviewing and energising all of the above. 

Since working with Andersen James, we have seen a 5% increase in BAME representation at management level and have plans to decrease the ethnicity pay gap from 15% to 10% in the next three years. We have also seen a 27% reduction in our average recruitment spend. 

Andersen James provides a great value service and has really helped us to overhaul our BAME recruitment process and set the standards within the housing industry.

Mark Davis – J Tomlinson

Andersen James has helped recruit more than 100 roles for us, including the key appointments of our managing directors and financial director. 

Their solution, which focused on speed and quality, reduced the average time taken to hire from 10-15 weeks to 4 weeks, and ensured a robust process with candidates qualified and briefed from the outset. 

Andersen James has always demonstrated real value and work as an extension of our team, helping us to save on admin and time by having one point of contact for recruitment enquiries. 

They have created documents outlining the candidate and client journeys and created a Business Administrator Apprenticeship scheme process so that we can nurture our sector’s next generation of talent. 

We are kept up to date on a monthly basis with a report that provides insight into activity as well as the cost to hire, candidate satisfaction, interview to offer ratio, CV to interview ratio, offer to acceptance, and retention rate. 

The team has provided a great service to J Tomlinson, offering a holistic approach to our overall recruitment and HR services and equipping us with job profiles that have made a huge difference, as well as recruited some really key people over the past few years.