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Jonny Petrie
Ulster Rugby

"We were in the market for a critical and niche role and 4c took the time to understand the objectives and pressures around that role."

4c Executive was launched in 2013 and quickly established ourselves as the leading provider of true executive search services in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and further afield.

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"When we look at making strategic appointments, we like working with 4c Executive because they understand what we need, and the search and selection process works well for us."

Uncovering the 9-5

Published on: 13 November 2015

Ruth McDonald, Search Consultant

My start time will depend on whether I have an early morning candidate interview. Communicating regularly with clients and candidates is an important part of my role and I find the drive to work is often a good opportunity where they can speak confidentially before they start their day. A candidate is attending a final stage interview today so I’m keen to check in with them – a genuine interest in both the candidate and client is a must for this job!

I start every day with a ‘to-do’ list but, because I am working on a wide range of assignments at any one time and all at different stages, my priorities can change over the course of the day. One of the exciting things about executive search is how fast-paced and varied each day can be – my day rarely turns out as planned at 9am!

I’m meeting a new client who plans to use 4c to appoint a new director to their business. This is an extremely important meeting where I learn more about the company structure and culture, the role itself and the expectations of the appointed candidate.

I’m back at the office and get straight into putting together an ‘assignment brief’ for the new role. I work with our business development executive to create a company overview and, based on the information I gathered at my earlier meeting and our own research, I produce a role and candidate profile. I then send the finished assignment brief to my client for approval.

Lunchtime is a great time to interview candidates. These meetings are usually for a specific appointment and will last one hour or longer depending on the role. We not only shortlist candidates for our clients but quite often we will interview on site with a client.

I have arranged a Skype call with one of our London-based researchers to brief them on my new assignment. All our researchers are independent but contracted to 4c and often specialise in industry sectors. I share information on the company, role and the type of individual we will be hoping to attract in order for them to identify the best candidates and market the opportunity to them. I will also draw up an advertisement for the opportunity – we don’t hold a candidate database as such but go fresh to the market each time on behalf of our clients through search, advertised selection or in most cases a mix of both.

I am putting together a shortlist for an assignment I have been interviewing for over the last few weeks. I’m planning to present this to my client next week and, as well as the candidate’s own resume and self-appraisal, I’ll create a report on each candidate to guide my client in their own interviews.

I am preparing candidates for interview this evening. We work closely with our clients to ensure the interview process is thorough, fair and that it will get the best out of candidates. Everyone performs better if they are well informed of the format of the meeting and the style of the interview panel. I’ve caught up with my client and candidate on their immediate thoughts post-interview and the positive feedback is mutual. Hopefully I’ll be presenting an offer to the candidate tomorrow!

When the demands of the role require it, I stay late to interview or Skype a candidate who lives outside NI, perhaps in a different time zone. Our clients and candidates have busy diaries and I will often speak to them in the evenings if there is an important matter, such as negotiating an offer or arranging a last minute interview. If I have a pressing deadline I will sometimes leave my candidate appraisals until I get home. My job is extremely busy so it’s important to me to spend as much time as possible with family and friends to maintain a work / life balance. Unwinding with friends after work on a Friday evening is my reward for a hard week’s work!

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