Q&A

We asked Josh Edmunds, 10 common questions and here are his responses:

What does the term ‘SHREK’ mean?

The term SHREK is a recruitment industry term, and an acronym used to describe one of the search firms Spencer Stuart, Heidrick and Struggles, Russell Reynolds, Egon Zehnder, Korn Ferry.

Who are some of the better-known alternative search firms?

Odgers, Blackwood, The Up Group, Redgrave Partners, Drax Executive.

What about start-up recruitment businesses?

Many firms, such as Build Recruitment, HumandTalent, Essenta have typically incorporated post 2015 and are attempting to carve out their niche and start to build a track record.

Who do you think has made a positive impact on the recruitment industry?

In my opinion, I think Raj Tulsiani has done a great job at Green Park in raising the profile of Diversity and Inclusion and keeping it on the agenda, he was doing this long before it became either popular or mainstream.

Why is the CEO and CFO relationship so critical?

Often, where the relationship is dysfunctional in this particular dynamic, we frequently witness issues across the wider Board and leadership team. The wider management team are pitted into supporting either the CEO or CFO and this is often a distraction from the more important market opportunities and challenges facing the organisation. Most FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 Board Members and NED‘s, have witnessed the positive and negative effects this key relationship can have on shareholder value.

Should I consider a career as an Interim Management Specialist?

Great question and certainly in considering whether to become an Interim Manager, one should give it full due diligence before starting. It is fair to say that there are individuals who have performed better in Interim Management, than they did in steady state permanent roles and those who have not got to grips with its nuances. Yes, day rates are attractive, but one of the very best Interim Manager’s that I have ever met told me that in their opinion contractors often got comfortable taking the daily rate. What businesses need from interim managers is for them to be selfless in their primary goal of delivery. “Get in, get it done, get out”.

I want to be a CEO, what characteristics do I need?

I do not know many CEO’s who have not made sacrifices on their personal time and taken risks in achieving their goal. Leadership is a great quality, but all leaders lead differently. Amazingly, when we look at the nature of the CEO ‘s job, there are so many components that are driven by external factors, the market, governance and legislation that having challenged yourself over many years to do roles out of your comfort zone is a fantastic grounding to being a CEO. A business model will command a certain type of CEO, also tempered by its position in the market, investment cycle, growth, ambition, and ownership structure. Being a CEO is lonely, highly exposed to critique and personal risk.

I am considering moving into Executive Search, would you recommend it?

Headhunting, Executive Search, Executive Recruitment are all essentially related to the delivery of leadership roles to organisations. There are many different search firms including the SHREK ‘s mentioned above, down to more boutique search firms. Each will vary by culture, type of client and type of specialist sector or functional area.

In my view, being service led rather than sales led creates a far greater legacy for your clients, and deeper more rewarding relationship in the long term. In turn a career in executive Search can therefore be incredibly rewarding. I would highly recommend it.

What have you enjoyed about your 25 years?

I studied Business Studies at A level and University, and I always found the world of business fascinating to the extent that I still enjoy understanding why businesses are successful, what makes them tick, how they grow market share. In the most part, businesses are people. I have also always found people fascinating. It is immensely rewarding being trusted by Boards and Leaders, to create high performing teams, that have a direct impact on both their business and their own capacity as a leader. I have been fortunate to work with incredibly nice, professional, and honest people.

What do Private Equity firms look for?

Most people working in Private equity started their careers elsewhere, most were graded high potential before they stepped into the PE world, most wanted to be part of a very driven value creation dynamic. PE Firms have historically not been the initial training grounds for people starting their careers, but they have been an environment for people wanting to excel, to be stretched and to participate in growing enterprise value at both a business level and strategically for the ultimate entity.

There are clearly some incentives for being successful in Private Equity; high calibre peer groups, a focussed Board, stimulating goals, optimistic deadlines, equity. There are also consequences of this; long hours, entrenched cultures in newly acquired businesses, high expectations, personal responsibility for success and failure, high pressure.

So, what do PE Firms look for? An awareness of the above is a good starting point, because it points to a RESILIENCE that successful people need when they are tired, under pressure, lacking time, resource, and positive business results.

We look for 5 key areas in PE search work:

  • Examples of major Events.
  • Examples of being smart.
  • Evidence of progression compared to peers.
  • The 3 A’s: Attitude, Ability, Application.
  • Cultural ‘Click’.