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Hays Executive is a dedicated search and selection practice that recruits for executive as well as niche or hard-to-fill specialist appointments. We provide access to highly skilled and capable individuals at senior levels. 97% of all positions we have been retained to search for have resulted in a successful appointment. This is testament to the insight and expertise of our team.

Our markets

Our consultants are dedicated to a range of specific market sectors, bringing many years of experience and focused on delivery, going the extra mile to complete each assignment.

We recruit to the following positions via executive search and selection:

  • General management – Chief Executive, COO, MD, General Manager, etc.
  • Non-executive – Chair, Non Executive Board Member, Advisory roles, etc.
  • Heads of functional specialisms – HR, Finance, IT, Legal, Sales & Marketing, Procurement, Manufacturing etc.

We work across a wide range of sectors including:

  • Utilities and energy
  • Logistics, supply chain and transportation
  • Outsourcing and consultancy
  • Innovation and technology
  • Construction and property

The benefits of Hays Executive recruitment

Putting out a clear message
We will develop a powerful marketing proposition for your organisation and vacancy. This will send out a clear and consistent message about your organisation, and who you want, to everyone we approach. In this way we ensure only credible candidates apply.

97% success rate
Recent auditing of our results shows that over the last three years, 97% of all appointments we have been retained to search for have resulted in a successful appointment. This is testament to the insight and expertise of the Hays Executive team in this top level recruitment market.

We are able to offer a modular service – including the following:

  • Search only
  • Search and advertising
  • Assessment and selection
  • Database access

This is in addition to a wide variety of pricing and alternative service offerings, which can be customised to your exact requirements.

Post-appointment coaching
This enables you to more effectively embed senior appointees who have transferred from different working environments. They can then more rapidly contribute to the success of your organisation.

Market analysis and competitor information

  • Salary surveys
  • Competitor analysis
  • Organisational reports

Appointment evaluation, culture and competency mapping
The process begins with a full evaluation of the role to be recruited for and its context within the existing culture of the organisation. In particular we will look at what major changes the individual would be charged with bringing about. If required, we can also undertake an evaluation of the senior management and board to assess overall strengths and weaknesses. Once this is completed, Hays Executive will then develop a compelling message for your organisation, ensuring a good ‘fit’ with target candidates we approach.

In-depth research and transparent reporting
The Hays Executive team will systematically research your competitors and other relevant organisations. We will then come back to you with a detailed report on levels of interest in, and market perception of, your organisation. Our in-house research capability enables us to control and amend the direction of the search at any time.

Discreet, targeted approaches
All our approach calls are thoroughly researched and discreetly made. We understand the key appeal a role might hold for each candidate we target. This ensures a high conversion rate from contact to application on every assignment.

Complete market access
Our executive search service allows you to target the widest candidate pool for your vacancy – not simply those responding to an advert or actively job seeking. The most talented candidates usually look at long-term opportunities rather than just their next career move, so this access is invaluable.

Proactive generation of a diverse response
We will specifically target underrepresented groups for your vacancies. Indeed, we have an outstanding track record of successful, diverse appointments. In this way we ensure that you always consider the best candidates for your appointment, wherever they are currently working.

Dedicated experts with extensive networks
Every consultant at Hays Executive has notable experience. Many have worked in their sectors for over ten years, building unrivalled networks of credible candidates whom they can target for your vacancy.


By building genuine partnerships, we ensure that the solutions we recommend are based on a thorough understanding of each organisation’s goals and objectives, as well as the specific challenges of the appointment to be filled. We are fully focused on delivering a successful outcome for our clients: high-calibre appointees who are embedded and achieving with the organisation from their first day. We work with our clients to identify the key challenges and opportunities of an appointment, using that knowledge to draw in a wide range of candidates from within varied target organisations.

What we offer

Recruiting executives in the public sector

Hays Executive has recruited for senior management positions for 30 years. Every year we place around 300 senior executives up to chair and chief executive level within the public, not-for-profit and commercial sectors.

For both permanent and interim appointments, we take a fresh and innovative approach, providing bespoke research and candidate identification. Our in-house research and advertising teams help ensure complete control of the recruiting process as well as delivering strong cost savings.

Building genuine partnerships, we ensure that the solutions we recommend are based on a thorough understanding of each client's individual circumstances as well as the specific challenges of the position to be filled. We have developed a track record of working with our clients to identify the key challenges and opportunities of a post, using that knowledge to draw in a wide range of candidates both from within different areas of the public sector, and where appropriate, from the best of the private sector.

Our processes are robust and thorough, designed to generate the strongest possible field of diverse applications before conducting fair and transparent selection. Our consultants are dedicated to specific market sectors and focus on delivery, going the extra mile to complete each assignment.

In recognition of the quality of our service, Hays Executive is accredited to the following call off framework agreements:

  • Cabinet Office Executive Search and Selection Framework
  • Buying Solutions Framework
  • Department of Health NCES and NMNC frameworks
  • Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) Framework for Executive Search & Selection and Interim Management Supply
  • Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (NERARS) Framework for Executive Search & Selection and Interim Management Supply
  • Commercial Resources Framework
Recruiting executives in the private sector

As part of the world’s leading specialist recruitment group, Hays Executive has been working with a wide range of commercial and private sector organisations for 30 years. Our clients range from multinational and FTSE listed corporations to specialist consultancies, SMEs and emerging businesses. We successfully recruit to board level appointments including chief executive, chair and other non-executive roles, and a wide range of functionally specialist and ‘hard to fill’ vacancies.


Our credentials


We place around 300 senior executives each year. For both permanent and interim appointments, we take a fresh and innovative approach, providing bespoke research and candidate identification. Our in-house research and advertising teams help ensure complete control of the recruitment process as well as delivering a cost-effective service – encouraging applications from those high achieving individuals not actively seeking a career move. Many of the clients we work with have already exhausted all other methods of supply – such as online / offline advertising and agency databases.

Using our networks and research teams to penetrate specific market sectors and recruit from our clients’ key competitors, we are able to fill more than 97% of the appointments that we are retained of. We also offer bespoke benchmarking services to complement recruitment campaigns, ensuring that your reward package is effectively market tested before initiating a search process.

With 245 offices in 33 countries, we are part of a truly global network. This ensures that target candidates can be identified, approached and recruited from wherever they are based around the world. Our work extends beyond simply ‘filling a slot’; we advise on growth strategies, succession planning and acquisition targets, supporting many clients in ambitious programmes of expansion.

Our executive searches

Hays Executive provides services in a modular approach, recommending only those that most effectively meet our clients’ specific needs. Here is a summary of our key services:

  • Benchmarking: Our understanding of market trends in salaries and team structures can help you to pitch your vacancy at the right level.
  • Internal assessment: Use our expertise to assess internal staff for redeployment, training and development or to confirm your decision for a substantive post.
  • Competency framework development: Many organisations have worked with us to develop frameworks that accurately reflect the needs of both the job and the organisation in terms of skills, experience, values and behaviours.
  • Job description development: We are often called on to redesign job descriptions to reflect changing requirements or to attract a different candidate pool. Our library of application materials can provide invaluable suggestions on composition and content.
  • Interim management: We can provide a proven expert to fill a vacant role until you find a permanent appointment. All interims are thoroughly vetted and gave undergone competency interviews with our experienced consultants; all qualifications and multiple references will have also been checked thoroughly.
  • Executive search: Some organisations use our executive search offering as a ‘bolt-on’ to their own HR processes rather than outsourcing their entire recruitment function. Whether you are targeting specific organisations or encouraging interest from candidates beyond your core sector, executive search can make the difference between recruitment success and failure. More than 80% of the appointments made by Hays Executive originate from a direct approach by our team.
  • Advertising and response management: Costly and time-consuming when managed ineffectively, traditional advertising still has a valuable role to play when procured and monitored to best value principles. Hays Executive secures market-leading discounts on national and specialist media, including online channels, whilst maximising the conversion ratio from interest to application and providing out-of-hours availability for applicant enquiries.
  • Online brand development: Our Digital Solutions team are experts in developing and using innovative digital recruiting products, creative services and social media strategies. From the design of bespoke ‘microsites’ to web optimisation techniques, we ensure prime positioning across the web for your requirements.
  • Selection process: Entirely bespoke to your requirements, we can design selection processes covering initial sifting, long-list competency-based interviews and online methods.
  • Assessment centre management: Our expert Assessment Team will support your selection process through the design and delivery of candidate assessments that support your needs. In addition, technical assessors with longstanding and successful careers in comparable roles can be provided to assess sector-specific skills in areas such as finance and IT.
  • Final interview process: Our expert consultants are available to facilitate successful final interviews, including composition of interview questions and presentation topic design as well as provision of an appropriate venue and coordination on the day.
  • Offer management: Working closely with your HR experts in managing the offer process from negotiation of terms to taking references and confirming the appointment.
  • Executive coaching: Statistically, the most common time for an executive to leave their position is in the first 100 days of employment. By using an experienced coaching professional, appointees are able to be embedded more quickly into an organisation and to add significantly more value from an early stage.
Our approach to diversity

Diversity is at the core of our offering as a search consultancy. As a global search business we know the importance of delivering talent from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible, not just for altruistic but for solid business reasons.

We have a market leading reputation for delivering diversity. Our success here has been achieved due to our innovation and our unwillingness to accept the previously poor returns being received from the traditional diversity press. We have developed new networking groups, more robust search methodologies and innovative advertising to ensure that we were reaching traditionally under-represented groups.

Our approach

We ensure that all our consultants are trained in equality and diversity issues (including specialist disability training) in order to have the skills necessary to produce practical solutions to diversity challenges.

We have an organisation-wide steering group on diversity and frequently organise conferences and seminars to help give practical advice to under-represented groups on achieving executive and non-executive director roles. We then pursue a number of approaches, both on an on-going and assignment specific basis, in order to position us to best deliver a truly diverse shortlist for our clients.

When deciding how to obtain a diverse range of candidates for a particular post we first need to judge the likely diversity make-up of the candidate target market.

Often a target market for a senior role poses significant initial challenges on the diversity front. Frequently the desired candidate is perceived as already operating at a senior level, often in a complex environment, and the different strands of diversity are generally under-represented at senior management level. Consequently pro-active steps are needed in order to ensure a significantly diverse shortlist is delivered. This predominantly includes the use of effective targeted executive search.

Diverse search

On a vacancy-specific level we will regularly push our contacts and referrals to think of individuals from under-represented groups as part of our search strategy. We have found even this simple step helps boost the diverse response for a search.

More fundamentally, we also look at under-represented communities at a macro, national level to determine which senior individuals would be appropriate for future assignments. We maintain a carefully sourced active database of senior executives and non-executives from different under-presented groups consisting of hundreds of individuals. Included in this list are substantial numbers of people from a female, disabled or BME background already operating at senior management level.

Following a further refinement of the characteristics required for specific vacancies, we approach individuals from this database, encouraging them to apply or seeking referrals as appropriate.

Through a process of recommendation and referrals as well as publicising examples of valued advisory contributions to our clients from minority candidates, we are able to extract the strongest response from a diverse field of headhunted candidates.

Our results

We believe that our capacity to recruit credible diverse candidates at senior levels is second to none, and that we can be judged by our results to date. For example, Hays Executive consistently out-performed other search firms in delivering to all measured diverse groups across Long-list, Shortlist and Appointment stages to the Senior Civil Service.

As well as improving diversity across the board, Hays have also been entrusted to recruit a number of senior diversity-specialist roles, further expanding our networks and understanding in this sector. In recent years we have recruited:

  • Deputy Director, External Stakeholder Engagement, Office for Disability Issues
  • Chief Executive, RADAR
  • Diversity Adviser, Cabinet Office
  • Head of Ethnic Minority Employment Division, DWP
  • Two diversity Advisors, Ministry of Defence

For both the ODI and RADAR roles we were tasked with ensuring there was strong representation on the shortlist from people with disabilities. In both cases we succeeded in encouraging strong disabled candidates to apply, and in both cases strong appointments were made with individuals from within that demographic group.

Legal requirements

As a basic bed-rock of our diversity approach we uphold and comply with all legislation that governs our business operations. We believe having strict policies and procedures in place with regards to employment and anti-discrimination allows us to:

  • Make full use of the expertise of our workforce
  • Provide the same level of opportunity for everyone
  • Improve our management and personnel management practice
  • Strengthen our reputation as a good employer and service provider
  • Attract and retain new recruits and candidates
  • Show our clients that we promote equal opportunity and fair employment
  • Ensure that our employment practices do not infringe the law
  • Demonstrate our commitment to be an equal opportunities employer

To comply with these policies and government legislation, careful consideration is given to the media chosen for our campaigns in order that knowledge of such opportunities is not restricted unjustifiably to certain individuals or groups.

Advertisements are carefully worded to ensure that no inference may be drawn of an intention to advantage or disadvantage a certain individual or group in respect of the published opportunity in a manner that would be contrary to this policy statement.

Recruitment procedures are designed to reach eligible applicants from all sections of the community, encourage applications from suitable individuals, and ensure that the selection process is based on the skills, ability and experience of the applicant to perform the job advertised. This is measured against pre-determined objective criteria and competencies that are made available to all applicants.

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