We overcome hiring challenges

Take a look at our case studies below to find out how we have helped source the right talent for our clients’ unique business requirements.


This internationally owned group of four UK based specialist manufacturing and distribution businesses with a combined financial turnover of c £20M needed to appoint a Group MD to drive growth, product diversification and improved processes.


Since the departure of the previous incumbent three years prior, the UK companies had been managed by the business unit operational heads, reporting into the international board. Due to performance and business mis-management issues from the previous Group MD, the overseas based, international board had been risk-averse in immediately replacing them. They opted for a ‘business as usual’ approach with the existing team. Whilst the board had now accepted that the organisation needed a UK group business leader to turn around underperforming areas, focus on continuous improvement and drive revenue and profit growth, they remained cautious about bringing a senior external hire into the business. They needed full reassurance of a thorough recruitment process which would result in a successful long-term hire.

The successful candidate needed to be a talented business leader with proven experience in manufacturing & distribution P&L management, driving revenue, increasing profitability, delivering change, improving processes and controls and effectively motivating / managing people within a SME organisation that exports its products. They would need the commercial acumen to protect the business from risk whilst also being able to develop new opportunities. People leadership skills would be paramount to set and maintain high standards, support employees through change, hire and develop talent and ensure a motivated and well-trained workforce. Honesty, transparency, strong ethics and best practice would be essential, with a commitment to professional standards, modernisation, driving efficiencies and achieving customer satisfaction.


We met with all the senior stakeholders, either virtually or in person to ensure that their insights were captured. This resulted in the production of a detailed job description, person specification and overall recruitment brief, along with ‘project buy in’ from all involved.
Search activity was undertaken through a mixture of candidate identification and headhunting along with advertised search and selection.
After reviewing in excess of 100 CV’s, undertaking numerous conversations and several in depth face to face interviews with candidates, a relevant shortlist of CV’s with accompanying assessments, was provided to our client within a 4 week timescale.
The client undertook six first stage interviews and two 2nd stage panel interviews.
The 2nd stage interviews included psychometric profiling and a presentation task, which was devised by Walmsley Wilkinson.
The identified candidate met with the international board for dinner, and we undertook thorough verbal referencing on this individual before an offer was extended.


Our client was able to appoint a talented Group Managing Director who joined the organisation within 10 weeks of the original recruitment brief being taken.
By working closely with our client, communicating regularly, and supporting them with a detailed, rigorous process, we eliminated any of their previous concerns.
They embraced the recruitment project, provided very positive feedback and successfully appointed this key hire.


This leading technical solutions provider was embarking upon a confidential, major change programme for its UK sales organisation. They were seeking to achieve huge synergies in strategic and operational cohesion and underpin further sustainable growth.


They needed to identify and appoint a “best in class” Group Sales Director to lead the future unified team of c 200 sales professionals, deliver a £multi-million revenue plan and long term growth results, during a time of transformation.

The candidate would need to be a proven, credible, inspirational Sales Leader with a strong understanding of technical products and service delivery, who had successfully managed and developed a large field sales function within a complex and competitive environment during ongoing change. As an accomplished senior strategist and operator with the highest levels of situational awareness and emotional intelligence, they would be able to deliver revenue and margin growth whilst focusing on people development and continuous operational improvements.

This organisation is committed to developing its people and effective succession planning, but on this occasion, they had identified the need to bring in external talent to fulfil this remit. This was also during a time when the operational changes had not yet been communicated to the wider business. This was therefore a highly confidential and business sensitive project to attract the right talent and to do this without releasing information into the marketplace.


We undertook face to face meetings with the UK board member, to whom this role would report into, to gather, define and agree a detailed assignment brief.

Due to the highly confidential situation, our work required a headhunting approach with no advertised search to be undertaken.

We utilised several research methods to identify and approach relevant potential candidates.

This time consuming work entails reviewing hundreds of profiles and undertaking many conversations to agree relevant target individuals.

We undertook engaging approaches to elicit their interest.

Any participating candidates were required to sign a confidentiality agreement before any detailed information was released to them.

We conducted in depth interviews and provided detailed CV’s and assessment notes to our client to aid their shortlisting decisions.

We supported and advised throughout their interview processes which consisted of an initial video interview, a 2nd stage more detailed face to face interview with role play task and a final stage board panel interview with presentation task.

We ensured that the offer management and candidate decline process ran smoothly, providing transparent, customer focused, timely communication always.


Our client was able to appoint a high calibre Group Sales Director from a relevant diverse shortlist. They reviewed nine CV’s, undertook six first interviews, four 2nd interviews and two final interviews.

The work remained confidential throughout the process and the project was completed within 12 weeks.

Our client and all the candidates who were engaged within the process provided positive feedback.

The client continues to work with Walmsley Wilkinson


This global matrix organisation which provides its products into a wide range of industry sectors was undertaking a restructure of its European operations whilst also focusing on new product developments within certain markets.


They had identified the need to separate out role responsibilities from a current well respected senior employee and create this new European Technical Director (ETD) remit for a specific product area. This would enable future growth in market share and facilitate NPD for key customers.

Due to internal and external stakeholder sensitivity, it was agreed that the new ETD would need to de identified and secured before the strategy was announced. It had already been determined that there were no current employees that were ready and able to fulfil this role.

The technical specialisation required for this remit, meant that there would only be a small potential pool of relevant individuals worldwide and the insular nature of this marketplace meant that protecting confidentiality during any headhunting process would be a challenge.

As well as possessing in depth technical understanding (probably educated to PhD), they would need to demonstrate their ability to motivate and manage the people ie a winner of “hearts and minds” who can lead and support people on a transformational journey. They would require drive, creativity and a passion for both innovation and customer service excellence with prior experience within a complex matrix organisation.

The successful candidate would also need to speak at least two European languages.


A full in-depth recruitment brief was taken and agreed.

We undertook X-ray searches to identify relevant target candidates worldwide. This entailed reviewing extensive profiles to locate the right individuals.

It was determined that there were only circa thirty relevant potential people that had the skills and experience to fulfil this remit.

Target candidates were approached, and it was imperative that we engendered interest and their willingness to engage in discussions.

Candidates that wished to understand more, were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

We undertook weekly update meetings with activity reporting for our client’s SLT.

Working in partnership with our client we interviewed and shortlisted three candidates via video meetings.

We subsequently co-ordinated all next stage interview and international travel arrangements.

Any participating candidates were communicated with regularly and this included providing shortlisting and interview feedback.


Our client was able to appoint a Technical Expert with the relevant people leadership, language abilities. and commercial skills who was willing to relocate to France.

The process from assignment briefing to candidate offer acceptance was 17 weeks and this included accommodating candidate and client diary blockages.

Confidentiality was maintained and they were able to roll out the restructure communication plans to the required timescales.

Post placement feedback has been extremely positive.

Walmsley Wilkinson recruitment management solutions

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