Our Approach to Candidate Attraction and Talent Management

At Thewlis Graham you can rest assured we will strive to find the best possible result for every one of our clients. Our record of repeat business – with over two thirds of our assignments deriving from existing clients or recommendations – is testimony to our effective delivery.

We provide a bespoke service, not an off-the-shelf package. For example, your assignments will always be managed by a senior consultant with significant experience, who understands your organisation and will represent you in a professional and ambassadorial manner at all times. To provide the best service to clients we always work on a retained and exclusive basis. We have found this provides the best results for both clients and candidates.

Our objective is to understand precisely what the appointment is, why it is necessary, and how it fits with and complements the rest of the organisation in question. We examine and question the rationale of the job specification and invest time in obtaining a feel for the client’s business culture and environment, since candidate fit alongside competence are the critical factors in determining a successful appointment and transition into the new organisation. Close

Arguing the pros and cons of Executive Search versus Executive Search supported by Advertised Selection is akin to comparing chopsticks with knives and forks – both have their place! All our assignments have search at the core, where we actively approach people, but there are also many instances, with public and NFP appointments for example, when a combination of search and advertising may be the most appropriate way forward. Our recommended recruitment methodology is dictated by what is likely to be most effective and deliver the best result. Close

We spend time meeting key people in the organisation. This preparation is key as we need to be able to articulate the challenges and opportunities to prospective candidates. We create a candidate information pack that forms the basis of our search strategy and an individual microsite that supports each assignment. Close

A ‘Target List’ of the potential talent pool is developed from:

  • original and in-depth desk, telephone and online research
  • referrals and recommendations from our considerable network of contacts
  • our extensive in-house database


Over the years we have created an extensive network of experienced candidates from all sectors. All the candidates on our database have agreed to us keeping their details and if any of their situations change, they are invited to update us for reference. All candidates are spoken to personally by Sarah Thewlis and have a good relationship with her and our team. Candidates inform us that they are well looked after and supported by the whole team and feel comfortable to call for advice at any time. Close

The candidates from both the search and advert are assessed and evaluated. A number of candidates will be invited for an interview with the lead consultant. During the interview it will be an opportunity to explore the CV in more detail and understand the motivation of the candidate and areas to probe further. A longlist will be drawn up with detailed reports on each candidate along with an overview of the search process and feedback on the search and role in the current market. Close

We support clients throughout the process and can advise on interviews, assessment exercises and be part of a panel or be an observer. Close

Once a client has selected a candidate, we believe Thewlis Graham Associates still has an important contribution to make, since ensuring a successful negotiation often requires great experience, as well as sensitivity. We also take references and carry out background checks including verifying identities and qualifications. Close

It can take time for the individual to establish himself or herself in a new Company environment. We have a valuable part to play in facilitating this process to the benefit of both client and the selected candidate – a prime reason why our interest continues long beyond the appointment date. Close

Customer Service

We appreciate good service and we go out of our way to meet the needs of our clients and candidates. We try to develop a personal relationship with every person or organisation that we come into contact with.

Quality Assurance

As part of our commitment to professionalism and quality of service, we conduct independent post assignment audits and provide post appointment support. It is important to us to review and continually improve the service we offer – your feedback, and your continued success is of paramount importance to us.

Professional Integrity

We never approach a candidate who has been recruited by Thewlis Graham Associates and we do not approach anyone employed by a client Company during a three-year period from completion of the last assignment.

In addition, we guarantee our candidates for a period of twelve months following their appointment.

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Thewlis Graham Associates is committed to ensuring equality and diversity in all aspects of our work. Our Equal Opportunities policy is regularly reviewed and on the job training provided.

We are signatories to the REC Diversity Pledge, below:

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) - Diversity Pledge 2011

  • value and harness the differences between people, and the benefits that can be gained from those differences
  • actively seek to identify diverse candidate pools and promote their engagement
  • review all aspects of the employment process to eradicate unjustifiable discrimination
  • promote recruitment and selection best practice in accordance with our agreed standards, as set out in the support pack that accompanies this pledge; and
  • work with others to challenge discrimination where we find it

In addition, we are signatories to the voluntary code of conduct for search firms: - www.30percentclub.org.uk/executive-search-firms

Women on Boards

Sarah Thewlis has been actively involved in and supports the Female FTSE Reports from Cranfield.

In March 2014 the Recruitment and Employment Confederation produced the following report to which Sarah Thewlis contributed: - www.rec.uk.com/news-and-policy/press-releases/room-at-the-top-women-leaders-and-the-role-of-executive-search.

These activities give Thewlis Graham greater experience and knowledge of this topical issue and we have active networks of senior women to be approached as both Sources and Candidates.

How we care for candidates

Before interview stage:

All our candidates are spoken to personally by Sarah once we have their details and we are moving to interview stage. We encourage candidates to take advantage of Sarah’s incredible experience and knowledge to discuss the role and if they are the right fit for it. With this process if someone isn’t quite right for a particular role, we can advise them to wait for a more suitable one, ensuring time is not wasted.

During interview stage:

Our small but dedicated team personally handle the interview process both for the Thewlis Graham and the client interviews. We provide full details for the interviews, answer all questions and try to meet the needs of all candidates, communicating well and updating. Candidates have said that they feel well looked after and listened to in this part of the process.

After interview stage:

Following all interviews and at all stages of the process we update candidates on what is happening and aim to answer all questions as soon as we can. If something unexpected happens we try to accommodate the candidate’s needs to enable as smooth a process as possible. We ask for feedback once the process has been completed to help us monitor and evaluate what we do. We aim to keep in touch no matter the outcome.

Why choose us?

Our vision is to become the Search and Selection partner of choice and fundamental to achieving this is our dedication to clients and their success through the recruitment of exceptional talent. We guarantee to provide service of outstanding quality and will continue working with you until this is achieved.

We strive to surpass expectations, by going beyond the industry standard. In our role as trusted advisers, we provide a fresh approach that customises our services to match the exact requirements of our clients.

What makes us different:

  • A personalised, quality service
  • We invest time in fully understanding your exact requirements, working with key stakeholders and decision makers
  • Assistance and advice at every stage of the search process and beyond
  • Post-assignment support – the relationship doesn’t end on a candidate’s appointment nor completion of an agreed service
  • A dedicated team of senior consultants who will manage the assignment throughout
  • Advice and relevant industry insights
  • Competitive and affordable fees
  • We guarantee our candidates for a period of 12 months following their appointment
  • Additional services including leadership consultancy and facilitation

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Diversity and Inclusion

Sarah is passionate about equal opportunities for all. She works tirelessly to encourage more women on boards of directors and into senior roles which may have historically attracted more male candidates. As a Company we encourage our clients to advertise in diverse and inclusive recruitment sectors such as LGBT, Asian, Black and Disabled people.

We are working hard to actively encourage and increase diversity and inclusion in recruitment. Sarah is on the working board of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) which is all about brilliant recruitment, championing high standards for all and works to build better futures for all candidates and companies.

You can find out more here: www.rec.uk.com/about-us. Sarah also chairs the Employment Advisory Committee.

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