This week we catch up with Daniel Glyn-Jones a senior consultant at London-based executive search agency Merlinspencer. According to the firm's website, Merlinspencer specialises in key appointments within "Management Consultancies, Boutiques, System Integrators, Outsourcers and FTSE 100 Internal Consulting divisions".
Daniel manages some of their key clients. He has deep industry knowledge within the financial services sector and offered us some great insights into the role of a headhunter and how MBAs can utilize them.
What type of roles do you specialize in recruiting?
Merlinspencer is a London based executive search firm. We work with two of the Big 4 Advisory and a number of boutique professional services firms across Financial Services. We are best known for the work we do at executive levels. As our executive network looks to build their own teams and practices we are their first port of call for help to identify and secure top talent
How do you find suitable candidates?
We work mainly by referral which means that actively maintained and long-standing relationships are our life blood. The relationships begin from good advice based on our market knowledge which ultimately builds the foundations for us to be used as a ‘sounding board’ when people are seeking their next consulting move, pay rise or promotion.When people are referred to us, we meet and interview them providing critical feedback and advice.
How easy is it for you to find referees?
The Senior members of our team all have over 10 years of executive search experience and through this have established networks across consulting. We have a well maintained map of the market and at the start of a new search, our first conversations are with established contacts with whom we enjoy a great deal of mutual trust.
If someone is at the entry stages of their career we try to maintain a close relationship with them, keep tabs on how they grow and progress and monitor what direction they would like to take their career in. Whenever they are ready to move we will be there to help them.
How common is an MBA with the candidates you’ve worked with?
About a quarter of our junior candidates have MBAs while a significant proportion of our senior candidates have MBAs. The key thing is the experience these candidates have also gathered pre- and post- their MBA. Often many of our candidates have come from very technical backgrounds such as Engineering and want to improve their commercial awareness in order to move their careers forward. In these cases the MBA certainly gives them a lot more credibility.
Do you have any advice for MBAs looking to get hired as senior level executives?
A candidate stands out more when they know what direction they want their career to take. Emphasising skills relevant for the job you’re going for gained from prior non-MBA experiences is important. Also important is to build a good network of pertinent contacts in your chosen field. People who already have a name for success in their domain.
My advice is to be picky and network selectively in a targeted fashion in person more than via internet. A good network will keep you well informed with current news and opportunities. Lastly I would add that it’s important to recognise that the MBA alone will not secure the dream job, potential consulting employers will still greatly value deep market knowledge and if possible industry experience.
What is the current hiring climate like within consultancy?
Some sectors are doing really well. We’re seeing a lot of activity across financial services and energy. The large-scale regulatory changes and market volatility within financial services are seemingly driving consulting led transformation programmes with some urgency.