Our Executive Search Process

Here at Rowan we pride ourselves on nurturing deep, long-standing, collaborative relationships with our clients. We believe that the only way we can get the best results is if we treat your business as if it were our own, and to do that we have a tried and tested process that we apply to every single search assignment. The process typically involves:


Sometimes our clients know what position they’re looking to appoint and what the candidate’s responsibilities should be, but sometimes their requirements can be more abstract.

Often, a client will just tell us that they’re looking to ‘improve their Finance function’ or ‘streamline operational processes.’

Regardless of how complete the brief is, we always work very closely with our clients to define responsibilities, key attributes, sector expertise, cultural alignment, managerial style and any other criteria, which we feel will help us to deliver the right candidate, first time.

We often redraft this briefing document several times based on clients’ input, to ensure it is a fair and accurate representation of the appointment they want to make.


Our professional Researchers are our ‘eyes and ears’ in the marketplace. They stay on top of appointments, promotions, acquisitions, buyouts and deals in their market vertical, and manage a pool of senior, relevant candidates, often over years and multiple career moves.

Our network is extensive and comprehensive, so there’s a good chance that we already know the right candidate, and can engage with them easily. However, sometimes we will have to go out to market to engage with the right candidate for a particular mandate.

When this is the case we scour the marketplace, using the latest in search technology and methodology to uncover those candidates that often don’t advertise their availability, or weren’t proactively looking for a change. Our ‘Search’ process is extensive and we leave no stone unturned – if the right candidate is out there, we will find him or her!


At this stage, we’ve found the candidates that are at the required level and have the right professional skill set, and have created a longlist of potential appointees.

This is when we conduct several in-depth, meticulous competency-based interviews (CBIs) with each candidate. We really try to get ‘under the skin’ of the individual, assessing not just professional suitability but temperament, cultural alignment, ambitions, leadership style and personality.

This process is supplemented with in-depth, professional references and finally, our best-in-class assessment tool, Cognite.


Only when we’re 100% confident that we’ve done everything we can to find and assess the best candidates will we send over our final shortlist. We do not work to quotas – the shortlist could contain anywhere between 2-6 candidates, but it always consists of individuals whom we feel could do the job to the requisite standard and add value to your organisation.

Our process has been developed, refined and proven over more than a decade in the North-West market, and our success rate for filling Director and Board-level assignments is close to 100%.


You’ve interviewed the shortlisted candidates, taken into consideration their Cognite behavioural profiles and professional attributes, and decided on the best one for the job.

We will present your offer transparently to your preferred candidate, along with all benefits.

It’s easy to think that it’s ‘smooth sailing’ from here, however, there are some pitfalls to consider, which we will manage for you, such as counter-offers, as great candidates are valuable to a business.

When we’re sure that the candidate is happy with the offer and ready to make the move, we will discuss and decide on a suitable start date, and communicate this to you as soon as possible.

Post Appointment:

We’re confident in the quality of our candidates and service, and we always aim to build lasting relationships.

The final third of our fee is only payable after 3 months’ successful, continuous employment, and we will also conduct a formal review with both yourself and the new appointee, to assess progress.

We also offer a 12-month candidate replacement period; if your new appointee leaves within 12 months (subject to Ts and Cs), we will find another suitable candidate, free of charge.

It also makes us happy to see our clients enjoying ongoing success and business growth!