I grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands and was fortunate enough to go to the excellent local grammar school. My parents had moved up to the Midlands from the South East in the mid-’70s. I then studied Human Geography at Aberystwyth. As well as deciding to support my father’s football team (Chelsea – not so good in the 80’s and 90’s but brilliant ever since!) I’ve inherited his workaholic nature – in my early years, I’d earn extra pocket money by washing neighbours cars, cleaning brass doorsteps and delivering newspapers before getting a part-time job in the local supermarket at the age of 16. During school holidays I’d work as many hours as possible – including weeks of night-shifts!
Following graduation in 1999, I began my career in recruitment in 2000, moving into executive search a year later as a Senior Consultant with the European division of a major US-listed head-hunting firm. Between 2006 – 2018 I worked for two leading boutique executive search firms. I've not always been comfortable with the way recruitment companies have behaved - in my opinion, they've sometimes not had the clients and individual’s best interests at heart. They’ve made short-sighted decisions to benefit their business as opposed to doing what’s right in order to develop a long-term relationship. I had a vision as to how executive search should be done. Realising, unlike much of the recruitment industry, that the responsibility of helping people's careers (and by extension their families) along with ensuring companies could recruit the best, should be done in the most thorough, professional, honest & fair way possible. Not a dash for cash, throwing mud at the wall, cutting corners, KPI focused, uncaring approach that others seemed fixated on.
Outside of work I have a busy life with four children. Thankfully I also have a fantastic wife! I like most sports, but particularly rugby (Wasps season ticket holder and I coach the minis at my children’s club), football (as mentioned Chelsea – a claim to fame is having interviewed former Chairman Ken Bates as part of my dissertation!) and cricket. I like to exercise and will be found in my home gym very early every morning. I also enjoy a bit of baking and cooking. Therefore, the more I exercise the more I can enjoy the results of my exploits in the kitchen! I’m interested in global politics, history, psychology and business culture & leadership and try to read as much as I can about this during the little spare time I have. Religion and faith is also important to me and my family - we're proud to be practicing Catholics.
When Wilson Brook started it was just Neil, but given the growth we've experienced there's now a small team consisting of:
Nick Hardy: Head of Research – leads all the initial research on our assignments, building target lists, and making initial approaches. Email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Zac Frost: Research Consultant – Supports Nick with research on both assignments and from a business development perspective. Email via email@example.com
Nancy Wilson Research Consultant Supports Nick with research on both assignments and from a business development perspective. Email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Lambert: Senior Consultant – supports on assignments across all our sectors whilst also developing supply chain, logistics and warehouse automation as a sector and functional specialism. Email email@example.com, call on
07517 470025 or alternatively you can use the below link to view his calendar link and schedule a mutually convenient time for a call. This way you'll avoid any voicemail tennis.
Visit his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-lambert-b483181a8/
Niki Bardsley: PA/Office Manager – helps confirm and coordinate interviews whilst keeping on top of all the admin! Email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Research & Process
In the past I’ve worked with in-house researchers. As good as a couple of them were, none conducted the initial research and approach to the same standards in terms of quality and thoroughness as I would have done. In many of those assignments, I’ve completed my own additional research with the short-list of candidates often coming from my work alone. A common complaint with many of the large executive search firms (and even some of the not so large!) is that whilst a senior person takes the brief, the assignment is then passed over to a very junior and inexperienced researcher to deliver.
Here at Wilson Brook, we have a small focused team with Neil leading every assignment from start to finish. His network is pretty good, but he doesn't know everyone. Nick Hardy is Head of Research, supported by Zac Frost and Nancy Wilson. They help build the target lists utilising multiple sources and various means to ensure no stone is left unturned to identify the best possible people that fit the brief. We then attempt to contact them - ideally by phone in the first instance, but if that doesn't work then via email or LinkedIn. Neil and Senior Consultant Matthew Lambert conduct initial screening calls before taking those who are suitable and interested into a more detailed process, including face to face interviews, reference checking (pre-shortlist wherever possible) and various assessments (personality, situational judgment, management & leadership, numerical and verbal - all included within the fixed fee!)
The service and support (to you and the candidate) doesn't stop there - resignation support to minimise the risk of counter-offer, securing an early release where possible and guidance to ensure a successful transition and an early positive impact.