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Paul Howard
Paul Howard

Managing Partner

Helping to smooth the transition into new executive roles

The first 12 to 18 months of performing any new leadership role can be particularly gruelling for incoming talent. As well as settling into a new organisation and role, new leaders face considerable pressure to perform, alongside a range of business challenges and often-conflicting business interests.


To smooth this transition many executive search firms pledge to follow up with clients and placed candidates once they settle in, but these good intentions don’t always amount to action. Gerard Daniels, however, sees great value in supporting and connecting regularly with hiring managers and placed candidates throughout the all-important first year on the job (and beyond).

According to Paul Howard, a Partner at Gerard Daniels, this process is an important part of the Firm’s operations. “Reaching out to clients and candidates after placement helps us to see how they are adjusting to their new role,” says Paul. “It also gives hiring managers the opportunity to provide honest feedback on how a candidate is performing and fitting in.”

Follow-up happens one month, three months, six months and 12 months after placement. “Internally we call this our Post-Placement Program, but really it’s just how we do business,” says Paul. “It’s part of our DNA.”

For hiring managers this program provides greater accountability and assurance. Candidates also appreciate the ongoing interest in their placement experience, and the insight and support the program offers as they navigate their new work environment.

Building stronger, longer relationships

As well as supporting clients and candidates, this program creates considerable value for the Firm in developing its many longstanding relationships. “Our clients and candidates are genuinely important to us, and we take pride in building deep and productive relationships with them,” says Paul.

“Making time to reach out periodically after placements is essential for growing these connections,” Paul continues. “The fact that so many of our candidates stay with us, often throughout several career changes, and that our clients keep coming back is testament to this approach and the relationships that we build.”

Ensuring smooth transitions

In stepping into new roles leaders often tend to be across all of the technical and operational requirements – it’s the softer aspects of a role and an organisation that can take some getting used to. Acting independently, Gerard Daniels helps clients and candidates to bridge this gap.

“Having longstanding relationships with many of our clients puts us in good position to help candidates understand what motivates certain client decisions and processes, and to create some transparency around the key relationships they will need in the new role,” says Paul. “We can also help candidates to make sense of the cultural drivers and the nuances of working within these organisations.”

A sounding board during uncertain times

Starting a new leadership role during 2020 presented some unique challenges for businesses and placed candidates. Very early on during this period many leaders were learning how to work effectively from home, settling into new roles and having to adhere to highly restrictive and frequently changing operating conditions.

“During this period people were experiencing much higher levels of isolation and fear,” says Paul. “Reaching out gave people a platform for off-loading some of their stresses and concerns.”

“It was also interesting to share in their experiences as most people were going through exactly the same challenges, at exactly the same time,” Paul continues. “Connecting with people actually became quite a levelling and uniting experience for me.”

Although clients and candidates are told about Gerard Daniels’ Post Placement Program very early on during any engagement, many people still seem surprised when the Firm reaches out. “I don’t think that many clients or candidates actually believe we will check in with them again,” says Paul. “But not reconnecting following placement, would seem like such a lost opportunity for everyone involved.”

Paul’s own experience has been overwhelmingly positive so far – both personally and for the clients and candidates that he supports. “We invest in this program because these relationships really do matter to us,” says Paul. “We also understand the importance of making sure that the candidates we place today remain a good fit, long after the dust has settled.”

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