The Brief

Our latest client, Dar Group, is a leading professional services group with a diverse history and a global presence. Aiming to connect people, places and communities by providing innovative solutions to the world’s most complex engineering and design challenges, they seek to accelerate growth and advance excellence as a leading engineering, design, and management group through a unique four-pillar approach. They approached Cogito to obtain an insights-based approach, undertaking an Executive Search and Assessment. Having worked with them in previous projects, Cogito are a trusted partner of Dar Group.

Our client emphasised to Cogito that the search was very niche. They were not looking for a leadership search but rather a unique technical skill set seeking electrical or mechanical engineering knowledge. Combined with the ability to analyse large data sets and provide advisory services, Cogito was ready to face the challenges of such a niche search. 

What We Did

Our experts created bespoke research, insights, reporting and pricing model based on our client’s needs, identifying the talent they wanted to hire and gathering people and competitor data to shape their decision-making. Analysing data to present market and candidate trends, Cogito could assess a candidate’s competency and their ability to fit within the culture of Dar Group.

A talent map of 124 candidates were approached with tailored messages to ensure that the key benefits of working for our client were evident in our initial engagement. A competency-based screening of interested candidates followed this to create a qualified list of 6 individuals. Our client was also keen for the search to incorporate UK and UAE-wide geographies.


Cogito’s strategy was to adopt a three-phase approach:   

Phase 1: Engage

Cogito utilised a wide range of data sources and research methodology, expertly identifying the talent Dar Group wanted to hire, and provided various candidate and market insights to enable them to take the project forward without incurring future placement fees.

Phase 2: Identify

Blending our research and headhunt expertise, we identified and approached, confidentially where required, prospective candidates to understand their appetite for a career move, their suitability versus role pre-requisites and financial package detail. 

Phase 3: Assess

Our experienced senior-level interviewers conducted face-to-face interviews with candidates of most significant interest to our client’s leaders. We produced detailed interview reports, including competency-based scoring, to support our client’s evaluation of candidates in a Candidate Shortlist Report. 

The Outcome

The Candidate Shortlist Report was presented to our client, alongside insights relating to package, location, propensity to move and experience in a feedback session with our client in which the longlisted individuals were benchmarked and refined. Our report identified the following key insights:

  • Although candidates prefer remote learning options, they also appreciate working in an office setting. 94% desired a home working environment, and 81% wanted access to an office working space.
  • 94% of candidates said salary was an important factor when considering a new role.
  • The Building Services search identified that 70% were aged between 28 and 34. 90% were male.
  • Candidates in this market expected a significant pay rise to move jobs, on average £15k (almost 19% of the target salary).  

The individuals of most significant interest were interviewed by Cogito senior recruiters against a set of competency questions and agreed with our client. 

A shortlist of 6 candidates were presented to our client, of which one was pipelined for the future, one was offered the role but declined and one accepted the offer. 

Let Cogito Help You Engage With Your Next Senior Hire

Our dedicated Leadership Hiring and Intelligence team provides an innovative and insight-led search process, allowing us to find the best senior candidates for your role. Our expertise span any sector on an international scale, from senior roles to those hard-to-find skill-niche roles. We support our clients in making more informed decisions about senior positions, pay and candidates, improving return on investment from senior hiring and benchmarking projects. Our services are ideal for businesses that do not gain value from headhunter retainers and do not want to incur a cancellation fee when the headhunter fails to deliver. For further information on how Cogito can support your business, visit Leadership Hiring – Cogito ( or contact Mike Tonks

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