The Brief

Our client is one of the UK’s best-known fire safety and security solutions providers for businesses and organisations nationwide, protecting their customers with essential systems, equipment and services. They approached Cogito to undertake an Executive Search and Assessment for a General Manager position in Scotland.

Our client emphasised to Cogito that it was likely to be a challenging assignment, as specific industry and leadership experience was required. They were keen for us to understand the importance of the role for their business, which, as a result, required a combination of detailed operational and industry knowledge.  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. We identified the talent they wanted to hire and gathered people and competitor data to shape their decision-making. Due to the nature of the role, the briefing session was highly detailed to understand how the candidate would fit into our client’s company culture. Cogito always aim to obtain a clear identification of our client’s ideal candidate. This involves a willingness to have many conversations with key stakeholders until we are confident in our search. This project was no exception!

Cogito conducted a multi-tiered search covering building services, facilities management and fire and security companies. This included General Managers, Managing Directors and Business Development Directors. It was essential that the clients confidentiality was respected during this initial outreach and assessment process. As a result, a competency-based screening of interested candidates followed this to create a qualified list of three individuals.

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

Phase 1: Engage

Cogito utilised a wide range of data sources and research methodology. We expertly identified the talent our client 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 confidentially identified and approached prospective candidates to understand their appetite for a career move. We also identified 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. 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 were also presented. Our report identified the following key insights:

  • There was a limited community of relevant candidates in the local region for this assignment with very little diversity and a relatively level market for total reward.
  • If candidates wanted to earn more, they would have to consider a role with a broader geographical remit and significant travel.
  • In general, Operations Managers / Directors didn’t demonstrate the business and commercial growth experience that was required for the opportunity offered by our client.
  • Our insights gave a positive review of the bonus structure compared to our client’s competitors and other industries.
  • Our research also aligned the salary expectations to the role and a positive brand reputation. This provided valuable insight that our client can develop further for future attraction campaigns.

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

Two of the three shortlisted candidates presented to our client were not considering changing roles at the start of this process. However, through detailed insights, Cogito sought to excite them about this new opportunity.

Cogito Offer A Value For Money Search Process

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.

An Alternative Approach To Headhunt

Adopting a flexible approach, our expert iHeadhunt team will allow you to engage directly with senior leaders and specialists based on your capability, goals and budget. We provide a front-end search with the option to continue with the shortlist or to continue our assessment. We don’t charge placement fees. Instead, we use the strength of our mapping and insights to provide a refined candidate list, eliminating the worry of rising headhunt search fees.

For further information on how Cogito can support your business, visit Leadership Hiring – Cogito (

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