Elite Search Partners Opens Doors in London

Matthew Eley and his team help search firms find talent, in addition to providing market insights and consulting services. “In a market overly concerned with tradition and maintaining outdated processes,” he says, “we bring a new energy.”

March 30, 2023 – Many companies are struggling to keep up with the changing world of work and the uncertainties of today’s business world in general. Executive search firms, new and old, have always served as a key support system for these organizations as they continue to need top talent to adapt.

Last November, Matthew Eley launched Elite Search Partners in London, with the mission of helping search firms themselves find talent. “Our dedicated consultants have a successful track record of sourcing and placing partners, managing partners, associates, and researchers globally,” said Mr. Eley. “In addition to our retained services, we provide regular market insights and consultation to both existing and prospective clients on the latest market trends, competitor activities, and in a market overly concerned with tradition and maintaining outdated processes, we bring a new energy.”

Mr. Eley primarily focuses on the U.K. and European markets across multiple sectors. He is joined by senior consultant Reece Moran, who heads up the growth of the North American market. Working across multiple industries within those geographies, Mr. Moran specializes in partner, managing partner, and C-level searches.

Mr. Eley recently told Hunt Scanlon Media that executive search firms continue to expand and that this is keeping his firm busy. “The demand for strong originating partners is as high as ever, firms are simply becoming more diligent with their hiring decisions,” he said. “Executive search firms are still looking to bring in top-tier talent who can bring a specialized network/book of business to a new firm.”

“In addition, I am seeing a desire for many firms to diversify their revenue streams, building out new areas such as interim for example,” said Mr. Eley. “Search firms who have historically focused on one core market are now looking to expand into other regions/sectors/functions, allowing them to be more versatile and service their clients on a number of fronts. It also goes without saying that the need the push on diversity and inclusion is as prevalent as ever. In my opinion, this can only have positive connotations for the industry moving forward.”

Mr. Eley recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss what led to the launch of his firm, plans for growth, and what he is anticipating in 2023.

Matthew Eley
          Matthew Eley

Matthew, what led to you getting into the executive search sector?

Initially, it was an accident! I was working in the leadership market but focused primarily on contingent recruitment firms in the U.K. As part of my search for a position I came across an executive search partner with whom I went on to speak at length – we discussed all aspects of executive search; the types of roles/organizations he works with; the level of detail/quality involved in a search, fee levels, etc.; and I quickly became fascinated. I subsequently went on to research and map the market…and quickly realized how under-serviced the search-to-search market is and the opportunity for a new, high quality service provider specializing at the partner level. I went to my boss at the time with the idea of building out the S2S market, and the rest is history, as they say.

What are some things that set your firm apart from others?

The speed at which we work is unseen anywhere else in the market. However, the processes we have developed over the years enable us to keep quality high. Elite Search Partners brings a refreshing new approach to search-to-search, which we feel has become a lethargic market with unnecessarily long lead times. We have developed an incredibly strong network of top-tier originators globally; this allows us to complete a thorough long-list of candidates within one week of commencing a search. Elite Search Partners operates with pace whilst maintaining precision, enabling us to fill key hires for our clients quickly and efficiently. We have successfully completed more than 65 partner level searches spanning four continents over the past 18 months, all revenue originators who generate in excess of £100 million worth of revenue annually between them.

What positions and sectors are currently the busiest for your firm?

Partner and regional managing partner positions across a variety of sectors are very busy for us currently – especially across the U.K. and Central Europe. Elite Search Partners is currently finalizing managing partner searches in the U.K., France, and Germany. Meanwhile in the U.S., we are seeing a growing demand for partners specializing in life sciences, financial officers, technology, and private equity in particular.

Do you have any expansion plans in the near future?

Absolutely. Elite Search Partners will expand the team progressively in line with our pipeline of work to ensure a quality service for our clients. We are bringing in a number of researchers currently and specializing them in particular markets/sectors. For some of our key clients who we service globally, we are looking at bringing in researchers who are specifically dedicated to that account, a true specialist in that business and their requirements to ensure a pristine level of service.

“Elite Search Partners brings a refreshing new approach to search-to-search, which we feel has become a lethargic market with unnecessarily long lead times.”

Explain how you find candidates and present them to your clients.

Over the last two and a half years, we have developed a full market map globally not just for firms but also for prospective candidates globally. We have thousands of candidates, broken down by region, sector, function, experience, etc. When taking a brief from a client, we are able to leverage this research and efficiently create a longlist specific to the client need. After qualifying prospective candidates, we will either present them to clients as a search progresses or generate a shortlist and present all candidates simultaneously. For each candidate that fits the brief, we write up an in-depth summary of their profile for the clients review prior to scheduling a first-stage interview. This includes key factors such as their performance to date, markets/sectors, package, reason for leaving current firm, etc. – we ensure the client has the full picture with every detail from the beginning of the process.

What do you do to prepare a diverse slate of candidates to clients? 

When sourcing, Elite Search Partners always makes sure to look at candidates from a range of backgrounds. We ensure a minimum of 200 to 250 candidates per longlist initially and add to this whilst the search is ongoing. The client has live access to the list by which they can add comments (as do we) whilst the search progresses. We also split the candidates by their priority and by a number of other elements. In addition, we include a section on candidates who may not be a perfect fit for the brief, but whom we think the client will be interested in for other reasons based on our intrinsic understanding of their culture/values. For example, this could be people within our network who have a consulting focus rather than search and share a client base with the firm we are recruiting for. Therefore, a placement could transition into our client and develop a consulting practice relatively smoothly due to their overlapping relationships.

Related: Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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