What is it like to work at GatenbySanderson?

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 7 Nov 2018


We spoke to Ella Milward Hamylton, partner and head of client delivery at GatenbySanderson to find out about the team culture and their current researcher job opportunities.  


Ella Milward Hamylton, partner and head of client delivery at GatenbySanderson


Tell me about GatenbySanderson and the work you do

Simply put, we find and develop some of the UK’s most senior leaders. We are the only executive search and people development business to focus solely on those working at the very top across government, the NHS, regulation, education, housing and not-for-profit. Working within some of the most complex, challenging and highly scrutinised environments, we identify current and future talent as well as running a range of consultancy led development programmes.

What exciting projects are you working on? 

Working at the most senior levels across government and public services means we are very lucky to be always working on high profile roles that make a difference. Many of the people we speak to as sources, candidates or referees will often be household names or those at the heart of policy or change initiatives. A current snapshot of active projects, for example, is the Ministry of Defence, Social Work England, The Open University, Unicef and the Church of England. A pretty eclectic mix.

How would you describe the team culture?

Having just come back from our Researcher annual away day that had a Sherlock type task, I can confidently say we embody our values of collaboration, curiosity and courage. We are naturally inquisitive and love an impossible challenge; we get plenty of those. We take our work seriously – who wouldn’t when you are dealing with roles that really matter – but we also share a lot of humour and laughter. Working together as an expert team, and not a collective of individual egos, is a massive positive at GS.

What roles are you recruiting for and what do they involve?

We are looking for both experienced researchers and those newer to the profession to join us. We have one of the UK’s largest in-house research team, over 20 in total working across public services.  We are often the relationship makers. Our primary role is to pinpoint potential candidates who best fit the client’s role profile. Finding this match is the challenge that makes every day different, every conversation stimulating and each successful appointment rewarding.

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What kind of people would suit these roles?

Intellectually curious people, who can think differently, make connections and are eager to understand more about how people tick. You need to be able to build relationships over the telephone and, critically, influence and encourage individuals to apply. We often approach potential targets who are not even considering a career move, so a confident and authoritative style is important along with attention to detail and resilience. Spotting trends, gathering insight and analysing market sectors is also a really interesting part of the role.

What challenges might the new recruits face in their roles?

Having the confidence to speak to experts and senior specialists in unique areas can be a little daunting. The work we do directly impacts some of the most influential roles in the country – roles that affect all of us, so it takes effort and commitment to build up knowledge and confidence. Tenacity and lateral thinking ensure that this knowledge comes quickly though, and it’s difficult to think of any other researcher role that is so rewarding or that can result in national changes to the world around us.

What career development and training opportunities do you offer?

We have recently introduced a researcher career framework to ensure a development plan is in place for each team member. This personal plan will seek to understand where you might want to progress -  whether this is becoming a sector expert; greater client interaction and delivery; or team leadership and mentoring – and what skills and experience you’ll need to get there. Our review and appraisal plan, along with our training modules ensures you stay on track. 

How would you describe a 'wonderful workplace'?

A ‘wonderful workplace’ to me is an environment where I feel valued and where my work makes a tangible difference. It’s where people take time to listen, share knowledge and want me to succeed. Where being challenged is balanced against the needs of my family and other demands on my time. As a parent of young children, my work and home will sometimes cross over and GS accommodates this. Here, I feel the contribution I can make comes first and foremost.

Find out more and apply for the senior candidate researcher - recruitment role at GantenbySanderson