Case study: ORDRE

Recruiting for:

Chief Technology Officer


Central London

Nature of Search:

Confidential retained global search assignment

Why were we engaged?

Having engaged previously with ORDRE on several contingent tech roles, we were invited to bid for the assignment when the company became aware that their current CTO was leaving. Due to commercial sensitivities it was a necessity that the Search was in the hands of a team that was able to ensure the highest level of confidentiality whilst not letting it hinder the speed and efficiency of the process. Given our previous successes with roles of this nature and confidentiality, coupled with our watertight strategy, we were chosen as ORDRE’s Search partner.


“I recently engaged Emily on a confidential retained search to find us a new CTO. We had very clear ideas on the person specification which allowed for a relatively small pool of potential candidates. However, Emily quickly produced a strong shortlist of profiles and it was clear that she had represented our brand accurately and passionately on the market whilst being mindful of the commercial sensitivity of the search. I found Emily to be extremely proactive, energetic and collaborative, making sure the lines of communication were open with both and the candidates throughout the process. We now have an excellent CTO joining us who we are sure is going to make a real impact on the continued growth and success of our company. I would happily recommend Emily and TechNET CxO. Emily was a delight to work with.”  Mark Kelly, Chief Operating Officer, ORDRE


How did we do?

We kicked off the aptly named “Project Runway” Search Assignment at the beginning of March 2019 and quickly produced both confidential and non-confidential pitches, full candidate briefing packs and devised a longlist of 60 candidates that fit all criteria. Given the nature of the person specification, it meant that we were purely looking at a target company list of 56 high-end fashion brands with a focus on technology, so the candidate pool was relatively small.

Through continuous networking, head-hunting and sheer persistence, we managed to speak to 45 of the 60 target candidates by the second week of March, sending Non-Disclosure Agreements to our top 10 candidates and taking them through the assessment process swiftly. We were hyper-aware of the tight timelines so had three resources focussing solely on this assignment to ensure we were able to produce a comprehensive, researched and fully assessed shortlist on time.

We presented an initial shortlist of five fully vetted candidates by mid-March, complete with full Executive Summaries devised from TechNET CxO’s interview process. All five candidates were selected to interview with ORDRE, matching both technical and cultural requirements, each one exciting the COO and Founder for varying reasons. As a number of the candidates were located outside of the UK, we also ensured that they were fully versed and confident on relocation, cost of living and quality of life in London.

The challenge throughout the ORDRE interview process was the high level of international travel occurring for all three stakeholders involved. Nevertheless, we managed to assist ORDRE in scheduling meetings, travel arrangements and subsequently consulted through the brokerage of offer to the successful candidate, having an offer excepted and contracts signed by early-May. The total time to hire for the Search was 9 weeks, over-achieving on milestones and deadlines set during the initial briefing meetings.

Throughout the search process we supplied weekly reporting on candidate progress, engagement rates, competitor salary benchmarking, employer brand awareness and specific market insights, understanding the power of data to ORDRE for this search and for future hires.


What happened next?

Following the successful placement of the CTO, ORDRE was incredibly pleased with the way that we worked and engaged us to help build out the Tech and Product teams underneath him on an exclusive, contingent basis.


Our keys to success

  • In depth collaboration and consistent communication with the client, thoroughly understanding the history and aspirations of the company in order to deliver a compelling narrative to prospective candidates
  • Commitment to the person specification drawn up in the briefing meeting and a true understand of the type of individual that would fit the ORDRE culture, but also drive and encourage change
  • Absolute respect and adherence to the confidential nature of the search. This adds an extra layer of complexity when trying to target and attract candidates, so we had to be creative in the way that we were approaching individuals. We also have a separate CRM to the wider TechNET Group, and have a strict Chinese Wall policy in place to ensure no confidentiality breaches
  • Thorough assessment process and detailed knowledge of each candidates’ skills, personalities and achievements to ensure that each person on the shortlist would be an excellent hire
  • Really getting to know the client and each candidate. Caring about their dreams, fears and passions and acting as a true consultant and advisor to both sides at critical points