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Ayming Case Study

Article Background


Ayming is a Global Advisory Business, based in London Bridge, focussed on improving business performance in three key areas: 

  1.   Finance and Innovation
  2.   HR
  3.   Operations

With presence across 16 countries throughout Europe, North America and Asia, Ayming have built a client base ranging in size from start-ups through blue chip businesses. In each case, regardless of location or client turnover, Ayming are committed to defining their service in three key factors:

  1.   Secure - managing and preventing risks
  2.   Accelerate - optimising processes, organisational structure and financing
  3.   Anticipate - identifying and capitalising on opportunities for business growth and improvement


Following the resignation and impending departure of the R&D Tax leader, Ayming reached out to Pro-Tax’s Partner Search team to find the next leader of this growing R&D tax practice, having used us widely on many of their recruitment needs previously.  Although Ayming has a very capable internal recruitment and HR team, a position of this nature required a proactive approach to the market, ensuring that all suitable candidates were approached, thereby guaranteeing that the incoming leader would be the best that the market had to offer.


There were many ways in which I could have approached the recruitment process for Ayming: contingent fee-based, exclusive or retained to name a few; however, a hire of this calibre – like many of my senior placements – required that the successful candidate needed to be the very best the market had to offer, so a retained search made sense for a few reasons:

  1.   Time Constraints – replacing a key leader in an organisation requires urgency to ensure minimal disruption to client processes and internal structures. A contingent-based search, during a time that the market is actively looking for a similar skill set, will find the business in competition with other businesses which inevitably lengthens the process – a factor which is reduced on a retained basis
  2.   Accuracy & Sensitivity – when looking for a senior hire who will ultimately be heading up a business unit, it’s essential that the practice is represented accurately in all aspects – from the reason for the vacancy and vision of the business to the revenues and responsibilities of the candidate. Many agencies on one role can “muddy” the message that’s being sent out to the market, which could be detrimental to the image and brand. Going retained meant that Ayming could control what was being said in the market
  3.   Right of first refusal – a retained search ensured that Ayming saw all appropriate candidates before any other competitor in the market. The benefits are apparent as they had the opportunity to engage with the candidates and “sell” themselves before the candidates were meeting with similar businesses for similar roles – a huge advantage when working with high-quality candidates


  1.   Fact-finding – a meeting with Martin Hook, Ayming’s MD, allowed us to gather all relevant information to ensure accuracy in the profile of candidate they were looking for, but also in respect of the responsibilities of the future R&D tax leader 
  2.   Planning – before setting to search, I planned how we would be most successful, setting realistic timelines for targets and outlining how to best represent Ayming in the market
  3.   Map the Market – using various resources - database, network, proactive headhunting – I set out to “paint a picture” of what the senior R&D tax market looked like in the UK at the time, across the Big 4, Top 10 and boutique practices. This provided Ayming with an accurate and up to date analysis of leadership at the highest levels, but also the responsibilities and team structures of their direct competition
  4.   Meet the candidates – it’s essential to meet all candidates in any recruitment process
  5.   Submission of the shortlist – once I had generated a shortlist of qualified and interested candidates, I submitted this to Ayming for “right of first refusal”, where Martin and his team decided who they wanted to meet based on their CV and our impressions from the meeting


Ayming settled on five candidates from which they wanted to meet to discuss the opportunity. We coordinated the process for all parties involved, including booking all interviews, preparing candidates and client for the interviews, collecting and relaying feedback and managing expectations so far as responsibilities, salary expectations and start dates were concerned. Martin and the team whittled the shortlist to one candidate who stood out above the rest, and after three or four further stages, including a business plan discussion and meeting the Chairman of Ayming, an offer was extended to the candidate who accepted.  This was a crucial hire to Ayming, at a time when the market was scarce of good, active candidates, and in an industry in which “everyone-knows-everyone”. We needed to structure the search to best reflect the interest of Ayming, but also find the most appropriate candidate and look forward to seeing the continued success of the practice.