If you are thinking about retaining an Executive Search firm or using one to aid with your Organisational Effectiveness, you probably have lots of questions. We can help you. Within our FAQs we cover retained search, executive recruiting, diversity, sustainability, Board recruitment and many more topics. If there is something we haven’t answered, please just get in touch.


Why should I hire an executive search firm?

It’s widely recognized that the best candidates are rarely actively looking for a new role, so it’s our job to go and find them for you. Recruiting talented senior leaders with a genuine vision to change the world and a specific skillset is a time consuming and complex task. By trusting Oxford HR with your senior appointment, you’ll be able to focus on the crucial work your organisation undertakes and be sure in that knowledge that you are going to get the best leader for the role.
All of our team have worked across the for-purpose sector, meaning we have first-class networks of potential candidates for your role. Our first search success rate is 92%, so you are in safe hands.

What makes Oxford HR different?

We specialize exclusively in the for-purpose sector, with the vision of a world that puts purpose before profit. Unlike many executive search firms, our team all have experience working for charities, UN agencies and INGOs, so really are the best placed people to help you find and retain exceptional leaders.

Where are you based?

We consider ourselves to be a truly international organisation. Whilst we are headquartered, as our name suggests, in Oxford in the UK, we also have offices in London, Amsterdam and Nairobi, with Associate presence in Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong Portugal, India, Morocco, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and Venezuela.

What is a retained search?

A retained search is where you use Oxford HR as your only search firm to find a role. We take great pride in our relationships with our clients and candidates and believe that through this and our extensive experience within the For-Purpose sector, we truly understand what it is you need. We interview all our candidates before presenting them to you, so we trust their ability and that they will be able to hit the ground running for your organisation. We are wholly invested in our search for you, so you get the perfect person for your role.

How do you approach Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity and Inclusion are a huge part of who we are; both internally within our teams and through the projects we run. We set ourselves our own target of presenting a longlist of at least 50% women and diverse candidates for each assignment. And it’s working well for us; last year, 67% of our globally placed candidates were women.

As a team we are made up of 14 nationalities and have recently delegated our own Diversity Officer to help further our own culture in this area. We are constantly learning and are keen to pass this knowledge on to our partner organisations and candidates.

What are you doing as a firm to reduce negative impact on the planet?

Oxford HR recognizes that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. Nearly all our work is digital, reducing printing costs and materials, and all our brochures are printed on FSC certified paper.

We all work flexibility, reducing our individual carbon footprints in terms of commuting and all of our offices run on clean energy. We also partner with Just One Tree, planting 25 trees per month, and additional trees for candidates we place, and we are currently in the process of applying for our B-Corp certification. You can find more about our environmental practice area here.

What are your fees/pricing structure?

We know that in current times, funding and budgets can be difficult, especially for nonprofit organisations. Our fees are reflective of this, are tailored for each assignment and are totally transparent, ensuring the highest quality service for your search.

How long does a search take?

Our search typically involves 6-8 weeks of desk research and another 2 additional weeks for interviewing and reporting. This, of course, all depends on availability of key stakeholders throughout the search process.

Do you advertise?

We will advertise your vacancy on a selection of free job boards, our LinkedIn networks and groups, and across our social media. If any further paid or print advertising is required, we can discuss these options with you.

What if you don’t find our ideal candidate?

In the unlikely event that we don’t find your ideal candidate with the first search, then Oxford HR will work with you to understand why this has happened and adapt and continue the search until we find the right person. However, our success rate for first time placements is 92%.

What if the placed candidate leaves after a few weeks?

If your placed candidate leaves your organisation before 26 weeks from the commencement of their role, then Oxford HR will carry out a new search for the replacement, free of charge.

Have you worked in my language or region before?

In the past 25 years we’ve completed assignments in over 70 countries, covering Europe, the US, Asia, MENA and Africa. We also have a number of Consultants and Researchers fluent in several languages.

What kind of roles can you help me with?

We specialize in senior, board and c-suite roles within the for-purpose sector. These might be technical specialist roles in a particular area such as General Counsel or Chief Technology Officer, or senior leadership positions including Chief Executive and General Secretary.

How do you integrate assessment into the process?

Our Organisational Effectiveness service is best placed by working with your organisation from the very outset of the search. This could be to appraise your operating culture and capabilities and devise ways that change and improve how the organisation works, to providing  diagnostic risk-assessments that identify those best able to lead, coaching programmes that quickly enhance the effect leaders have, and strategic team development that sharpens collective focus and impact.

Where do your consultants come from?

Our consultants have a range of backgrounds, from large multilateral banks and humanitarian aid organisations, to smaller NGOs and everything in between, spanning practice areas including environment and conservation, philanthropies and foundations, economic development, conflict resolution and education. These diverse experiences and global networks bring a wealth of knowledge to help you in your search. Our Team page can provide you with greater detail on individual consultants.

Can you help with Board Members and Trustees?

Yes! You can click here to find out more on our Board practice area.

What experience do you have finding candidates in areas where you have little presence?

Although we have an excellent network of Consultants globally, we are still able to reach candidates for your search in areas we are not physically present. We use state of the art digital tools to benefit from the networks of our Consultants and experts to increase our reach, all contacts from which flow into our global database which can be accessed at any time and anywhere. We also work globally across all timezones, to identify and attract the best talent available.


How are you different from a traditional recruiter?

Executive search focuses on the organisation side of recruitment; we work with our clients to identify candidates for their role, rather than working with candidates to find them jobs. If you’re looking to find a leader for your organisation, you’ll want to be sure you’ve identified the very best candidates; our mission, and passion, is to do just that. Oxford HR also supplements our search with our Organisational Effectiveness services, which you can find here.

Can you help me find a job?

Unfortunately, we do not work with individuals looking for jobs. That being said, our open roles can be found on our vacancy page and by joining our database, you may be contacted if your experience matches our assignments. Click here to register for our weekly job alerts and monthly newsletters to keep up to date on the assignments we’re working on.

Why do I keep getting rejected?

Job markets in the current climate can be incredibly competitive. Don’t be discouraged if you’re rejected for a specific role and always ask for feedback to give you some insight into how you can improve in either your skills or interview technique.

Where do I find guidance on preparing an application?

Our advice on CV and statement writing can be found in our candidate resources here.

Can you give me free career advice?

Unfortunately, our consultants do not offer a career advice service.

How can I move into the for-purpose/international development sector?

For more information on how to move into these sectors, click here.