“The key to successful recruitment is finding the match between the ambition of the individual and the needs of the business. Gordon has that rare gift of being able to interpret both sides of this equation accurately.
On many occasions I have met people he has interviewed, whose confidence in the process is very high, because they have spoken to someone who has clearly demonstrated insight into their situation. Having been on that side of the fence with him myself, that is also my personal experience.
As a procurer of Gordon’s services, I have found him perhaps the easiest person to brief. He is able to navigate without difficulty, a consequence of a strong character and a career in senior management.”
Tony Lochery, Former Group MD, Kwik-Fit and Chairman of Golden Charter
“I was very impressed with Gordon’s professional approach, his business acumen, and his insight into the individual members of the team. His work provided me with a solid foundation on which to base important decisions.”
Graeme Bissett, Chairman, Curo Compensation
““I have known Gordon Cairns for over thirty years and would unhesitatingly vouch for his honesty, integrity, passion and compassion. He is an outstanding individual with real insight into people.”
Sir Bill Gammell, Chief Executive, Cairn Energy
“Many search consultants merely talk about understanding their client’s organisation and culture. But Gordon Cairns genuinely does. He sees a long-term business relationship with his clients as much more important than a single assignment and I value and respect his advice, particularly as he has real senior commercial experience prior to entering recruitment.”
John Brodie, Chief Executive, Scotmid
“Gordon has been our executive search consultant for all senior appointments over the last ten years. With an astute ability to filter and select the most appropriate candidates for your business needs, Gordon is the epitome of professionalism in the executive search sector.”
Fiona Dewar, Joint MD, Vets Now (Best Company, Sunday Times Entrepreneur Award, Scotland)
“Not only was Gordon meticulous in understanding our business, culture and skill set requirements, he was also exceptionally proactive and candid in his guidance throughout the search process.“
Jim McFarlane, Founder and MD, Endura (2014 UK National Winners of HSBC Global Connections)
“I have found the coaching sessions with Gordon incredibly helpful. His depth of business experience, combined with a great listening and questioning style, sets him apart. I know l will gain enormously, both in business and personal terms, from the time I spend with him.”
Glen Gribbon, Director, Blended Scotch, Edrington Group
“As my coach, Gordon brings the benefit of all his years of experience in business and in managing people. He challenges and supports you. At the same time, he listens and gives calm, dependable advice to help you deliver the “day job” while growing both yourself and your business.”
Fiona Doherty, Port Manager, Ports of Leith, Rosyth & Burntisland, Forth Ports Limited
I found Gordon’s coaching sessions very therapeutic as he has the rare quality of being an attentive listener. However, with his extensive experience within the business world, he is also very effective at giving useful insights and a great deal of support when it is needed.
As a result of working with Gordon, my self-confidence has increased as well as my skills and ability in being able to tackle various communication challenges within the working environment. There are various phrases of Gordon’s that I find spring to mind in certain situations and he is very generous with his time and energy should a crisis arise and support is needed. I can highly recommend working with Gordon as a business coach or consultant if you want long-lasting results and an excellent mentor.
Jenny Guyat, Head of Customer Development, Vets Now
Over 30 years, we had built up a successful business with annual sales over £10m and 120 employees. However, after a large expansion programme, closely followed by the financial crisis, our company was faced with some significant challenges. Fortunately for us, we met Gordon.
Following our initial conversation, he quickly assessed our position, and drew up an action plan to stabilise and grow the Company. Within a few months, we could see light at the end of the tunnel. We are now on a solid footing with increased turnover, profits, and staff morale.
Gordon’s people management skills, his knowledge of company law and finance, and his business experience make him stand out in all fields. We just wish we had found him when planning our initial expansion programme. He is a gentleman and a pleasure to work with.
Mark Murphy, Founder and MD, Mark Murphy and Partner Ltd
“We are a young, growing company. Gordon has been of immense assistance to us, acting as a business partner whose commercial advice we value.”
Gervase Cottam, Chief Executive, Genius Foods
We engaged Gordon for the recruitment of a Strategy Director in Scottish Widows. He successfully identified an excellent shortlist, of the highest intellectual calibre, from strategy consulting firms such as McKinsey’s. The successful candidate has fully met our expectations.
Jim McConville, Finance Director, Scottish Widows
Gordon worked with me on a demanding assignment in a £1billion car retailing business which required an immediate response and results. His industry background was an invaluable ingredient and we quickly targeted the right profiles for key appointments, including the Group Managing Director. Gordon is one of the most accomplished professionals in his market, with a blend of professional, commercial and recruitment experience. His commercial perspective, professionalism and empathy all contributed to a successful outcome.
David Giffin, Global Head of Portfolio Management, RBS
Gordon Cairns has represented the SQA on many senior assignments over the last twelve years. Such searches have included the recruitment of our last two Chief Executives.
He is our executive search consultant of first choice because of his commitment, skill, professionalism, and utter reliability. Very thorough in all aspects of a search, particularly at the briefing stage, his senior management experience allows him to judge a candidate’s fit, both with the requirements of a role and the culture of our organisation.
Knowing that he is a consummate professional, and always acts with the utmost integrity, minimises the time and stress otherwise created during a critical appointment process.
Candidates often report back to me on their experience during a search. It is invariably positive, reflecting Gordon’s care, insight, and incisiveness during his screening. Throughout the candidate handling process, he represents our organisation well, and this attracts candidates of the highest calibre.
Maidie Cahill, Director of Corporate Services, Scottish Qualifications Authority
I was surprised, at first, by the style and content of the interview which Gordon undertook when I applied for the post of CEO. Surprised at the depth of detail he wanted to understand, not just about my experience and skills, but also about my style and business ethos.
On reflection, after the interview, I realised just how important that was – for the organisation to know the style, approach and skills of the CEO. And also because I left the interview feeling – this is an organisation I really want to work for.
It was probably the most testing interview in that it pushed me into explaining who I was and what I believed in, just as much as it pushed me to give very specific examples to prove my competency. Both during that interview, and throughout the appointment process, Gordon was completely professional, whilst at the same time providing a supportive and friendly link that ran throughout the other interviews and decision-making process.
Aileen Ponton, Chief Executive, SCQF
Throughout the recruitment process, I was privileged to experience Gordon’s professional service, among the best I have known. His interview was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.
The quality, professionalism and commitment shown by him, and his undoubted talent at identifying the personal characteristics required to deliver the right result for an organisation, are a true testament to his ability as a Search Consultant.
Brian Lister, Former Chief Executive, Edinburgh College
As a candidate, dealing with many recruiters can be a painful experience. They are unable to disguise their focus on their fee and act in a manner which leaves you battered and bruised.
With Gordon, the approach was refreshingly different. He understood the cultural issues and aspirations of his client and I was able to ask probing questions and receive comprehensive answers. This positioning had an interesting effect on me. It made the whole experience feel far more personal and fulfilling.
I was very impressed by Gordon’s commitment to the project. I believe that he can be trusted 100% to deliver exactly what the client has asked for.
Nick Bennett, Operations Director, Royal Bank Car Division
From the outset, I was struck by the clarity with which Gordon explained the search and by the extent to which he clearly understood the concerns and needs of candidates. The interview, to which he devoted two hours, was an interesting, enjoyable and challenging session, which unquestionably whetted my appetite for the SSE role.
But what marked Gordon out most of all was the initial approach: if potential candidates do not respond to that, they are lost to the process. He made the approach with subtlety, discretion and tact, but in a way which made the role at SSE seem very exciting indeed. That’s what made a critical difference to me
Alan Young, Director of Corporate Communications, Scottish and Southern Energy
One of the many positive factors about Gordon was that he wanted to understand me as an individual. He undertook to discover what my strengths and weaknesses were and how I could fit into an organisation without forcing the ‘fit’.
Brian Aird, Finance Director, Wood Mackenzie
Joining my Young Enterprise team at a late stage in the competition, Gordon had his work cut out for him in assisting the team. But he was quick to get stuck in and advise/mentor the team as a whole, as well as individuals.
I found Gordon to be a very proactive person and an extremely hard worker. He was great at forwarding ideas to our team and teaching us along the way. Gordon was fantastic at working with me, being understanding, and I quickly saw that he was a great listener and would take all feedback on board. Not only did he listen well, he would act upon what he heard.
As a coach, mentor and advisor, Gordon couldn’t have a better skillset and his listening abilities are by far his most valuable. I highly recommend Gordon and thank him for his past and continuing support and advice.
Dominic Simmons, MD, Pearllery (Winner, Young Enterprise Scotland, Lothian Region)
Gordon has supported me as a mentor throughout my management programme at Street League. He has offered a lot of support, as well as his own time, in giving me insight into management and strategic planning when working for a charity at a critical time of growth.
I find Gordon a very good listener and appreciate his person- centred approach when giving advice on both personal and professional matters.
Gordon’s flexible and thought-provoking style has helped me to see problems from different angles and always gives me confidence moving forward
Kirsty Linton, Ayrshire Operations Manager, Street League
As a mentor, Gordon has been instrumental to my personal and professional development. I graduate from Napier University shortly and will be launching my own Marketing Consultancy which is daunting.
Gordon possesses excellent coaching skills and has nurtured me from a nervous and indecisive person, to becoming confident in my abilities. I wanted to enter the world of Business Consultancy, but Gordon recognised that my passion was with Marketing. He saw something in me which I didn’t realise about myself.
I would pick out Gordon’s listening skills as his greatest attribute, which as a Mentor and Coach is such a powerful skill. Not once has he asked me for anything in return for his time and dedication to my development. I believe he gains great satisfaction by allowing others to fulfil their potential. I couldn’t recommend Gordon highly enough
Jason King, Marketing Manager at 4CornerNetworks
Gordon is a gentleman and a scholar. He is incredibly well connected and when you spend any time in his company, it doesn’t take long to understand why he connects so effectively and quickly with people at every level.
He has a real desire to positively impact the lives of those less fortunate and facilitates opportunities to link the right people and the right opportunities together. Gordon is a master at getting people to open up and is a real ‘safe pair of hands’.
Gordon Cowan, Entrepreneur