F1rst Commercial Recruitment - Financial Times Recruiter award 2024

The Financial Times gives us the thumbs up!

In the world of business, it’s not always easy to shout our own praises. But when a big name broadsheet recognises your prowess, it’s probably time to bring your light out from under the bushel!

I’m immensely proud that the Financial Times has recognised us as a Leading UK Recruiter for 2024. It’s an incredible achievement which recognises my team’s dedication and commitment to your success. So, I wanted to share why this list matters to you as an employer when choosing a recruiter to fill your vacancies, especially at leadership level, and how we’ve made the cut.

How the FT list helps you

There are over 30,000 recruitment agencies in the UK, with over 100,000 individual recruiters. This begs the question: how do you choose the right recruitment agency for your vacancy? How do you identify a recruiter with a sector-specific track record that you can trust?

And that’s where this new list from the Financial Times helps. The Financial Times has compiled similar lists for different industries for several years. This year, they have also created a list of recruiters, which lists the UK’s 154 most recommended recruiters based on client, candidate and peer recommendations alone.

While you may not know one recruiter’s name from another, you do know that the Financial Times is a trustworthy and reliable source of information.

Success matters for you, and it matters for us

We are excited to earn our place on the Financial Times list of Leading UK Recruiters for 2024 as part of F1rst Commercial Recruitment. As a small business, the entire team actively contributed to achieving these awards. And while we’re excited about our success, it’s also important for your business as it shows we are recruiters you can trust.

The Financial Times’ list is helpful because it sets out different categories. This helps prospective clients identify which recruiters excel in different areas. We are on the list in three categories: Engineering & Industry, Business & Professional Services, and Finance. For current and prospective clients, it’s essential to know that I provide direct input into all vacancies, supported by a strong team and that this is part of what the awards recognise. This is particularly true with your executive posts, especially in engineering and manufacturing, as well as management and directorship posts across the UK.

What makes these awards important?

Let’s be realistic: there are awards, and then there are awards. So, what makes this award worthy of your attention when choosing a recruiter?

The evaluation of companies for these awards was intensely rigorous. Statista are the FT’s research partner who carried out the research, and with the Financial Times’ name in the mix, we’d expect nothing less than a challenging assessment. Recruiters have to be highly recommended by companies, clients and candidates. The surveys gathered the opinions of hiring managers, candidates and external recruiters. To determine which recruiters would make the list and receive awards, Statista went through 10,000 independently collected reviews.

To find a small company like ours, recognised amongst much larger recruiters, is testimony to our standing with clients and candidates. We’ve got a 100% success rate for filling roles, so it’s great to have this formally acknowledged.

How do you choose a recruitment agency?

Looking to a recognised and well-researched national list is an excellent starting point when you choose which recruiter to trust with your senior level vacancies. However, it’s vital to know what other criteria will help you determine the right recruiter for your specific business needs. You should delve deep to ensure that the agency aligns with your particular business requirements. Make sure you consider:

Specialisation and expertise

Look for agencies with a track record of successfully placing candidates in your industry or niche. You need a recruiter who understands the intricacies of your business and the qualities you seek in top-tier executives. Recruitment of top-level engineering and manufacturing executives requires distinct knowledge, insight and expertise.

Track record and success

Don’t be shy to enquire about the recruiter’s historical success in filling leadership roles. Make sure to ask about retention rates, too – this indicates how well they succeed in not just filling the position but filling it with the right person. At First Executive Recruitment, we have a 100% success rate.

Reputation and reviews

Research the recruiter’s reputation. Online reviews, testimonials, and referrals can provide valuable insights into their performance and client satisfaction. A reputable recruiter will always be willing to share relevant success stories with you. Additionally, ask about their approaches to diversity and inclusion within recruitment. This helps identify where they will protect your reputation and underpin ongoing success.

Executive recruitment strategies

Executive recruitment is notably different from standard recruitment. Ask how the recruiter identifies and approaches passive candidates so that you know they go beyond databases of active candidates. You need to spot signs that they take a bespoke approach. At the executive level, this brings the highest chance of success. Within this, ensure your prospective recruiter has excellent reach at the national level.


When asked why we have a 100% success rate at filling vacancies like yours, I often think a crucial component is communication between us and our clients, as well as our communications with prospective candidates. That’s because communication unearths what you need from this position, both today and in the future. It’s what uncovers the distinct aspects of your culture and how to find the right candidate to work within this and drive success forward. So, chat with a prospective recruiter and get a feel for how they communicate with you. Do you trust they will communicate effectively, insightfully and promptly?


It’s tricky to compare recruiters on cost alone, especially for executive roles. However, what you should be sure of is that the recruiter will add value to your business. Recruitment is expensive, and at senior levels, mistakes can be painfully costly. Therefore, you need to ascertain that mistakes won’t happen, but rather, the new candidate will drive business success and profitability. An excellent executive recruiter will save you time and money in the long run.

We’re in the Financial Times for a reason, and we’re ready to help you

Selecting the right recruiter for executive-level vacancies is a pivotal decision. It can significantly impact your organisation’s growth, culture, and success. By considering the factors mentioned above and combining them with the assurance of being on the Financial Times list of Leading UK Recruiters, you can confidently choose a recruiter that will be a valuable ally in identifying, attracting, and securing the best leadership for your organisation. It’s a strategic decision that you need to get right.

Would you like to know more about choosing us as your recruiter? Please get in touch on 0161 359 3111.

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