Why the strength of our client relationships is so pivotal for hiring success

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Alison Rotundo. Published on 16 March 2017

Search Assignments: Regional Finance Director appointments across the UK
Client: Paul Hopkinson, Group Finance Director, McCarthy & Stone

McCarthy & Stone is the UK’s leading retirement development housebuilder, operating in nine regional offices across the country. Possessing 40 years’ experience, McCarthy & Stone has won numerous awards and, for the past 11 years, has received a 5-star rating for customer satisfaction from the Home Builders Federation.

Listed on the FTSE 250, in 2016 the company achieved revenue of £635.9m, increasing from £485.7m in 2015.


Paul Hopkinson, Group Finance Director, McCarthy & Stone

How did you initially hear about Eton Bridge Partners?

I first met with Eton Bridge Partners around three years ago, having received a recommendation from the CFO who initially hired an excellent Interim Finance Manager via Interim Management Partner, Alison Rotundo. We were seeking further finance support for our Woking office and, as Eton Bridge is based in Windsor, we were keen to benefit from their local market knowledge.

What searches has Eton Bridge Partners handled for you?

We operate in nine regions in the UK, which means we have nine regional Finance Directors. As Group Finance Director, I’ve worked with Eton Bridge to introduce a range of finance executives, including Finance Director positions in Scotland, the North West, the North East and the West Midlands. Plus the Interim Finance Manager previously hired in Woking through Eton Bridge Partners.

Why do you choose to work with Eton Bridge Partners?

We have an ongoing relationship with Eton Bridge and the team stays in regular contact with us to understand our recruitment needs. I get on very well with the team there, who have taken the time to understand both my personality, the culture of our firm and the attributes we value in candidates. This makes it easier for Eton Bridge to recruit the right people, which in turn makes my job easier.

“We were pleased Eton Bridge Partners were willing to go the extra mile for us to secure the right candidate.”

What made Eton Bridge Partners stand out as recruiting partners for you?

I get a more personal service from Eton Bridge and the team seems to have their finger on the pulse more than other recruiters. They understand our evolving business needs and the type of employees we seek out – namely those who are energetic, hardworking, possess gravitas and a willingness to challenge the status quo when necessary.

Over the last few years I’ve been trying to raise the barrier of quality that we have in our business and I’m pleased to say I’ve been able to do that through Eton Bridge.

How do you find the process of working with Eton Bridge Partners?

Typically, we’ll meet in person to go through the job description, which enables me to deliver more detail about the role, describe the key challenges and communicate the specific workplace culture. We will then review the shortlisted candidates proposed by Eton Bridge and consult with them during the decision-making process before closing the deal.

In one instance, we had four semi-strong candidates for a role, but felt they weren’t quite right. The team at Eton Bridge was willing to go back into the market and continue searching until we found the right person. We had started recruiting for this particular Finance Director role before the Managing Director came on board. The Eton Bridge team and I concluded that they ought to travel to the North West to meet with the Managing Director in person for added insight. After this, we received a much stronger portfolio of candidates and were able to fill the role successfully. We were pleased Eton Bridge were willing to go the extra mile for us to secure the right candidate.

Would you continue to recommend Eton Bridge Partners?

Absolutely, and I would definitely use them for similar positions going forward. All of our employees recruited through Eton Bridge are still with us and doing very well.


I’ve supported the team at McCarthy & Stone in their recruitment needs for nearly two years, working closely with Paul Hopkinson, Group Finance Director. In the last 18 months, we have introduced Finance Directors in Glasgow, Manchester, York and Coventry, headhunting each successful employee to achieve the right fit.

“The strength of our relationship and the knowledge we have built up enables us to tailor our search accordingly.”

McCarthy & Stone often seek candidates with in-depth sector experience – or the skills to adapt swiftly to the housebuilding sector. We’ve proved adept at finding individuals with relevant experience and the right personality to suit the team. Part of our successful partnership has been achieved through diligence on both sides. In addition to regular Skype and telephone calls, our team has travelled around the country to meet with McCarthy & Stone’s Managing Directors and key stakeholders, as well as candidates we think may be right for the company.

Our biggest challenge is always to adapt to the different regional requirements for each placement. Each Managing Director will have different needs, but the strength of our relationship and the knowledge we have built up means we understand the company’s direction and can tailor our search accordingly. I look forward to continuing our work with McCarthy & Stone, helping the business achieve a skilled employee workforce with long-term prospects at the company.