I can’t remember how long I’ve known Derek?... of Williams Mining, London Office, those days it was always by phone… until finally we met in person in March, 2019 Indaba, Cape Town. It was somewhat an amusing affair for both of us, as we had been standing alongside one another both looking at our watches waiting for the other’s arrival. I believe Derek might forgive me, but over the years I got use to his strong articulate college English accent, this formed a picture in my mind of the person who was behind the baritone voice. He would call me up at least once a quarter to ‘catch up’ and test what my recruitment needs were or if there was a new position opening that my skills might be suited for. So, we stood side by side staring at the entrance to the Westin Hotel – until! I forget whom? shot the message of ‘where are you?’ to the other when I realised he was the ‘big bloke’ beside me. Derek is nothing like what I was expecting! He is tall, athletically built, in a rugby fullback kind of way and the fact that he is Ghanaian was the primary reason for my mistaken identity. I suddenly realised why Derek was able to grasp the intricated traits needed to suit a role profiles I needed to fill to a particular person he knew while keeping in mind the conditions associated with expatiate placements in Africa. He isn’t just able to talk a mining role, it’s part of his experience and DNA. He knows his people and he never forgets a name.
At our meeting in the Westin, the tables had turned. This time I was looking for a new role. Derek referred me to his colleague Lawrence who has a great track record of executive appointments, and within a month Lawrence had placed me in another business rescue role in the DRC, this one a perfect match for my skills set. The business was under acute fiscal distress, and just like all the other short-term creditors, Williams Mining were required to wait for their payment for my placement. Understandably, Lawrence called me more than usual during this period, but never pushed me for payment, only to enquire on ‘how I was doing and if the business was turning?’ It turned after seven long months and all operational debts were settled before I handed the business back to the owners.
This experience taught me a lot about Lawrence who knew me better than I had imagined. Lawrence used his experience in dealing with senior executives like myself, and took his time to understand our situation on the back of knowing my values, he never had to mention it and for that I pushed is account higher up my priority list for payment. These are just some of the reasons why he is quite different the other ‘head-hunters’ that I know. Lawrence has the natural knack of understanding you as an individual and what you might be going through when in the dauting task of looking for another role or experience. He is mindful to ensuring that you are kept discretely informed and guided on developments each step of the way, this is something I personally had not experienced before. When I’m recruiting for new staff, I have found him to be impartial and unbiased and know he would ‘call it out’ if someone was going to be a bad fit or suggesting an alternative.
These are some of the reasons I unashamedly recommend Lawrence and Derek as a Executive Search Partner to both candidates searching for their next gig, and to mining companies keen to place staff who suit their values and most importantly stick around when it gets tough.