Natasha Makhijani: Pioneering a Paradigm Shift in Recruitment

In the world of professional recruiting, where the tried and true frequently rule supreme, the winds of change are starting to blow. Traditional hiring strategies have long been in use, with interviews, resumes, and standardized procedures serving as the cornerstones of the selection procedure. However, these days, innovation is upending this traditional environment and giving the hiring sector new insights and efficiency. 

Natasha Makhijani, the Group CEO of Oliver Sanderson Group PLC, dared to be different. Her journey is a testament to how a single vision, when fueled by determination, can transform a one-woman venture in a living room into an international executive search firm working with FTSE 100, FTSE 350, and Fortune 500 companies, all within a decade. 

Natasha’s story is that of a dynamic recruiter, a visionary entrepreneur who felt the calling to chart her unique path. Despite finding success in her previous recruitment roles at Hays and Michael Page, she carried an inherent entrepreneurial spirit—a yearning for something more. Her roots in a community of trailblazers inspired her to step into uncharted territory. 

As she recalls, many questioned her decision to break away from the conventional and embark on her entrepreneurial voyage. But Natasha, driven by an unwavering belief, took that risk. She started Oliver Sanderson Group PLC from scratch with nothing but a dream and a passion for redefining the recruitment landscape. And it’s a risk she’s never regretted. 

Over the years, Natasha’s pioneering spirit has been vindicated by her remarkable achievements. She’s cultivated a formidable team, and together, they’ve steered Oliver Sanderson to new heights. Their remarkable journey has not only transformed the company but also garnered a collection of prestigious awards along the way. 

But Natasha is quick to remind us that their story is far from over. The journey ahead is as exhilarating as the path they’ve already traversed. As she aptly puts it, “We have a lot more to achieve together, and that is hugely exciting!” 

In a world where innovation and tenacity are the cornerstones of success, Natasha Makhijani exemplifies a new breed of leaders: those who dare to defy the norm, those who envision a future different from the past, and those who understand that risks are often stepping stones to greatness. 

Below are the highlights of the interview: 

Natasha’s Journey to Success 

Natasha, an Asian woman in the role of CEO within a predominantly male-dominated industry, faced unique challenges as she climbed the ladder of success. Her journey in this new world presented its own set of obstacles, but she viewed them as invaluable stepping stones for personal growth and leadership development. Natasha firmly believes that the lessons derived from failures and disappointments often outweigh those learned from success. 

Her aspirations go beyond personal success; she is determined to set herself apart and explore innovative approaches to elevate her business to new heights. She states, “My goal is not only to achieve success for my team but also to inspire young women from minority backgrounds—indeed, anyone who has ever faced doubt or felt different—that success is attainable by forging your own path.” 

Leading in Executive Search with Innovation and Diversity 

Oliver Sanderson is a distinguished executive search firm that specializes in identifying top-tier talent for executive and board-level positions within FTSE 100, FTSE 350, Fortune 500, and private equity-backed businesses. With a focus on both permanent and interim placements across a diverse array of sectors, the firm has earned a stellar reputation for its successful c-suite appointments. 

Natasha, at the helm of Oliver Sanderson, firmly believes that aligning exceptional individuals with outstanding organizations can foster a positive impact on society. Through its innovative suite of digital applications and robust diversity and inclusion initiatives, the company is at the forefront of discovering the future generation of business leaders. 

In a highly competitive industry, Oliver Sanderson distinguishes itself in several ways. As one of the few firms led by an Asian woman, the company possesses a unique perspective on the challenges confronting women and ethnic minorities in the job market. This insight is especially relevant today, with diversity and inclusion taking center stage in corporate priorities and Oliver Sanderson’s D&I consultancy considered industry-leading. 

Moreover, the firm stands out in its approach to technology and how it leverages digital tools for superior results. Beyond traditional methodologies such as targeted mapping, profiling, and headhunting, the research team at Oliver Sanderson harnesses the power of pioneering mobile apps. 

Oliver Sanderson is redefining executive search by integrating innovation, diversity, and technology to shape the future of leadership recruitment. 

Revolutionizing Digital Recruitment Solutions  

Natasha’s extraordinary leadership has brought Oliver Sanderson to the forefront by spearheading innovative digital recruitment solutions. One of her remarkable achievements was co-founding Snapp CV & Resume, the world’s first mobile job board featuring voice technology and Amazon Alexa connectivity. Currently, this app boasts a substantial database of over 25 million candidates in the UK and the USA, with more than 250,000 job listings on its mobile job board. 

Building on the success of the Snapp suite, which includes Snapp Resume US & Global, Snapp CV UK, and Snapp INView video interviewing software, the team recently unveiled the dedicated Oliver Sanderson Executive app. Crafted by their in-house tech experts, this app offers digital solutions at every stage of the appointment process. It includes features like candidate and client profile videos, secure online NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) signatures through fingerprint or password protection, digital candidate portfolios, integrated job applications, and video interviews. 

These groundbreaking digital recruitment solutions signify a significant leap in the field of executive search and have solidified Oliver Sanderson’s position as an industry leader.

How Oliver Sanderson Thrived Amidst COVID-19 

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented disruptions to daily business operations across industries. However, Oliver Sanderson not only weathered the storm during the first lockdown but also emerged as a more adaptable and flexible organization. Natasha credits their resilience and successful transition to remote working to the innovative Oliver Sanderson Executive app, which introduced video interviews as an alternative to in-person meetings that were no longer possible during lockdowns. 

The company’s suite of digital apps, including Snapp CV & Resume, Snapp Resume US & Global, Snapp CV UK, and Snapp INView, played a pivotal role in helping candidates navigate the job market during a period of extreme difficulty and uncertainty. The positive feedback they received highlighted the firm’s significant contribution to the economic recovery. 

The exceptional flexibility exhibited by Oliver Sanderson not only bolstered its revenue but also enabled efficient team expansion. As the world gradually recovers and undergoes transformation, the company remains well-positioned for a brighter future, aligning with evolving corporate and societal needs. 

Unique Days as the Group CEO of Oliver Sanderson Group PLC 

In her role as Group CEO of Oliver Sanderson Group PLC, Natasha experiences the uniqueness of each day. Her responsibilities span across various aspects of the business, working closely with the NED Board and finance team to manage the organization effectively. Natasha takes pride in providing unwavering support to her team, ensuring they have the necessary tools for successful project delivery.  

As a team leader, Natasha maintains a strong focus on fostering an inclusive culture and promoting a collaborative decision-making environment. Her approach aligns the interests of all stakeholders, be their employees, suppliers, clients, candidates, or the broader community. 

One of Natasha’s recent achievements is being shortlisted for the prestigious Agency Recruitment Leader of the Year award at the Recruiter Awards 2021. She views this recognition as a pinnacle moment in her industry, and she hopes it serves as an inspiration to others, particularly those who may not conform to the conventional mold, to believe in themselves and embrace their uniqueness. 

Recognizing the importance of work-life balance, Natasha has cultivated an inclusive environment where every team member feels valued and motivated. She empowers her team with autonomy and trust, maintaining both professional and social connections with them. Natasha acknowledges the challenges of nurturing these connections during the COVID-19 pandemic and has introduced innovative strategies. These include regular remote catch-ups devoid of work-related discussions and virtual team-building activities such as shared lunches, online yoga sessions, remote games, and other enjoyable endeavors. 

Exciting Growth Plans and Inspirational Message  

Natasha is brimming with excitement as she unveils her growth plans for Oliver Sanderson in the coming 5-10 years. She shares, “We are expanding our team, preparing for operational growth in Europe and the United States, and we’ve just launched an ambitious new charity with an initial focus on race equality and Black leadership.” 

For all the budding business leaders out there, Natasha has an inspiring message to impart: “Always believe in yourself while remaining open to constructive criticism—utilize it as a tool for learning and personal growth. Keep in mind that doubts and setbacks are an inherent part of everyone’s journey, and the path to success is never straightforward! So, cultivate resilience and never lose sight of your goals. I’ve faced skepticism in the past, but I harnessed those doubts as motivation to achieve even greater success. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, with hard work, a touch of serendipity, and a supportive team, you can achieve your dreams too.”