Natasha Makhijani is not your average headhunter. As CEO of Oliver Sanderson Group, Makhijani is pioneering innovative new approaches to executive search while breaking down barriers as a purpose-driven Asian woman business leader.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from City, University of London and a Master’s from DePaul University in Chicago, Makhijani began her recruitment career on the Graduate Scheme at Hays in 2000.
“Among a team of 200 I was the only female, so I had to learn to hold my own in a very traditional maledominated culture,” she recalled. “I learned about everything from blue and white collar in the logistics and supply chain space, all the way up to operations directors, logistics directors, and supply chain directors.”
Fast-tracked into management roles, she achieved four promotions in four years and took a team from billing £10,000 to £80,000 a month. In her words, Makhijani grew “from a baby recruiter to a senior manager.”
“I absolutely loved Hays. It was a really great training ground, and for me it was the foundation for my recruitment journey. I was a top biller, and I had found my niche.”
From Hays she moved to Michael Page, and quickly gained recognition as a “super biller”. Working on a hybrid desk across permanent and interim leadership roles, Makhijani was given responsibility for growing Michael Page’s Public Sector division from its offices in London. She was the company’s number one biller in HR across the UK, and her success was rewarded with a place on the high-flier’s trajectory. But Makhijani always felt that there was another path for her career and having set up executive desks at both Hays and Michael Page, she set her sights on establishing a business of her own.
Natasha said: “I come from a very entrepreneurial community, and I always felt that there was something more out there. People questioned whether it was the right thing to do, but I took the risk. I knew it was the right thing to do, and I have never looked back.”
Oliver Sanderson was born in 2011, and what began as one lady and a laptop has grown into an international business at the cutting edge of executive search. “I left a great job, sold my car to consolidate my savings, and set up an office in the dining room,” she recalled. Within a couple of years she had built an international executive search firm with a dedicated research team. “Things have snowballed – we’ve made exceptional progress.”
Oliver Sanderson has built up a strong track record in recent years, having placed CEOs and senior leaders at FTSE 100, FTSE 350, and Fortune 500 companies. Specialising in both permanent and interim executive placements across a wide range of sectors, Oliver Sanderson provides clients with an end-to-end executive search process, harnessing the experience and creativity of its research team to solve complex recruitment challenges.
Oliver Sanderson’s Permanent Practice offers end-to-end executive search and consultancy. With a team of experienced consultants and researchers, the firm breaks the mould by providing a genuinely consultative and bespoke partnering model, helping clients achieve their ambitions by attracting, developing, and retaining high calibre business leaders.
A typical executive search process begins with abriefing, and Makhijani’s team prides itself oharnessing its experience and market insight to fully understand the unique challenges and business needs of its clients. Following the briefing, Oliver Sanderson’s research team typically carries out a multi-faceted search of the marketplace using a range of innovative resources. In addition to the traditional methods of targeted mapping, profiling, and headhunting, Oliver Sanderson draws from its pioneering mobile apps.
New technology has been central to Oliver Sanderson’s rapid growth, and Makhijani is a pioneer of digital innovations in executive search and recruitment. She co-founded Snapp CV & Snapp Resume, the world’s first mobile job board with voice technology capability and Amazon Alexa connectivity. The app currently has a database of over 25 million candidates in the UK and the USA, with over 250,000 positions listed on its mobile job board, and its directors are looking for Serious A funding as they look to expand further into the USA and India.
After the success of the Snapp suite, which includes Snapp Resume US & Global, Snapp CV UK, and Snapp INView video interviewing software, Makhijani recently launched a dedicated Oliver Sanderson Executive app. Designed and created by her in-house tech team, the app provides digital solutions at every stage of the appointment process, featuring introductory candidate and client profile videos, fingerprint and password-protected online NDA signatures, digital candidate packs, integrated job applications, and video interviews.
With digital platforms increasingly prominent in the executive search and recruitment industry, Oliver Sanderson is leading the way with its Executive app and integration with Snapp CV, harnessing the power of modern technology to discover and connect with the next generation of business leaders.
A series of world events has brought diversity and inclusion to the forefront of the corporate agenda, and
Makhijani has drawn from her unique experiences as an Asian woman CEO to build an inclusive culture at Oliver Sanderson. “Being a BAME woman CEO in the recruitment industry has not been easy, but I’ve always seen it as a strength. I have always been unique, slightly different. Most importantly, I have had to be extremely assertive to get where I am today.”
Makhijani is passionate about tackling diversity and inclusion challenges with her clients, and is currently
establishing a charity with a team of industry leaders to address a range of issues related to race equality, disability, and gender.
In addition to the launch of her new charity, Makhijani has an ambitious vision for the next five years.
Planning an expansion in Oliver Sanderson’s Europe and U. S. operations, she is open to new investment opportunities to support these ambitions. The launch of the company’s new JustInterims division is central to her plans. (Justinterims.com)
Recognising the need for strategic interim leaders to help steer businesses through periods of change, the team identified the value of a dedicated executive interims division. JustInterims at Oliver Sanderson now specialises in finding high calibre business leaders for interim appointments, particularly in interim Board Practice, Business Change, Organisation Development, and HR Transformation projects.
“The only certainty in business is change,” Makhijani observed. As her firm continues to expand and evolve, Oliver Sanderson is poised to remain at the forefront of an evolving industry.
About Oliver Sanderson:
Oliver Sanderson is an executive search firm with a difference, combining experience and expertise with innovation and fresh thinking.
The firm specialises in finding talent at board and senior leadership level for FTSE 100, FTSE 350, Fortune 500, and PE-backed businesses. Placing permanent and interim positions across a wide range of sectors, Oliver Sanderson has built up a strong track record of c-suite appointments.
With its suite of digital apps and its powerful diversity and inclusion work, Oliver Sanderson is leading the way in discovering the next generation of business leaders.