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Our News

Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

Our News

Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

Q&A with associate partner Rebecca Hopkinson

What’s your background and how did you come to work at Howgate Sable?
I have always been in sales-related roles, beginning with selling mobile phones during my three years at Salford University, where I did a degree in Business Information Systems. During my studies, I realised computer science and the world of programming wasn’t for me, so once I graduated I accepted a role with Mercedes Benz in its retail division working for a family-owned dealership. Who at the age of 21 doesn’t want a Mercedes as a company car?

After three years and lots of partying, I joined InBev as part of the sales and development team. Field sales was lonely and I missed my life in the North West, so I started looking for my next role and I came across the world of recruitment! It wasn’t a career I had really considered before, but the role was attractive. I started working for an internationally recognised brand in a technical space I had a lot of interest in – engineering and manufacturing. After nine years, I decided the time was right to move into search.

Howgate Sable was an obvious choice – I knew it was a boutique firm that would give me the breadth and scope to learn from some of the best in the industry, enabling me to achieve my ambitions and then some. I have now been here for two years and haven’t looked back. The firm continues to grow and we have some fantastic clients, meaning I work on assignments that can really make a difference to my client’s business.

Why are you so passionate about executive search?
I really enjoy the initial hunt and finding the one gem that will make a difference to my client’s business.  I love working with internationally recognised companies, travelling across the world to meet an array of interesting people who have great stories to tell.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your career so far?
There isn’t a particular moment, but seeing the continual development of a multi-billion pound client, and becoming a trusted advisor to its UK and international business, is truly rewarding.

If you weren’t in executive search, what would you be doing?
I am passionate about property development and interior design. I planned and designed my own home and am now working towards a second project.  I love seeing a project from the very start to completion, comparing the ‘before’ to the ‘after’ and seeing how far it has come – so this is perhaps an alternative career route I would’ve gone down!

Who would be your dream client?
I really enjoy working with forward-thinking technology companies, specifically those involved in the connected world, so my list would include the obvious such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. There are also those companies making significant leaps in the development of our modern world, like Jabil, Intel and Tesla – they are definitely on my list!

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge affecting the search market currently?
There have been signs of candidates’ reluctance to move, with them becoming risk averse due to what they perceive are political and economic uncertainties.

The impact of technology, internal talent teams and the use of online databases also need to be considered. Search firms will have to adapt to this new landscape to remain competitive.

How do you predict the search market will change over the next decade?
It will become more technology driven; the pace of delivery will speed up as expectations rise.

Which individual has inspired you most in your career and in what way?
My mum – she always told me to never rely on anyone and to do it for yourself, as you never know what is around the corner.

What’s your claim to fame?
A few years ago in New York, my friend and I were heading to brunch at Norma’s in Manhattan, not realising Sylvester Stallone was in front of us also waiting for his table. The waiter then proceeded to show Mr Stallone – and me and my friend – to our table. Once sat down, we looked up at each other and realised we were at the wrong table – we were sat with Sylvester and his family. We quickly moved!

Which conversation do you wish you’d been a fly on the wall for?
The moment Hilary Clinton found out Donald Trump had succeeded in becoming the President of the USA.

What’s your elevator pitch?
I have 11 years’ experience in recruitment and search. I have a deep understanding of the EMI sector and, more recently, aviation, plus a strong track record in delivery. I have a tailored approach to everything I do. I work in partnership with my clients and become an extension of their organisation. I am thorough and never over-promise, I stick to my deadlines and I’m never afraid to push back. I am diligent in my approach and really enjoy the diversity that my role brings – a passion that shines through in the commitment I have to do a great job.

Want to see how Rebecca can help with your search for top talent? Give her a call on 07471 902 750 or email rhopkinson@howgate-sable.com.


Barry and Clare are a dream team on a mission. They are connected, personable and full of integrity. Barry has managed to fulfil roles that others have failed to recruit and with A-class candidates.

Throw a hard mandate at them and see them deliver.

Jesper With-Fogstrup

” Mandy worked with me as a retained advisor on a board level assignment to recruit an HR Director and a Governance Director. I found the process deployed to be very efficient and Mandy demonstrated excellent knowledge of the sector and ultimately assisted me in securing talented appointments. Mandy’s approach is very thorough and professional, but importantly she also commits to making each element of the task run smoothly and supports the client at all times.”

Marc Bell, Ex CEO of Benenden Healthcare

The EMI Practice at Howgate Sable really took the time to understand our situation and find exceptional candidates who could fulfil challenging international leadership assignments for a truly global company with a history that spans well over 200 years.

It was a first class experience and positive outcome on many levels.

 

Barry McDonnell – Director of Manufacturing at De La Rue International

I have worked with the Howgate Sable team on several occasions whilst hiring mission-critical executives. Partnership is the byword for this organisation – they act as an extension of my team and work hard to support me not only in the technical solution, but in the sense of a deep understanding of my specific requirements. Delivery is the key measure of our talent partners and Howgate Sable have always achieved what was asked of them.

Jesper Berg – SVP HR, ABB

I was headhunted by Howgate Sable for the CEO appointment at Welspun UK (Christy) Limited, a new product sector for me and one I would not have naturally considered.  It turned out to be the best career move I have ever made.  Since taking the role I have worked closely with Barry and his team to build a high-performance team, and this has been achieved through his taking the time to understand our industry sector and our company culture intimately.  I cannot recommend Howgate Sable highly enough for anyone wishing to make a career move or build a team.

Leigh Taylor – CEO, Welspun UK (Christy)

Having worked with Howgate Sable as a client and as a candidate I can confidently say their ability to deliver on complex searches is second to none. They not only have a detailed knowledge of the marketplace but also understand the importance of cultural fit. 

Bridget Lea – O2

I was particularly impressed with Howgate Sable’s knowledge and network in the aviation sector, the quality of the candidates provided at shortlist and the availability of Nick and the team to provide us with advice and guidance on candidates when required. Nick was particularly effective in understanding our needs as a Company and being flexible in adapting requirements and plans.

Paul Hutchings – Thomas Cook Group Airlines

I have recently worked with Nick from Howgate Sable to recruit a new Head of Aircraft Operations for Thomson Airways. I was particularly impressed by the wide-reaching search undertaken and the quality of the candidates put forward. The skills match to the brief was excellent and I am delighted with the individual we selected.

Dawn Wilson – Thomson Airways

From their initial call to me the Aviation practice team at Howgate Sable demonstrated a significant difference. Straightforward and to the point, the extent of their network and deep insight into the industry was immediately evident. The added value I have received as a candidate is tangible. An almost instant rapport quickly developed into a focused business relationship which is open, honest, respectful and above all trustworthy.

Carl Gissing