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Bidding for Executive Roles Made Easy

Many senior level public sector roles have to go through a procurement process now, particularly in areas such as Central Government, Local Authorities and the NHS.  Alternatively you may have been to see a client who has an executive role and everything has been going swimmingly until they utter the dreaded words: “perhaps you could just pop me over a proposal for that role then?”

Sometimes you will have to fill in a formal tender document, but most often you are asked for a proposal or method statement.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a template that you could pull out and just fill in the gaps every time you need to bid for a single executive vacancy? 

Yes - I agree, it would……but the reality is that the recruitment consultancies that win these bids are the ones that provide a clearly customised and compelling proposal that feels like it’s been written specifically for that client and that role.   So how can we make our lives a bit easier?  I’ve worked through this process with many clients over the years, so here are my top tips.

Never start your document with “About Us” (I can hear a collective sigh coming from about 85% of people reading this!).  Imagine you are buying a car.  You toddle off to the nearest showroom and meet a friendly sales person who then proceeds to inundate you with information about their company, service, vehicles etc, instead of taking a few minutes to find out what is important to you first and focussing on that!   My recommendation is that you start your proposal with the heading “Understanding the Requirement”.  This introductory section will contain what you know about the client company (including culture), key dates and timescales for the role, vacancy criteria and any specific process requirements or preferences.  You’ll have plenty of opportunity to talk about your company throughout the proposal so contain yourself and think about THEM!  This is designed to show you understand the brief.  You can then tie it into the body of your response.

Use key content pointers as headings.  There are some things that you’re likely to want to include when you’re bidding for an individual role.  Consider:

  1. Who will manage the project and provide a brief overview of their credentials.  Demonstrate their experience in the sector and showcase their success in working on similar assignments.
  2. What will your campaign plan look like?  Talk them through the key process steps and milestones.  You might even want to put this into a table or Gantt chart format to show timescales.  Include everything from how you will scope the project to methods for sourcing candidates, the selection process, presentation of longlists/shortlists, interview management, feedback, offer management, onboarding etc.
  3. Provide some information about your business and track record.  Give them some information on how many executive roles you’ve fulfilled in the last 3 years, specifics about similar vacancies, information about clients you’ve worked with, levels of the appointments you’ve placed, success rates etc.  Hit them with facts and figures - evidence is compelling and it’s what will differentiate you from your competitors.
  4. Provide a couple of short examples, case studies and testimonials to showcase your process and expertise.  Demonstrate how you add value and what you do differently/better than your competitors rather than just plodding through your process.  Ask your clients to provide specific testimonials about what you did for them and why they found your approach refreshing and engaging.  Avoid very generic “we have worked with XXX for XXX years and found them to be excellent” style testimonials - they’re dull!  Get the client to tell the story in their words. 
  5. Don’t forget the candidates - their experience of your approach and process is vital to your credibility and to protecting your client’s employment brand too.
  6. Make your pricing clear.  Avoid long introductory paragraphs that provide no substance, such as “we are delighted to be offered the opportunity to provide a highly competitive fee structure for this vacancy…..”  Cut to the chase!  After all - you’re not going to buy that car if the sales person isn’t clear on how much it costs, are you?  Just document the fees and provide straight forward explanation of any stage payments, other terms & conditions and guarantees.
  7. Finally keep the whole thing simple and short. 

So good luck, and if you need more information about how to bid for individual vacancies or help with a specific tender, please contact us on 01688 400319 or email

Fiona Brunton

Brunton Bid Writing