Are recruiters the answer to building a non-executive director career?

non-executive director recruiters

Finding a non-executive director (NED) role via traditional recruiters can often feel like a quest for the proverbial needle in a haystack. This is not merely an anecdotal observation but a reality rooted in the economics and practices of the recruitment industry.

Recruiters, by their very nature, are driven by the potential return on their investment of time and resources. In the executive market, this translates to a percentage of the candidate’s salary – a lucrative model that justifies the effort involved. However, when it comes to non-executive roles, the financial incentive diminishes significantly.

A percentage of a non-executive’s salary, often modest in comparison to their executive counterparts, does not provide sufficient motivation for recruiters to actively engage in this market. This stark reality is further compounded by the reluctance of startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest hefty sums, which can exceed £20,000, for hiring a NED.

This economic conundrum has led to a palpable gap in the recruitment market. Traditional headhunting methods, so effective in the upper echelons of corporate hierarchies, lose their sheen when it comes to sourcing non-executive talent. For those so called “Magic Circle” headhunters who do choose to operate in this space, fees can soar to in excess of £150,000 per placement.

It is in this vacuum that the importance of personal networks and peer connections comes to the fore. In the world of non-executive recruitment, your network is not just a conduit for opportunities; it is, quite literally, your lifeline.

It is within this context that platforms like ours,, have emerged. Recognising the limitations of traditional recruitment practices in the non-executive domain, Virtualnonexecs was conceived as a solution to bridge this gap. The cornerstone of this initiative is the VNXD Operator Network, a platform designed to circumvent the inefficiencies of the traditional recruitment process.

The VNXD Operator Network operates on a principle that is starkly different from that of conventional recruiters. It is not transactional but relational. The focus is on building and nurturing a community of professionals, where value is derived not from the depth of one’s pockets but the strength of one’s connections. In this network, the currency is not money but knowledge, experience, and mutual support.

For established (and aspiring) non-executives, this approach offers a breath of fresh air. No longer are they reliant on the whims and fancies of recruiters. Instead, they have at their disposal a dynamic and interactive platform where opportunities are as much about the skills and experiences they bring to the table as they are about who they know.

The VNXD Operator Network is the interface that private equity, vc and family offices as well as a host of pricvate companies use (under a nominal annual license fee) to identify and hire members; also signifying a shift in the power dynamics of the recruitment process. Candidates are no longer passive entities, subject to the opaque machinations of recruitment agencies. They are active participants, leveraging their networks, sharing their expertise, and, most importantly, taking control of their career trajectories.

The landscape of non-executive recruitment is undergoing a quiet revolution. In an industry where traditional methods falter, the power of networking and community-driven platforms like Virtualnonexecs and the VNXD Operator Network are proving to be game-changers.

For those navigating the challenging waters of non-executive recruitment, these networks are not just useful tools; they are essential lifelines.


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