Simplifying Search

Simplifying Search

The Naked Headhunter

Inspired by book The Naked Leader, The Naked Headhunter is a boutique search firm that I established in 2017, after 15 years being part of and leading a large EMEA search firm.


I am addicted to the excitement I get when connecting people who go on to build and drive a business purposefully forward. I just love doing that! The simplicity and impact of “the connection” continues to inspire me after 20 years in the search world.


The Naked Headhunter is all about transparency, purpose, style, energy and fun. Executive search is an amazing world to live in, the conversations, stories and the connections make it constantly a fast paced and diverse environment.


Traditionally search firms are not like this. Stuffy, expensive, boring, cut & paste solutions, old boys network are words clients use to describe a typical search firm. I know my style won’t suit everyone but it’s critical for me to be honest and transparent and when I can and can’t help.

Core Focus

Succession Search 

Essentially we are best at helping CEO’s, Chairman and Owners hire in the best-fit business critical talent for their business. We are focused on Owner/Founder led businesses and helping transition in new leadership talent.


Whether you are a Chairman in need of a CEO or a CEO in need of a COO or CFO, we are here to make sure you get the best-fit talent in to support your business growth.


Executive Transition 

If you find yourself on the market and in career transition and want to increase the number of interesting conversations you are having, have a look at the tailor made service we have created below.

Executives in Career Transition

Do you want to join our Virtual Board Advisory panel?

As our business worlds are rapidly evolving, it’s hard enough to keep up, let alone get ahead of the curve. With this in mind we are immediately launching a “Virtual Board Advisory” service so CEO’s and Leaders can quickly tap into conversations and build relationships with Senior Talent the world over.

Become an advisory member

TNH discusses YPO Global Pulse on CNBC

Mark Hamill, CEO & Founder of The Naked Headhunter, was interviewed by Geoff Cutmore on CNBC’s Squawk Box on the morning of 7th November 2017 to discuss the YPO Global Pulse survey for Q3 2017 and outlook for 2018 with a particular focus on Europe.

Returning to work

A dedicated consultancy to help spouses get back into the job market after following partners around the world on assignment or returning after extended break. Please reach out to me personally and let’s see how we can help.

Get In Touch

Introduction to The Naked Headhunter

Intro to The Naked Headhunter

Why use search?

Intro to The Naked Headhunter

What is my approach?

Intro to The Naked Headhunter

Mark Hamill

Founder - The Naked Headhunter

Mark is considered a thought leader in talent acquisition across mature and emerging markets, and specialises in C-suite roles, CEO succession, and Board development across multiple sectors, Mark is a firm believer and advocate of ‘Care’ within executive search, and passionate that relationships made are for life.  Nomadic by nature and having lived in seven countries over the last ten years,  Mark is happiest whilst having a meal, a coffee or the occasional pint of Murphy’s talking to business leaders across the world.

Mark has been involved in executive search since 1999. During his career he has placed over 500 executives and he works across all practice groups.  Mark began his career at Heineken; serving the company in a variety of commercial roles both in Ireland and in Central Europe.  In 1999, he himself was “headhunted” for a job in the executive search sector and has never looked back.

Mark says that he guides his career by the creed: we need to be too hungry to fail and to value always the trust put in us to deliver. He comments that his wife has been the biggest inspiration in his career; noting that she has always provided the support and balanced he needs for his chaotic life. Mark says that she is totally honest, loving and driven and that he learns from her every day.

Where my time goes

I love being around cool people from breakfast in the morning to dancing late at night, my favourite groups to spend time with include;

Young Presidents Organisation – member since 2009.
Vistage – member since 2015.


Best friends / Partnerships; people I admire, enjoy spending time with and who I think add tremendous value!


Jaime Edwards – Founder Purpose Republic
Jaime is one of the most inspiring coaches I know, and as long as Scotland don’t beat Ireland in the 6

nations I thoroughly enjoy spending time with him. For anyone interested in inspiring Purpose in themselves or through their business then I whole heartedly endorse getting touch with Jamie!


Bob Arciniaga – Founder Advisory Board Architects
Bob is a powerhouse and bundle of energy, who absolutely grasps the need for Boards to be performant and be accountable to the business, for anyone struggling with their Board or for advice on building a non-executive portfolio I highly recommend reaching out to Bob.


Damien Storck – Founder Chamonix Hard Cross
A former search guy who found inspiration, nutrition and sleep were necessary to perform….ground breaking for a search guy! Damien and his rock star team are amazing at helping teams unearth their strength and their breaks away are so amazing in terms of team impact and just pure learning!


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Key stages in Search

Predicting the future

Succession planning has become such a hot topic over the past 24 months and we see more and more clients from corporates down to companies passing through establishment phase becoming aware of the need to have bench strength and a strong pipeline coming through. This is one area where I have more and more requests to help my clients map out internally and externally where their potential successors could come from.

Exploring the need

Building up job spec's and fleshing them out, not just ripping off a dated one from HR or pulling a generic one off the Internet, a good search consultant should be able to help you create a 'living and breathing' document that reflects the role and person requirements to be great at the role!

Choosing a partner

The global search market is estimated to reach 20bn$ by 2020, so there is lots of firms out their to work with from the Big5, to local small operations, I am always ready to plug my clients into my trusted network to ensure they get looked after exceptionally and connected with the 'best fit' search team for their needs.

Key Stages Continued

Briefing and tools

Ensuring the search partner is well briefed, has as many conversations as possible with the key stakeholders, can source names, get recommendations, discuss target lists, are all essential to ensuring the search is successful. You are the expert in your field so pull the search partner in and help them get access to your market knowledge and industry insight. I always find the success of the search is joined at the hip of a deep and thorough briefing!

Agreeing communication

Once the brief is completed, then agree dates and lock them in the calendar over the next 6-8 weeks (ideally Thursday or Friday) for a 30 minute review of the progress on the assignment. This will ensure clarity or updates, time for questions and clarifications, discussion on benchmark profiles etx.

Managing the process

Once the interviews start its crucial to have a view on what the interview process will be, who else will get involved (Board, Investor, CFO..) the aim is to bring the candidates as smoothly as possible through a well defined process so both sides get enough time together to be comfortable committing.

Added value 'education of the market'

A diligent and thorough search process should ensure the client has been educated on the market, the talent within, the competitive landscape, come into contact with new ideas, taken feedback on their employer brand etx. The search consultant should sit with the client before the shortlist presentation and discuss the other candidates on the market, who they couldn't engage and why. Giving the client clarity on the full window of talent is crucial feedback for them and how you have selected the shortlist.

Having fun with interviews

Meeting candidates should be fun, exploring how they would add value to your business and building relationships is crucial. Some may not be ideal for the current role but may prove to be interesting for other upcoming roles in the business or over the next 12 months so it's always important to prepare well, engage correctly and ensure timely and well rounded feedback is given.


It's crucial to have provided clear package information prior to interview so when it comes to offer preparation the client has full view on the base and variable elements of the candidates package and what their expectations are. Not having clarity here can lead to uncomfortable conversations and disappointment. It's always important to be fully prepared!

Getting performant

Making sure the chosen candidate starts is one thing, so I recommend staying close during their notice period and pulling them into the business as much as possible (open days, team events etc.), Once they start the search consultant can play a key role in helping get them onboarded successfully and play a key role in managing feedback on both sides. I recommend mapping out a post start date series of calls over the first 16 weeks to ensure smooth integration and manage any frustration on either side.

Fees & Deliverable Models


Classic retained search model (3 installments) with clear deliverables @ 30% of first year package or fixed fee based on 100 day model.


Legacy model, retained with four instalments paid over 12 months; engagement fee, shortlist fee, completion fee and impact fee (12 months after start date) this allows us ensure the placements get performant asap!


Succession mapping/competitive benchmarking model, unsure what talent is in the market as you plan your business needs we offer a research plus placement model allowing you gain insight and market knowledge regarding your space - gives you the comfort and knowledge what the talent landscape looks like when you may have an internal candidate to compare against.


Build your own model, we are always conscious of clients particular moments of evolution and always keep an open mind to discuss building a tailor made model for their special needs! From two instalments fixed fee, to incredibly tight timescales, to extended guarantees - its important to but it all out there to ensure we can hit all your pressure points and eliminate any pain!


I always believe in ensuring that both the client and I are confident when stepping into a search process that we share matching expectations on what the ideal candidate looks like.

To help facilitate this I prefer to use a ten day bench-marking process whereby we get to explore the market before engaging in a challenging search process.

This allows us to engage and go once we are satisfied about the depth of talent in the market or cool off the search before time and fees are wasted in the case of narrow or challenging talent pools.

This is particularly useful in start-up searches, business transformation searches or when the market place is less known.

Start-Up Offering

I felt it vital to create a special pricing model for clients whose business is still in establishment phase (up to three years since launch) where I can share the risk and offer a more disruptive and shared risk model.

In these cases fees are linked to a first year total cash compensation and a fixed project fee (estimated @ 25%) is agreed and locked. ie first year on target comp is estimated @ €250k then a fixed project fee of €62.5k is agreed.

This fee is then split into 4 equal instalments and spread out over 12 months.

1st Instalment



Upon commencement of assignment

2nd Instalment



Upon agreement of terms with the candidate

3rd Instalment


6 Months

Six months after start date

4th Instalment


12 Months

12 months after start date

Guarantee period covers the first 18 months of employment.

This gives the client, a de-risked model versus classic executive search firms and ensures greater cash protection for them, by sharing the risk.

Fees & Deliverable Models

I have been working for 20 years on the global search market and I have been constantly struck by how opaque and uninnovative the search market is when it comes to fees. At TNH we have adopted a transparent and collaborative approach to fee setting.

Engaging with a search firm is an incredible sign of trust. We own that trust and become your eyes and ears in the market ensuring with our research team that we diligently engage with all potential and prospect candidates - and we commit to them with our Candidate Care Charter - because we believe relationships are for life and are not transactions.

Rather than being explicit with fees, we adopt the following principals as we believe setting the actual fee should be done personally depending on your needs, situation and budget. We are best placed at finding critical talent and while a search process is not cheap there should always be value.

We follow a retained principle, so there is always an engagement fee to be paid

We have a shortlist deliverable once you start interviewing candidates presented by us

We have a placement fee once terms have been agreed with you and the candidate

There are NO hidden fees

We offer guarantee periods between 6-12 months depending on the role

We deliver our shortlists within 45 days, and aim to complete assignments within 90 days

As an illustration we recently conducted a search for a CEO to replace the Owner of a Consumer Goods business in the UK.

We agreed that the package for the role, in order to attract in the right level of talent should be a base of 180k£, with performance bonus and equity. We estimated the annual compensation to be around 275k£. We agreed with the client a fixed fee, as they preferred to protect the cost of the search, of 70k split into three instalments of 20k, 20k and 30k with a slightly higher weighting on the final installment. This role was covered by a 12 month guarantee.

What the industry consistently misses is that today's career transitioning or out of work executive is tomorrow's prospective new client. Understanding that there are a greater number of people that won't get the job is Mark Hamill's unique view...

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