Placement Archive

Tier 1 automotive supplier gets first bilingual maintenance director for rural plant expansion

The Client

A French tier 1 automotive supplier was looking to double the size of its operations at one of their factories. For this they needed a maintenance head who would be able to manage the full portfolio of machines in the facility. After working with several contingency firms unsuccessfully for over 7 months the client was desperate for a search partner that could help them close the position.

The Challenge

There were a number of substantial challenges associated with this search:

Remote location: The plant was located in a remote and rural area. Most qualified candidates we spoke with regarding the role immediately lost interest when we revealed where they would need to relocate.

Niche qualifications: The client was looking for an individual with strong experience in maintenance team management and plastic blow molding within the automotive space. This person would also need to have bilingual language capability since there would be a dotted reporting line to the regional headquarters. This combination of skillsets is extremely rare and unavailable in the region.

Budget restrictions: The client had a below-market budget allotted for the role making it considerably harder to attract qualified candidates.

Process changes: Halfway through the search the client replaced the president of the local entity we were working with. While the initial requirements specified that the ideal candidate would be a foreigner, the new president felt that a local individual (with English skills) would be a better fit for the domestic culture of the factory; this change in spec required us to abandon our initial target list and start from scratch.

Our Solution

Upon initiation we started to map the market to get a better picture of the talent available. We began by targeting foreign individuals and then local talent later: in all we mapped more than 240 potential candidates across the globe.

Our data showed – as expected – that most candidates were not interested in this opportunity due to the remote location and the limited budget. With this insight the client was more effectively able to internally push for candidates that were qualified but not a 100% fit against all qualifications specified by the headquarters.

In all we were able to introduce 11 candidates to the client for review; the selected candidate had all required qualifications, was close to retirement age and had recently been made redundant. Due to the intensive research and resources we were able to devote to this project, we were able to identify candidates like this one who normally would not have been found. The candidate was available to join immediately and both parties were excited about the match.

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