Fast or good? This human resources director needed both, and got them!
15th April 2011
If you’re an HR director needing to quickly fill a high profile, senior-level executive role, only one thing ultimately matters about the search firm you use: can it deliver the right quality of candidates in the timeframe you need? Fortunately for Airwave HR director Geoff Smith, the answer was an unqualified ‘yes’ after he recently asked BIE to find him a new head of finance.
Originally part of telecoms giant BT, the Airwave network is the largest and most complex public safety network of its kind in the world today, providing secure digital communications to Great Britain’s emergency services and a range of services with a public safety remit, including local authority emergency planning departments, the Highways Agency and British Red Cross. Following an acquisition and some related internal reorganisation, Smith had expected to need to advertise to fill a position at this level but instead took the unusual decision to go straight into search, using just one firm:
“The acquisition was going ahead and our plan was to promote the existing head of finance to be its general manager. We wanted to move quickly but we couldn’t start broadcasting our plans externally, so we took the decision not to advertise and put just one search firm – BIE – to the test,” he explains.
Having first encountered BIE when he was European HR director at Hitachi Europe, Smith chose the firm over two others.
“What I like about BIE is that, as well as a professional service, you get a straight-talking, honest and open approach. We briefed them in mid-November, interviewed 5-6 candidates, shortlisted 3 before Christmas and made a successful offer to one of them early in the New Year. It helped that BIE is local to us but ultimately what mattered most was to see high quality candidates quickly. This was a key senior appointment in our organisation and they delivered for us on both counts; certainly rose to the challenge,” he concludes.