Our client was a VC-backed provider of a range of SaaS offerings, principally around procurement solutions. As well as seeking to remove costs from the procurement process, our client offers risk assessment and management tools including on-site supplier audits, carbon footprint data, sustainability and CSR information, multi-tier supply chain mapping and procurement legislation advice. The company had expanded into 23 countries across all continents and it operates across multiple industries and sectors, including manufacturing, oil & gas and utilities. A key element of their business proposition is a uniformity of service quality and procedure/experience irrespective of the client’s location.

Our challenge was to find a shortlist of candidates that could lead operations through 23 Hub Managers, each with local teams responsible for customer support and a range of added value services (eg data analysis and validation), and to drive consistent services in locations as diverse as Mexico, Norway, Dubai, Pune and Hong Kong. They also had to overhaul the structure of the operations team so that they could both remove cost and improve/harmonise customer experience.

It was crucial that our candidates have solid operational leadership experience across international locations, with professional expertise in customer service operations and procurement. It was also important for them to bring business acumen to the executive team and to play their part in helping the company to economise as well as enhancing the rate at which clients were happy to renew their annual subscriptions as part of the drive towards establishing the profitable basis on which the venture backers could achieve their proposed exit from the business in three years.

We identified a total of 61 potential candidates for this position. We approached 40 candidates to assess their suitability for and interest in our proposition.

We built a shortlist of four individuals to be interviewed by the CEO. Those interviews went well and three of the four candidates were subsequently interviewed by a selection of the executive team.

Shortly after we presented our shortlist, another candidate (who had been overseas) eventually responded to the messages that we had left for him. It became clear during those conversations that he would have been a strong contender to make that shortlist had we been talking to him earlier. He was also very interested in our position; so we presented him to the client as an extra candidate that they might either interview alongside the existing candidates or keep back until they had completed the second interviews.

The client initially chose the latter of the two options, but when the team interviews failed to identify a unanimous first choice candidate, we expedited the new guy through the interview process and he was ultimately appointed to the post.

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