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Case study: From candidate to client – Neil Cook, Head of IT at Autoglass®

Posted on 2/01/2018 by Gary Fay


identifi helped match Neil with his role of Head of IT at Autoglass®  – in early 2017.

Neil’s recruitment experience with identifi was more personable, reassuring and collaborative than with the other recruiters he’d worked with previously. So it was only natural that when he was ready to recruit for his new team, he came back to us – just 12 weeks after joining Autoglass®  in his new role.

Neil the candidate

Neil’s decision to consider a role at Autoglass®  was speculative. “I was in a stable, good job with a large corporate, heading up the development for their core booking systems and customer portal website,” says Neil. “Gary’s call came out of the blue – I wasn’t proactively looking for work but I was happy to talk about the role. I remember having spoken to him two years before about another role. He impressed me at the time so I was keen to hear more about the opportunity.”

The decision to contact Neil was a carefully considered one. identifi had already invested time to understand his career aims in detail, ready to match him to the right role when it came up. In the event, finding the right position took two years. “I knew Gary wouldn’t waste my time when an opportunity came up” says Neil. “I’d talked to him previously about wanting to spend fewer hours commuting and more time being challenged. He’d therefore found a suitable leadership position based two minutes from my house – a perfect fit.

“Gary was able to make a confident, detailed recommendation, showing me exactly how I was a very good fit for the profile he was looking for.”

Neil trusted identifi’s judgement in applying for the job. Partly, this was down to the personal rapport he’d built with Gary over the previous two years. “Our first conversation, back in 2014, had been a very personal call to to start with. That’s one of Gary’s key strengths: he spends time building a relationship before getting to the business side of things, which works very well.”

Neil had our full support throughout the interview process; care which continued after he’d started his new role as Head of IT. “Gary gave a good account of what was likely to happen during the interview process and recommended research material. He was available throughout as a sounding board for my application, reviewing presentations I’d prepared and giving insightful feedback wherever necessary. This type of support should be expected – but I've worked with plenty of recruitment consultants that get even these basic things wrong.”

Our longstanding relationship with Autoglass®  – having successfully placed candidates at all levels of the business – meant we could offer Neil a developed understanding of candidate-company fit and the culture of the business. Neil started his role as Head of IT a few short months after being contacted about the role.

Neil the client

Having secured the role at Autoglass® , Neil settled in swiftly and within three months, he was back at identifi, this time as a client looking to grow a talented IT team. When it came to recruiting new staff, Neil knew he wanted candidates to receive the same support identifi had offered him, in finding his role.

“When I started the new role, I was asked to put together a plan for the structure of the department and what we would need for the future. I pinpointed a few new roles and other areas that needed bolstering. Having had such a good experience with identifi, the company was a natural first port call to help me fill the positions.”

As previously, Gary invested time to understand exactly what Neil needed from his new team members – looking well beyond CV details to uncover the soft skills that would make candidates an ideal fit.

“Having sent the brief for the new roles, Gary reviewed the job briefs and came back with some questions about people mix and profiling. He already knew the organisation and the strong can-do culture we have, which requires people who are enthusiastic and focused on solving problems with real care. However, he still came back to check his understanding, giving me the confidence that he knew exactly what we were looking for.”

The recruitment process was highly collaborative. And the fact that identifi carefully filtered the candidates put forward meant Neil could spent less time sifting, and more time making key hiring decisions. Other recruiters had made this impossible for Neil.

“When Gary started to send me CVs, they were all good matches, which was great – and in my experience, unusual. In the past, agencies have sent me a lot of very plainly speculative CVs from people who appeared to be applying for anything and everything, ignoring the job brief or criteria. There isn’t ever time for that.”

identifi was able to fill all four of Neil’s vacancies in five months, with permanent members of staff who have proved an exact fit for the organisation.

Collaboration at work

Throughout, identifi’s spirit of close collaboration made Neil’s recruitment experience smooth, efficient and as stress-free as possible – both as a candidate and a client. And the collaboration hasn’t ended yet. “Gary checks in with me often to see how things are going, and is always happy to keep in touch,” says Neil, “which is great.”

Collaboration and honest conversation is what all recruiters should focus on, says Neil. “I’ve been involved in recruiting for very large brands and worked with a lot of agencies. The thing that stands out – and always works for me – is a non-pushy personable approach. The hunger in some recruiters makes you feel like you’re just being processed.

“Often it doesn’t feel like you’re dealing with people – instead, just dealing with commodities and assets. identifi don’t feel transactional. Instead, they offer a caring and consultative approach to recruitment. That’s a very positive difference.”

Thanks go to Neil for answering our questions. If you’re ready to experience true candidate-focused recruitment, start your job search here - or get in touch for a consultation.