Intact Group Regional Operations Manager – A Headhunting Success Story

Arete Executive

I’ve been asked by a few people lately how our headhunting process works and for a peek behind the curtains so to speak. The best way to describe the process is with a case study…

Project Background

Intact Group is a property services business, supplying trades services and tradespeople to portfolio property businesses and building owners nationwide. They provide reactive and preventative maintenance for high profile commercial organisations such as ANZ, Macquarie Bank, Apple, QBE, Colliers, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, CBA and CBRE.

The rapid growth of their Melbourne operations required the recruitment of a new Regional Operations Manager, taking over from the incumbent previously based in Perth.

The company has a dynamic culture and is diverse both in terms of employees but also in terms of their thinking. They needed a new Regional Operations Manager who was a match for their culture and able to move quickly to keep pace with business growth.

They also needed to move quickly for the actual recruitment process so chose our Headhunted Shortlist option. Costing only 7.5% of anticipated salary package and with a 20 day guaranteed delivery of a telephone interviewed shortlist of at least 3 candidates, this was both the fastest and lowest cost option in the market.

Preparation. Performance Profiling

Upon engagement our first step is always to determined the ‘performance profile’ for the role. This is very distinct from a position description and lays out the key deliverables of a role for the first 3-12 months of engagement. I explain more about performance profiles in this podcast episode and post here.

This is always done with the involvement of the leadership team and key stakeholders. In this case, I worked with Scot Pittaway, Managing Director of Intact Group, and Keith Lawrence, a consultant with Shirlaws who we have a long term relationship with and who had been working directly with Scot and the team at Intact.

Key deliverables for the new Operations Manager for the first three months determined during that process included:

  • Engage with existing clients (facility managers throughout Australia)
  • Improve on consistency and performance in client facing work
  • Improve application of existing procedures and controls
  • Oversee finalisation of the move of operations from Perth to Melbourne
  • Work closely alongside newly appointed Account Manager (Business Development)

And for 6 months and beyond the deliverables included:

  • Improve KPIs around the business
  • Growing a major projects division within the business
  • Growing revenue and headcount

Additional requirements for the candidate included a background in operations management working with multiple teams across multiple sites. Experience in labour hire was considered advantageous but not essential.

Phase 1. Research and Market Mapping

Many businesses and even some recruitment agencies will settle for a search of LinkedIn and some advertising on the usual employment sites at this stage but, in our experience, this often doesn’t reach the best talent.

If they aren’t currently looking for a role and are not actively engaged on LinkedIn, they’ll be missed and thus will not be included in any shortlists created.

So for us, this is the most intensive part of the headhunting process. Our research team essentially scours the market looking for prospective candidates based on the criteria in the performance profile and position description.

They will look for prospective candidates using the usual LinkedIn and advertising avenues but they’ll also use specialist databases that we have access to and industry and company websites.

During this process, our researchers are also gathering market intelligence, particularly around the perception of our client as a possible employer of choice, and what the market expectations are in terms of salary packages.

In this case, Intact Group, though a relatively new company, was found to be appealing to the market.

Our research phase of this particular project uncovered 463 prospective candidates worthy of considering an approach.

Phase 2. Approach and Present the Opportunity

This is another phase where many businesses and recruitment agencies might cut corners. In this phase, we’ll make an initial approach to a prospect, usually via email or LinkedIn messaging.

While most businesses will do this, many will stop approaching a prospective candidate if they reply with a ‘thanks but no thanks’ or if they fail to respond at all.

Where we have identified a candidate as potential prime talent, we will also use skilled team members to make a personal telephone approach that always unearths talent that would otherwise be missed. This even includes those who may have said no to an initial approach.

The key outcome of this process is, using the performance profile, to determine if the candidate has achieved similar deliverables before, if they did it well, and if they are motivated to do it again.  This is critical and forms the backbone of the performance based methodology we use.

This is what distinguishes a headhunter from a recruiter. In the case of the Intact Group project, we communicated directly with 79 candidates to confirm capability and a level of interest in the role.

Phase 3. Telephone Interview

In this stage, our expert headhunter identifies the ‘cream of the crop’ and approaches them again with an invitation to a telephone interview.

At this point the discussion becomes more serious and more details are covered. We confirm the candidate’s interest, their qualifications, salary expectations, that they are motivated for the right reasons and that they are ready to engage in a formal interview process.

Our guarantee to our Headhunted Shortlist clients is that within 20 working days from engagement, we will deliver to them a shortlist of at least 3 telephone interviewed candidates that we think the client would be delighted to interview. In the case of Intact Group, we delivered 8 such candidates, well within the 20 day period.

Pulling It All Together

At this point, we handed over to Intact Group, who completed the interview, negotiation and onboarding process, with some occasional assistance from us as required.

Having outsourced the most difficult parts of the headhunting process to us as a professional provider, Intact Group gave us positive feedback at both the process and the outcome itself. They secured a candidate for the role that they are excited to work with and who also provided positive feedback on their experience of the process.

When compared with most recruitment solutions in the market, that typically start at least 15% of anticipated salary package and with an open-ended time frame, we get great delight from delivering prime talent at only 7.5% within 20 days. It’s a package that no other provider has the courage to match but one that we’re proud to bring to market.

If you’d like to find out more about our Headhunted Shortlist option, you can contact me direct on 0403 588 517 or


Useful Links

Intact Group

Richard Triggs LinkedIn

Richard’s book on Amazon

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