The Assignment

A world leading insurance group specialising in home and property cover required a top professional to lead a major channel marketing team. Being a largely B2C business, the company’s marketing department is mainly geared up for ‘above the line’ campaigns of which most are in-house. As such, the team is immense with more than 140 staff across several channels including among others Direct & Transactional Mail, TV, Radio, Digital, Social Media and Contact Centre. As Head of Outbound Marketing, this person would be responsible for the Contact Centre Channel.

Essential experience and skills included extensive experience with call centre management, campaign planning, performance analytics, commercial strategy and reporting, budget management and of course, team management.

The role had been live for 3 weeks where the internal recruitment team had tried and failed to secure the right talent. Being the client’s first choice marketing recruiter, ASG was asked to help.

The Challenges

  • Despite employing more than 3000 people, the client’s site was based in an area with a very limited talent pool, especially for marketing.
  • Due to the shallow talent pool, the client was already aware of a large proportion of the local talent and so many candidates had already been discounted during the internal recruitment effort to fill the role.
  • There were very few companies of a similar size and setup within a 50 miles radius, fewer still that had comparable marketing teams.
  • The salary was pretty good however, being a structured business, there was very little flexibility.
  • Time was a serious factor as the company’s traditional ‘boom’ period was expected to begin 14 weeks later which was tight given that candidates at this level were likely to have 12 week notice periods to serve before starting.
  • Culture fit was a major challenge for this assignment as the company have a very particular vibe and the team, in the main, all share similar traits. Even the best ‘on paper’ candidate match could be discounted.

The Solution

  • We organised a thorough briefing session with the Hiring Manager and separated the ‘essentials’ from the ‘desirables’ to give us more realistic and flexible search parameters.
  • We identified and suggested a number of other regulated industries that might house a target candidate and gained the client’s interest, which opened up the search.
  • We thoroughly researched the area and identified all direct competitors and other companies with in house marketing teams and call centres.
  • With such a tough search we used every method available including direct headhunting, network referrals, strategic advertising and database searching.
  • We designed and conducted a tailored candidate interview and qualification processes to identify all matching and missing criteria, assess for skill competency in key areas and culture fit, explore the true reasons for leaving previous roles and to identify the candidate’s genuine motivations, aspirations and ambitions.

 The Result

  • ASG successfully filled the position.
  • We found 4 qualification passing candidates including 2 outstanding people with experience working in a very similar environment. We submitted the best 3 CVs as a shortlist.
  • As expected, database searching and advertising was largely unsuccessful and so networking and headhunting proved the winning combination.
  • Due to unexpected and unavoidable client internal re-organisation there were process hold-ups. We were tasked with protecting the desired candidate and maintaining their interest for nearly 8 weeks, which was quite a challenge! Expectation management was essential here to avoid frustration and disappointment.
  • The successful candidate has had a fantastic impact and has improved the call centre channel beyond all expectations and we have since recruited for her team.

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