SHEQ Director – Utility Infrastructure Installer

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The Client

This growing utility infrastructure installer had partnered Collingwood for the past five years on a variety of board level, technical and sales positions. Having previously been privately owned since its inception some 16 years ago, last year the business had been sold to a global investment house.  The headline strategy from this takeover was to more than quadruple revenue over the next four years. To enable this dramatic growth, it was apparent to the board and investors that a new board level role within Health, Safety, Environmental and Quality was needed. 


The Position and it's Challenges

Strong customer experience had always been this client’s key differentiator and so assessing against candidate’s core values had always, and was going to continue to be, key. Working on tough to fill assignments, our partnership has flourished due to our open, intelligence-based approach to market conditions. Taking the brief from the CEO, it was apparent that bringing in a director who could evolve and refine systems, together with building a stronger bridge between the SHEQ team and project led operational teams, were paramount.

Other essential attributes required included previous exposure to boardroom activity; construction experience; management of third-party partners and experience of working for a business that had significantly scaled in size.  This person would also have to live within a sensible distance of one of their two main offices in the North West or East Midlands. This new addition was to report directly into the CEO and hold responsibility for the SHEQ Manager, two Inspectors, one Policy Officer and an administrator. 


The Solution and Result

As with previous assignments worked on with this client, Collingwood’s Head of Construction & Building Products, Mark Goldsmith, was to build a map of the local landscapes across construction and proactively headhunt individuals within these businesses.  Collingwood also ran a social media & advertising campaign.

In summary, the following process took place:

Companies highlighted as targets within region


Candidates located within these businesses


Number of candidates engaged with from these


Advert & social media interest

93 (85 rejected from CV’s)

Targeted candidates interested & CV’s received

12 (excluding advert responses)

Candidates interviewed by Collingwood

7 with 4 recommended

Candidates interviewed by client

4 with 3 progressed to finals

Candidate offered

1 (1 started)


Through the interview process it was clear to Mark that one candidate stood out as the strongest candidate and, ultimately, this proved to be the case.  Not only based on his ability to perform a similar role within a business that had, for several years, scaled in size, but, personality wise, he clearly fitted in with the rest of the board and broader company culture.  Although not actively looking, the candidate shone during the interview process with the client and was offered the role.  Mark then managed all negotiations, references and onboarding prior to the candidate starting, thus ensuring he had a clear appreciation for the future strategy and most pressing issues upon commencing.

As with previous assignments worked on with this client, the key to securing the right candidate quickly was the two-way, open, intelligence led communication throughout the process.  Key information on the barriers to the brief set were quickly dealt with throughout the process of sourcing, thus allowing both parties to agree on best courses of action. 

About the author
Mark Goldsmith
min read

With 23 years of recruitment experience under his belt, Mark has spent the last 19 focused on Building Products & Construction

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Mark Goldsmith

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