Three Contracts Managers – Repair & Maintenance – Social Housing

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Having worked with the Managing Director previously, Collingwood were approached to recruit three Contracts Managers for this multi-award-winning, privately owned contractor, serving the social housing sector.  

Already an established name, the business had been primed for sustained growth over the next five years. The business boasted an extremely health pipeline of new contracts awarded over this period, together with a major extension of an existing client.



These roles became available after the HR Director worked with an external partner to compile a Customer Insight Report. The findings were clear – customer service, supply chain and employee satisfaction were all high, but there was a disconnect at middle management levels.

Furthermore, the Managing Director observed that individuals were too reactionary, often left firefighting situations with clients. There was a need to bring in people who could develop client accounts and strategies. Due to this, and the targeted growth of the business, the senior leadership team wanted to upgrade these positions.

The headline requirement for these positions were to take full ownership – to include operational and commercial performance – for one customer contract and manage the internal team associated with the contract.

Underneath a typical size contract, Contract Managers hold indirect responsibility for around 50 heads, to include a small amount of subcontractors.

Fundamentally, our client sought individuals with experience of managing and leading a directly employed workforce with the ability to react quickly to changing conditions and situations from customers. The ability to make real time decisions based on data was imperative.

The individuals sought required strong leadership skills to engage, enthuse and lead with conviction.



Five of the major challenges presenting themselves to Mark Goldsmith – Collingwood’s Head of Construction & Building Products – and the client were:

  • These were to be confidential searches. The client’s stakeholders did not want employees being aware of their intention to recruit until offers were accepted.
  • The target audience would have to live within a circa 20-mile radius of their office in the Northern Home Counties. When not on client sites, these managers needed to be visible to lead within the head office.
  • Having recruited similar roles previously, Mark Goldsmith had a strong appreciation for the allied subsectors of construction to research within. However, due to past success, the HR Director wanted Collingwood to also approach Store Managers within retail.  At the time, this was a foreign hunting ground to the team at Collingwood.  There was little appreciation to what good looked like.
  • The salary bracket would need to be adhered to. Although competitive, in Mark Goldsmith’s experience, strong individuals were likely to push the upper limit of what was being offered.  Nonetheless, the client was sensitive to salary scales of long serving peers, which clearly needed to be respected.
  • With all the above considered, Collingwood needed to secure three Contract Managers for the client.



Given the uniqueness to this search, early into the researching phase, Mark shared 10 profiles of candidates with varying degrees of the skills required.  This ensured both Mark and the client’s stakeholders were aligned and able to refine the brief.

During this first update, Mark was also able to share the current “landscape” of required talent from the relevant backgrounds.  This led to 195 potential candidates to approach.

Mark shared Collingwood’s online client portal throughout the process providing an overview of each stage, allowing both the search and expectations to stay on track. This further permitted both parties to form a realistic view of market conditions, barriers and any refinements needed to the specification.



In summary, the following process took place:

Potential candidates identified following initial research undertaken


Number of candidates engaged with 


Targeted candidates CV’s received


Candidates interviewed by Mark Goldsmith


Candidates interviewed by client (and final interviewed)

6 (5)

Candidate offered          



The client wrote the following testimonial about her experience of working with Mark and Collingwood:

"Really impressed with Mark and the team at Collingwood, right balance of listening and probing - we were doing something a bit different and it worked. Great communication, pace met expectations and all done with a pleasant, friendly and professional approach. Looking forward to next time. Thank you!"


One of the three Contract Managers wrote the following testimonial about his experience of working with Mark and Collingwood:

"Mark shows fantastic candidate care throughout the recruitment process. Mark is a great interviewer; very engaging - he looks to get the best out of people and is keen to make sure the fit is right between candidate and client.

Very quick to respond to any messages/queries.

A pleasure to work with - I would recommend any candidate to trust Mark and his experience in helping them achieve their ambitions."


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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