Finding an engineering needle in a haystack for Consolidated Timber Holdings

Consolidated Timber Holdings (CTH) is a group of family-run businesses specialising in timber production and manufacturing. Together they have just over 200 employees.

CTH believe that as a properly managed resource, timber is one of the answers to sustainable and carbon neutral development. For that reason, and the fact that it’s the world’s only self-renewing raw material, they actively promote the use of timber and timber products. They’re also passionate about helping their customers achieve their goals while developing their businesses.

The challenge

Photo by Lukas:

CTH were struggling to fill a maintenance engineer role before the existing employee retired. Because it needed very specialist skills, they were having trouble finding people with the right qualifications. And even when they did, they were being snapped up by other large manufacturing organisations before they even had a chance to interview them. Time wasn’t on their side either. This role was vital for the running of the business. CTH’s HR Business Partner, said. ‘If we didn’t fill it before our current staff member retired, we’d be forced to close our factory.’

CTH decided to bring in a few different recruitment agencies to help them out. Some turned it down immediately due to the specialist skills needed. But Pure rose to the challenge.

The solution

Andy Dowsett, our Business Director, introduced CTH to Gerry Adams. He’s a recruitment consultant in our newly created supply chain, engineering and manufacturing specialism. Gerry’s first step was to visit CTH on site to find out more about the company. There he met with HR, the factory manager and a director, who gave him a tour of the site. He also met the current engineer who was retiring. This helped him understand the intricacies of the role, get a full picture of what they needed and some extra insight into what it’s like to work for CTH.

Gerry realised that CTH needed someone who:

  • could be fully independent and work on their own, taking ownership of the organisation’s engineering needs
  • could implement prevention planned maintenance (having the right systems in place to deal with major failures and minimise disruption) to make sure the factory was always open and operational
  • had the right experience to be able to plan, improve processes and systems, and make sure there was less downtime in future.

Gerry took this information back to the office and immediately started contacting potential candidates. And it was while he was doing this that he got a recommendation for someone who wasn’t actively looking for a new role, but who had the right skills and experience. ‘When I speak to potential applicants for a position and find they’re not interested, I always ask them if they know anyone else who might be right for the role,’ Gerry tells us. ‘And that’s how I heard about Mark.’

Mark was in a similar role at another organisation, but one that involved working weekends and a lot of overtime. Moving to CTH meant a 8am–5pm role which still offered a really competitive package, improving that all-important work/life balance. After speaking to him, Gerry immediately got a good feeling. ‘He was open, friendly, flexible and warm, all of which sounded like the people I’d met at CTH. Because this challenge wasn’t just about finding someone with the right skills – we also needed to find someone with the right personality and approach.’

How did Pure make a difference?

After three months of recruiting and with multiple recruiters working on the role, CTH still hadn’t had any luck. But we were able to find the perfect person within only a few weeks. Mark fit the full requirement. Not only having a very niche skill set, he’s a great fit with the team and company values. He was also on budget which CTH appreciated.

The extra effort Gerry went to by visiting the factory and meeting the team didn’t go unnoticed either. ‘We needed a specialist recruiter like Gerry who was prepared to invest his time, and research our business and the role. Gerry walked in the candidate’s shoes to find the best fit for the job.’

He also gave them lots of information about the potential employees’ skills and experience before they interviewed them, so they had more time to really get to know them, and find the perfect fit. ‘Pure has literally saved our factory from coming to a standstill. Without you we would have had to hire a junior and hope we’d have enough time to train them before the current staff member retired. It would have been a massive risk.’

Gerry didn’t stop once he’d introduced them to Mark either. He advised CTH’s HR team throughout the process to make sure Mark felt wanted and valued, and that the package they offered would be enough to persuade him to make the move. ‘I wanted to be sure Mark knew he was the right person for both the role and the organisation,’ Gerry says.

We’re happy to report that this is exactly how Mark felt, and he’s clear that if it hadn’t been for Pure, he wouldn’t have applied for the CTH position. ‘I was happy in my previous role,’ he tells us. ‘But when Gerry phoned and shared information about the CTH job, it sounded like something I should explore. I’m now really looking forward to starting my new role, as well working more consistent hours and having a better work/life balance.’

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Written by

Gerry Adams

Gerry is one of our Recruitment Consultants, and has over 10 years of recruitment experience. He’s worked in various sectors including construction and commercial, and, more recently, engineering and manufacturing. Gerry recruits for supply chain, engineering and manufacturing roles across all levels, covering both Suffolk and Essex.

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