Zodiac Aerospace is one of our oldest and most interesting clients. As an $18 billion division of a $33 billion firm, they have exposed us to projects in all areas of the US and in France. We started working with their New Jersey based location is 2004 and that work has led to projects in France, Georgia, Mississippi and New York. While most of our work for them has been in either operations or engineering, we have worked on projects in HR and Finance for some of their divisions as well.
Zodiac is organized around reasonably autonomous divisions sized between $150,000,000 and $1,000,000,000. Most of those divisions have made an executive decision to allow their HR Business Partners to focus on strategic roles and to outsource recruitment. They did not want the expense or distraction of an in-house recruitment team. Because openings can appear in any discipline and in any location at any time, we continually got referred from one division to another as a reliable and efficient vendor. From one placement in 2004 for a Textile Engineer, we ended up filling jobs like Finance Director, Director of Lean Operations, Quality Manager, Controller, as well as HR roles for them nationally.
One particular project was very interesting. Zodiac had a key plant in rural Mississippi and they wanted to upgrade operations leadership at that plant with a mid-term goal of also having that person eventually take over leadership at two other US locations over time. Basically, they needed a World-Class Director of Operations who would be based in rural Mississippi. Now there is nothing wrong with rural Mississippi, but there were no local candidate sources in related industries and we knew a relocation would be necessary. We also knew it was not your typical relocation goal for a corporate executive and their spouse. We developed a plan of attack.
Working with their US Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Executives in France, we agreed on a strategy that we call “lifestyle” recruitment. We knew the skills we needed, but we also knew that the person we sought needed to appreciate the lifestyle represented by our client’s location. Our research did not just include a skill set, it included criteria like hobbies, original high school location, college location and other possible clues that might suggest an appreciation of the lifestyle that our client’s location represented. We sought out someone who wanted to escape a more congested location and who wanted to pursue his or her outside interests in a more comfortable part of the country.
Well it worked. The final candidate fit the mold perfectly. A family with 5 boys, originally from the South, and who was now living in the Upper Mid-West. They wanted a location that allowed them to buy a large enough home to live in comfort and to be part of a community that shared their values.
For us, this was a hard but satisfying slog. The problem with lifestyle recruitment is that you need to go through a lot of potential candidates to find the right lifestyle. The temptation is to try to talk the wrong candidate into considering the wrong location, or to convince the client to consider a marginal candidate because the location was a challenge. We maintained focus on the goal and it only took two months from start to finish.
Right Recruiting Facts
Multiple placements for international and US based positions.
Projects required specific technical skill sets in multiple disciplines.
Long Term Positions
Successful l long term placements that led to promotion; not simple filling a job.