Businesses that demand a high level of competence

November 12, 2018


Operational roles, closely aligned with the business, with large personnel responsibility and often with complex supply chains pervade positions in this sector. Regardless, of whether you work in a small local company or in a large international context. The demands are many and the responsibility is broad, something that our new colleague Pauline Nilsson Cattaneo is motivated by when she helps clients identify and recruit new employees.

Pauline started at Harvey Nash this summer and is responsible for our area of expertise within Operations & Supply Chain. She is a behaviourist and has worked with managerial recruitment over seven years.

“I have always been interested in human behaviour and the choices we make. The recruitment industry is exciting with much positive energy. It is extremely important to get things right in so many different ways, to ensure a successful recruitment. In order for companies and organizations to grow and develop, the most important resource is ultimately the individuals who work there. Individuals who grow with the right challenge, by gaining more responsibility and continuously learning on the job. I believe search to be the more successful approach, but it depends, of course, on what role and what company”, says Pauline.

Complex competence
The functions that we work with in this area often demand a high degree of advanced technical competence and we often see candidates with engineering backgrounds. The roles are interesting to work with and sometimes hard because they usually demand the “harder” qualities and requirements related to knowledge, whilst at the same time, the “softer” characteristics of leadership are also necessary. Good leadership skills in these roles is essential when involving personnel responsibility for oftentimes very large groups of employees.

– The roles often require specific skills and knowledge from industry and production-related activities. At the same time, the candidate must also be a skilled leader with strong social ability, be a strong relationship builder and a good communicator. It is business critical that production runs smoothly and that all employees are engaged and work to the best of their ability. These are roles that exist under high pressure and I find that I learn a lot and it’s exciting to be a part of helping clients solve these key recruitments, says Pauline.

Because of the nature of these roles and the importance of a thorough business understanding it becomes quite common to lift and promote internal talent, especially roles such as production managers. On the other hand, if you need a factory manager or someone in charge of site operations, it may be harder, and in these recruitments, an external recruitment partner could add much value.

– We help companies to evaluate leadership and potential in existing skills, as well as to recruit new people when needed. Sometimes as in the Supply Chain roles, we are looking for a very limited profile, where it becomes essential to take help in order to gain access to a wider network. We can help broaden the companies’ network and benchmark a larger part of the candidate market,” says Pauline.

Leadership qualities
This type of work environment is characterized by a wide-ranging and diverse workforce. There is often a great range of occupational categories, cultures, educational backgrounds and areas of competence. As a leader, you need to quickly get a grasp of the organization and learn the business and its operations, but also to quickly get to know the employees and all stakeholders. The high degree of diversity places high demands on you as a leader and your ability to meet the employees where they are; to see, listen, communicate, engage, support and motivate different types of individuals without necessarily having the same knowledge base.

– In an organisation with a large workforce and with so many different individuals, you as a leader need to quickly learn how to navigate, to successfully drive the business and the teams forward towards common goals,” adds Pauline.

New skills and roles emerge
– Digitization and automation are factors that drive the need for new skills. The skills supply is not progressing at the same pace as product development. It is therefore important to let individuals grow under the right conditions and help develop the potential of each employee, explains Pauline.

Looking at purchasing and supply chain, these processes have developed a lot in recent years. As a result of the growth of e-commerce, we have all experienced how the store has been diminished and instead the products are delivered directly home to consumers. The increasing globalization adds additional complexity and strategic skills are becoming increasingly important in this area.

– Companies change their organizations to adapt. For example, more warehouse workers are employed to work on packing and shipping the goods, instead of hiring staff to work in the store. But it’s just a matter of time before automation in, for example, supply chain grows, and warehouse packaging will become more robotized. Several major players have already begun, Pauline says.
As a recruiter, we have a responsibility to challenge the candidate profile and help our clients see the long-term needs. Sometimes it will be valuable to acquire skills from a new industry, and other times it’s about helping our clients see the potential in each candidate.

– I think we represent courage at Harvey Nash. I have not worked here long but I see that we all have great experience between us and that is knowledge we can share and contribute within the organizations we work with. Among us, we have business developers, behaviourists, solicitors, marketers and psychologists. I think we can add a lot of value in an advisory role where we can challenge our clients and candidates. Also, a good CV is just one piece of the puzzle. Aspects such as personality fit, motivation and general aptitude will make a bigger difference when finding the right match and we can also help our clients form this more well-rounded picture of a candidate, says Pauline.

Some roles we have recruited in this area are; Supply Chain Manager, COO, Logistics Manager, Supply Chain Specialist, Procurement Manager, Supply Chain Controller, Purchasing Manager, Operations Manager, Operations Excellence Manager, Strategic Purchasing Specialist, Plant Manager, Production Manager.

– In my previous roles I have worked in a very broad approach and today I think that the best way to solve these types of recruitments is through search. With existing, niched networks and an understanding of the unique challenges these kinds of roles meet, it becomes easier to identify, explain and attract the right kind of competence. I’m really looking forward to focusing wholeheartedly on this area and helping to build our expertise even stronger, says Pauline.

For more information about us and how we can add value to your career or organization, please feel free to contact us:

Pauline Nilsson Cattaneo, Practice Lead and Consultant
M: +46 76-798 13 69


At Harvey Nash we help organisations in both the private and public sectors to recruit and develop the key competence and talent they need to be successful in the future. We offer solutions for both permanent and interim needs for management and specialist roles. Since 2008 we have been strengthening our expertise within the areas of Finance & Legal, Marketing & Communications, Sales, IT & Tech, Operations &  Supply Chain and HR & Administration.