Hiring a team of five for ABB’s wholesale power markets divisions

Client: ABB

Roles: Principal Consultant, Business Consultant, Power Markets Economist, Business Development Manager, Software Project Lead

Sector: Wholesale power market

The brief

Hire a team of five for ABB’s wholesale power markets divisions in Surrey, England, and California, USA. This was to work on several fascinating projects including Ireland’s I-SEM and a rollout of Market Management Systems for different global power markets.

Each vacancy had precise requirements such as modeling of specific wholesale markets, expertise in power systems optimization, advanced EMS/MMS knowledge, and software project management experience of wholesale settlement systems. Further adding to the challenges were remote office locations and hiring managers recruiting internationally via video.

The challenge

We engaged directly with HR and four separate hiring managers to carry out the search on an exclusive basis. Great attention was paid to matching candidates to the company and various team cultures. Some of the positions were embedded directly within electricity market operators which required candidates to have specific relationships and project experience within those organizations (but not already working for them) along with finding people who would suit both ABB and their clients’ cultures.

"The Principal Consultant role was a challenging role to fill, and Tonic used their existing knowledge of the power markets and relationships in this area as well as a series of discussions with us to really home in on what type of candidate we would need and where we would find them."

Jan Ydens
Director ABB

The solution

A thorough search was carried out for each position with extensive research and careful attention to the attraction.

We first identified relevant organizations in partnership with the hiring manager before creating a long list of relevant people within those. This included both locally as well as internationally for some of the vacancies where only a few dozen people existed worldwide. The list was made up of predominately high performers who were happy in their current positions.

After long consultations with the hiring manager, we created a pitch for each position highlighting the positive company culture, the high performance and ambition of the division, career paths, and positive aspects of the projects and role. We were also careful to communicate the challenges and potential downsides to make sure candidates were accurately informed.

We utilized our extensive network in the electricity sector along with the detailed market map to actively headhunt the most suitable candidates. We designed questions with the client that allowed us to assess the relevant people and had weekly calls with the hiring managers to discuss concerns or questions further allowing us to save their time from interviewing unsuitable people.

We coordinated a two-stage interview process which often included a video interview from overseas hiring managers and a separate meeting with ABB’s client to ensure a good cultural fit. The second stage interview involved a presentation. After a successful second interview, we managed offers and reinforced the benefits of the opportunity to maximize chances of acceptance. Finally, we conducted interviews on-site after starting to ensure long-term satisfaction from both parties.

"Tonic showed a knack for translating requirements into a 'pitch' to the candidates, effectively selling them on the role without setting incorrect or unrealistic expectations. I warmly recommend Tonic to anybody who needs to fill roles at varying levels of seniority in this sector."

Jan Ydens
Director ABB

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