About Michael Holdway

My early career was spent working for the Commonwealth Government, followed by a number of years working as a manager in the human and community services sector in South Australia. I relocated to Melbourne in 2003 to study an MBA and on completion began a career in the consulting industry, moving on to specialise in recruitment.  

I’ve worked in the industry now for nearly twenty years, in large global and smaller, boutique recruitment firms. Consistently, I have focused on providing services to sectors that I know and understand well – government and not-for-profit or for-purpose organisations. These sectors are aligned to my own values, and I get great satisfaction from finding and placing outstanding leaders into organisations that deliver public or community value. For me, the client and candidate experience is just as important as the outcome in a process.

I started Searchlight Group because I wanted to be in an organisation where I my ethics and values are aligned to the the way that I do business. Recruitment is personal to me – I invest my time and a genuine interest in client and candidate stories and outcomes, and I get personal satisfaction from contributing to this process. The methodology I use is no different from a ‘top tier’ search firm. I’ve completed campaigns for many high-profile organisations, some of them politically sensitive, and have searched for unique and specific skills, nationally and in international jurisdictions.

Most of my work comes from repeat clients or referrals from clients and candidates who have had a good experience.  My experience tells me that building relationships and working in partnership is always fundamental to appointing the right person into a position. The outcome is always better. Whilst other tools and methodologies can be useful in a hiring process (and others not so much), my belief is, and always has been that the best predictor of fit and performance in a role is to spend as much time as possible with clients and candidates to get to know them – to understand client requirements, their values, culture and organisational challenges, matched to a candidate’s work history, skills, motivation, personal style and aspirations. I’ve yet to be convinced that there’s a better standalone predictor.

I’ve been doing this for nearly twenty years now, and at last count had placed over 900 people in just about every functional area of an organisation that you could imagine.  

The formula for a successful placement is the same – working in partnership, understanding the brief, knowing where to look, using my contacts and network, spending time with people, selling the proposition, evaluating skills, motivations, and aspirations. Communicating often. Applying rigour. Treating everyone respectfully. Every time.