Alliance Leisure

How Harvey John supported Alliance Leisure with
a key Finance Director hire


Based out of Bristol but operating across the UK, Alliance Leisure develops facilities for leisure operators who want to improve or expand the leisure products and services they offer. With a multi-award-winning team, Alliance Leisure have completed over 220 leisure developments and invested over £300m in the UK leisure market.

David was introduced by a mutual business contact of Paul Cluett, Managing Director at Alliance Leisure, when they considered how to approach recruiting the key appointment of a new Finance Director. Subsequently retained by the business, David worked closely with Paul and CEO, Sarah Watts to lead the recruitment process.

“Working with Paul and Sarah was a delight! It was evident from the instruction meeting that this would be the case not only by their openness and relaxed style but in the manner they talked with such positivity and passion about their team and their business. It was clear to me that the challenge with this particular instruction was not necessarily going to be the presentation of a strong candidate shortlist as I was confident in the quality of the Bristol market and my process, but surely everyone Paul and Sarah meet will want to work with them! Which certainly proved to be the case!”





“In the first instance, David took the time to understand our organisation and our culture.  He absolutely nailed this so when he presented us with the long list we were stunned at the ‘fit’ between candidates and our hopes for the type of person we would go on to appoint.  There were a number of high calibre candidates who could have fitted in to the business, but the selected candidate has already settled in better than we could have imagined.”  Paul Cluett, Managing Director at Alliance Leisure


Being clear on the requirements of the client as well as the parameters we set to the search, still resulted in high numbers of candidates to approach.  It was essential to keep in front of mind these key objectives and variables as we set to finalise numbers.


This was actually one of the toughest elements of the sourcing process, which resulted in one of the highest numbers of candidates we’ve submitted for a role at this level due to the number of quality candidates and interest this role attracted.


Once the shortlist was submitted, the interview and offer process was completed in just a little over two weeks and as we knew from the start, there would be some very disappointed candidates but also one very happy candidate who accepted without hesitation.


With over 5000 Finance Director profiles based within 25 miles from Bristol…



First stage interviews



Final interviews



Offer with one very jubilant acceptance!


When you work with a client who openly talks about their business by saying that ‘culture is everything’ and that ‘we’re spectacularly protective of our team’ combined with hearing comments from candidates that they want to join a business where they can ‘impact change’  and ‘make a real difference’, you know you’re on the right path.

“David was quite ‘hands-on’ at the start when we needed his guidance and thereafter was great at keeping in touch the right amount.  His pre-interview briefings and post-interview follow-up calls were extremely professional.  In addition to the structured communications he also engaged with us at other times (our candidate came to the staff Christmas party even though it was just before he took up his post and David contacted me to say that he hoped it went well)…He was extremely professional throughout, he was all over the detail, clearly very thorough with his preparation and in addition to all of that, he was a pleasure to work with.”  Paul Cluett, Managing Director at Alliance Leisure

There’s more to a company than a website and there’s more to a job, than a description of duties and certainly there’s more to a candidate than what’s written on their CV.

Recruitment doesn’t need to be overly complicated. On this instruction working with Alliance Leisure, when all parties are open and on the same page it can be the simplest of processes, whatever the level.

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