Queensland Sugar

Case Study


When Queensland Sugar (QSL) began the search for a new General Manager of Operations they needed a fresh and unique approach. The organisation was in the middle of a transition, redefining its identity and position in the industry. The new GMO would play an integral part in QSL’s future. Finding the right match from an experience, personality and culture perspective was therefore essential.

QSL engaged Onten on the back of an innovative proposal designed specifically for this role, and a trusted, long-term recruitment partnership spanning five years. The team secured and placed an outstanding candidate, who is thriving in the role today and helping QSL realise its future vision.


Queensland Sugar (QSL)



Smarter Selection

Jo Nugent, current consultant to QSL and former General Manager of Human Resources, says Onten’s commitment to understanding the changing needs of the business was far superior to any competitor. So too was their flexibility.

“Our brand had pivoted since we’d last worked together, but the team at Onten had stayed right across that. They came to the briefing so informed and prepared. They had already read our annual reports, assessed our competitors and identified how our needs had changed,” says Nugent. “One of my main questions was can your process fit around and enliven our new branding strategy.” The answer was a firm yes. The team took a proactive approach to creating a selection process that would identify the best fit candidate within a tight timeframe.

Trust & Collaboration

“When you work with an external recruitment partner you are putting your brand in someone else’s hands. They are representing you in the market so there has to be a lot of trust. What is compelling about Onten is they really deliver.

A lot of agencies claim to, but few live up to the promise. The lived experience of the Onten team is more authentic. They take the time to get to know your business, and you see the direct benefits of that in the results they achieve each time.”

Jo Nugent, QSL

Tangible Results

The team at Onten worked closely with QSL to design a unique selection, assessment and interview process to meet the precise needs of this role. This included detailed market research, headhunting and shortlisting of a larger than normal list of candidates. The leading candidates were then selected to undertake an intensive practical exercise, before their first official interview. “We needed someone who could pull together really strategic outputs in really quick time,” says Nugent.


This approach streamlined the selection process as it enabled the team to identify the top performers who not only held the required experience but had the attention to detail, speed, flexibility and presentation skills required to excel in the role. Onten managed and assessed close to 200 candidates during the project and worked closely with Nugent and QSL’s CEO. “Setting up the right process from the outset was critical. So too was ensuring communication channels were always open and collaborative,” says Michelle Gray, Onten’s Founder.


The successful candidate was an ideal fit in all areas and is performing very well in the role today.

Range of Placements

Onten and QSL have built a long-term relationship focused on trust, respect and collaboration spanning over five years. During this time Onten has placed a variety of positions including:

  • General Manager Operations
  • Project Engineer
  • Trading Analyst
  • Grower Relationship Manger
  • Grower Relationship Officer
  • Marketing and Logistics Officer
  • Assistant Manager Marketing and Logistics