Category Archives: Human Resources

Top 5 On-Boarding Mistakes made by Recruitment Companies

Remember that time as a kid you got invited to your little school buddy’s birthday party?  He was bragging about it all week long at school.  The invites had been sent out and they had glitter on them.  The party was going to be held at the local leisure centre and there would be swimming, followed by some football, then lunch at a nearby assault course with a clown and a magician in attendance?  You were giddy with excitement.

Then Saturday arrived and your Mum drops you off at the leisure centre where the pool is closed for cleaning and the gym out of bounds due to an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease through the air-con.  It’s raining so the assault course is off limits so you end up playing arcade games with your mates instead.  It’s ok, not the worst way to spend the day, but nowhere near what you had expected… Then Bozo and Merlin turn up stinking of booze and Merlin’s forgotten his rabbit.

Bit of a come down?  No doubt about it.  The thing is there appears to be a few recruitment companies starting to play the part of your old school buddy all those years ago.  As the recruitment market picks up post-recession and good recruitment talent becomes harder to come by, there are an increasing number of firms making some quite outlandish promises to prospective employees.  Now there’s really nothing wrong with that per se.  If you decide that the best way to acquire recruitment talent is to offer them 70% commission, 30 days holiday and season tickets to the Blues then that is fine.

But you have to then actually back that up when they join you.

Amazing as it sounds, there is an increasing amount of this going on.  Recruitment companies will be, and are, competing for the top talent in the market, and it is natural to conjure up unique selling points and other methods of coercion to land your recruiter.  But I cannot stress enough how critically important it is that you maintain credibility by actually providing what it is you initially promised.


The current phrase for this new phenomenon is “onboarding” which must be fairly new because Word just underlined it in red!  But most of you in recruitment will be aware of what it is, and how important it is to get it right and make sure your new employee’s first experiences of their new job are fabulous ones, helping to cement their longer term loyalty and buy-in to the company vision.

Here are my Top 5 On-Boarding Mistakes made by recruitment companies:

  1. The promise:  We sit on a large number of PSAs and have an extensive database of candidates for you to put forward for roles.  The reality:  You’re on 3 PSA panels, one of which will only deal with the company’s top biller, and the other two just keep re-appointing your company because of the 8% fees you agreed to back in 2001, which means no-one has ever bothered recruiting roles for them.  The candidate database is made up of CVs sent in in response to generic ads from 2 years ago and no contact has been made to assess suitability or availability.
  2. The promise:  We have a tight-knit team who generate a fun, sociable atmosphere and having Friday night drinks every week.  The reality:  You have an insidious clique of long-timers who shun new employees and bottom drawer good candidate CVs, as they see the new employee as a threat to their own desks and slice of the pie.  They make crude comments and jokes during the first week and on Friday they do go out for drinks, but don’t invite the new person whose name they never found out anyway. 
  3. The promise:  You will have a car park as part of the package.  The reality:  The car park space is on the other side of town beneath a huge bird-infested tree forcing you to spend every Saturday morning cleaning off the bird product spattered all over your roof. 
  4. The promise:  You will have a company phone and laptop as part of the package.  The reality:  You “inherit” the clunky old Toshiba laptop with the processing speed of treacle trickling uphill.  The mobile is quite new but looking through it you find it still contains the lewd photos and dodgy text conversations of the previous incumbent of your desk (who was fired for inappropriate behaviour towards other staff members, funnily enough). 
  5. The promise:  All your tools will be ready for you to start recruiting right away, from day one.  The reality:  You arrive on day one to find your desk doubling up as the dumping ground for everyone’s coats and jackets.  Moving them aside you find your new log-on for the computer hasn’t been activated and you have to wait until later in the day for IT support to get onto it, the only programmes accessible being Solitaire and MineSweeper.  As for business cards, you are told that the server room is piled high with boxes of business cards for previous employees like some kind of business card tomb.  To avoid further potential loss you will only be ordered your business cards once getting through the 3-month probationary period.


These are all real-life experiences I have witnessed over my years in recruitment, both as a supplier of recruiters to the industry and also as a recruiter within the industry.  What employers need to realise now is that it is one thing making promises to get someone to sign up, but takes a lot of leadership and follow-through to actually ensure everything happens as promised.  If not, do not be surprised if your shiny new employee does a quick about-turn and turns up at your main competitor a few weeks later.

To finish, it is important to mention that the prospective new employee also has a big duty of care before accepting their new role.  It is quite natural for a new employer to go to some kind of length to sell their company over their competitors, especially in a tightening labour market.  If you are a recruiter looking for a new role, make sure you ask the right questions and really dig into the promises made by the person interviewing you.


Is Recruitment the Real Barometer for Economic Recovery?

This week I made a placement into a recruitment firm that came with a $5k signing-on fee for the candidate.  I felt a little bit like how Fernando Torres’ agent must have felt when he negotiated a £50 million signing-on fee from Chelsea (ok ok…I said “a little bit”)

But this is indicative of the way the recruitment market is heading now in New Zealand, and even more so in Australia from what I have heard.  We have come flying out of the traps into 2011 and it is busy, very busy.  The demand for recruitment talent is high because recruitment firms are getting so busy they are starting to struggle to deliver, in some areas.

Check out some recent Tweets, in the past 2 weeks, from recruiters that I stalk “follow”:

“Farrow Jamieson just finished the best January Revenue in a decade.  The New Zealand Recovery is underway!”  @nzheadhunter


“What a week.  7 placements in the Melbourne office.  Bring it on!”  @hamiltonrec2rec


“RFP’s, proposals, presentations, new business, all on a Saturday & with no hangover 2011 is going to be busy and is shaping up nicely!”  @JamesNutt11


“Congrats to Gordon and Philippa for accepting your dream jobs in the NFP sector!!!  February is gearing up to be a good one!!!!”  @Talent_Capital


“And sales and business development roles aplenty!  2011 recruitment market in NZ is looking promising.”  @bobwalkerNZ

OK so this all sounds fabulous right?  Add to that the supposed “shot in the arm” that the Rugby World Cup is going to deliver to our New Zealand economy.  $500m according to a presentation by the New Zealand 2011 Business Club at an HRINZ function on Tuesday night.

But how does all this positivity stack up against the seemingly negative statistics constantly coming out of Government?  According to this article from Bernard Hickey, English and Key have admitted New Zealand may have statistically hit a double-dip recession already and despite it being an election year are talking up fiscal responsibility and reducing debt.  Furthermore it seems consumer confidence dropped again in February. 

And what of the RWC2011 economic benefits?  Are we really pinning our hopes of a sustained recovery on this one event?  I recently read a brilliant book called “Why England Lose” by Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski (2010).  Here is a pertinent excerpt:

“The raising and dashing of hopes of an ‘economic bonanza’ has since become as integral a part of a modern football tournament as the raising and dashing of hopes that England will win it…Euro 96 generated about £100 million in direct income for Britain.  This was peanut dust beside the £12.7 billion spent by all overseas visitors to the country in 1996.  Meanwhile, a study by Liverpool University and the city council found that the 30,000 visitors to Liverpool during Euro 96 spent only £1.03 million between them.  How many jobs did that create?  Thirty, all of them temporary.”


Simple message – don’t pin your hopes of increased recruitment activity and economic stimulus on the Rugby World Cup – just enjoy it for what it is, showcase New Zealand to the world, and for God’s sake don’t plunge the country back into a fatal depression if the All Blacks fail to win it!

Another alarm bell was rung last week with the liquidation of a long-established Accounting & Finance recruitment business in Auckland.

However, I am a recruiter like those Tweeters above.  I am busy, I am confident, I am positive.  I just struggle to see how the vibe in recruitment relates to the words coming from economists and politicians mouths.

Maybe we should ignore Government statistics which are old news by the time we read them.  Maybe the recruitment industry is the true barometer of what is happening out there in the employment markets and economy as a whole.  What do you reckon?

Why Bother Typing Up Candidate Reports?

I met a recruitment client this week who has done a very nice job building up an Executive Recruitment business over the last few years.  Being an Executive recruiter he obviously has high standards, he is an accomplished recruiter and he recognizes that he has to provide a service that is a real cut above the competition to win the big fees from his clients.

So I was surprised to learn that he has abandoned the practice of compiling a “Candidate Profile” or “Candidate Report” to go with each CV he submits to his clients.  Apparently he has discovered that they are a waste of time and hardly any of his clients bother reading it.  On occasion he might put a few lines in the e-mail accompanying the attached CV, but that is it.  His clients have enough faith in his judgement and if he recommends someone then that is enough for them to interview.

Now I have seen recruitment companies taking things to the other extreme.  A CV submitted to a client is merely the icing on the cake, with the cake being a big, sugary, stodgy lump of reports, interview transcripts, verbatim reference checks and psychometric analyses with mind-bending graphs and summaries.  But if you think about it, is all of this absolutely necessary?  Or is it, as I am starting to suspect, more a pious front of pomp and ceremony designed to justify the potentially large outlay in recruitment fees by the client?

Let’s look at it this way:  I bought a house back in 2007 (yeah poor me…top of the market…boohoo).  The estate agent handed me a big ring-bound stack of conveyance documents, titles, reports and marketing materials.  All I looked at was the basic information like land size and number of bedrooms and paid closest attention to the photos.  Let’s equate this to the CV.  Then I decided to view the property, and rather liked it.  Let’s equate this to the interview.  See where I’m going here?  Likewise if you go to a travel agents to book a holiday (possibly a poor analogy – does anyone actually do this anymore?)  Are you more swayed by the glossy brochure, or the travel agent actually relaying their own experiences of the holiday destination to you?

Back to the CV Profiles and I do actually write them up myself.  Often just a one-pager.  But only if I have interviewed the candidate in person and can express my genuine observations and opinions in the report.  I do many telephone interviews in my job too and these just come with a few lines in an e-mail instead.  Writing up a report after not actually meeting someone in person is just false and pointless.  Even then, I have on numerous occasions had clients call me up to ask what a candidate’s salary expectations and visa situation is, even though it is all in the Profile, and I know they have just gone straight to the CV.

In contingency recruitment, where a recruiter can potentially do a lot of work for nothing and will only get a fee if the referred candidate actually ends up accepting a role, it is very tempting to just flick the CV across and not risk wasting your time on a report when it might not yield any income.  However, as soon as you allow yourself to enter this way of thinking, you become another one of those bottom-feeding “flick and stick” merchants (or not stick as is usually the case) that give recruitment a bad name.  There is a big difference between just sending a CV (or even a Linked In profile, as I have done before) to clients who value and trust your judgement and don’t need all of the frills, and recruiters who do this to clients they have no relationship or connection with, and are just lazy and looking to cut corners.  If you truly believe your candidate is right for the job, writing a report demonstrates you have belief in your convictions, and is never a waste of time.

But I do think that many recruitment companies go totally overboard with this and I would challenge these destroyers of rain forests in the thinking behind their actions.  Yes there are clients out there who will wonder at the expense of a $10k+ recruitment fee, but it is wrong to try and justify the fee through physical embodiments of “look at all of the hard work my team has done compiling this massive report”.  In these instances explain, instead, that the fee is partly for the immediate services rendered, but also to reflect the years of unpaid work that has gone into building up the level of knowledge, expertise, contacts and networks required to actually tap into and access the talent that you are able to put forward in such a short space of time.

By the way, I just asked my wife about this.  She used to be an internal recruiter before becoming Charlie and Bonnie’s PA.  She says she liked the reports and always read them.  She probably read the entire ring-bound set of documents from our estate agent too.

So what do I know?  It would be good to get your opinions…

The Future of Recruiting? Predictions from 2004 vs. Realities of 2011

Last night I had an interesting chat with Dave Thomas who is the Chairman of CXC Global Board of Directors, ahead of his visit to New Zealand next week to make some presentations to our recruitment community and leaders. 

Dave is an affable, straight-talking South African / Australian who founded CXC back in the early 90’s by accident.  He started out as an accountant, which he despised, so he thought he would give IT a go, which he rather enjoyed.  Moving to Australia he stumbled across a company managing a payroll system that was not legally compliant with Australian tax laws, much to the shock of the company’s global CEO.

Dave spent 28 years as an IT contractor, travelling the world, before ending up in Australia.  So he reckoned that this, coupled with his accounting background, meant he knew a thing or two about contracting, payroll and different tax laws.  Turns out he was right as the company he started to provide a solution to that original employer now operates in over 30 countries worldwide.  CXC Global looks after self-employed contractors, sorting out their GST, taxes, salary packaging, payroll and all that boring administration stuff that gets in the way of actually doing your job.  This has actually provided a path for small to mid-sized recruitment companies to build their contractor books up too, which is something that has traditionally been hampered by lack of cash-flow and accounting or tax law knowledge.

Anyway, this isn’t a sales pitch for CXC, I’ll leave that bit up to Dave at the end of his presentations.  I’m mentioning it because the actual presentation really caught my eye and is probably well worth the attendance of all you recruitment owners, Directors, and general recruitment futurologists out there.  Here is the outline of Dave’s talks:

“As Dr John Sullivan saw it …5 years on”

In 2004 Dr John Sullivan, a world renown thought leader on strategic talent management and human resource practice, produced a paper “The Future of Recruitment” in which he made interesting predictions on the direction of the recruitment industry. Many of these have come to pass.  

At the time CXC Global ran a series of talks based on Dr Sullivan’s paper, and offered our technology solutions to the recruitment industry at large in preparation of these imminent changes.

Five years on, the face of recruitment has changed and the pace of change is accelerating.  Many agencies have adapted their business model, but is this enough? Is it sufficient to take you to where you want to be in 2020?


Putting on my cynical hat for a moment, I thought that 2011 would actually be 7 years on from that 2004 white paper.  And keeping up with the cynical theme, I decided to take a closer look at this white paper to see just how prescient this Sullivan fella really was.  Sure he has some good credentials.  A large body of work on HR Strategy, Recruitment functions, and an unhealthy obsession with Metrics to measure the ROI of everything, which I suppose is just a by-product of his being American.  Looking through to get the links to this big article it is clear he is a prodigious writer, commentator and provocateur on all things recruitment, talent and HR.  He is, according to Fast Company magazine, the “Michael Jordan of Hiring”…oh and also a Professor of Management at San Francisco State University.

If you have the time or compunction to read through the entire article I have put the separate links here for your reading pleasure:

The Future of Recruiting Part 1

Part 2: Internal Departmental Changes

Part 3: Internet Recruiting Approaches Will Change

Part 4: Websites Shift to the CRM Model

Part 5: Metrics Dominate Decision-Making in Recruiting (see – told you so)

Part 6: Recruiters Will Change

I have to say it makes an interesting read, although obviously far more aligned to the US business style and recruitment approaches than ours here in Australasia.  But he made some big calls back then.  Try these out for size:

Junior Recruiters.  Since managers using self-service tools will do the most recruiting, the few recruiters that remain on staff will be experienced recruiting consultants who will focus only on key hires”

Has this come to pass?  Demand for my services certainly hinges around finding more experienced recruiters and I get a sense that the days of filling recruitment agencies with young, energetic, have-a-go Graduates has shifted to a slightly more mature culture.  But is this really sustainable as the talent shortages start to really bite later on this year?

Brand Manager.  As recruiting strategies shift away from short-term “paperwork” solutions (such as running ads or going to job fairs) and towards the ultimate long-term answer – a strong employment brand – the employment brand manager will become the most important position in recruiting.”


Bingo.  Although many New Zealand companies are still slowly getting to grips with this concept of Employment Branding, great strides have already been taken by the likes of Trade Me, Deloitte, The Warehouse, Air New Zealand and Counties Manukau District Health Board.

“Changes in Candidates Will Dramatically Impact Recruiting:  Resume Spamming.  Candidates can use software to continuously submit their resume to every possible job”


This really made me chuckle.  What foresight and this is a definite blight on the life of recruiters nowadays.  What the good Dr got wrong though, was how the candidates that spammed their resumes everywhere would not gain an advantage by doing this, but would in fact cast themselves in a poorer light in the eyes of recruiters.

Social network referral systems.  As the popularity of social network systems grows, more recruiters and managers will utilize them as referral sources.  These systems will automatically rate the referrals base on the past referral success rate of the person making the referral.”


Hmmm.  An amazing prediction given how LinkedIn was in its infancy back then and Twitter was still 2 years away from even coming into existence.  But I am not convinced we have quite worked out how to use these social network systems as a truly effective referral method yet.  It’s still a work in progress but even in the past few weeks I have started to elicit more business and referrals through this method than ever before – so it’s clearly a hot topic right now.

Anyway, I’ve no doubt this will be an informing, thought-provoking and enjoyable presentation from Dave Thomas and I reckon you recruiters of New Zealand should check it out next week.  Here are the details for Wellington and Auckland:

Wellington – Lunch Presentation

Monday 7th February


Level 16 Vodafone on the Quay

157 Lambton Quay

Auckland – Breakfast Presentation

Tuesday 8th February


Mecure Hotel

8 Customs Street


Nine Factors to Shape Recruitment in 2011

This will be the last proper Whiteboard post for 2010.  I say “proper” because I will probably do something next Friday, but being Christmas Eve I really don’t think there will be much interest from you lot.  But I’ll give you something, nothing much, but something nice from The Whiteboard to wish you all a Merry Christmas while you cast sideways looks at your recruitment managers or Directors and wonder just when they are going to crack open the wine cabinet and call an end to proceedings for the year.

I was going to write a reflective piece on the year in recruitment we have just had.  But to be honest, as much as I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, I’m a bit over it now.  It can be summarised like this:

1st Quarter:  Wow we’re busy again!  What is that plastic box on my desk making weird noises?  What do you mean pick it up?  Hello?  Sorry…who?  Oh yes thanks for returning my call from October 2008.  You’d like some staff?  And you’d like to pay me to find you people?  But we made everyone redundant and there’s no-one left to recruit for you!  Quick let’s build up our teams again – but this time make sure they are bloody good recruiters, none of that cowboy stuff from 2007!

2nd Quarter:  Ooooh wait a minute.  Double dip, double dip.  Hmmmm…don’t want to be caught out like last time, no siree.  We’re not going to be the ones all the other recruitment firms laugh at for moving too quickly and over-egging the pudding.  This pudding is remaining flat!  We’re making pancakes, none of this fancy soufflé stuff.  Let’s just take it easy.  OK you can join us but you need to prove you can start billing $100k per month from day one or the deal is off.  We still have debts to pay you know!

3rd Quarter:  Right this is really knackering.  The job board is absolutely buckling under the weight of orders from clients, but those poxy economists are still playing around with their Alphabet Spaghetti and talking about U-shape, V-shape and W-shape recoveries.  And house prices are NOT GOING UP for goodness sake!  But all of my team is exhausted and close to burn out!  Oh what the heck, Australia hasn’t even been in recession officially, and they’re going mental, what are we waiting for?  Let’s go for it!

4th Quarter:  Wahey!  Record months, record Quarters, happy days are here again!  But let’s not get too carried away.  2009 is still a painful memory and the lessons must be learned.  It’s slowing down now towards Christmas anyway…at least I think it is…oh hang on it’s getting bloody busy again!  Jeez we need a break but how can we say no?  Not after last year!  Keep going keep going keep going.  Friday 24th is in sight and we can all take a massive…well-earned…collective sigh of relief.

Well done everyone.  From what I’ve heard talking with a huge number of recruiters this year, things have certainly improved and recovered and there have been some stellar Quarterly results posted recently around New Zealand.  But it is also fair to say that most recruiters are knackered – so enjoy your breaks!

Then onto 2011.  Continuing economic recovery and the Rugby World Cup will all provide for a big year for New Zealand business, and as ever us in recruitment will be right in the thick of it.  Here are some thoughts from The Whiteboard on what might be in store for the New Zealand recruitment industry in 2011:

1.       Growth

Simple enough concept for us to all to understand.  But how recruitment companies handle it and harness it and take real advantage of it is going to be the trick.  Those of you in external recruitment will have a wonderful opportunity to get back to pre-recession levels of billings in 2011.  Those of you in internal recruitment will get increasing pressure from line managers and stakeholders to deliver on increasing numbers of roles.  Be prepared to work hard to take advantage of this upswing in business because if you don’t, someone else will.

2.       Competition

2011 will see the introduction of more and more recruitment businesses into the market place.  Some will spring up organically within New Zealand and some will enter from overseas.  What the big players need to realise is that these smaller boutiques can pose a bigger threat to their business than perhaps they could in the past.  With the amount of technology so easily available nowadays, small solo operators can move quickly, efficiently and with great flexibility and will work very hard at developing tight client relationships.  They can also source candidates via a raft of new methods that don’t necessarily rely on expensive job boards and ancient candidate databases.  The old adage of “big likes to play with big” doesn’t ring so true nowadays.  Many HR teams or candidates like to build a relationship with a person rather than a brand, so the bigger recruitment firms need to allow their recruiters to build their own personal brands and not hide behind a chromed, marbled, corporate image all of the time.

There will be some sniffing around from some larger players overseas too, particularly Australia.  Talent International, the fifth largest IT Recruiter in Australia, has already opened its doors here, as has Integrated who are a massive supplier of labour hire over there.  No doubt we will see some eying up from the likes of People Bank and Chandler Macleod too, once they have finished acquiring the Julia Ross business.  My gut feel though is that 2011 might be a bit too early for these guys to make a really bold move.  It will be hard for them to acquire businesses because the current owners will feel they can significantly grow the value of their recruitment businesses over the next couple of years, and will be unlikely to sell their undervalued businesses right now.

3.       Internal Recruitment

2011 will herald a new era for internal recruitment teams but the full effects won’t start to really show through until later years.  More companies will implement an internal recruitment function, and all will do so with the best intentions, but not all of them will get it right first time.  The old system of putting in disgruntled agency recruiters, or starry-eyed HR advisors, to create a department disrespected and misunderstood by hiring managers, is in the past.  Internal recruiters will need to develop systems to engage with the wider business and earn their respect.  They will need to harness new technologies to attract candidates, but more than that it will be about developing and nurturing a passive pool of talent, rather than going out to recruit reactively as and when it is needed.  They will also need to understand employment branding, how to create a brand and culture that people aspire to work for, and how to keep that message consistent and real throughout the business.

Importantly, they will also need to know how to manage relationships with external recruitment agencies.  Whilst many internal teams will be built with the aim of reducing recruitment expense, it is no longer going to yield the best results for your business by simply appointing a panel of PSA suppliers who have offered to drop their pants the lowest on fees.  To access the best talent, much of which will still come via recruitment agencies, the smartest internal recruiters will get more by developing quality relationships with specific recruiters who intimately understand your business and really get the culture.  During 2011 this will start to happen increasingly outside old-style PSA panels, although the PSA supplier relationship will still remain at the fore until later years, especially with bigger businesses.

4.       Flexibility

The recruitment industry has come some way in this regard in recent years, but 2011 will take it to a whole new level.  No longer the sole occupancy of fiery, energetic, young Grads, more and more recruitment desks are populated by more experienced, commercially-astute and business-minded consultants.  With the ability to monitor e-mails on the move and log onto your CRM from home, some firms will go to 9-day fortnights.  New Mums will be able to return to work and run a desk, without leaving their child in day care for the entire working week.  Experienced overseas recruiters, seeking a move to New Zealand for the fabled “lifestyle purposes” will not want to find themselves stuck in an air-conditioned skyscraper for 60 hours per week.  Firms failing to develop a more flexible working style for its employees will lose quality experience and expertise and struggle to attract good quality recruitment talent from overseas.

5.       Contracting

Following on from flexible working practices, the concept of contracting will take off in a big way in New Zealand in 2011.  Lagging behind much of the developed world, this has been slower to properly catch on in New Zealand, but many recruitment companies will look to grow their contractor offerings at all levels.  From a recruiter’s point of view, this is one of the toughest and busiest desks you can run, but also by far the most financially rewarding.  From the handful of $1million+ billers there are in New Zealand, all of them either run exclusively a book of contractors, or have a significant contractor pool to augment their monthly Perm billings.  This is a rapidly growing market and recruitment companies will be ramping up this offering almost universally.

6.       Salaries

During the GFC most base salaries in recruitment were trimmed back by around 20%.  Whilst there has been pressure during 2010, many recruitment firms have managed to hold true to their principles and newly austere approach.  This is already under severe pressure now, but in 2011 it will break.  Firms determined to keep base salaries the same will struggle to attract the top talent and will need to develop very generous commission incentives to retain high performers.  Here is a guide to current base salary levels in New Zealand recruitment (mainly Auckland and Wellington):

–          Candidate Manager        $35k – $55k

–          Trainee Recruiter             $40k – $55k

–          1-2 years Recruiter          $50k – $65k

–          3-5 years Recruiter          $60k – $80k

–          5+ years recruiter            $70k – $90k

There are occasional exceptions to the rule but to go outside this…you will be exceptional…see what I’m saying?  Anyway, expect to see these beefed back up 10%-20% again by the second Quarter of 2011.

7.       Probity checks

During 2010 the recruitment industry came under intense media scrutiny around the quality of background checking undertaken, particularly in the instance of Stephen Wilce and Momentum Consulting.  Whilst the recruitment firm was in my opinion unfairly made a scapegoat for the Defence Force’s own ineptitude, it has nevertheless made many in recruitment significantly ramp up their compliance.  So in 2011 we will see many recruitment firms introducing credit checks, education checks and criminal checks along with the standard employment reference checks.  Much of this will be outsourced, but will actually serve as a significant improvement to our overall service offering anyway, so hopefully some good will come out of that difficult period.

Although impossible to monitor, more and more clients and recruiters will also be conducting “informal” background checking through social media channels such as Facebook, Linked In and Twitter.  Whilst the legalities around this remain a little hazy, it is something that will be a major feature of how recruiters handle their candidates and how clients make hiring decisions.

8.       Social Media

Which brings me nicely onto the eighth factor – and the one on everyone’s lips – the influence of social media and social recruiting.  2010 saw the uptake of Linked In in a big way by recruiters looking to build innovation into their old-fashioned sourcing techniques.  In 2011 the same will happen with Twitter and, to a lesser extent, with Facebook.  Whilst internal recruitment teams will start to use Facebook more and more to tie into their careers site, nurture that passive talent pool mentioned earlier, and deliver a human side to their corporate image, I think that agencies will struggle to find any significant Return On Investment to their Facebook efforts.  Twitter will be a different story.  By the end of 2011 most recruitment firms in New Zealand will have some kind of Twitter presence.  However, like Linked In, only a handful will actually harness the real power of this social media channel, most will get it wrong.

Using a job portal to automatically load your job ads onto your website and various job boards is a useful, time-saving tool.  But letting it dump all your jobs on Twitter is not clever, and will actually do more to tarnish your brand than promote it.  Companies using Twitter to solely advertise their jobs are not getting what Twitter is about.  Twitter is the vehicle by which you can do what I suggested earlier, and promote your personal brand.  Develop your online relationships with clients who will come to better understand you as a person rather than just a corporate entity on a PSA panel.  This will engage them and make them want to do business with you.  You do this by being honest, authentic and real in what you Tweet.  Talk about things that will interest your followers, and include links to interesting articles you find, and build a reputation as an industry expert.  OK you can chuck the odd job on there too, but doing it constantly will switch off your audience and make Twitter into what many still regard it as – a waste of time.

Some recruitment firms will also start implementing Social Media Policies, a set of guidelines for their employees on how to behave on the net, how to protect the company image, and how to protect their own interests if those employees decide to leave and take a load of contacts and networks with them.  Once again, most will get this wrong, and many won’t even bother until later on in 2011 / 2012.  Social Media is constantly evolving, so make sure your policies are designed that way too, and get the input and consultation from your own staff on how this policy should look.

9.       Corporate Social Responsibility

What used to be the domain of large multinationals, often headquartered in the USA, is now catching on with smaller, more local firms too.  As profits rise and firms look to give a little back, as well as elevating their perceived image in the wider community, 2011 will see an increasing focus on CSR with many SME kiwi recruitment firms developing new approaches.  Some clients such as Office Max won’t even let you recruit for them unless you have a dedicated charity your company works with.  Kelly Services have started offering all employees a ½ day off per month to undertake charity work of their choosing.  2011 will see a new era whereby clients will start to decide on suppliers based on their CSR policies, and recruiters will chose who to work for based on this too.  I think there will be a lot of well-meaning efforts made in this regard by recruitment firms in 2011, but again many will miss the mark of what this is about.  Make sure it is something supported from the very top down, communicated by company Directors, and make sure there is a CSR dedicated champion in the office who co-ordinates these efforts as part of their daily responsibilities.

So there you have it, the 9 factors that will shape our industry in 2011.  One thing I would love to see more of in 2011 is more comments and discussion on The Whiteboard, which is really what this should be about.  I am humbled by the numbers of you out there reading this and talking to me about it when we meet, but it would be great to get your comments on here too.  This is a Whiteboard for you to write on as a recruitment industry, not just for me and my personal thoughts!

So if you fancy starting now, how about rounding this up to 10 and suggesting what could be the tenth factor to make a major impact on our industry next year?

Destination Talent Awards 2010 – vote for Best Job Board, Recruitment Website and Careers Site

Two themes that have featured quite heavily on The Whiteboard this year have been online Job Boards and Recruitment Industry Awards.  Job Boards are an obvious source of interest to us in recruitment.  96% of Australian and New Zealand recruitment firms post jobs on job boards with 40.2% of talent hired or placed by recruiters being sourced through that channel.  Awards are also an important feature for an industry largely misunderstood by the wider business community and often overlooked as the prominent professional services offering that it is.

So today I’m happy to announce the joyous coming together of these two areas of interest for our industry.  For the first time the Destination Talent Job Board Awards will be featuring a New Zealand category, providing an award that will be sweet jam between the chunky slices of job board and industry awards bread…Ok that’s not one of my better analogies but I have a packed day ahead and really need to get this down!


Destination Talent is a hugely respected Australian resource centre for everything to do with recruitment and sourcing of talent.  Earlier this year Philip Tusing of Destination Talent published the Job Board Report 2010 which you can download here.  For those that  like to Tweet, you can follow @JobBoardAwards  @DTalent and @PhilipTusing for further insights.

Other awards for New Zealand include Best Innovation, Best Recruitment Agency Website and Best Employer Career Site.  These are great awards that I encourage you all to get behind.  The face and direction of recruitment is changing quickly.  Of course the essential elements of relationship building, influencing, negotiating and closing will remain the same, but the methods of reaching those stages are undergoing dramatic transformations.  I know of at least five household recruitment brands that have invested heavily in new websites this year and I am also seeing exciting developments coming from the internal recruitment sector by tying their career sites into social media and focussing more on employer branding techniques.

You can easily vote for your favourite job board here with only a couple of mandatory fields to fill in.  And you can go here to nominate your firm or company for best website / career site, as well as nominate for best innovation of 2010.

Australia has its own panel of judges for their awards but here in New Zealand Philip has assembled a crack panel of recruitment industry experts to sift through all of the nominations and decide on the eventual overall winners.  Jonny Wyles from Haines Attract, Kate Billing from Blacksmith and Richard Westney from KPMG will be joined by…*ahem*… me.  So come on you lot, let’s get behind these awards big time and make them a prize to be proud of.

Job Board voting ends on 23rd January 2011 and entries for the Best Recruitment Website and Best Employer Careers Site close on 16th January 2011.

Happy voting and good luck.