Tag Archives: Hays

Happy Easter Recruiters and there’s a birthday next week…

Pop!  That surprised you didn’t it?  Like an early hatching Easter chick, here is this week’s Whiteboard post, poking its fluffy white head out of the internet eggshell to wish you an early Happy Easter.

Well what with it being Good Friday tomorrow, and The Whiteboard traditionally getting its weekly stroll around the exercise yard on that very day, I thought I’d better give you all something to read a day early this week rather than posting something as well read as a Hays Social Media policy.  Speaking of which, my rubbish usually gets collected on a Friday morning around the time I post The Whiteboard, so can anyone tell me if I’m supposed to chuck that up the end of my driveway a day early too?

Truth be told, I have little to report this week.  It’s a short week.  It’s been a frantically busy start to the new financial year here in New Zealand and all seems to be picking up very nicely indeed out there in the wider Asia-Pac region of recruitment.  The Auckland office of Absolute IT have invited me to a local bar to watch Spurs (pronounced bleurgh) v. Arsenal but I have unfortunately booked myself out all morning in a meeting of which you will hear more about further into the future.  Plus almost the entire office supports Spurs, having very recently farewelled their lone Arsenal supporter, and the way Arsenal are playing I’m not sure it sounds like an enjoyable prospect.  If you guys are reading this from smartphones at half time then cheers to you and go the Gunners.  [Update: Arsenal are 3-2 up at half-time, sorry I’m not there now!]

Honestly, if you’re an IT recruiter looking for a new home, and sad enough to support Spurs, then speak to those guys.  You probably wouldn’t even need an interview 😉

But wait!  I do have a small piece of news to impart.  This is the 51st posting on The Whiteboard, where I have published a fresh blog post every Friday since it all kicked off on 22nd April 2010 with the following thoughts:

“…if you are an agency or internal recruiter, particularly in New Zealand, or perhaps a recruitment Director or company owner, you might like to check in with The Whiteboard every now and then.  We should be posting something up every Friday and hoping to lighten the mood towards the weekend, as well as keep you informed of news, articles, opinion and gossip from the world of recruitment, with a definite leaning towards the Asia-Pac region that is our hunting ground.”


Yes next week will be The Whiteboard’s first birthday and I hope that some of my plans and aspirations for this blog have come true over the past 12 months.  It has been a pleasure to write and comment upon various goings on in our world of recruitment but most edifying of all has been your growing support, from reading numbers, subscriptions, comments and general word of mouth comments made to me.  Thanks for your support and keep those comments coming.  I look forward to ever more vigorous debates over the coming 12 months.

For a birthday present I am taking The Whiteboard on a designer shopping spree.  Watch out for the new-look Whiteboard next week and if its bum looks big – don’t be afraid to say so.

All that is left to say is Happy Easter to everyone out there in recruitment and I hope you all enjoy a well-earned break.  But mainly to the New Zealand recruiters, not because I live and work here, but because you jammy Aussies have such a prosperous economy your Government can afford to give you Tuesday off for ANZAC Day as well.

At least that’s an extra day’s revenue on temp margins for the New Zealand recruitment firms.  Clutching at straws?  You’ve got to look on the bright side!


Croquet and Pimms at the SEEK Estate

SEEK did something quite unexpected yesterday.  They hosted a very pleasant, convivial, civilised and not-at-all-brash garden party at Alberton House the “SEEK Estate” to host a range of clients, recruitment and corporate, to say thanks for our business.  How jolly decent of you SEEK and thanks for having us all along.

Now this was no legendary SEEK Blue Ball thronged with roaring recruiters, chest thumping suits and tottering tipsily on high heels.  This really was an indication of where we have come as an industry since the heady boom days.  The recession put paid to the Blue Ball, the flash venues and manically drumming Japs fading into a distant memory from 2008 as SEEK’s swollen coffers started to run as dry as those of their recruitment clients.  This was altogether a far more genteel occasion.  Recruiters are still in the process of hauling themselves back out of the recession.  No doubt work is picking up significantly and revenues are returning, but there are still a multitude of wounds to lick and heal, which came through in the polite and reserved chit chat that characterised the evening.  No more the sneering gloating over vanquished competitors, more like a few sideways glances and acknowledged mutual respect between competing firms who are all really just glad to still be in recruitment.

Forget Saatchi & Saatchi...it's Simon & Simon (Madison)

But for the wider recruitment masses, it was suggested by JP from Seek (who is now to be known as John-Paul as he was introduced by his new GM), that the Blue Ball will return.  So we will once again have a night of heavy drinking and general letting-hair-down behaviour.  Then we will really see if the recruitment industry leopard has managed to change its spots, or as I suspect is just currently wearing a clever spotless disguise in preparation to cast it aside when the boom returns.

The evening was also an opportunity for SEEK to introduce their aforementioned new GM.  Take a bow Janet Faulding and welcome to New Zealand’s recruitment community.  Janet has a background in running radio stations but did some online stuff as GM for Vouchermate.  We had a chat and she seemed pretty cool, although introducing her new account manager John as a fellow Pom, when he is from Zimbabwe, didn’t go down so well!

Janet Faulding speaks

It seems like The Whiteboard divided opinion last night as well, which is excellent news and just what I am trying to achieve – a bit of debate in our industry.  To be fair, there were many positive comments from some readers of the blog, and just one that suggested I was pushing things too far in a small market – but it’s all good and we’re all entitled to an opinion.  I have to take my hat off to the Manpower crew who were very magnanimous despite the panning received by many commentators a couple of weeks ago.

On that note the blog went past the 10,000 views mark last week, so thanks for all of your reading, especially those of you who contribute, comment and join in the debate on issues in our industry.

So there we have it.  No juicy gossip or salacious details on misbehaving recruiters this week I’m afraid.  I must say a big cheers to the guys from Hays, Recruit IT, Madison, and Automotive Employment, who carried the evening on in Snapdragon in the Viaduct.  It was a great night, but I really am all talked out, so I’m going to slink off to find a coffee and hopefully something abundantly greasy that I really shouldn’t be eating, but will be so good… I heard something on the radio yesterday about a battered sausage covered with chips and wrapped in bacon… a Piggy-Chip-Dog.

Mmm, that’ll be the ticket…aren’t hangovers great?

Recruit IT flying under the radar and banning use of flash

Sharpen Your Sales Pitch by Explaining Recruitment to Your Parents

Do you remember when you first tried explaining recruitment to your parents?  I can still picture that glazed look of befuddlement now.  I’d been with Hays in Australia for about 6 months when they came over to visit from the UK and see how their son was coping over here on the other side of the world.  They knew I had got a job in recruitment after I’d sent my CV around Sydney for Sales jobs and had ended up getting nothing but interest from recruiters to actually work for them (no surprise now that I know the magic Sydney formula of Sales Experience + Pommie = RECRUITER!)

My first taste of trying to explain recruitment was on my second client visit, where I was going solo, to a small client who rarely used recruitment companies (the first client visit was with a 7-year veteran and we went to AbiGroup, one of Australia’s largest construction companies, where I grinned and nodded a lot while she did all the talking).  That was tough enough, but not even in the same ballpark as trying to explain it to my parents.  To be fair to my Mum, she had read in the Sunday Times about some lady in Sydney called Julia Ross who had a house on Sydney harbour, so she thought it must be an ok job to be in.  I got the glazed response but nothing more taxing than a “That’s nice, dear”.

My Dad was a different story though.  Being much more business-minded he wanted to really understand how it all worked:

–          Me:        “You get a vacancy from a client and find candidates to fill it and arrange them interviews.  Then you negotiate the offer and acceptance and boom – job done.”

–          Dad:       “How much does it cost?”

–          Me:        “Well Perm placements usually cost a percentage of the first year’s salary, around 15%-20%”

–          Mum:    “Perm?”

–          Me:        “Not like the hair Mum…”

–          Dad:       “You meant Permanent?”

–          Me:        “Yeah…”

–          Dad:       “So why didn’t you say that then?”

–          Me:        “It’s just what they s…”

–          Dad:       “It’s like saying fridge instead of refrigerator”

–          Me:        – biting my tongue-

–          Dad:       “So how do you find candidates?”

–          Me:        “Usually search the database, post some online ads, maybe get some referrals…

I tail off at this point because the glazed expressions have returned with a vengeance and I can almost see my words sallying forth over the heads of my parents, who have started wondering when their son will make use of his Law degree and get himself a proper job…like in Law.

I do believe they have moved on a bit from this way of thinking, now I’m running my own recruitment business which supports my family and all, but there’s no better way of practicing your sales spiel to your clients than explaining what it is you do to your parents, I can assure you.

Now I must dash because said parents are actually arriving in Auckland today for tomorrow’s Christening of lil’ Bonnie Rice and I need to collect them from the airport.  The only problem is that now they are showing more interest in the business they have stumbled across The Whiteboard and have actually been reading back through my blog posts.  I mean, how on earth am I going to explain this to them?!


As a quick aside, it was gratifying to learn earlier this week that The Whiteboard came it at number 24 on the US website PhD in HR’s Top 50 Up-and-Coming HR Blogs.  Most of the blogs appear to be from the US and UK so it’s good to represent New Zealand amongst that lot – whoop whoop.

A Glimpse at the Hays “social media policy”

I’m going to kick things off this week with an apology to Seek and their ex-GM of NZ Annemarie Duff.  Last week the question was asked whether she had had a dig at Momentum in her speech at the recent Seek Awards, as was the rumour I had heard.  Feedback from other sources has since suggested that it was a case of mistaken identity and comments were in fact made by an entirely different dark haired lady representing another four-letter organisation.

I enjoyed the company of Seek at an ad-writing seminar they put on at the Hilton this week.  It was pretty basic stuff but a very worthwhile refresher and there were plenty of new-to-industry and internal corporate recruiters there picking up some great tips.  Cheers also to Ross from Seek who showed great generosity of spirit in inviting me to their offices for a beer sometime in the future.

Onto other things and I recently heard from an old colleague who left the employment of Hays that they had to delete their Linkedin account entirely when they resigned from the company.  If you read The Whiteboard a couple of weeks ago you’ll have heard about another recruiter, from a different organisation, who was forced to delete Linkedin connections that mirrored names in the company database.  Well it sounds like Hays have taken things even further lately.

Hays have historically been swift and decisive in their handling of social media and the way their employees and ex-employees can utilise it, which is consistent with their strict enforcement of contractual obligations under restraints of trade for exiting staff.  They were one of the first to successfully challenge an ex-employee’s Linkedin network in a (UK) court of law.

As far as I’m aware Hays only recently allowed its employees in this region to have access to Linkedin.  Having computer systems that can allow certain staff access to certain websites, and others not, enabled them to say, “OK, you can have access to Linkedin at work if you like, but if we allow it then you have to sign this policy agreeing to delete your account if you leave our employment.”

This may seem Draconian but it is quite clever from Hays.  If an employee is using a work computer to access Linkedin then the inference would have to be that they are using the site for work purposes, and thereby the content of that account including its connections, messages and groups are owned by Hays rather than the recruiter.  So can Hays employees have any complaints?  They are not forced to sign such a policy, merely told that they can’t have access to the site at work unless they do sign it.  The more technologically savvy could still build their networks through a home PC or Linkedin i-Phone app.

So there is no doubt that such a policy will protect Hays’ IP generated during working hours, which is rightfully theirs to protect.  But I do wonder how such a policy would make current employees feel about the tools at their disposal as a recruiter.  Social media is an increasingly important phenomenon in a recruiter’s toolbox, and in my mind social media policies should be a collaborative and liquid affair, constantly moving with the times.  It should encourage recruiters to communicate, externally and internally, in a more personable and authentic way.  We are fast approaching an age where clients want to do business with real people rather than faceless brands and it is essential that personality and authenticity shines through.

Some of the top recruiters in our region are heavily involved with social media across all the different applications, but most notably Linkedin.  I would imagine that recruitment firms would be quite interested in securing the services of such recruiters and having them in their team.  So how, then, would it work if a recruiter joined a new company with an existing network of 500+ relevant connections and Group memberships, and utilised this network to generate fees for the new employer?  How would a policy such as Hays’ work in this instance?  My concern would be that it would be a big deterrent to that recruiter joining such an organisation in the first place.

It is completely understandable for Hays to impose such a policy but I think it is equally important that companies realise what they might actually be losing by doing so.  Something that black and white can give you security over IP and retention of existing business.  But it could also lose you creativity, openness and collaboration amongst employees, the hallmarks of the new social networking age, and mean you could be missing out on business that you didn’t even know existed.  

Discouraging or limiting social media activity must surely be a short-term fix rather than a long-term strategy.  One would hope so anyway.

Movers and Shakers – Recruiting in Christchurch


To those recruiting in Christchurch, we salute you…

When the earthquake rumbled up from 10km under the Canterbury plains last Saturday morning the lives of many New Zealanders were thrown into disarray and panic.  But what has followed in the days since seems to be far, far worse.  As the aftershocks keep on coming (I heard there’s been over 200 now) it has been impossible for many to find sleep or peace of mind, or any level of relaxation whatsoever.

Whilst 2010 has been a welcome year of recovering economies so far, it has still been tough going in recruitment, a real challenge where survival of the fittest is still very much the watchword.  But the events over the past week in Christchurch really puts all that into perspective.

Naturally most recruitment firms in Christchurch have their offices based in the CBD, usually several stories up.  Some, such as Enterprise Recruitment, who were based in Radio Network House, will probably never return to their condemned building which is still up to 10 weeks away from being accessible again.  They have been able to continue business as usual (sort of) by retrieving the server from the 12th floor and shacking up with their IT providers who got them networked up to 6 computers in their office, and are now looking to move into more “boutique” CBD offices, not so badly affected by the quake, next week.

Kelly Services, whose New Zealand HQ is based in Christchurch, have followed the example set by PricewaterhouseCoopers and occupied a space in a hotel for the duration, continuing to work via remote access to the network.  The stairwells of their offices in the PWC Centre are unsafe and it will be at least 1 week of clearing up before they can inhabit their desks again.

With the aftershocks it must feel like walking up a descending escalator and getting nowhere.  Farrow Jamieson’s offices in Forsyth Barr House withstood things better than others and apart from a displaced water cooler and a light dusting from the ceiling tiles, the 9th floor was in good nick.  The building was due to re-open yesterday but the big aftershock has put that back until it can be re-inspected again.  Luckily they all have remote access to the network so can carry on some form of work while they wait.

Of course the personal and emotional impact is of far greater consequence than the professional one.  A couple of the Hays team have had their houses severely damaged and will surely not be the only recruiters affected in this way.  One of Madison’s new team members, recently arrived in New Zealand, has seen the hotel she was inhabiting damaged beyond repair, quite an experience to tell friends and family back home the other side of the world.

In Auckland and Wellington it is pretty well business as usual in the world of recruitment, which must seem surreal to our fellow recruiters in Christchurch.  Of course we all work in a highly competitive industry where it is in our very nature to seek to beat our rivals and attain top spot – but this is still our industry and we are all in it together – so I just wanted to doff my cap to you recruiters down in Christchurch who must be having an unbelievably tough time of it right now.

Further Movements


In movements of a different kind, Inside Executive Recruitment have announced the recent appointments of Brendon Carian and Charlotte Cottrell to their Wellington business.  Both will be focused on increasing the company’s Executive Leasing offering across all disciplines.

It was also reported in Recruiter Daily last week that Carl Robinson and Lisa Cooley have joined the Auckland offices of Absolute IT.

More Recruitment PR Stunts Please

The Whiteboard made an appearance on New Zealand TV last weekend when it was aired on the current affairs programme Sunday.  But, alas, not this blog, that will have to wait for another day.  No it was the whiteboard belonging to Queenstown based medical recruitment specialist MedRecruit.

A fine whiteboard it was though, with the title ‘Ave it August emblazoned across the top and the company’s Director, Dr Sam Hazeldine, writing up a nice $21k fee onto it.  You can view the whole programme by clicking here .  Click on “Cut and Run Part 2” for the bit with Sam and MedRecruit in it.

The article is looking at the exodus of kiwi medical talent to Australia for better working conditions, weather and pay etc etc (you’ve heard all this before, whatever sector you might recruit for).  What struck me was what fantastic exposure and PR this was for MedRecruit though.  Most press releases and PR guff in New Zealand tends to centre around the big globals such as Hudson, Hays, Robert Walters etc, who attach their executive management’s name (Marc Burrage, Jason Walker, Richard Manthel respectively) to the same old bland press releases from Aussie PR departments.  Don’t get me wrong, these guys do a pretty decent job of presenting their “findings” to the media, but it’s never anything new, almost always concentrating on skills shortages or increases in job orders, just couched in different ways each time.

But it was great to see something new from a smaller kiwi boutique player (at least currently – Sam has been going 4 years and is already up to 12 staff and making plans to open offices in Australia).  I spoke to Sam earlier this week and he does get some PR support from his wife who is PR and Marketing qualified, but he was directly approached by TVNZ to feature in their Sunday programme, by virtue of his well-known name in the medical recruitment field and its’ relevance to the topic of their piece.

I was also impressed to see Jane Kennelly of Frog Recruitment getting her company onto the headline article of One News last Friday night.  Again, click here if you want to see the whole video.  I have to say the article was kind of lacking in “newsworthiness” especially for a leading article (but much more welcome than hearing about terrorist bombs, floods and snubbed ageing footballers you might get leading the UK news).  But again it was great to see a kiwi boutique firm getting some national exposure through their PR efforts.

There is a lot of good things going in recruitment in New Zealand but I think that many of us tend to hide in our shells a little, especially as we are natural targets for the usual criticism traditionally hurled our way.  Well done to Dr Sam at MedRecruit and Jane at Frog Recruitment – be proud of what you do and get your name and brand out there.

And remember – the big globals don’t always get it right – just ask BP who originally claimed that the oil spill was not their fault, it was their contractor’s fault.  Or the hilarious “PR-off” going on between HP and their recently booted CEO.

It would be great to see a lot more positive PR from the New Zealand recruitment sector – anyone else got some good PR stories or things coming up?