Recruitment, Keeping it Local, Keeps it Real!

By Shannon Barlow

The idea of spending your hard-earned cash locally is not new. All of us at some points have thought I really want to support locally owned and operated business because of everything they do to create our community. Local jobs, local suppliers and building our local know how. Sometimes these ideas are lost, however, when we consider purchasing business to business services, and for me personally this is the recruitment industry in New Zealand. It's not as easy to identify locally owned business to business services so I thought I would pen 5 points to consider when making a decision on who you should use when engaging a recruitment consultant and why keeping it local, keeps it real! 

1) Who owns the agency the consultant you are engaging works for? 

Sounds like a basic decision, but you will be surprised at how many multi nationals have local operations or brands in New Zealand. Why is this important? Firstly, companies that operate in multiple jurisdictions are restrained by pricing arrangements internationally. It is harder for these agencies to offer variations to service or pricing because of the implications it may have in other jurisdictions.

Consider a situation where a preferred supplier deal exists across multiple markets and what would happen if they offered a much lower rate in Christchurch compared to London. Clients would push for equivalent rates. Secondly, the profits generated by your recruiter don’t stay in NZ and are instead re-patriated or shifted to lower tax jurisdictions.  

2) Does my consultant live and work locally? 

The best recruiters have deep and long-established networks. They cultivate relationships within their vertical markets, eg accounting or geographically. This means if you are looking to hire talent or are considering a new opportunity, they can connect you to the best local talent or jobs. They also know about opportunities that are never advertised publicly. Often clients will say something like, “if you see someone with … then let me know”. So, although there is no listed vacancy, they can connect you to “off market” opportunities.  


3) What tools does your consultant use to engage talent? 

I think the best examples of this are local social media groups or job boards. A local consultant should be able to tell you which channels work best for the role you are looking to fill. A couple examples of local channels might be a university job board, National job boards that are kiwi only like Trade-me, Facebook and LinkedIn groups that they may manage themselves or participate in regularly. A recent example for me is a Facebook group that is for Irish backpackers looking for roles in Auckland. Perfect if you are looking to fill a short tern temp role in Auckland. You are not going to know that of you are a consultant based in Sydney trying to fill a role in Mt Wellington. Local knowledge counts. 

4) Kiwi culture!  

It is a thing. Doing business in New Zealand is different. Understanding the cultural nuances is important to ensure your consultant gets briefed on the best opportunities or understands the unique sensitivities of your unique Kiwi business. 

5) Long term relationships matter

When I was on my Big OE in London, I got off the tube in Hammersmith, saw a recruitment agency on the high street, walked in, talked to an Aussie recruiter and started a temp job the following week. That was great for me but it gave me the misconception that recruitment is transactional. I was there for a good time not a long time, and so was my recruiter, so it felt like a quick fix was the norm and good enough.

When I became a recruiter myself, I soon realised the importance of long-term relationships. Just like working with a local accountant, or your local GP and Dentist, building long term relationships with your recruiter means they get to understand your business, can tailor their service and be able to deal with the inevitable awkward or difficult situation with honesty and integrity knowing everyone has a vested interest in maintaining a mutually beneficial long term business relationship. 

So, there you have it. Five things to consider when choosing a recruiter to work with. My advice is to keep it local and keep it real. It's good for you and New Zealand.