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A “Brand You” Day in Wellington

By June 24, 2010One Comment

I was up at 4am on Wednesday this week and, unlike during my twentys, when the reason would have been I was approaching my bedtime, I had actually already had my night’s sleep (well about half of it), and was purposefully dragging myself into the inky black chill of a June morning.  Thanks to my best mate “MySky” I was not up at that hour to watch another (increasingly exciting) World Cup match.  I had decided instead that the visit of the Aussie recruitment trainer and writer Ross Clennett to New Zealand warranted my attendance at a breakfast seminar he was offering through the RCSA.  To my great misfortune, the Wellington branch of RCSA had pulled off a slight coup in having the event staged in their fair city rather than Auckland, but my interest in the speaker and the presentation was sufficient to warrant a bleary eyed 6am flight down there.

It was worth it.  37 local recruiters (and me) attended from the likes of Johnson Group, Hudson, Manpower, Match 2 Technical, Education Personnel, Buzz Recruitment and more.  A sizeable posse from Rob Law Max were also there, clustered around their new leader Pat Quinn who bought out Rob Law recently and lampooned the “Max” moniker to the end of his new entity.  Arriving as an out-of-town loner I approached that table to enquire if I could join them in the spare seat, for they seemed an agreeable and outgoing bunch, but was dissmissively told “No” by Pat Quinn who obviously determined that I wasn’t one of his cronies and was therefore not worthy of their immediate company.  Luckily I found excellent company with Leigh from the Johnson Group, Bill Joy and Glen from Match 2 and David Thompson from Buzz and we were also joined by Ross himself before he began presenting.

The presentation was about “The New Era of Brand You” and you can download the slides here.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to rattle off the whole thing to you, but overall I found it pretty interesting and amongst a certain level of padding there was some really interesting information and advice.  Essentially Ross is putting forward the very real notion that in the modern world of recruitment it is no longer good enough to be an average recruiter working for a strong brand, as you yourself are your own brand, and any interactions clients and candidates have with you is based upon your own individual actions rather than those of your larger company.

You have to find a way to stand out from the crowd.  With 554,000 kiwi workers now working in overseas labour markets, the skills shortage and candidate shortage is back with a vengeance, and it is essential you as recruiters recognize that it will take a lot more than putting ads on Seek and your recruitment company website to fill those roles starting to land on your desks again.

Check out slide 38 from the presentation for a good synopsis of what it takes to be a successful recruiter these days:

  • Business Acumen
  • Sourcing Acumen
  • Sales savvy
  • Data savvy
  • Excellent Communication Skills; and
  • A Strong Personal Brand


The other point I really liked, and agree strongly with, is that as you start to build your networks, as you must, it is critical that your primary intention is to be of service first.  By this, Ross is suggesting that you must not network (whether at real life events or online social media) with your foremost thought being “what can I get out of this” as you will never be able to disguise this and will always turn off your new contacts.  I realise this will be a huge undertaking for a number of recruiters out there, but if you concentrate on what you can do for others first, and offer help, advice or support accordingly, then the business will come and favours returned in time anyway.

An example of this may be at an industry networking event.  Don’t approach a potential new client with a business card saying “Let me recruit for your positions.”  Of course this is your ultimate aim, but it is far better to break the ice with a less direct approach and perhaps offer some advice around hiring strategies, or commit to sending them a link to a website that might help.  This will make a far greater impact on them and increase the likelihood of a stronger, longer-term relationship being formed.  The same goes for social media networking.  It is OK to use Linked In and Twitter occasionally to broadcast jobs you have on, but far better to use them primarily to offer up information, advice, or interesting links that might appeal to your network, contacts or followers.  If all you ever do is use your status bar as a job board, you will turn off your contacts and probably find yourself “dis-connected”, “un-friended” or “un-followed” shortly after.

Anyway, cheers Ross Clennett, a great presentation from a top guy who was very complimentary about New Zealand (even Palmerston North) and didn’t make one Aussie ‘wise-crack’ involving the word “sheep” which made a nice change.

There are a couple more bits of business I would like to quickly air:

Remember to check out last week’s blog with the book review for “How to be a Great Recruitment Manager” by Dean Gollings.  There has been a great response so far but some people have been reading the question closer than others, and there is still a great chance you can win a free copy of the e-book.  Get me your answers by 5pm next Thursday night (NZ time) when the draw will be made for the winner, who will be announced in next week’s blog.

Also, if you can tear your eyes from my latest ramblings and cast them to the right, you will hopefully see a button that says “Sign Me Up!”  Clicking on this will ensure you get a weekly copy of The Whiteboard sent directly to your e-mail inbox, for your end-of-week reading enjoyment on the goings-on and points of topical interest in our New Zealand recruitment industry.

Finally, well done to the All Whites, who have shown how a large dose of passion, heart and spirit can overcome shortcomings in top level experience and technical expertise – something New Zealand business can also take on board and take heart from.  Unbeaten in the World Cup and finishing above Italy in the Group stages is fantastic and the next 4 years will have to be spent playing higher level opposition and learning how to get a win and those precious 3 points.

Thanks and have a great week.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.

One Comment

  • Thanks for making the pre-dawn trip from Auckland, Jonathan. Just to let your readers know I have also added my handout to the page on my site that you linked to, above.