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10 Top Tips for Overseas Recruitment Brands Opening in New Zealand

By January 21, 20163 Comments

This week’s Whiteboard is something of a collaboration piece between your usual blogger (me) and sometime contributor Sean.  We’re in Christchurch so bring this to you inspired by the increasing number of overseas recruitment firms attempting to grow their brands in the NZ markets, and also fueled by the delicious craft beers of Pomeroy’s from last night.

Seeing as the world of blogging or, ahem, sorry, online marketing content creation, is determined to continue its downward spiral into inane and specious numbered lists compiled to generate clicks and impressions I thought…hey, let’s join in!

One of the trends I witnessed in 2015 was the increasing numbers of overseas recruitment businesses eyeing up the strong and (currently) stable NZ economy as a viable expansion project.  The Christchurch earthquake saw the ears of many an Australian and UK construction recruitment specialist prick its ears up, and the burgeoning local technology scene has attracted particular interest too.

It’s fair to say the results have been incredibly mixed so far.  Some brands continue to struggle to grow several years in, others have failed in their bids to grow organically so will resort to acquisition.  Some are actually making it work, and seemingly getting the balance just right.  And still we hear of more and more circling the New Zealand runway, weighing up whether to abort, or to come in and land.

So here is our comprehensive list of top tips for overseas recruitment Directors weighing up whether to engage the landing gear:

  1. Plan for at least $4 million of revenue in year one from your “global PSA” clients. Google, for instance, employ 4,000 in NZ and are duty bound to use you.
  2. Maintain the company status quo, and issue your consultants with a email address. Kiwis view this as a mark of sophistication.
  3. Many people these days enjoy the interweb. “Websites” are like brochures that sit in a special drawer called “cyberspace”. Any ambitious recruitment company hoping to be successful needs a website. Kiwis like photos of graphs pointing upwards, diverse yet smiling management meetings, and a finger pressing an invisible screen like in Tron.
  4. Remember on the Contact Us page to change the image from Sydney Harbour bridge to a soft-focus vista of the Auckland skyline taken from Mount Eden.
  5. “Plus Super” is considered a South Auckland shirt size, not an employee benefit.
  6. New Zealand recruitment process moves at breakneck speed, so don’t be be dissuaded from representing that downy-lipped grad to your client. By the time your new client is ready to present an offer, he’ll be on his third wife and chairman of the bowls club.
  7. Every business development meeting is a success. Your pitch will be perfect, your offering unique. And the receptive kiwi client will tell you as much. They will also go on to use a wildly inappropriate agency instead because they “went to school together”.
  8. Want the best talent in the market? Engage with a “rec to rec”. But make sure you hold them to a 10% fee like you do “at home”. Recruiters grow on Pohutakawa trees in NZ and need to be scraped off windshields on long journeys.
  9. Less is more in most walks of life, but not when it comes to expensive aftershave and overpriced suits. In NZ, billings are directly proportionate to the size of the recruiters wardrobe and sunglasses. Add $100k for unnecessary brashness over sporting triumphs.
  10. Convince New Zealand businesses of your social recruiting prowess and deep industry expertise by churning out numbered-list blog posts only mildly related to the sector you specialise within.

Please let us know if you found this advice useful and hey, why add some tips of your own?

Happy Friday and have a good weekend one and all.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Andy says:

    There are some real cutting insights there Jonathan. Just a couple to add maybe?:

    If recruiting anywhere in the South Island, expect business to come from almost the first marketing call or visit – the ‘Mainlanders’ are always ready to try the ‘next big thing’ i.e.: You!
    Be sure to tell prospective clients, and candidates, of just how successful your company is in your other global locations – they LOVE to hear that stuff.

    Finally, good luck – not that you’ll need it, as recruitment in NZ? Candy from a baby…

  • Mike Duncan says:

    Very good Jon and Sean, made me laugh on a Friday morning which is always appreciated. I can imagine many firms are trying and not getting that far although I am sure there are those getting it right, both big and small, with the right people on board.

  • Cracking post. Try this one

    As New Zealand is an easy market, employ as your Country Manager a job hopping perpetual underachiever whose appointment will elicit lots of WTFs (Why That Fellow/Female?) from local players. You are sure to attract lots of high achievers in his/her wake.