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Dealing With A Racist Recruiter

By June 22, 20173 Comments

This is what she said, “I can tell you, I’ve been in recruitment all my life, if I saw your CV come across the table it would go straight back down in the rubbish bin,”

She followed this up with, “There’s hundreds of Kiwis out there – there’s hundreds of Australians and British – why would we give it to you? And if we do give it you over a Kiwi, I will be the first one approaching my member of parliament.”

Still not done, she went on to say, “Despite what the politically correct say, most recruitment agencies are Kiwis – and Kiwis hate immigration, like Britain hates immigration, like America hates immigration…I hate immigration, it has done nothing for our way of life, except bring it down to a third world country like yours.”

The jobseeker on the receiving end of this appalling tirade had the foresight and courage to make a recording of the encounter and sent it into the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, who released it onto their Facebook page.

I would encourage you to listen to the below, to gain a full understanding of the levels of spite in her racist invective:

This emerged last Thursday and, to their credit, the RCSA’s rapid response immediately tackled the issue head on, encouraging other recruiters to share the hashtag #SheDoesNotSpeakForUs and writing a letter to Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy published to the HRC website.

A significant black mark on our industry that none of us should ignore. But this is my fear, that this will be another one of those things that gives rise to a flurry of righteous and indignant outrage before the next big story comes along and it rapidly fades from our conscience again.

It’s how we respond to this that counts.

This so called recruiter, this pathetic, sad, frightened and spiteful excuse for a recruiter doesn’t deserve to lie low a while before managing to get back to her recruitment games again. But she will, I bet you.

Make this recording a wake up call for your own moral compass when recruiting from now on. Use it to keep your own behaviour in check. Remember, always, that we recruiters are put in a unique position of trust, influence, and power when a client instructs us to recruit on their behalf. Remember, always, that even if you get inundated with unsuitable responses, even if your client makes casually racist suggestions about who they want, that we must use our position to extinguish, and not allow or encourage, this kind of thinking from now on.


I’m a proud immigrant to New Zealand myself and I will be using the memory of this recording to always remind me that every candidate I deal with has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their suitability for the role I’m recruiting.

I know many, many recruiters in New Zealand but sadly I don’t recognise the voice of the woman in this recording. But some of you out there will do, whether you’ve worked with or for her, been a client of hers, or had the misfortune to be a candidate of hers. If anyone knows who this is, please let me know.

And if the jobseeker on the receiving end of this reads this, and still needs help securing employment in New Zealand, please get in touch. I’d like to do whatever I can to help.

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.


  • Hi Jonathan. I commend you on this article. It is well written and I agree with every sentiment expressed. As you correctly state this is the sad raving of one person whom we understand from our discussions with the HRC is no longer a practicing recruiter. The thrust of the comments on twitter and Facebook about this rant recognised this was an individual and there was little or no direct criticism of the industry as a whole. There is always a danger that the industry will be tainted and some will consider this to be typical of recruiters. The RCSA has taken the matter very seriously and in addition to the letter to the HRC published on their website, will be holding an open webinar for its members and anyone else who would like to join sometime in July. We hope to have representation from the HRC on that webinar, the purpose of which is to remind our members of the privileged position we hold and our responsibility to not discriminate in any form, including racism and other forms. This was one forum where the great advocacy work of the RCSA was visible but it is by no means the only example. The RCSA recently met with the AAAP (Auckland Action against Poverty Group) and First Union who have been very vocal against practices in our industry. The RCSA have agreed to continue to work with these groups to address their concerns where we can and to educate them and our members. The RCSA can only control the controllable and have no mandate over the many companies that are not members. The RCSA has a very good relationship with the Labour Inspectorate and ACC and work closely with them to identify and correct illegal, exploitative and other form it is are stronger and more influential as a group, than as individuals.

  • Phil Crothers says:

    Spot on Jon, Its a shame that we have to wait for something huge like this to be outraged or make a stand against racism. The fact that large amounts of candidates are still being fobbed off with ” you have no NZ experience” or ” you’re not a cultural fit” makes me almost as mad as this blatant attack. I hope this person is exposed for the hateful scum they are, bets lets all do better to stamp out even the smallest ignorance and hate from our industry