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Hot Buttons!

By December 4, 2020No Comments

Temperature is used to describe heaps, from a hot take to a cold shoulder. In our industry, we often talk of temp when describing the health of a desk or the freshness of a role. A consultant in charge of a hot desk that is losing money will soon find themselves in a hot seat. One of these turns of phrase pertains to buttons. To quote the beginning of every unoriginal speech ever given; ‘Webster’s dictionary defines’ hot button as “an emotional and usually controversial issue or concern that triggers immediate intense reaction” This is pretty far from the sales definition of a hot button. It does share the same end product though, an emotional reaction. We’re trying to find what are the components of a role that someone holds dear and ideally in order of importance. It would be a pretty jarring conversation if you had to list, in order, what controversial issues trigger immediate intense reactions with every job seeker. In the world of recruitment, there has been a bit of change regarding recruitment consultants ‘hot buttons’ and the order in which they come in. Every candidate is a snowflake, not that they get triggered easily, they are individually different so the order may vary. However, these are the usual buttons that will need to be pushed to get a reaction.


Nowadays, it’s pretty much a given. Most agencies have proven they can survive without people in a physical address, much to the dismay of commercial property managers and shared office enthusiasts. A number of my clients in the IT & Digital Space have opted for a weekly work from home and a few have even gone to a 4-day week, with full pay. The technology supports a more fluid relationship with the office it’s just a matter of the hiring managers supporting it.

Work/Life Balance.

Not to be confused with the previous button. It’s often a hot button for those coming from overseas. Hearing the tales of NZ’s chilled out ‘vibe’ and wanting a slice of the hedonistic bacon and egg pie. It’s less about being able to work from anywhere and more about not being guilted into working through your kid’s nativity play. It often takes an agency owner to be in the family way or a lack of shareholders/ board members looking to squeeze the most productivity out of every workday, but they’re out there.


It’s never going to be too far down the list in the way of importance, as far as hot buttons go it’s perpetually warm. The number of times I’ve heard “Auckland’s an expensive place to live” and every time I’ve agreed! It’s not getting any cheaper either. People’s ability to see potential has diminished in recent times, that’s true on the client-side but also the candidate side. Although there may be the chance to grow and develop possibilities won’t pay the mortgage.


Another heavy hitter of the hot button world, it’s also a huge reason why people move. Progression is innate, we all start out on the cold hard school hall floor uncomfortably cross-legged but safe in the knowledge that one day we will be promoted to gym bench level success. The inability to progress in a current structure or another member progressing at a rate that is disproportionate is what keeps me in hazy IPA’s. People, in general, must feel that they are moving forward, it’s part of the reason we do new year’s resolutions. Job seekers and consultants need to know there is a path that shows they have progressed from their first year to their current and will continue to do so.


Not too much of a biggie in NZ I must admit. I know plenty of folk on the North Shore that’ll venture into the CBD for their sins. I even know a consultant out in the jungle depths of Titirangi that will scooter avec train to wherever he needs to be. Travel expenses might be an issue but your choice to live in the Travelling Wilburys old tour bus on the sands of Piha shouldn’t affect your employer in my eyes. Most agencies are based centrally so although it’s nice to be a walk away from work, it’s rarely a deal-breaker.


Certainly in the last year, we’ve seen consultants move from one industry to another for a very simple reason; no one is hiring. Most industries are seeing a slow resurgence now but there was definitely a necessary jump of ship for many a consultant. Marketing consultants who already shared a blurred line with the digital space slinked over to the tech side. Professional services/office support consultants rolled up their sleeves and got to grips with an ever-busy construction industry. Even in non-pandemic times, there is always a motivation to change desks but usually, it’s consultants looking to specialize in something with an aim of becoming more of a specialist.


Like A Fairy Tale in New York’s slow rise up the chart this time of year, this hot button has crept up in the level of importance due to 2020. Many people had the employment rug whipped from out under them and the subsequent fall to the ground has hurt financially as well as emotionally. The reassurance that it won’t happen again is obviously pretty important to people. Even if they have not been personally affected themselves a question every employer should be prepared for “how did Covid impact your business” and they’d best have an answer.


There are others but these are the most common, that last one has certainly become more important in recent times but depending on the candidate one button can outdo another in terms of importance. Then again, as recruiters, I’m sure we’ve all been left in disbelief when it comes to candidates’ hot buttons, the same is true for recruiters. Someone who wanted to specialize in a large global agency with heaps of progression has inexplicably chosen to accept an offer from a boutique, on a niche desk, with a husband and wife team, but they did have a dog so…