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I’m been thinking a lot about technology recently. Those who know me know that I have no interest in zapping goblins online or insulting the mothers of teenage Koreans playing COD. Instead, it’s mostly because there’s some exciting news coming out of this office shortly, but alas if I told you about it, I’d actually have to kill you. Given my inability to maintain a LinkedIn profile, I’d probably quite like to kill some of you – but that’s by the by. Instead, I’ve been working with a couple of candidates who are fresh off the boat from the UK and have been busy interviewing across Auckland. It’s always interesting to meet with experienced recruiters who have never recruited in Aotearoa. It reminds me of my own arrival in 2011, and is a little stroll down memory lane on how naive I was when I showed up looking like a post-dengue cancer survivor. It’s easy a decade later to think that you arrived as the complete package, but I’m sure I was mispronouncing “Waitākere” like the best of them.

Anyway, my dealings with these candidates has highlighted something I’ve never considered before. There is a question that any recruiter should ask and explore before joining a new Recruitment firm that is rarely asked or explored in any detail. Asking this question, and being satisfied with the answer, will massively dictate your billings. Asking this question will dictate your level of client and candidate care. Asking this question will save you hundreds of hours. Asking this question will make a material difference to your sanity. So what is it? Well, given I’ve got a few hundred words left to write, let’s see what it isn’t.

“What’s the culture like?”

I’m going to sound like a dickhead here, but if I suggest a client to you, it’s because I think there’ll be a cultural fit. And describing culture is like roping the wind. Go along, meet them, and decide if I really am a dickhead.

“What’s the commission scheme?”

Important but also not. Almost every commission scheme in any sensible recruitment firm sees a recruiter earning about a third of what they bill. That’s just how it works out. Good question, but not what I’m thinking of.

“Do they offer flexible working?”

If you bill enough, yes. Next.

“What’s the manager like? What’s the desk? Why did the last person leave? Where’s the office? Are they on “All of Government”?”

Nice, A&F Contract, went back to the UK, CBD, No, but they’re tendering. All good questions, all frequently asked, but not what I’m thinking of.

So let’s go back to our two new arrivals. Both of these recruiters have been surprised by something little ol’ NZ does much better than their London counterparts. The thing that has impressed them, and that will make a massive difference to their billings, their productivity, and their sanity, is the impressive use of technology to make them more effective recruiters. They have come from environments that are still largely paper based, and largely manual. They are interviewing with firms who are paperless, and use a CRM/ATS as a single source of truth. These firms have online training, online candidate registrations, automated interview reminders, and a whole range of technology that can turn disorganised luddites into top performing recruiters.

So, in answer to my original question, if I was looking for a recruitment job, I’d ask all of the above, plus “how do you use technology to improve the performance of your Consultants?”

Have a good weekend everyone. It’s meant to be sunny so get your togs on.