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Auckland is a difficult place to live currently. No summer, followed by what feels like a lifetime of rain. The whole city turned into a massive building site. 2 hour commutes home into a damp house with a f*cked retaining wall with the warmer months seemingly a lifetime away. Although I typically dislike this shoulder season, this time round it seems especially bad. However, I have my own antidote to the gridlock blues, which perks me up and resets my tolerance for those who can’t drive above 60kmph in light drizzle.

This weekend sees me, for one night only, in the home of airborne STIs; Hamilton. Now Hamilton gets a bad rap from you kiwis who were actually born here, but I have a bit of love for the Tron. It has a nice river, a couple of craft beer pubs, some beautiful gardens, and that slap-head from the Crystal Maze once stopped there for a Big Mac. Basically, compared to the average UK town, Hamilton is God’s country. Why am I visiting Hamilton on a Saturday night you might ask? Why the Hell not. My solution to the daily annoyances of Auckland is to pack up the car with my wife, daughter, and cling-on mate, pick somewhere random, book a nice apartment, a local babysitter, and somewhere nice to eat – and have a right old booze up. I then return to Tāmaki Makaurau hungover, yet refreshed and ready to sit on SH16 again on Monday morning.

A change is a good as a rest they say, and it is no truer than when applied to running a recruitment desk.

The world of rec-to-rec is many things. Challenging. Infuriating. Rewarding. Ridiculous. Hilarious. Fun. It is however niche recruitment. Historically, we have worked mostlt with quality, white-collar recruitment firms who want mostly the same thing. Typically, this is well networked $500k+ billers, who have recruited in London, and have experience of recruiting within the appropriate specialism. Ideally, they are the right side of attractive, have not hopped jobs multiple times, don’t have halitosis or body odour, and can provide two references from legitimate former managers. Yes, the desk may change, but rec-to-rec cannot be described as a particularly diverse form of recruitment. For many years, the number one discipline for quick placements was IT recruitment. Following Covid, you could add the “experienced IT candidate manager” to the list of tap-ins. This is fine and makes money if you do it well, but for those who enjoy learning new skills or disciplines, or stretching the grey matter, a rec-to-rec desk can be like Groundhog day. If you do it long enough, you are rarely surprised. And if you do it even longer, the emotional peaks are clipped, as are the emotional troughs. And a Recruiter who becomes numb to the highs and lows, risks becoming a crap recruiter. This is perhaps one of the reasons we diversified and launched JOYN – a business than can operate in any sector. It’s part of the reason superHUMAN software exists. It’s why we write this blog. Just recruiting recruiters for a decade would send any normal person either insane, or up a bell tower with a high powered rifle and a clown suit.

There is good news however, and it’s not just my trip to the “City of the Future”. A few factors have come into play of late which have lent a much appreciated degree of variety to my working day. Firstly, All of Government. More specifically, firms new to the AoG panel. I should say that being on the panel does not make me necessarily want to recruit for you. In many cases, it probably does the opposite. However, this time round we’ve seen a few left-field additions to the list. Many of these firms we’ve never worked with. Some of these have called me to help them recruit. A couple of them have really surprised me with the quality of business they run. And it’s actually been really refreshing to work with new clients who don’t just want an Auckland-based $600k+ IT recruiter (although if you are an Auckland based $600k+ IT recruiter, best send me your CV – just in case). An example of something a bit different is this role here. Based anywhere, kicking down doors, for a firm that doesn’t have a permanent hard-on for Auckland and Wellington. I’m genuinely looking forward to working it.

The other change is the shift in market conditions. As the media constantly tell us that we’re going to be in a two year recession, and our houses are now worth less than our electric cars, Recruitment GMs are now looking for something quite specific. Gone are the “bring us anyone who can bill and not grope the receptionist. Actually, don’t worry about the receptionist” briefings. Gone is the constant need for a conveyor belt of Candidate Managers. Instead, it’s the quality recruitment firms who are cautiously optimistic, and are handing me very, very, very, very specific briefs. The type of brief that isn’t served by tapping up all and sundry on LinkedIn. The type of brief that requires me to map the market to find a specific skillset, and then pick up the phone, and say “Hi. I want to talk to you about a job“. If you’re a legal recruiter, you may have received one of these calls this week. If you don’t want to feel awkward when I call you at your desk, you can just apply here.

So I now have Hamilton for my private life, and a heap of new clients and niche roles for my professional life. If you feel stuck in a rut, then maybe give something different a go. Variety really is the spice of life.

Have a good weekend, even if you are stuck in Auckland.