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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” was typed time and time and time again by a manic Jack Torrance (played superbly by Jack Nicholson) in “The Shining” where he loses his mind..… But there was another part added to this proverb a long, long time ago which was “All play and no work makes Jack a mere Toy”

Why am I talking about this? Because I have just read about the UK IT company that has recently converted a pub to offices and now provides its employees/playmates with a giant slide, swing, pool table, cinema, bar and putting green. When I first read the article I noted that it was quite close to April 1st but having read similar stories about companies, particularly in IT, I had to believe it to be true.

I am the first to admit that I can be a bit of a dinosaur as far as work is concerned, particularly having started life in the conservative atmosphere of a chartered accounting firm. When I started work you went to work to work… You then went home in the evening to play, and you played at the weekends. Life was quite simple. The only exception to this rule were the partners in the firm who tended to “work” a lot on the golf course during the week, but the only “play” we had at work was when somebody told a joke, or flicked a rubber band at you. The photocopier malfunctioning and throwing paper all over the office (as it often did) was cause for laughter – I guess, as accountants, we were easily amused.

Did I feel hard done by? Did I feel oppressed? Did I feel that there was some accounting firm elsewhere in London where I could play more and work less? Hell No .. The firm gave me good training, paid me well and had some brilliant clients to work with.

Did I feel therefore that not being able to jump up and down on a bouncy castle or slide down a giant helter-skelter meant that my ability to give good business advice to a client was severely prejudiced? – I do not think so.

What happened to a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay? Did everything really change forever after the first episodes of “The Office” and work fun like Gareth’s stapler being covered in jelly became the norm behaviour?

As I said before I may be a dinosaur… so I would really appreciate some comments on where work begins and play finishes. Having a playground in your office – does it really make your business more profitable? Your clients better served? Your organisation more productive?

Should employers now be focussed on a full day’s pay for a full day’s play – and perhaps the employees do all their work at home? Now there’s a thought to make you as crazy as Jack….

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Job Seekers have Beating Hearts

I was fortunate to attend a Recruitment Association lunch yesterday – not because the food was good and the orange juice and coffee flowed, but because the speaker was Nan Carroll, who has been part of the Recruitment Industry for many years, and who gave us food for thought.

It was not one of those “Oh my goodness, I never knew that” revelation type presentations, but it reminded those attending of some fundamentals of growing and retaining good recruitment business.  

The title of her talk was “Is Technology Bypassing Your Candidate Talent Bank? Putting the Heart Back into Consulting” and she was giving us all the benefit of her experience, from her lowly recruitment beginnings to being joint CEO for a $300 million turnover recruitment business.

She reminded us that candidates/job applicants had “beating hearts”, they have emotions, families, mouths to feed, mortgages to pay and that we have all been candidates at some stage in our lives.

Nan also waved a copy of a recent Newspaper whose headline read  “Australia could face a shortfall of 1.4 million workers by 2025, according to a new report” 

My view is that so many recruiters talk about “candidate care programmes”, “talent management” “candidate management” but so few are actually delivering in practice. 

Nan spoke about how candidates become friends – how if you treat them well they come back again and again, and often as clients, or recommending you to clients, or other candidates.  Why wouldn’t you look to grow your business by looking after your assets? We may be in recession still now, but all the demographic trends are pointing to skill shortages, so treating people well must enable you to reap rewards later, even if not immediately.  

Some of the basics (and what candidates complain about a lot) aren’t that hard – returning (or answering) phone calls, replying to e-mails, giving feedback after interviews, communicating to job seekers as to what to expect from you and where their CV is going . 

All those things you might expect yourself as a recruiter, from someone who supplies a service to you.

I guess also the whole area of candidate (and Client) care is the one major area where agencies can really make a difference compared to the various online offerings through job boards and employers.  It takes more time, yes, it takes more thought,yes, but does it build your business? – heck YES

So whatever technological tools are offered to you as an Employer or Recruiter, never lose the fact, as Nan so well illustrated, that job applicants have emotions and they have choices.  That choice will increase as skills shortages kick in once again – will they choose you or will they choose www.iamanimpersonalroboticjobboard.com? - I guess that is up to you and your candidate care programme…..     

I would love to hear from job seekers of recent examples of those agencies who are getting it right, and also some examples of who is getting it wrong.  No names please… to protect the innocent.  Comments from recruiters are also welcome.

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Job Searching – some practical help and links

I have had a trickle of enquiries (well more of a deluge) over the last few months here and on my main site www.job.co.nz about job sites – some of these are from overseas and although many of us here in New Zealand will know where to look, I thought it might be helpful to post some advice.  Any comments and suggestions to correct, or add to,my information will be gratefully received – just use the comments button!!

So here we go – in no particular order…..

Job Portal

www.job.co.nz – have to list this one first as I own it :-)  - the site will give you information on specialist recruiters in most areas

Job Boards and Newspapers

I have lumped these together as all the main Newspapers have job sites as well.     

www.seek.co.nz   NZ’s “#1 job site” (their words) but being challenged now by

www.trademejobs.co.nz who have built their job traffic on the back of the hugely successful auction site www.trademe.co.nz

The New Zealand Herald (Auckland) have their own site http://jobs.nzherald.co.nz/ and the Dominion Post (Wellington) is owned by Fairfax, who also own Trade Me, so by default their job site is www.trademejobs.co.nz !!

The main Christchurch Paper is the Christchurch Press, also owned by Fairfax, so their job web site is …….yes you guessed :-)

The Otago Daily Times, according to their website lists ”more up to date job vacancies from Dunedin to Queenstown than any other website in New Zealand”. http://jobs.odt.co.nz

Considering they are only showing 180 vacancies at the time of writing this, there is either a sorry state of affairs from Dunedin to Queenstown, or they might be exaggerating their popularity a bit.

There are many other sites, and even in the recession, or perhaps because of it, we are still seeing new entrants into the online space.

www.careerzone.co.nz is a good site, originally set up by a group of recruiters.  Sites are also emerging to focus on location www.christchurchjobs.co.nz or a specialisation – www.financejobs.co.nz  www.itjobs.co.nz and www.fitnz.co.nz (fitness and sport)

Agencies and Employers own sites

A list here would never be comprehensive.  www.job.co.nz will show you agencies that specialise in your area, and you can also use the job boards I have listed to look at agencies and employers that specialise in your type of role.  Most of them, even the smallest, have their own web sites and list many more jobs than they would put on the job boards – after all they have to pay for the job boards and their own site listings are free.     


This is just a start - I would appreciate comments, additions and corrections :-) and I will make this a permanent feature of the blog.

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Your E-mail address can damage your brand

I read a great blog recently from Greg Savage “What you say online IS your personal brand” and this morning when I received a job application from a chartered accountant whose e-mail was doggygirlxx@   Greg’s post immediately came to mind.

I think all of us have seen some funny names in recruitment – I remember a certain candidate in London whose name was Head and his first name was Richard – but did he really have to choose an email address that started Dick_Head@ ?? I guess all the Richard’s had been used already.

I have seen some great job applications over the years – but first impressions do count so please be careful in what e-mail address you choose to use with your great CV and covering letter.

My all time time prize must go to mistressdominatrix69@ who apologised afterwards for using her personal e-mail by mistake.  I often wondered whether it was really a mistake – or whether this accountant (yes another one) just wanted to show her softer side.

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