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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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Olivier survey shows Australia stuttering a bit

The latest Olivier report shows a fall back in the Australian market.  An overview is posted on our Australia page.

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“Only 4% of job-seekers are actually getting jobs online” and “your odds of getting a job via internet job sites are one in 250″ was the Forrester Research quoted in a huge article in this weeks HeraldJobs.

What a load of Rubbish was my first thought, especially as a quick search online only revealed this reference in the Herald to the research and nowhere else could I find it (including the Forrester site).  I am not doubting the Herald’s source – just can’t find it at the moment.  

Then I read on:

“Using Internet employment websites just to respond to job postings is missing their true value.  A savvy job-seeker will use them to identify trends, build relationships, tap into the grapevine and target companies and opportunities that may not be obvious to others”

That’s it then – it makes it clear – responding to a job ad on a job site is not the real purpose.  You have to look beyond the advert.  I guess it is like the ads we see for TelstraClear, Telecom and Vodafone.  They don’t want us to actually buy anything – more like public information ads on how much my phone is worth, or how fast my broadband connection is.  How much I could save if I moved but not really wanting me to.      

I checked the date of the Herald article – November 11th – hmmm not April 1st…so I read on – the rest of the two page article enthuses about building an online brand, having your own blog (well I should be OK then), Linking yourself in and “inter-networking” yourself. 

This all makes sense, kind of, but I could not help going back to the stats - ONLY 4% OF JOB-SEEKERS ARE ACTUALLY GETTING JOBS ONLINE

Whilst I have said uncomplimentary things about www.seek.co.nz in the past, one of the things I have never accused them of is failing to deliver to 96% of their audience.

Please enlighten me – are agencies and employers really spending a fortune on ineffective advertising?  Do those lucky 4% make it all worthwhile? Or are we heading back to the days of posting CVs, knocking on doors and actually picking up the phone and talking to people?

Heaven forbid – what would I do with my blog, twitter, my “Inter-network”? Would I have to cancel my broadband connection and buy some stamps instead?    

There are 16000 jobs listed on Seek and Trade ME Jobs today – allowing for duplications between the sites and agencies advertising the same jobs, lets say that means 5000 real unique jobs. So assuming these are real jobs and the 4% get them then 120,000 people (making up the 96%) will be not getting them.

Perhaps some of those 120,000 could comment – or even one of the 5000 :-)

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Job applications can damage your business

A message to Employers (and I guess some agencies)

New Zealand has always had a DIY, Number 8 fencing wire, “she’ll be right” attitude and this is evident in the number of employers currently doing their own recruitment. However, judging from the number of letters I have read in various papers and online we don’t seem to be “getting it right” in dealing with candidates who are applying to job ads.

Employers please note – job seekers are not a breed apart, they are not alien creatures. They may be existing and potential clients or customers for your business, they may be friends of customers, friends of yours, relatives or friends of relatives etc etc

Dealing with job applications takes time and patience.  It is what you used to pay the agency for and this my Top 10 list:

  1. Promptly acknowledge all applications (automated or standard responses are better than none)
  2. Review applications as soon as possible (do not run an ad immediately before you go away for a holiday)
  3. Decide on your shortlist and call them (yes telephone – it is more personal and helps you determine their communication skills) and ask any questions at this stage that need clarification
  4. Get them in for a first interview as soon as possible – make sure they have a job description and as much company information as you can give them.
  5. Send a nice rejection letter to those you are rejecting as soon as possible.
  6. If you have a “not so good but worth considering” pile that you will consider if your shortlist doesn’t work out – make sure you keep them warm by telephone or e-mail – you may need them later
  7. Once you have done your first interviews, follow up quickly on both the ones you are rejecting (with reasons why) and the ones you are not (with reasons why too).  Don’t just do the pleasant bit.
  8. Arrange second interviews as soon as you can and testing as well if needed.
  9. Thoroughly Reference check your preferred candidate (s) as soon as you can.
  10. Before you make an offer, make sure the package has been thoroughly discussed and any remaining questions that the candidate has have been answered.

The message is Communicate, Communicate and Communicate – apart from being polite it makes business sense – job seekers have emotions, they spend money and they have choice as to where they spend it.  It doesn’t matter whether you are an Accountant, a retailer or an Insurance company.

A final comment for today – for those Employers who keep telling me “we are taking our time”  ”no need to rush in the present market” –  Do we wait until the produce market closes to buy the freshest vegetables?  Do we wait until the sale is finishing to get the best deals?

Where is the logic in that the best candidates will be the ones left at the end of 4 weeks?  Unless patience or endurance  is a prime requisite for the job (cheesemaker maybe?)

For goodness sake get on with it – or use an agency – but make sure they are doing all the above, or they will damage your brand too. Above all else, don’t assume “she’ll be right” – my 30 years experience in recruitment has taught me that “she’ll be wrong” if you don’t get it right.




Updated Antal Survey

Antal survey on global career prospects has been added to our overseas page




New Zealand Job Blog

www.jobblog.co.nz – the Blog for New Zealand Jobs and the interactive sister site of www.job.co.nz.

Full Commentary on the New Zealand employment scene.


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