This week saw me down in Christchurch. As I ubered through what remains of the city, I was reminded that Christchurch was actually my entry point and introduction to New Zealand. Fresh off a plane from Fiji and following a coin-toss at Auckland Airport in 2010, it was decided that we’d start our 2 months’ of travel in the Garden City. And a generous interaction with a budget car rental firm just off Madras Street has left me with an indelible warm’n’fuzzy feeling about the place ever since. No matter how broken, I’ll always have a soft spot for Christchurch.

As I jogged off Tuesday nights’ beers like a recruiting Rocky Balboa early Wednesday morning, it dawned on me how different the city was from my home of Auckland; the topography, the infrastructure, the population density, the ethnic diversity, the shop and business signs. I certainly wasn’t in Kansas any more. And maybe because of one or all of the above, the place just feels different. Part of the reason for my visit was to interview candidates for an internal role with our sister business JOYN. Similarly to my morning run, but without the grey tracksuit and one hundred chasing school children, it is clear that the style and skill-set we required in Christchurch is quite different from what we require in Auckland. To extend this, our Wellington operation is different again. Although we aim to maintain a consistent set of values, the very nature of New Zealand demands a diversity of thought, background, and experience based purely on the postcode. What works in one site often doesn’t work in another.

Being a pom recruiter, I’d argue that these differences are far greater in the land of the long white cloud than they are in ol’ Blighty. A recruiter in Manchester more-or-less operates like a London recruiter. They have, for whatever reason, become homogenised. Disregard the accent, and the faux-leather compendium will be the same.

Here at Rice, we’ve become experts over the years at identifying which traits work in each of our three biggest cities. If you’re hiring for your team, based on location, I’d suggest having at least 3 of the below ticked before you make an offer to your next top-biller:

Wellington:

  • They believe that their Supreme Coffee, grown in the central Bolivian plateau and roasted by a third party tastes vastly different from All Press coffee grown in the central Bolivian plateau and roasted by a third party
  • Their partner works in middle-management in a government department
  • They know everyone
  • They firmly adhere to the “5 coffee rule”*
  • Their shoes may be ironic
  • They don’t just have a name, they are “a name”

*5 coffees must be shared with a prospective client before business is ever spoken about

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Auckland:

  • They are widely disliked by there colleagues, candidates, and clients yet still bill a million dollars
  • They dip off work early to take sunset selfies in Lululemon or ilabb singlets on “Takas” beach
  • They went to Kings
  • They’ve either just returned from London where they had a mild coke problem, or they’ll leave you in 10 months to make Gallipoli for ANZAC day.
  • They flat in Grey Lynn. Parents live on the shore.
  • Their blood type is Hollandaise

Christchurch:

  • A distant relative arrived on an old wooden boat which they can name. You’ll know this within 3 minutes of meeting them
  • They have fantastic rugby credentials having played to at least provincial level
  • They can “mix it up” on the construction site or the farm
  • The secondary school they went to will still be very important
  • They’re related to Robbie Deans
  • They are Robbie Deans

Isn’t it great to live in a country where there’s a place for everyone?

^SW

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