It’s been another full-on week in recruitment. The number of job ads posted to Seek has reached 57% of pre-Covid-19 levels. Wellington’s leading the way with the highest job ad levels at 63.2% of pre-Covid levels with Canterbury and Auckland sitting just over 50%. The minimum wage has gone up to $20 an hour and in what may or may not be related news; NZ saw a record number of folk moving off benefits and into employment, the most since electronic records started in 1996. It’s starting to feel like the old days are back, but better. Our pub yarns tend to dip into recruitment chat a lot of the time. One subject we were discussing; is if a growing market better than a recovering market? Opinions were divided until a willy-related double entendre or a request to ‘do that funny voice’ reset the conversation back to normality. The upshot of it though was that both create and foster the same thing; options.

During the first lockdown, I knew all the adverts that were running on TradeMe and who they were with. It made for predictable reading for me and I imagine fairly depressing reading for job seekers. Now, those job seekers have plenty to go after! I feel rec to rec is the smallest (and cutest) Russian doll; I do well when my clients are doing well and they do well when their clients do well, and so on. Agency owners aren’t without hubris however, I believe them when they say they are doing exceptionally at the moment. We’re back to heaps of activity. Why is this? Maybe clients’ dizzy expectations have fallen? Have they realized getting the starlet out of an organization isn’t realistic? That the demand for work perhaps justifies giving someone who is hungry and enthusiastic a chance? There certainly seem to be more doors opened than ever for candidates.

Walters quipped last week that “our role is more akin to a dating agency, not arranging marriages” which is true on a lot of levels. Since I was partly raised by television, the forgotten screen, I think in terms of TV shows. Recruiters tend to play a Cilla Black role in the recruitment process, introducing a lucky lad or lass to three almost indistinguishable options for a partner. Those too young to remember will be aghast to know that the contestants were separated by a screen, a concept contradictory to the commonplace looks first, swipe right or left culture of today. It’s not an air-tight analogy as I’m yet to comprehend what ‘Our Graeme’s big booming voice would be in this metaphor. It’s probably more a mix between that and one of the many home buying shows; location, location, location, a Place in The Sun et al.

Again, for those that aren’t aware of this very narrow scope of British tele the premise is simple; a couple is looking to move out of their beloved 3-bedroom semi and into something a little more reasonable, or unreasonable as the show progresses. It’s like Grand Designs or Premier League Years; you never intend to watch it but there you are half an hour in fully invested and interested in Ken and Barbara’s dynamic. Your candidate is both Ken and Barbara in the one unpredictable body. The bit that gets me, they’ll give a description of their perfect home and the host will be like; “ hmm that’s nice. It’s a little off brief but, there’s something I’d LOVE to show you” then proceeds to show them some subterranean dwelling. K & B are seen nodding away faces lit by torch agreeing “this is perfect! Like when you spot a meme’s origin in a tv or movie, I sit up and yell “that’s from recruitment!”

There are heaps of options out there now. However, some of your candidates will still be closed off to the majority of them. As recruiters, you need to be a little wiley, obviously present choices that are in line with expectations but don’t be afraid to show something a little off brief. After all, there is more opportunity now than there has been in a long time.

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