We’ve had a bit going on at Rice HQ over the past week. I went out for a run and almost died; took a funny turn while doing the half marathon and only ended up in ICU. I would say buy me a beer and I’ll tell you all about it but one of the hardest working livers in the rec game still isn’t playing ball. I did contemplate a hospital bed selfie if only to curry some sympathy with the Seek panel, now I find out she’s not going ahead! What am I to do with an Auckland DHB branded wheelchair, drip, and ECG I lifted for the occasion?? Talking of beloved recruitment institutions, this one not pulling out at the last minute, our very own Sean Walters welcomed a wee bundle of joy into the world last week. He’s taking some well-earned rest away from the tools for a couple of weeks. I say rest but, I’m sure he’s already inducting Scott Jnr (name to be confirmed) on MK Ultra, Bay of Pigs, and the entirety of Mr. Steven Seagal’s body of work.

In more recruitment-related news away from Rice Towers, we’ve been given a heads up on boarders opening. I’ve been back at the coal face for a week and the question I’m getting from clients is if I’ve heard/seen of any candidates from overseas. Quite the opposite Mr/Mrs/Ms/They Client! Unfortunately, NZ has gone through somewhat of a rebrand over the course of the pandemic. Our PM’s likeability and countries allure has taken a hit. My mum has started referring to the PMONZ as ‘that Jacinda one’ which in our house is a sign of real contempt. Folk in the UK (death count: 159,000) see us in NZ (death count: 51) as backward with a leader that has her priorities all wrong. Look, I’m no grass but, my old man went to the old firm last week with ‘symptoms’ and I’m sure he wasn’t the only one. The idea of events being called off and having to wear masks while out and about is a bit of a boner killer for potential tourists and countries that have effectively given up. This is why I don’t think we should be preparing so much for a mass influx of backpackers breaching our shores. I think we should be concerned about kiwis and ex-pats shooting the crow.

There are plenty of candidates who have missed out on an OE or two. People that haven’t seen family or friends over the other side of the world. Those that just want a change of scenery. All of the above are genuine reasons for an already depleted market to become even more drained. This isn’t to say that there will be an echo around Queen St/Lambton Quay. I just think the borders will be somewhere in between the UK and US on Black Friday when they open, turns out it’s Finland. So, what is to be done? I think recruitment leaders need to be realistic. As early on as the interview stage they need to be a bit firm on the applicant’s plans in 12 – 18 months. Realistically it’s 4-6 months before a consultant is profitable so you want at least a solid year of mahi out of them. After that you can’t really make them sign a legal doc promising their life to you, it’s something you need to take at face value.

It’s a great time to be one of the big boys with offices in locations that sound like the title track off a Scandinavian tech ensembles album; London, Milan, New York. It’s a big carrot to a candidate who may harbor dreams of flying the nest at some point. Sure, it’s a bit of a kick in the baws to a direct line manager but them staying within the wider family is a positive and there’s a higher chance when they return, they will reciprocate the initial back scratch. Finally, I think it’s important to encourage breaks be they international or staycations. We have an awesome backyard here! Having not been to the Cotswolds or Lake District I may be speaking out of turn but, off the top; Milford Sounds, Bay of Islands, Coromandel. To get a bit philosophical; it’s about the journey, not the destination, and driving in NZ is a treat! While driving back in the UK specifically; a bit 50 shades of grey. We’ve all proved that working from home works so even the week in MIQ/own abode post international vacation is totally workable.

We’ve always been job-rich and candidate poor in Aotearoa so that’s nothing new. I do think that the siren call of a plane journey to a foreign land will be too much for a generation of Kiwi’s that had a diluted uni experience or a couple of subdued summers. Hold your associate consultants tight and cherish them while you can is my advice this week. Make sure you bombard Sean with well-wishes – 021 248 8660, he prefers long phone calls as opposed to texts 😊

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