Gaining an Edge

Guest post by Adrian Coysh 

Three of the questions posed for the 2016 RHUB EDGE event included: –

  • How will talent behave?
  • What will employers do?
  • How will recruiters have a competitive edge?

One of the key focuses for HR people at present, along with Health and Safety, is Diversity and Inclusion (D & I).  If your clients’ Internal Recruitment or HR connections have not signalled that this is a priority, it is only because the “heat” has not yet come from their senior management.  Consider this 2014 release by the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX): –

“Under Listing Rule 10.4.5(j) NZSX listed companies (excluding overseas companies) are required to include in their Annual Report quantitative data on the gender breakdown of the Directors and Officers at the financial year end.

This rule came into effect for financial years ending on or after 31 December 2012.  All companies required to provide a gender breakdown under this Listing Rule have done so.

NZX takes a leadership role in the “diversity on boards” initiative through membership of various groups, including the ’25 Percent Group’ and as a sponsor of DiverseNZ Inc”.

Some of your clients may have already stipulated to you that a shortlist without gender representation, will not be acceptable.

DiverseNZ is an initiative by Global Women and was launched in 2012.  Last November, the Deputy Prime Minister Bill English further launched Champions for Change”, with the aim to encourage diverse leadership in New Zealand businesses.  English stated “diverse boards and management teams encourage productive, innovative and forward-thinking organisations, which was crucial to New Zealand’s future success”.

Global Women are supporting this “Champions for Change” initiative.  The Co-Chairs are Dame Jenny Shipley, Chair of CERA and Genesis, and past Chair of Global Women; together with Anthony Healy, CEO and Managing Director o BNZ.  A full media release is here which includes a list of participants.

Shipley said business leaders who did not engage with diversity, would be left behind: –

“All business models are turned on their head.  Today customers have power, they can destroy a brand value in an instant, in a day if they want to, on social media.

“If you have a group of people who are leading a company that are diverse you’re going to have hugely successful companies that will be great places to work, shareholders will be satisfied.”

In March of this year, the summit referred to in the media release was held, which was very successful, and included many CEO’s and Chairs of NZ’s major businesses.  Note – only these people could attend, and no proxy’s were allowed.  A workplan was proposed around the key action themes of sharing the case for change, measurement, and accountability.  Growing talent pools and mainstreaming flexibility is now being developed.

A key feature, is the word “measurement”, and would see these businesses voluntarily disclose other diversity achievements much in the same way as the NZX requirement.

As an example of another D & I initiative, Workbridge jointly announced with Z Energy earlier this month, that Selwyn Cook would be their Employer Ambassador.  Workbridge is an MSD funded organisation which creates employment opportunities for disabled people.

Selwyn is very passionate about employing disabled jobseekers, and has been recognised for his efforts by winning the 2014 ACC Attitude Employer Award, 2015 EEO Trust Employer Award and more recently, he was this year’s winner of Kiwibank’s Local Hero of the Year Award.

In the first six months as Ambassador, Selwyn will be meeting with Z Energy retailers and suppliers, with a view to encouraging them to consider recruiting Workbridge jobseekers.  When you consider that apart from selling fuel and oil products, many service stations are actually mini-supermarkets and are definitely in the FMCG sector.  So be proactive if you have clients in the FCMG sector, as they may now have a financial motivation to now review their D & I capability, particularly regarding the employment of disabled people.

In conclusion, I reiterate that D & I will be a key focus for your clients, even if your client contacts are not aware of it yet.  Consider Dame Jenny Shipley’s warning very carefully, about the brand value of your clients, and of course, your own business for that matter.

Collectively, we can all do better as professional recruiters, and engage with organisations which are supportive of people from the diversity sector.  This will mean that as a collective, we are “ahead of the game” before it comes around to bite us.

This is your edge.

Adrian’s long experience in recruitment is now being channelled into assisting organisations with their Diversity and Inclusiveness initiatives and building Talent Pools.  He is the Auckland Partner of JobCafé, a website portal that provides organisations direct access to many diverse Talent Pools.  JobCafé and is only one of three employment suppliers provided for the Government State Sector, to enable them to source disabled job seekers – the other two being MSD funded Workbridge, together with Work and Income.  Visit for more details.

My Recruitment Story – Q&A With Bevan Gray

We asked ex-Rugby player & coach turned management consultant Bevan Gray a few questions ahead of his talk at RHUB EDGE

Q1) What parallels have you found between the elite rugby environments you once played and coached in relative to the business landscape you now work in as a Leadership & Talent Management Consultant?
Competition. Although many of the skills necessary for success as an athlete are very different from those required for success in business, I think each operate in a highly competitive environment. They also share the relative pressure associated with this competition. I have seen how extreme competition and pressure can drive very counterproductive behaviours in both of these settings so I think they also share the need for strong leaders. Leaders capable of building cultures focused on team outcomes rather than the goals and agendas of individuals.

I have seen how extreme competition and pressure can drive very counterproductive behaviours

Q2) So why is building the right culture so important, yet so difficult to foster?
If a team culture does not foster behaviours aligned with achieving their “big picture” goals, they will never reach their performance potential and any success they do experience is likely to be short lived. I think culture is so important because it is a source of sustainable competitive advantage. The reason it is so difficult is because it involves people!

Q3) What are the most valuable things you learnt during your career as a rugby player which assisted you with a successful career transition into Executive Recruitment and Leadership Development Consulting?
From my time as a rugby player I quickly developed a continuous improvement mindset. I have always been very achievement orientated so I naturally set myself lofty goals and then planned out my road map for achieving these. Along the way I would routinely self-assess my performances and also actively seek developmental feedback from coaches and team mates. I now take the same approach as a Leadership Consultant and I believe this has helped me a lot with making a relatively smooth transition.

Perhaps the biggest learning for me as a rugby player was developing my resilience. Although I was a really fast runner, I was bloody skinny when I played so when I got hit it usually left a mark. Playing rugby taught me to face my fears, get back up and keep going. The physical side was really the easy stuff, the mental toughness required to deal with pressure and remain focused and positive is really the most valuable skill I developed from my time playing rugby. This has assisted me greatly in my work as a Leadership Consultant and in most other areas of my life too.

Bevan currently works for Korn Ferry Hay Group and will speak about leadership at RHUB EDGE on 27 April in Auckland. 



What’s your recruitment story?

In line with this year’s RHUB theme of Story and Storytelling  Prominence is conducting a competition. Have a look and participate:

My Recruitment Story – Bridget Cooksley

Stories defines us. Each of us have a unique story. RHUB’s theme this year is stories and storytelling.  We asked Bridget Cooksley three questions ahead of her talk at RHUB.

Q. How did you get into recruitment?
I, like many others, am an ‘accidental recruiter’.  I took voluntary redundancy from IBM in 1991 and after meeting with a number of recruiters who all told me how good I’d be at recruitment, I decided to give it a go! Have to say I couldn’t believe my luck in that I’d found a job where I could talk to people all day, be really nosey about people’s careers and businesses AND make good money out of it.

Q. What’s your most memorable recruitment story?
Being asked to assist TVNZ with their IT recruitment exclusively after working with their new CIO when he was a candidate. Even though I hadn’t placed him, he liked the way I worked and thought I was the right person to represent their brand (great for branded print advertising!).  Or the other one was when I was quite new to recruitment and did a reference check and asked (just as a by the way) how the person I was speaking to recruited and ended up placing large numbers with this start up software firm for the next 2 years.

Q. What will your cover at RHUB?
I would like to talk about the challenges of attracting people to difficult and potentially dangerous jobs and then selecting the people with the ‘right stuff’.  So our challenge is to work out how to sell our brand that is not immediately attractive to most people and then design selection processes that uncover candidate’s core values, key personality traits and behaviours, as well as their potential de-railers.  We need 100 Corrections Officer applicants to find one to hire – how do we do it?  We’re in the process of updating our brand and it’s going to be all about ‘telling stories’ with the objective of getting potential candidates to relate to our staff members’ individual stories.


My Recruitment Story – Aron Chantelau

Stories defines us. Each of us have a unique story. RHUB’s theme this year is stories and storytelling.  We talked to Aron Chantelau from Assurity about his recruitment story.

Q. How did you get into recruitment?
Having studied HR at university, I inevitably left my job search to the last minute and started desperately searching job boards for roles two weeks before finishing my degree. As it so happened, there was a bunch of recruitment agency roles going and not a lot else. So, through poor planning and lack of preparation, recruitment chose me. My first role in-house was a real breakthrough. I soon recognised that I wasn’t going to get far in a sales-driven agency world. It took a skilled recruiter who really understood what it takes for someone to succeed in-house to give me that shot at an internal role. As a left-field hire, I felt the pressure in a fast-paced and growing IT company, but managed to get through by the skin of my teeth.

Q. What’s your most memorable recruitment story?
Back in 2008 and only a year into my career, I worked for a recruitment agency. Times were tough as the global financial crisis had hit and most of my days were spent talking to job seekers, providing them with CV and interview tips and being there as an avenue for them to vent their frustrations.

One my best friends had landed a management role with a company that was breaking the norm and actually growing. I was in candidate management back in those days, but managed to get approval to ‘be the consultant’ and help my friend find good people. We worked hard to find people that were a good fit for his company and team and, before we knew it, he had a team of five talented people. Seven years later and his team has had zero turnover but, best of all, we’re all friends! I’ll always remember this as it taught me early on that recruitment is more than just finding work for people. It’s about getting people together who share values and goals and who gel. That’s when the magic really happens.

“recruitment is more than just finding work for people. It’s about getting people together who share values and goals and who gel. That’s when the magic really happens”

Q. What stories should recruiters be telling?
First up, recruiters need to share stories with their own people. Talking with the teams they recruit for about the challenges we face as an industry, what we’re doing to overcome these challenges and the successes we’ve had to make them feel part of the hiring journey. Applicants need to hear stories about life in the organisation. The ‘how’ we do things as a company, why we’re here and where we are going. The more tangible the experiences, the more real it will feel to the individual and, subsequently, the more engaged they will feel. Ultimately, stories bring things to life

Q. What will your cover at RHUB?
I’ll be speaking about how using a values-driven approach to recruitment has really worked for me; how I’ve discovered what’s in my own DNA, what it is that makes me uniquely me and how this links to the work I do in my organisation. I’ll be going into a bit of detail about the approach I’ve taken at Assurity that showcases our company values and ultimately has led to some great successes in the recruitment space.

Aron will be speaking at RHUB conference on 21 October.  Do you want to share your recruitment story? Write to us.


#RHUBNZ – Fearless Change Agent.

by Kylie Telford

“Fearless in the face of failure” (@warrenyoungster)

…was one of the most eloquent tweets to come out of the 2014 #RHUBNZ conference. This came from the closing key note speech of the conference by Diane Foreman of Emergent and it really resonated with me. Particularly in terms of my pre-conference blog as to how I would become a Fearless Change Agent. Diane’s whole ethos is about conquering fear to achieve success.  And this was the theme for the conference; fearless recruitment.


“Be bold not stupid” (@MattBRecruiter)

A thread that became familiar during the course of the conference was ‘change’. The world of work is changing. Demographics are changing. The recruitment profession is changing; we need to do things differently. It’s no longer enough to do the same old same old. It’s essential to differentiate, provide expertise, demonstrate value and be a trusted advisor to our ‘clients’. Significant change is required, but it needs to be smart and calculated with a view to growing the role of the recruiter in the future.


“Recruiting the right person is like falling in love” Do they have to be mutually exclusive? (@SeanWaltersNZ)

I think the answer to this is a definite no. The ability for recruitment and recruiters to change now and into the future is as essential as being able to work collaboratively and apply judgement through the likes of critical thinking, systems thinking and learning agility. Applying lean thinking to the candidate experience is a key factor that came out of Warren Young’s (IRD) address, who has been working along principles such as “ask once”, “no touch” and attack waste”. These things will go hand in hand.

The ability to innovate and integrate will become key. This will entail the likes of greater social and mobile adoption, the use of new and emerging systems and tools, new methods for sourcing, selling, assessing and managing talent. Speed is crucial.

Talent is becoming a scare commodity; therefore the candidate experience is of utmost importance for all recruiters, internal and external. Refining this and creating seamless links between each element of the process will feature heavily and refining this should be a focus for all recruiters.


“I can now stalk people on #facebook for ‘talent pooling” (@JaimeGallocher)

Tweet based on Laura Stoker’s (@lauralstoker) presentation on Facebook Search. #RHUBNZ unearthed a host of new tools, methods, and companies I’m keen to explore further in the name of change, development and being fearless. From Facebook search, through Prophet, Lippl, AskNicely and Watson there is so much more out there to enhance the performance of recruiters and recruitment – so much I envisage another blog to come on this.


“#FearlessRecruitment Make a decision” (@rebeccaclarkenz)

Recruiters need to decide to change. To grow, challenge and evolve. To achieve this we need to be fearless. Many of the speakers and in fact the attendees of #RHUBNZ are fearless; pioneering into new frontiers of recruiting through utilising, developing and creating new worlds of work. The options as I see it are to join them and lead the charge, or be left behind and face extinction. I know which I prefer, and I challenge you to become a Fearless Change Agent.

Kylie is sales & culture performance manager at NZME. She tweets fearlessly at @KylieTelford and also blogs at HRMusings. Kylie will be attending RHUBNZ.

Are you a fearless recruiter?

We are having a special joint #ozrec and #nzrec chat this week.

Our subject is Fearless Recruitment (#rhubnz theme for this year)

But what does it really mean?  Fearless recruitment can mean different things to different people – it can be as simple as hacking job posts to get better results, or trying something new to improve recruitment ROI, or it can entail taking personal responsibility to help job seekers. It can mean innovation, process improvement, cutting waste or experimenting with new ideas and processes.  The list is endless.

But in essence fearless recruitment mean mustering up the courage to take risks, to innovate and to not be satisfied with the status quo.  There are  ample stories of fearless recruitment in NZ & Australia. It’s not too far off to argue that almost all innovation in our industry is a result of some one taking a fearless decision.

So time for some fearless chat. We are giving away a free #rhubnz ticket to the best contributor.

Our hosts are @FindSouth  in NZ and @philliptusing in Australia.

TIME : 10:30 AM Australia. 12:30 PM  NZ.

1) Are recruiters too reluctant to take risks?
2) How can you be better at being brave in pursuing a better outcome?
3) How can you change a recruitment culture that is risk averse?
4) What’s the biggest risk you have taken and what are the outcomes?

Retailer adopts agency model for internal team

mattx700x250Source : Shortlist

Retail giant The Warehouse Group is integrating an “agency model” into its internal recruitment function in a bid to access better candidates, according to recruitment manager Matt Bartlett.  The recruitment team will operate across all 20 of the New Zealand retailer’s brands, but will use an agency approach to maintain the individual identity of each division, Bartlett told Shortlist.

“The individual brands have their own identities, visions and values as employers, and [the executive] don’t want to lose that, so we can’t lose that when we’re talking to candidates,” he said ahead of his presentation at next month’s RHUB Conference in New Zealand.

“Once the relationship between the candidate and the brand is broken down for whatever reason – the candidate or the business isn’t interested – then we can say, ‘actually we think there’s another opportunity for you in the group’. “I am loath to call it this [but] it’s almost an agency model because [the recruiter] can put her Warehouse Stationary hat on when she’s recruiting for Warehouse Stationary, or a Warehouse hat when she’s recruiting for Warehouse.”

The company has also put together a team of dedicated ‘job-type’ recruiters who specialise in one core business area, much like traditional agency consultants, said Bartlett.  “We now have specialists in cross-brand and store management recruitment, and that’s to really drive candidate experience and provide what we call ‘return on candidate’.  “[We’re] basically positioning somebody to be the retail store leadership expert in the country, so they can tap into or approach any store manager in any business and say ‘I represent a whole lot of different brands, what I know from you is I think you’d be right for this [brand]’.”

Bartlett, for example, focuses on supply chain and marketing, while another team member focuses on retail support roles, such as HR, finance and IT. The strategy came about through necessity as the company began to acquire more brands, but did not allocate corresponding recruitment resources, Bartlett said. The Warehouse Group, which makes around 2,500 hires annually, still uses volume recruiters to hire in-store staff and has worked extensively toward automating that process, he added.

Retail workers aren’t ‘second-class citizens’

The Warehouse Group sponsors education programs to improve the poor public perception of working in retail and attract more talent to the industry, said Bartlett. The strategy was spurred by a quote on the company’s Wikipedia page calling its workforce “second-class citizens”, he said. “As much as we’re trying to target the top retailers in the country to join us… we’re also leading the way in shifting the perception of the industry among the wider population.

“The reality is you don’t get parents going ‘I’d love for my kids to work in retail when they grow up’, but we would like to get to that.”

Warehouse, in partnership with Massey University, also offers New Zealand’s first ever retail degree, and is working with Careers NZ to promote retail careers to teachers and kids across the country, Bartlett said. The company also offers a work experience program and has developed retail modules for technical institutes’ business courses, he said.

“A good grounding in business studies or economics will lend itself well to becoming a buyer or a category manager. [We’re] just trying to educate people, who have got the right core skillset, that retail is a way to actually earn good money, travel a lot and run their own business essentially.”


Matt Bartlett is the Recruitment Manager at TheWarehouse. He will speak at on 18 Nov (day 2)


How To Become a Fearless Change Agent?

The agenda for the upcoming #RHUBNZ Conference claims that “After two days you can expect to be a fearless change agent.  That’s a big call, but one I’m more than willing to put to the test. I’d love to be considered and consider myself as a Fearless Change Agent. How would that be for a job title? Sounds like a super hero. So aside from this, what else has got me excited about attending the conference touted as a must attend for all in NZ recruitment?

The line-up for one thing. The speakers confirmed for the conference read like the glitterati of the talent world. There are people here who I’ve looked up to and learnt from in one form or another for years now. Including one of my former AUT lecturers, so good he wrote the text books. I’m anticipating being more than a little star-struck over the conferences’ two days.

I’m looking forward to networking. Meeting people #IRL (in real life) that I’ve previously only met via social media and the like who share similar interests. This was undoubtedly one of the highlights of another conference I attended recently, resulting in deepened and strengthened connections with people I was already in regular contact with and a host of new people to share with and learn from. The incredible technology available now means that through social media it’s even easier than ever to maintain these relationships on an on-going basis.

Recruiters. I’ve heard them called the car salesmen of the HR world – don’t hate me for that comment, for it’s not one I subscribe to. Rather, I see recruiters as something of the super hero’s or “change agents” of the HR profession. In my opinion they appear to be the group forging ahead into new and different ways of working. Utilising technology, embracing it and pioneering a way forward. I believe the rest of the HR disciplines could learn a lot from recruiters, how and where they are working both now and into the future.

Takeaways, learning, development, growth, new ideas and new ways of working should all be given results of any conference, but to do so you need to be fearless. Fearless enough to learn and recognise there is always more to learn. Fearless enough to open yourself up to new. New people, technology, ways of working and thinking.

In reviewing my thoughts to this point I’m aware that I’m expecting what looks like a lot from this conference. However, as I’ve rarely stopped pre-conference to really think about what I want to get out of it before (other than the obvious – in this case honed recruiting skills) it may well be that all of the above is highly deliverable. Here’s hoping. Here’s to fearless learning.

Post the #RHUBNZ Conference I fully intend to be a Fearless Change Agent (with Super Hero like recruiter practices). I hope my post conference blog has the same title, but with the question mark replaced by a period.


Kylie is sales & culture performance manager at NZME. She tweets fearlessly at @KylieTelford and also blogs at HRMusings. Kylie will be attending RHUBNZ.


Fearless Recruitment – Say What?

When thinking about recruitment, fearless isn’t a word that comes to the minds of most recruiters I’m sure.   Most recruiters have been trained in a process, and have stuck at that process – advertise, screen, present – for their entire careers.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – to get the best talent for your business you need to be the best recruiter. You need to be a fearless recruiter.  You need to be open to new ideas, new ways of doing things – heck – even try something no one has done before.  Now, don’t get me wrong – don’t drop all your policies and procedures and go crazy here.  With recruitment – danger is very real. The implications of hiring the wrong person can be dramatic.  A quote that adorns my body from the movie “After Earth” is “‘Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice”. That rings true for recruitment as well as life.

Have a think about your recruitment strategy – what have you changed recently? What have you improved recently? And for some of you – have you even reviewed your recruitment strategy recently?  Or the worst – do you even have a recruitment strategy?  If these questions are making you feel uneasy, then you’ve got some homework to do. Don’t fear change – change is not a dirty word.  We all moan about the shortage of candidates – keep doing what you have always done and you will get the same results.  And you will get a lot of moaning.

As someone else said recently – the time of the recruitment conference is upon us. I encourage you to attend one, listen and take notes.  When it is break out time ignore your phone and TALK. Chat to people – what are they doing? How are they getting results? What is new out there to discuss together?  It’s amazing what your peers will share with you when you just ask.  It’s amazing when you ask some of the above questions and make actions from them.

Think about what fearless recruitment might mean to you… I will leave you with this thought: what results could you achieve recruiting without fear?



Rachel Kemp is currently a senior recruitment specialist at Youi. She tweets fearlessly at @RachelMouse and blogs at recruitnginnz. She will be at #RHUBZN on 17-18 Nov.