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What Fluid Recruitment has Learnt Recruiting in Regional New Zealand

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We’re thrilled to bring you the latest installment of the Recruitment Speaks Out series in which top Australian recruitment leaders share unique stories on their agency’s origins and what drives their business growth.

Fluid Recruitment, headquartered in Dunedin, provides it’s candidates career opportunities across regional New Zealand. With their consultants specialising in each of their own specific sectors they are able to provide both candidates and clients with truly trusted advice. I recently spoke with Peter Clark, Director at Fluid Recruitment to get an insight on what makes placing candidates in regional New Zealand rewarding and why the area is so unique.

Sally Wong [SW]: Tell me about the history of Fluid Recruitment.

Peter Clark [PC]: Fluid was first set-up in June 2009 in Dunedin. We originally focused purely on two vertical markets being Accountancy & Finance and IT.

Over the years as we have grown, we have moved into other industry sectors and markets as well as expanding our geographic coverage. We’ve found success in giving strong attention to the regional centres on both the South and North Island of New Zealand.

SW: What are the 5 specialty areas your consultants cover? How do you ensure they are always focused on those areas?

PC: The five specialty areas we focus on are: Accounting & Finance; Engineering & Trades; Information Technology; Sales & Marketing; Customer Service & Administration.

At Fluid, we make every effort to ensure all consultants in the business become subject matter experts in their industry sector. Building up detailed knowledge of your market and developing long-term relationships with both clients and candidates provides a significant competitive advantage and consultants recognise this and the benefits available as a result.

By specialising in your chosen field, recruitment becomes easier. You can instantly recognise top talent, create referral networks and gain a real understanding of changes happening in your industry. This allows you to build trust and our consultants can then impart genuine advice to clients and candidates.

SW: Unlike many recruitment agencies in New Zealand, you’re based in Dunedin. Tell me a little about the city and what attracted you there.

PC: Dunedin is a superb town. It is an excellent place to live and work, as is the whole South Island in general. Being a University town means Dunedin has a huge range of choices in restaurants, cafes, bars and live music in comparison to its size. The local schools have excellent reputations and cost of living is extremely low. In addition, you have amazing beaches on your doorstep and beautiful Central Otago/Queenstown just a few hours drive away.

The people in Dunedin and indeed in all of New Zealand are extremely welcoming, friendly and supportive and having moved over from the UK, I can’t help but notice the positive outlook people have.

SW: What other regional centres do you service in New Zealand? In your opinion, what’s unique about those locations?

PC: Often the regional towns and centres can get overlooked when people first move to New Zealand. The initial focus always tends to be the main cities being Auckland and Wellington, and this becomes their destination of choice without really understanding the amazing choices available. Once they’ve settled and given the chance to travel the country, people quickly realise how stunning the country is, and they become aware of the opportunities available both career and lifestyle wise for them and their families.

There are so many great locations for people to consider right across New Zealand. We recruit from Invercargill in the South Island up to Nelson as well as through Central Otago, Queenstown Lakes, Timaru, Ashburton and Christchurch. In the North Island, a big focus of ours is the Waikato region being Hamilton and the surrounding towns there.

People often underestimate the number of superb organisations operating in these places and the scale of industry that exists. Often companies can fly completely under the radar despite operating on a national or even international basis. Our role is to make people aware of the benefits of each local region as well as highlighting the career opportunities available.

It is always particularly pleasing when we can place someone who is originally from that area but moved away for career progression. But they’ve has always wanted to return to be closer to family or raise their children as they were raised but didn’t think it would be possible.

SW: In a candidate short market, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced in attracting quality talent? How have you overcome these challenges?

PC: The markets we recruit in, are highly skilled and candidate short as standard. As such we spend a lot of our time on developing relationships and networking for existing vacancies and forward planning. We also work in partnership with an overseas agency that provides us with talent that is moving to New Zealand.

The key for us has been in investing in infrastructure. There are multiple tools available now across social media etc. that can be used to help identify, attract and approach potential talent.
Our internal systems, for example has the capability to ensure our database doesn’t lose its integrity but continues to stay relevant. Having a fully interactive CRM system means our database is fully utilised, it is now much easier to keep in touch and ensure the talent you first worked so hard to attract isn’t lost.

SW: Name one key thing you’ve learnt about recruitment in New Zealand that makes it different from anywhere else.

PC: I’ve recruited in both London and Sydney for a number of years, and I would say the main difference is how relationship-focused the New Zealand market is — and by a considerable distance.

Clients and candidates are extremely loyal. They recognise the efforts you make on their behalf and appreciate the time you invest, which in this industry doesn’t always lead to the positive outcome that everyone wants. However, if you are always doing the right things and build your own reputation, the results will come. Both clients and candidates will always come back to you, refer business to you, call you with market information and recommend your services.

The New Zealand market is a lot less transactional. As such, you need to also ensure the service you offer is a lot less transactional too. Clients often want more than just the best CV for the role. They want our support through the recruitment process and to build a relationship. It is the value-add that you provide that makes the difference.

SW: How are you future-proofing your agency to ensure it remains relevant to your clients and candidates?

PC: The market is always moving extremely quickly and changing, it is as much about future planning as being able to react quickly to changes as they happen.

We work really hard to make sure our team has all the necessary tools and support they need to deliver the calibre of service they aspire to and try to provide a positive working environment that encourages high performance. Recruitment can be a tough industry and having the right people in your team is essential. We are very lucky at Fluid as we have a superb team and a really good mix of people which creates a great culture and everyone pulls in the same direction.


Interested in other blogs in our Recruitment Speaks Out series? Check out, How Kingfisher Recruitment Increases Productivity Through Flexibility