Champagne or Razor Blades

The title of this post is a direct quote used by an experienced recruiter I met a few years back, to describe the contingency recruitment process. He was struggling at the time and I felt the need to hide the razor blades.

Since setting up JDT I have had my fair share of high and low points. Champagne or razor blades I tell you. However the brand is stronger and growing. We are in a position now to really sell our ability as a ‘proven entity’. And we are getting some good campaigns to work on now. I guess the same applies for any business; our new-found confidence is off the back of some laser focus and lots of hard work; blood, sweat and tears, Done with the smarter not ‘only’ harder mantra in place.

Our distraught experienced recruiter unfortunately lacked many of these elements and had placed himself somewhere between the Neolithic and Jurassic ages of generalist recruiting. I was only mildly sympathetic. I really look up to some of my industries best performing agencies, their approach, products and success. Carving out a mutually beneficial process for my clients, candidates and business is the sustainable business model we aim to achieve.

I am a specialist recruiter within the construction and property industries. Much of these industries and my clients are driven by the tender market to win work; ie: get paid. An extremely expensive process using their best resources to estimate, price and programme work they are hopeful to win. Usually this is between 2:1 and 6:1 chance of being awarded a project. This reminds me of the contingency recruitment process in many ways.

Construction contractors that are negotiating high percentages of their work are doing so on the back of their own proven track record. By avoiding the tender game, they are utilising their resources better, and are guaranteed to keep their cash flowing, which is the number one rule to business success. In freeing resources they also have bargaining power, more margin to play with, improving their price point. These types of relationships, built through trust, have their clients putting faith in their ability to deliver an end product that meets their high expectations. Repeat business looms for the succesful contractor.
You see how I could relate this back to my business.

Agency recruiter…. ooh sounds dirty!

Most of my clients really value my service, some less so but they are still engaged; I can respect that. Others seem to think fairly negatively and focus on cost of the recruitment process. The question I ask is “Do I bring you value?” Many unengaged managers are happy to register a job “for free”. I am happy to hear you out but I can’t guarantee my service on this basis.

Recruiting takes time, knowledge and timing. Lots of networking, hours of marketing, advertising, blogging, vlogging, editing, creating pretty pictures, networking, emailing, writing and most of all phoning. “Needles in haystacks” that is my daily grind. For all these reasons I need to gain some form of exclusivity to ensure my time is best spent for the end users.

Candidates are king, let’s be honest. If a recruiter is not treating people right, and adopts the attitudes used by some agencies, then you stand on the edge of transactional and unsustainable practice.
We don’t.
The same could be said for users of recruitment services. Engaging on a transactional basis with many recruiters may harm their employer brand, waste their time and potentially leave them in the same position they were at the start, with no real talent attraction. Conversely, engaging an exclusive process with a trusted business partner will yield results. Putting their full trust in a conscientious worker that has a vested interest in the successful placement of talented individuals in their business, trumps the alternative. Every time.

More Champagne please.



Procurement and logistics best practice – NZ edition

Many countries across world have implemented procurement strategies that frankly leave the NZ market seeming two steps behind them. We are seeing a shift in thinking on the topic, and the largest businesses that control construction programmes and supply chain are doing best. With the overall busyness we are experiencing in the industry, arguably more needs to be done to ensure the cost of construction does not skyrocket out of control.

Now I am no Procurement specialist myself, but having spoken to some seriously knowledgeable people over the past few years I see how this skill is becoming ever more important. I found some info published by the Chartered Institute of Building that really breaks down the entire topic nicely for the layperson;

Procurement and construction logistics is often viewed as part of the engineering process or project management duties, and seldom a standalone discipline. That will change.

Walter Glass of  is clear that this topic needs to be brought to the limelight. He wrote an article recently outlying some of the key points on the logistics topic are found at:

The businesses that are future proofing are developing strategies to buy the right materials, at the right times and the best price through best practices proven the world over. I look at the frightening scenario in the Wellington region, where the major civil projects alone, once in full swing in 2017-2018, will require more aggregate, asphalt, concrete, crane and transport services than actually exist. Add the building industry as well as the needs of Auckland and Christchurch and I foresee a hugely expensive problem for the entire country. That isn’t even looking at lack of tradesmen, engineers, site and project staff required to complete the work.

Those with the most foresight are building the right strategies to minimise risk and develop new methodologies, new materials and new supply chain relationships in the interest of minimising cost to the developers, and meeting the contractual timelines on future projects. Hopefully time is still on our side.




One’s Perception : Truly One’s Reality?

Harriet Turner’s thought piece:

When thinking about the lessons and advice shared on the topic of Employment Branding, a few key truths stick out in my mind which I think are applicable to the services JDT Recruitment offer; our point of difference; innovations set out to improve our industry.

There are 3 Stages to recruiting the right staff.
1. Attraction,
2. Engagement,
3. Retention.
In recruitment, we’re often focused mainly on the first two stages.

At the #WellyRecMeetup the first point was made by John Rice when he said that often in recruitment (about 90% of the time), the work we do is contingent. Which is to say, as recruiter’s we can’t talk about who the employer is throughout the Attract stage when working with an un-retained brand (contingency process) – and so we must talk about other factors, such as the type of projects or the location or the salary offered.

However, from an employer’s perspective, this is not aligned to what is most useful and beneficial to their company, or to their brand.
As an employer, you will most likely pride yourself  (or I at least HOPE you will) in the culture and working environment of your workplace.

Yes – the work you do and the standard and quality of the projects you deliver are important.
And yes – you also pay your staff well and reward those who are loyal.
But good employers know that both of these things don’t matter unless you have the right people doing your work in the right way.
And as Paul Greenway asked;
What do you stand for?
What do you stake your reputation on?

Your corporate culture, the values you hold and the relationships you keep with stakeholders both within and without of your business are what differentiate you from your competitors – and the right candidate will be someone who understands and fits with that brand.
Your brand matters.

Today we’re lucky enough to have modern tools available to be more effective than ever in our brand campaigning.
Sarah and Vanessa are our Media-whizz’s, and through the industry connections in JDT, we have access to the attention of literally THOUSANDS of people in our industry – all from without leaving our desks.

Furthermore, our day is filled with phone calls, emails and meetings seeking connections within those connections. We constantly and actively search for a conversation with that singular golden needle in the haystack that is going to be the perfect fit for what you need.
Recruitment is a noisy process.

The question is, how much of that noise should be about you?
About your culture?
About what you stand for, your reputation and your employment brand?

If asking a candidate; how do you want to be represented? What is your personal brand? What is your point of difference? Where will you thrive as an individual? Where will you feel most accepted as part of a team?

At JDT, we care about BOTH our candidates and clients; recruitment is a personal business (or it should be).
Because the truth is, we’re not dealing with needles and haystacks, we’re dealing with real three dimensional people with their own values, reputations and way of doing things.
And we’re representing businesses when we do it.

And so going back to the start of this monologue, I would argue that we care about the third stage too.
We don’t just want to Attract and Engage staff for you, but we also want you to Retain them. Much of that is down to your strategy in delivering truth to your branding proposition. You need to walk the walk if we are going to talk the talk.

We want staff to be happy in the role they land.
We want them to do great work and to go on to be your best success story.
Because after it’s all said and done, your success story is our success story – and it is your reputation that is helping build our brand too.

Link with Harriet:

Year one down – and we will certainly keep on, keeping on!

It’s with great pride that I am able to announce our first official year has just ticked over. It has been an interesting ride for all involved that has included all the new learning and teething pains that are normal for a new business and its owner to experience.

We have worked with some of the industries oldest and best; as well as new emerging businesses, and even some brands that will be in for a change through acquisitions and re-branding over the next few months.

We are gaining excellent repeat business; many new vacancies called in on an almost daily basis. Our marketing strategy is helping develop our brand across the country; with a response that has left us with an overall optimistic outlook for the future.

Throughout 2015 we placed talented individuals across the North and South Islands and expect to do the same in our second year. Majority have been within the Commercial Building sector, followed by Civil Contractors and Client/Consultancy roles.

Our new website ( launched a few weeks ago which include our new Job Portal and Blog page. We have also grown to 4 staff with Vanessa Gardner joining us as a Senior Consultant. She brings a good working knowledge in both the Civil and Property fields and will be a certain asset to our growing team.

I extend a massive thank you to all that have been involved in the successful year; candidates, clients and contracting staff especially. Daniel Watts of wattscreative for the excellent work in helping me build our brand. Harriet Turner for your hard work in accelerating our growth. The biggest thank you goes to Sarah Exley for providing such a strong support system. You are a great mother, partner and excellent social marketing resource adding value to our story. (literally on our Blog)

Ok, I have said my piece. Now lets keep on keeping on.

– Jake Theron



A tale of two cities – AECOM survey results

The latest AECOM nationwide construction industry sentiment survey has found New Zealand’s infrastructure and building industry is defined by two contrasting poles – Auckland and Christchurch.

AECOM has explained results show that four years on from the Christchurch earthquake disaster, recognition of a longer, slower rebuild rather than a peak is broadening. This is shown by a dip in confidence – by 27% over the past 18 months – and easing workload expectations.

Importantly, though, while sentiment has moderated for the region, it does remain strong overall and more in line with a long-term outlook. There is a slowing of residential construction as the rebuild moves into the commercial phase.

Comparatively, positive sentiment was strong for the upper North Island, with 97% of survey respondents anticipating continuing growth in the industry, while skills and materials shortages remain one of the industry’s most significant and persistent challenges. New Zealand faces ongoing difficulties in increasing the volume of workers with technical capabilities and creating a more productive, skilled workforce.

“Of note, [the survey] highlights a continued disconnect between those involved in the respective investment and delivery sides of the infrastructure market…

“As an industry, we are continually challenged to do ‘more-for-less’. Lifting productivity in an environment of financial constraint means we need to invest in innovation and technology to achieve these competitive advantages,” said John Bridgman, AECOM Managing Director – New Zealand.”


Video interviewing on the rise

Sometimes called “MeVs”, video CVs (video interviewing) have the capacity to convey a greater depth of information than a traditional paper CV. Recent insight from AAGE has shown that 83% of employers believe paper CVs fail to adequately convey some crucial traits.

Employers look for far more than qualifications or relevant experience. Obviously communication skills and ‘team-fit’ are also important. MeV-appropriate industries will adopt this practice more and more as part of their recruitment process.

Hawkins Construction has been vocal about their use of video technology in recruitment and in meeting candidates. They also, like many companies, utilise a video channel to inform the public about their projects.

One big benefit of video interviewing will mean a quicker turnaround during the recruitment process.

It will also be interesting to see how video-interviewing either exacerbates or mitigates bias. Whilst providing the ability to judge a candidate based on appearance and other factors, it might also lessen bias that occurs when certain characteristics are read from a CV without first meeting that person.

Another aspect to consider should be the use of video interviewing ‘clients’ or workplaces. Turn the spotlight around on them; why should someone apply to work at their organisation? Do they come across as an appealing workplace to their ideal candidates?

We at JDT Recruitment see this as an exciting avenue developing for the recruitment industry.

More on video interviewing:

Getting it Done: Utilising Womens’ Skills in the Workforce

Getting it Done: Utilising Womens’ Skills in the Workforce is a shared learning tool for employers, industry groups and training organisations to tackle the under-utilisation of women in trades.

In 2013 the Ministry for Women surveyed 500 Canterbury women about the construction industry. It found over half of respondents would consider employment in the industry, but were often put-off as jobs were viewed as ‘for men only’.

However, especially since the Christchurch earthquake, employers and recruiters alike are growing in appreciating the need to overtly call for women in employment advertising. A factor in this has been advances in health and safety issues; there is now less of a perception women are physically unable to ‘do the job’.

As the pressure for skilled staff continues to grow alongside a growing industry, so too grows the need to recruit all demographics. Any industry is always supported through diversity. The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team Women in Construction group was formed to raise the visibility of women working in the construction industry.

Even more exciting is a New Zealand female QS winning two high-profile Australian construction industry awards. Christchurch’s Lucy Eng, a project and cost manager with AECOM, won the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors Infinite Value Women in Construction and Professional of the Year awards.