A stress-free journey: International recruitment is smooth sailing with exceptional candidate care

29 November 2023

Recruiting can be a stressful job. Late nights, a never end slew of emails and phone calls, but for Carly Ford from the Auckland branch of HainesAttract, the reward is well worth the slog.

“It's an incredibly satisfying career. I’ve been in recruitment for 12 years now and it’s not unusual to build an emotional connection with candidates, especially when you are bringing in talent and their entire families from overseas. It’s humbling to see how we can change lives through work.”

International recruitment is a big part of what Carly and the HainesAttract team do. Candidate care is always a priority. By putting people at the center of their operations they have helped countless families upend their lives to live and work in New Zealand. Craig – a construction worker from Scotland - is just one of their success stories.

“Craig was referred to us from another Scottish candidate who made the big decision to move to New Zealand with his family for work. It’s an attractive move for people from the UK because when they arrive, they get more bang for their buck to set up a life here. They also love the work-life balance and the fact that they can move up in their careers quite quickly because of our skills shortage,” says Carly.

Craig was in touch with HainesAttract before Covid struck and when international borders closed, and restrictions were imposed getting into the country became exceedingly difficult. Carly and the team never gave up and Craig and his family are expected to land on Kiwi soil by the end of this year.

Keeping Craig interested is a testament to the dedication of the HainesAttract team. During Covid, less than 1% of the construction workforce were coming in from overseas and because of tight border restrictions and New Zealand’s remote location, a lot of prospective candidates decided to look for work elsewhere.

“By keeping in touch and providing constant updates and support, we were able to keep candidates like Craig interested. It’s incredibly satisfying to see the hard work pay off. It’s not an easy process, but we are experts at it, and we do whatever we can to take the anxiety out of the process,” says Carly.

Recruiting workers from abroad is a job that requires finesse and a lot of planning. There’s a whole raft of factors that come into play. There is the immigration system to navigate, finding appropriate housing in a tight market, ensuring families have access to good schooling – just to name a few.

RCSA members pride themselves on having the X factor. Bound by a professional code of conduct, their desire to do the best for their clients and candidates cannot be under-estimated. Recruitment can get a bad wrap, and to turn public perception around, professionalism and care is paramount.

In recent times Labour Hire companies hiring from overseas via the New Zealand Government’s Accredited Employer Workforce Scheme have come under fire after some appalling cases of worker exploitation were uncovered across Auckland. While the portion of agencies doing the wrong thing is small, it puts even more pressure on good operators to shine as pillars of the industry.

In response to exploitation across the Staffing Industry, RCSA has developed a StaffSure Certification scheme which makes it simple for business, government, and workers to find and partner with reputable Workforce Service Providers such as labour hire companies, professional contracting firms and private employment agencies. The association is also in close contact with the New Zealand Government, offering its support and guidance in a bid to help reduce the risk of exploitation.

“RCSA and its members stand ready to work with the Luxon government to develop measures that can enhance the calibre and professionalism of employers using the scheme while maintaining it as a viable option for the supply of migrant workers, says RCSA CEO, Charles Cameron.

“Our priority is to ensure that New Zealand’s global reputation is not further undermined by a constant changing of goalposts. Uncertainty is confusing and unsettling. We want to make sure that we remain stable, welcoming, and attractive to migrants, comparing New Zealand to other countries as a potential place to live and work.”

Acknowledging and promoting the ethical and professional way RCSA members like HainesAttract operate, is important for the industry’s viability and reputation moving forward. Success stories in the face of adversity – like Craigs – highlight the humanity and care being undertaken in the recruitment process.

"We pride ourselves on being grounded in truth, Carly reflects.

“We make sure we don’t make over-inflated promises. You must be honest the whole way through and deliver. There is nothing better than running into a candidate years down the track and see how they have soared in their career.

“Recruiters have the power to change futures, and it’s incredible to be a part of that.”