Rising to the optimum level
Most Dunedin-based job agencies focus on recruiting trade staff, but that’s not Fluid Recruitment’s raison detre.
Instead, they specialise in experienced appointments of a professional nature primarily in the areas of accounting/finance, sales & marketing, engineering, information technology and the legal profession.
“And we go deep into these areas,” explains managing director Peter Clark (pictured below). “Our consultants have an in-depth knowledge of their particular specialist sector at all levels. What we call ‘verticals’ – that way we can fully partner with our clients and add value.”
Peter’s relationship with PKF Dunedin began six years ago when, during the process of buying Fluid from its previous owner, he switched to PKF specifically because of Jono Bredin’s reputation.
As well as giving him advice on the best way to structure the company, providing advice from a tax perspective, and in terms of cashflow management, Jono and his team have also helped with Xero training and ensuring the right payroll structures are in place – particularly important for the ‘Temp’ side of their business covering those candidates working through Fluid on various short and long-term contracts with their clients. “Although we generally don’t place any ‘temp’ staff for periods less than three months, we can offer our clients a payroll function for the duration of any contract, removing all the stress and effort involved, especially if their own systems are not set up for it.”
In the last six years Fluid Recruitment has grown from just four consultants to 11 (plus support staff) with offices now in Dunedin, Wanaka, Christchurch, and Sydney.
“That means communication is key, which is another thing that’s great about Jono. If needs be, he’s available outside of office hours.”
And in the field of high-end recruitment, it’s the way Peter and his team operate too.
The comprehensive service Fluid provides is aimed at addressing what is important to each individual client and then tailored accordingly including full job briefings, providing market information and salary guidance, psychometric tests, background checks and, equally importantly, post-placement follow-ups with both the client and the candidate.
“The aim is not to only work with the 30% of available applicants that actively apply to a particular job advert. Instead, the focus is on identifying the best talent in the market overall and the best fit for the position available. This remaining 70% of the market is where our strength lies. Our experience and knowledge of our respective verticals through time spent in the industry really makes the difference, and this comes from our extensive database and networks.
Naturally Fluid screen and qualify their candidates in terms of technical ability and assessing skillsets to ensure they present shortlists of the required calibre, but equally important is ‘the team fit.’
“We’re very transparent about that,” says Peter. “We know the selling points of the company, but it is also about understanding their ‘pain points’ and what challenges a candidate coming into a new position can expect, (for example) system issues, working environment, progression opportunities or lack of them!
“By drilling down and understanding the candidate’s drivers and aspirations, we strive for the best match all round and ensure expectations on both sides are met.”
Peter concedes that within the Otago market, the salaries may not be the highest on offer around the country, but equally, that may not be the highest thing on the candidates wish-list anyway. “Often candidates want to relocate to a region for family reasons so it’s not all about the ‘career ladder’ as such. Dunedin as a city has a huge amount to offer and people are often seeking an enjoyable and productive lifestyle for themselves and their family. There are still excellent job opportunities available, but it is more about finding the right balance overall”.
In terms of responding to Covid-19, rather than needing to change how they work, Peter and his team have simply ‘doubled down’ on what they do well, concentrating on their core service offerings. “We’ve become less transactional and instead focused more on the long-standing client relationships that our business already has. Because all our consultants have such a deep knowledge of their sectors, they have the autonomy and flexibility to still achieve results and have continued to deliver throughout this period. “We’re a very transparent industry in the sense that you are directly rewarded by the effort you put in.”
Their clients have also proven to be incredibly resilient which certainly helps. So, while the team has seen the ongoing impact of the pandemic, especially in the Queenstown Lakes region – and not just in hospitality and tourism, but on the whole supply chain – conversely, they’ve seen an increased demand in a number of other sectors such as manufacturing – particularly those organisations operating in supplying home renovation and lifestyle products, with some sectors in particular really thriving.
“We have just come off one of our best ever months on record at a time of year that is traditionally very quiet,” explains Peter, “so if you are on the job hunt, keep the faith as the perfect role for you is hopefully just round the corner.”