There’s no doubt 2021 has been another challenging yet remarkable year in history. But while many small businesses floundered and stalled through tough economic conditions, others grew wings and soared to new heights.
Waikato-based recruitment agency, RecruitNet, launched in December 2020. Now, one year into the journey, founder Brigitta Warren reflects on the highs and lows of launching a small business during uncertain times.
“We first met Brigitta while establishing a renovations franchise business in Hamilton. Her competent and professional handling of our requirements reinforced with us just why it’s so important to engage the right people to get the right results.” – Lawrie and Mandy Foster, Refresh Renovations
The business of connecting
Brigitta Warren stumbled into recruitment twenty years ago after a stint as a Scientist. She quickly realised she’d found her groove.
“I didn’t expect to fall in love with recruitment,” explains Brigitta. “At the time, I just wanted to try something new. But I got hooked.”
Fuelled by her love of people and her unwavering ability to get stuff done, Brigitta permanently packed away her lab coat as her reputation as a first-class Recruiter flourished. She soon became the right-hand woman for many companies seeking new leaders and executives across New Zealand. When lockdown 2020 hit, Brigitta saw an opportunity to take her skills and help more people find meaningful work. She knew she could plug a gap in the market for an agency dedicated to recruiting top talent in New Zealand’s growing manufacturing and engineering industries. A few months later, she launched RecruitNet.
“Brigitta and the team always take the time to understand the positions we’re seeking relative to our business goals. As a result, we are always presented with the best possible candidates.” – Simon Cairns, General Manager, Kliptank
A year of growth in uncertain times
After one year in business, RecruitNet is a critical business partner to many manufacturing, engineering and primary sector businesses across New Zealand, particularly in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. There was no quiet, slow start to RecruitNet. Brigitta hit the deck running at full pelt.
“I already had the relationships, and once they heard I’d formed RecruitNet, they knew where to come.”
Within a few months of operation, Brigitta needed to scale up to meet her clients’ needs. She brought in Maria McCarthy, whom she had worked with before, as a Senior Recruitment Consultant. “I’d always planned to grow the business as I knew the demand was there, but the speed with which it took off was surprising,” says Brigitta.
Not long after, Brigitta and Maria were joined by Birger Kirsten who supports their business operations.
“Maria kept me informed at every stage, she also provided tips and guidance for the interview process. She clearly had my best interests at heart. Communications were top notch.
“Of all the recruiters and recruitment companies I dealt with recently Maria was the best by far.”– Iain Mac, former job seeker
The RecruitNet difference
Brigitta and Maria’s in-depth knowledge of New Zealand’s manufacturing industry, along with their recruitment insights, form the backbone of RecruitNet. But it’s their caring and unwavering focus on people that keep them top of mind for employers and job seekers alike.
“Anyone can pick up a resume and tick off experience for a role,” explains Maria McCarthy. “For us, the process is much deeper.
“It’s all about asking the right questions and listening to uncover the pot of gold.”
Yes, experience and skills matter. But according to Maria, character, ambitions and cultural fit are just as important.
“We want to know what gets each candidate out of bed in the morning. What environment do they need to thrive? Most importantly, does this all match with who the employer is and what they offer their people?”
The small but dedicated team strive to find the right people who will stay the distance and drive business performance.
But for every successful job placement, there is someone who missed out.
“We always pick up the phone and talk to the candidate. We don’t waste their time, and we don’t leave them in the dark,” says Maria.
“Even if they didn’t land the job, we pick up the phone and talk to them. There will always be more opportunities. The journey never ends there.”
“Maria was absolutely confident I would succeed and that gave me enormous confidence. Needless to say, I owe my current wonderful role (of Mechanical Engineer) in huge part to her”. – Sanjay Pandey, former job seeker
How the pandemic has shifted the manufacturing job market
The recruitment process and the needs of job seekers and employers have transformed dramatically since the early 2000s. But according to Brigitta, the most drastic changes have occurred over the last year.
“The closed borders and uncertain times created both a volatile and buoyant job market,” says Brigitta.
“This is particularly true for leadership and executive roles, which before Covid would typically attract people overseas willing to relocate or come home for the opportunity. But since the borders closed, New Zealand has faced a skills shortage, and as recruiters, our focus had to shift to focus solely on finding awesome local talent.”
At the same time, the way people think of the workplace and what they want from their employer has transformed and ‘the great resignation’ has started to play out here as it has overseas.
“Job seekers are telling us they want stability and they value flexibility. They want to work for companies that prioritise employee well-being and do right by their teams,” explains Brigitta.
With all this in play, matching the right person with the right organisation has never been so important.
“When people leave jobs, particularly leaders, it triggers an expensive process for the organisation. A whole lot of company knowledge may have just walked out the door.
“The recruitment process takes time, effort and money, and it’s so important to get it right the first time.”
Brigitta believes finding the right leader to steer a company into the future is one of the most important decisions an organisation ever makes.
“If you get it wrong, the ripples can be felt by employees and customers for years to come.
“This is why we work so closely with our clients to get a deep understanding of their business, culture and needs. Only then can we find the right person for the role.”
Being in the start-up phase during a time of such significant change has given RecruitNet a clear leg-up.
‘Pivoting’ and ‘agility’ must be the most overused business buzz words of the last two years. Still, nothing pivots faster than a blossoming small business, especially one driven by passion and purpose to serve the local community.
“I started RecruitNet with a clear vision to grow the best recruitment business in New Zealand, providing the best service to both clients and job seekers.
“The pandemic, the resulting skills shortage along with local economic growth simply accelerated things, and we’ve grown quicker than I expected.”
“Numerous positions have been filled over the last year, some of which have been open for a very long time before engaging RecruitNet in an exclusive partnership.” – Peter Pooran, CEO, Stainless Design
Serving top brands across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty
RecruitNet is a strategic partner for many respected Kiwi brands, including Stainless Design, Kiwi Lumber, Camco, Refresh Renovations, Kliptank and Waikato Shed Company, to name just a few. In the first year of business, the small team have placed dozens of talented people into their dream roles.
Successful job placements include but aren’t limited to: Manufacturing Manager, Warehouse Manager, Logistics Coordinator, Buyer, Regulatory Affairs, H&S Manager, Automation Engineer, Production Manager, across the chemical, honey, animal pharmaceutical, food, dairy, automation, local council and engineering fabrication environment.
“RecruitNet has helped us successfully fill roles with very difficult to find talent for our very specific requirements. They’ve done this by fully understanding what we need and even giving us candidates above and beyond what we expected.”
– Simon Cairns, General Manager, Kliptank
The local manufacturing job market looks bright for 2022
While the uncertainty of the pandemic and border closures look set to be with us into early 2022, Brigitta is confident the local job market will remain buoyant.
“The manufacturing and engineering industry in New Zealand hasn’t slowed down; in fact, it’s sped up. We also have primary industries like timber, agriculture and dairy going gangbusters with growth and job opportunities.”
Brigitta believes the push from consumers to support local and buy local is partly behind the growth and that this behaviour is here to stay.
“We want to support kiwi companies more than ever. We want to work for them. We want to buy from them. We want to feed our families with food from local suppliers. I don’t think this mindset will change once the borders open and the strains on global supply chains ease.”
And while more automation looks set to flow into the industry, Brigitta doesn’t necessarily feel this will equate to fewer jobs.
“We will always need people to drive and manage the processes and technology. Yes, the nature and tasks of some roles might shift, but we will always need people.”
It seems the future also looks bright for the team at RecruitNet. Brigitta feels there’s room for further growth to support the robust recruitment needs of businesses In New Zealand.
“A year on, we’ve grown the business, worked with some awesome clients and made a positive impact on many lives. It’s been an amazing ride. While I never take anything for granted, I’m excited to see what 2022 has in store.”
Discover outstanding talent
You can trust RecruitNet to do the heavy lifting so you can stay focused on your business priorities. Contact the team today to discuss your recruitment needs.
Call: 021 466 732