Not to brag, but two months ago I returned home from a few weeks in Sweden. Having never been there before, all I was armed with was my love of their pop music, the presumption that everyone looked like characters from Vikings, and that it was one of the most expensive places in the world. As I discovered, pretty much all of the above is true, but I returned to New Zealand with a new found appreciation of quality over quantity.


Apart from the amount of Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Finance & Supply Chain candidates we get through the doors here at GRN (plug), the biggest traffic to our office is usually courier drivers dropping off package after package of online shopping purchases. As the receptionist will tell you, I had been one of the biggest culprits. I loved shopping at ASOS, as everything was relatively cheap and readily accessible.  I could get everything I needed, in my size and in the style I thought I wanted… fast and cheap. However, after about 2 wears and a run through the washing machine, they started to look less and less like how they looked on the virtual runway where I purchased them, and they would soon be sent to the far reaches of my ever expanding closet, full of average junk.


Scandinavians on the other hand (and yes, I am generalizing here), seem to have a less-is-more approach when it comes to lifestyle; they purchase with intent, focusing on quality, timelessness and purchasing things they will own for the rest of their lives. Inspired by this, I decided to buy a new suit in Stockholm. Instead of heading to my favourites – H&M and Top Shop – I walked into a boutique Swedish fashion house and tried on a few key suits with the aid of the lovely and friendly staff. They were trained to know how each suit would compliment me, and the fabric was designed to last. The decision to ignore the price tag and buy something of quality was a rather terrifying experience for me, but the way the suit made me look and feel when I wore it needed to be the most important factor for an item like this.


So how does this relate to recruitment? It’s exactly the same process. Last week I had a call from an Australian arm of a company I had worked with for years looking for a candidate to lead the retail part of their sales arm for the entire country. They called me because they had offered the role to two other candidates, both for various reasons hadn’t worked out and they needed someone fast. I gave them a bit of a run down on the type of person I thought they would be looking for based on my experience of the market, which they seemed to like. I then explained how I worked, and the level of investment required to find the right person…


This is where it started to get messy.


They refused to entertain that the work would need to be done on an exclusive and retained process. Not only does this help ensure that the work is done right, but also on-time and with a commitment to finding the best person for the role. Working with an agency is not always cheap, but when it’s the future success of your business unit at risk, don’t you want to ensure you have the best person for the role? This company expected results within the hour, with multiple agencies working on it, and all at a cost of around 50% of the going rate.


I wonder if they have filled the role yet?


To (loosely) tie this back to my original thoughts, when it comes to recruitment, as well as suit buying, quality must be the most important attribute you look for when deciding to purchase. Cheap and quick might seem appealing at the time, but having to replace them each year will cost you more in the long run, and the results – not to mention the compliments – you get when you do it right are far more rewarding.


Written by Richard Gray-Smith, General Manager at Gaulter Russell Numero.