Monday, 9 July 2012

Business Limitation Lamentation:

I lament the loss, oh so briefly of AgCareers as our entity, our brand. It defined us for quite a few years. But like my current saying its past its use by date. nine years ago I became an executive recruiter learning the ropes of recruitment the way its done and done properly people. I learn't the importance of sticking up for retained work by that I mean some money up front to do the job, and do it well. Fact is in doing so both parties have committed themselves to a contract to reach a solution. i.e. to seek out great people with skills that would serve your client well.

I had to mentor a few ill trained contingency recruiters that there is a process to follow. Be discerning, do your reference checks, give the client the pluses and the minuses. After all we are dealing in human beings and they are complex, irrational, mildly dishonest, competitive, in fact list of adjectives is endless. Point being that there is never the perfect candidate, we are all flawed yet we can, when motivated or evoked be capable of great things with certain forte to match. If those are well aligned and fit well into the current group you call your company guess what? Nine times out of ten those people will serve your business well.

I mention in my last blog that old ways of finding talent just doesn't apply so as we evolve a a business we wanted a brand that reflected our genuineness, our alignment to the industry we love working for.

So say hello to Affinity4 our new brand. I'm joined now by Phil Butler & Michele (admin guru) together we hope to combine our forte, and passion for agribusiness, as we evolve recruitment approach and tools to entice talent and speed up process in a very competitive talent market. We are in the throes of evolution and change people! Bringing some exciting experts and creatives on board to deliver these new tools to market your
employment brand and genuinely engage better with talented people.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Interesting day indeed.

Last two weeks have had some quality meetings with clients about their biggest issues on recruitment front.

It seems opportunity levels are rising as companies finally realise this is the new era of post recession, where uncertainty and change remain high and productivity and economic growth worldwide remain consistently low. Europe with its austerity measures, United states of America's traditional economic rebound spluttering like a big engine with the coke on full. Emerging nations being duly and rightfully cautious in their approach to crippled capitalism. So they are just getting on with what they do well.

Back to the point opportunity or specific jobs are available but there is a paradigm, or a trending shift away from how it's been done up to now. They want better fit to specific skills they want better learners, better adaptation, better ideas, better fit culturally.

Where are these people likely to come from? Well not locally it seems. You have to turn a lot of stones before you find a good hire locally. Then there's the issue of location. Who wants to live in Dunedin,South Canterbury,Southland,Taranaki or fill that post in Russia? So it really comes down once agaign to selling your locality, talking about work/life balance. Everything the baby-boomers employers seemingly hate about generation x,y & z and now generation me.

So as we move forward it is becoming more about the sourcing, the selling of opportunity, the face to face engagement and trust you develop with the other person and I mean not just on Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter. But good old conversation on the phone or networking. It's about self promotion people, self promotion and a willingness to change and adapt to the new world order.

Until next time, evolve people!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Why The Lack Of Blogging Mike ?

Been a long time since my last post. For good reason: Past three years we have found the majority of opportunities to work with our clients in informatively seeking out talent has lead us to work in South Island of New Zealand due to shortages of the right people and the continuing growth in farming down here especially in dairying.

But first,why the inactivity especially in blogging? Well as of March 2012. I made decision to exit Auckland and return to Southland.

It wasn't the weather, it wasn't the fact that a lot of clients are based in Auckland and surrounding regions it was the fact that most primary sector growth and opportunity is occurring here in the South Island. Next is the fact we are a pretty parochial bunch at times and the "non sono del posto, I'm from the big cahuna!" doesn't help you engage as well. So being back amongst the good rural folk is more informative and they actually appreciate the fact that your in amongst them. We identified how important trust is in any networking or business relationship especially when selling an opportunity to good performers. Other fact is that I've got parents still farming here and equity in the family farm. Both need due care and attention. So personal reasons played and important part in this relocation decision.

With a trusted new business partner in Lower North Island we are striving towards better synergy, growth and evolution of the recruitment and information business. Technology also played its cards in the decision as the R.B.I.(rural broadband initiative) means our infrastructure for productivity is improving plus we are applying/learning new innovations to improve productivity. Finally the intent is to move the business to the southern hub of Queenstown as travel costs from this vibrant hub have improved with the return of Virgin airlines so Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne are quite affordable options to travel frequently to clients or do national assignments. Broadband in the town is exceptionally good, great conference facilities for future engagements.
Plus what an inspiring place to be based from!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Visual media and how TV ruined your life.

Listening to radio whilst driving in rural Southland as a discussion came up that effectively the internet is increasingly becoming our memory extension, especially younger people. Majority of us are now so heavily dependent on the internet to be disconnected or unable to access it is like losing as friend. I’ve grieved a few times this week as my 3G connection to the world dropped off.

Fact is we are very good at knowing how to source the information, it’s just the fact we are less likely to retain the information in our own brain! Being constantly bombarded with thoughts, ideas, observations, misinformation, trivia, facts, images. But don’t blame the Internet for you’re state of numbness and less cognitive state, blame TV.

By now the majority of us have grown up in front of a box watching advertising, entertainment, and so called news since the fifties. Back then it was our link to the world, we had serious looking news announcers, chosen for their repose pronunciation of the English language informing us of world events. We connected to television land where life was good and everything worked out well by time the credits rolled.

Slowly but surely we were exposed to the darker aspects of life on planet earth. Any crisis, regardless of how far away it was beamed into our lives, we became exposed to stressful situations that pervious generations might have only faced once in there lives. Cold war doom; the precursor to today’s global terrorism threat, made us all fearful.

As for advertising, where do you start? Suffice to say our early addiction to television and exposure to aspiration marketing drives our irrational need for a “lifestyle”, “ the perfect body”, “security” and need to have it all with no effort expressed in our love of unquestioned consumerism and sex. All this deeply embedded in our brains by advertising.

Whilst TV viewing is in decline we have all gravitated over to computers and we continue the same addiction to entertain ourselves, shop, and justify a sense of belonging without interacting with other people face to face.

I am being cynical, but also retrospective. In doing so I am trying to get you to think about future implications of visual media on the way you interact with others. This dependence on technology as our bank of knowledge, not our brain needs to be countered. As it is not productive, nor constructive to creativity or individual thought. We might as well become robots, like the Borg on Star trek (bloody TV!) here to assimilate resistance is futile.

So write more, exercise your cognitive abilities as well as your body, engage with real people face to face as often as possible. Question things, retain credible information, be disciplined in your use of time and actions. Hopefully you can lessen your addictions to TV and the internet. You will find you develop better empathy and emotional engagement with others both in professional and personal life.

End note:

Writing this blog I am currently operating in one of the remotest and most sparsely populated parts of the planet, Southland, South Island, New Zealand. (I’m only 4900 km from South pole at moment) where there are vastly more animals than people there are (checked and verified NZStatistics and a quick head count): 484,076 cows, 4.5 million sheep and god knows how many wild/feral animals versus 94,200 Southlanders!

Internet connection is intermittent as is mobile phone coverage. But everyone knows everyone, and as long as you have a positive attitude and smile on your face the locals will make you feel at home. They are genuine people who exceed in many ways (see attchment)

Technology and internet is used as productive tools to enhance productivity. For instance some cows here are being milked robotically and I am only a stone throw away from a successful vertically integrated sheep milking enterprise so I might drive over and have a yarn and some sheep icecream.

Take care until next time, when I will blog more about relevant talent shortages in primary sector and how to deal with it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Professional networking: How to strengthen potential business relationships

Have you written down or clearly defined a reason for being on social media? One stark reality of social media is that you cannot control what people are saying about you as a company or individual. So it is critical to develop a positive professional presence in select, relevant, targeted social media and measure it.  

Twitter for instance is one hundred and forty characters of commentary/link bit like a SMS text that anyone can “follow” or “retweet” that is the uncontrollable part. However you can decide who to follow and the content you “tweet”.

For instance our policy on Twitter (@AgCareersNZ) is to apply the “don’t alienate and no regrets principal” to a posting. Only relevant job or informative industry related topics or links are to be tweeted.

Core purpose or benefit(s) of Twitter are definitely instant alerts about who mentions your brand, Secondly it allows you to follow key influencers and finally getting the scoop on ground-breaking news tweeted well before traditional news media get the story out.

For instance NZTE tweeted “this is major! RT @nz_tech: kiwi blogger sells blog to US company for US$5 million (with the link to the story). I might (a very big might) read that in this Friday’s newspaper. Another tweet 22 hours ago alerted me to someone I want to connect with. Tom Phillips Tweet about KiwiNet bringing agriculture and technology together had the abbreviated link to the article on… via @computerworldnz, nice!

So that’s really the core benefit of Twitter: seeing brand mentions, following key influencers and instant news updates or links to latest articles.

Facebook is for Friends, not acquaintances, not business contacts and certainly not for B2B markets. Why you ask? Well whilst it is with out a doubt the most dominant and popular social network site it is Facebook’s poor past performance at protecting privacy and information posted is poor. Recent exercise to customize privacy settings required fifty-three settings to be changed. So our presence on Facebook is minimal and privacy settings are set to absolute minimal. With a posting saying happy to connect to close friends, otherwise connect to us on our professional network.

As for Linkedin well we embraced that as it provides good market intelligence and a way to keep those connected to you informed. Again content is king as is the quality of those you connect to they should reflect your target market, with the occasional good-to-know business contact in the mix.
I frequently use LinkedIn as my follow-up tool when I’ve met someone with whom I’d like to stay connected. Its most likely I will have their email address, thanks to the business card they gave me at an event, So you can send a them a LinkedIn invite using it.

One major caveat though is that you absolutely, positively need to write a personalized note in the invitation to connect. This means you have to go to their profile page first and then scan the right side of the page for the yellow “Connect” box and check off which type of connection might apply (colleague, classmate, friend, etc.). Be ready to supply the email address you have, if necessary, and definitely edit the canned message in the personal note box on the screen.

Trust me, you’ll differentiate yourself from the masses if you personalize your message. Most people don’t, for some reason. By doing so, you’re more likely to create some good social capital, as well as get your invitation accepted. After all that’s what it is all about! I rarely accept an “Invitation to Connect” unless the person sending it has taken the 10 seconds to write a brief note or at least remind me of how we met.

Here’s an example of something I might write:

“Gwen, I really enjoyed hearing about your career goals for 2012 and, if I can be of any assistance to you in the New Year, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Let’s stay connected via LinkedIn and I hope you have a happy holiday season.”


Dear John,

Happy New Year. At AgCareers New Zealand we believe that people make the difference. So I invite you to my Linkedin network to discuss sector opportunities & issues in 2012

Mike Malone AgCareersNZ Informed Source & Connector

But remember more important than the technology, the latest widget/gadget/app. You are dealing with real people, most of them in Agriculture so there needs to be some good o’l fashion rapport, some emotional engagement. So still value the opportunity to meet face-to-face and communicate well. Social media is just another tool so use it wisely, use it well and have a positive inspiring start to 2012.

Next blog will be focusing on visual media and how TV ruined your life.


Mike – The bloke who likes to keep Informed and meet real people.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Why Blog?

First, welcome and thank you.

Quick introduction,my name is Michael Malone, I prefer Mike. I live in New Zealand, a small, yet pert little country at the bottom of the South Pacific.

Early life growing-up on a high country station in the southern South Island made me fiercely independent plus highly inquisitive about the land I lived upon and the varied and interesting people that passed through.

It was my choice to attend catholic boarding school as a teenager and reflecting back, I encountered the best and the worst human nature had to offer in confined communal living. Working diligently I raised enough money to study applied science (horticultural science back then) at Massey University.

Now I find myself blending this passion for the land, love of innovation, inquisitiveness and skill in observation of human beings as a career in proactive search for big and small companies. My reward comes through hard work, tenacity and focus in finding the best people, building trust and matching them to varied opportunities and cultures that inspire them. I enjoy what I do and hopefully the recognition and support of those I aim to serve.

Write a blog, was written down as a goal for 2012. My future content and commentary will aim to reflect both the radical changes occurring in the search for talent plus be informative about issues and opportunities as they arise within our primary industries.


Mike Malone