Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Iain MacGibbon

Welcome back to my series on the top 50 HR and Recruiting bad-asses in APAC.

Before we hear from #9 on the list I wanted to take a moment to tell you about some exciting events coming up next week. I am sure by now if you work in IT recruitment internal or agency you have heard of If you have not yet got your tickets there is still time and so I really encourage you to go and learn from some of the amazing people. I have had the privilege of hearing some of them before and vogue for those, though I am really excited about this one as some even I have not yet seen talk.

What you might not know about is “The Wellington Recruiters Meetup.”

I got talking with Jade Shearstone, Kirsti Grant and Tracy Earl over lunch about why I was writing this blog. “To help people” and the conversation went to… “Well why are we not hosting meetups to help people who cannot afford conference tickets”

So I did and I am really lucky to have Laura Stoker and Matt Pontin speaking at our first meetup on the 23rd this month. Jump on and register as the spaces are limited. Click on the picture below to register and come and along. It’s free and we will sort out beer, wine and food for you all too.


So hopefully it is a success in Wellington and we can emulate it in Auckland too.

So…. On to #9 who is the phenomenally talented Iain MacGibbon.

I have admired Iain and Farrow Jamieson for a while now and have heard nothing but good feedback about them all everywhere I have been. Hat tip from me too Iain as you and your team are definitely some of the good ones who lift the profile of our industry.


Iain, what do you do in the HR/Recruiting scene?

I own a company called Farrow Jamieson where I lead a team of talented recruiting professionals in Auckland and Christchurch. While we have been operating for over 30 years I think in this business you reinvent yourself over 5+ years to stay relevant. It is one of the most dynamic industries I have ever been involved in.

Why/How did you get into the industry?

I had sold another business and was looking around when I met the owners of Farrow Jamieson. I had some exposure to the sector as my wife had been at Morgan & Banks (Hudson now) so I met the owners and while that seems like only yesterday it was almost 25 years ago. I like the interaction with Boards and CEO’s discussing how to make their businesses better. Once you have the capital sorted its down to the people you can get around you.

What is something we don’t know about you?

In the last few years I have been more strongly involved in social media than is potentially wise , so as my mate Kirsti Grant says, you probably know too much already; like Vespas, Craft beer, Fishing.

I really enjoy making bread. There’s something about the whole tactile, smell and texture that is relaxing and very satisfying.

Which people inspire you globally?

I always duck these sort of questions if possible because of the danger of the whole “false gods’ fiasco. I don’t know whether I ‘m eclectic or just ADHD because the people I admire moves around a lot.

The common thread is command of language (written and oral).

I had the mind-blowing experience of being present when Nelson Mandela spoke in Auckland. Actually he didn’t need to speak, the sheer presence of the man was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.


What about companies then, which inspire you globally?

Companies that reinvent themselves. Some only do it once and then fade (Nokia) others keep doing it;

Apple of course, because they have reinvented not only themselves but entire categories.

Blackberry Phenomenal patent bank from their R&D. Who knows they may even survive. During the Christchurch earthquake our Team were stranded on the 9th floor of our building for 4 hours. They were eventually rescued by crane. The city had virtually no communication networks that were working, apart from blackberry messenger. I am always grateful to Blackberry for enabling us to communicate with our people.

Staedler I used a Staedler whiteboard marker recently and will never use one of the rubbish unbranded ones again. Did I mention that I get very angry about dry marker pens when I am writing?

What advice would you give someone looking to enter this industry?

Try and learn from the best. Be confident about speaking up to clients, bosses and co-workers about what you think is right. Learn from everyone.

What is your favourite drink?

Emersons Pilsner is world-class.

But I have become a fan of One Fat Trout, mostly because of desire. My sons have told me I can only drink it after I have caught a trout. So, I get thirsty quite a bit

What are you currently reading?

I read a lot (see above, re eclectic) . Currently reading a hilarious book by John Grace Brideshead Abbreviated. A synopsis of 100 classics of the twentieth century, written in the style of each book, with a twist.

Just finished The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro which was probably my most enjoyable book of the year so far.

And started implementing The Power of Scrum by Jeff Sutherland just to annoy the team at FJ

Why do you love the HR and Recruiting industry?

I feel genuinely privileged to work in an industry where we change people’s lives, every day. Who wouldn’t bounce out of bed every day when you get the chance to make magic happen. A great person gets a chance to shine and a company improves its business.

If you don’t enjoy that feeling then you shouldn’t be in the business.


Who would be top 5 on your list?

  1. Andrew Banks and Geoff Morgan. – They changed an industry, several times.
  2. Paul Bassat, Andrew Bassat and Matt Rockman – Started Seek and changed the industry
  3. Angela Atkins and Amanda Sterling – Both pushing the boundaries and causing mayhem in HR
  4. Troy Hammond – I know its your blog and I am mentioning your name, but you are prepared to say out loud how you feel and while I don’t always agree with you I respect your right to say it.
  5. Mark Sumner and Matt Pontin – Back to my taking risks argument.

Thanks Iain.


Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad-asses in APAC featuring – Simon Martin

Welcome back to my series for bad-ass HR and Recruiting folk in APAC.

The bad-ass recruiter featured in this one is #10 Simon Martin.

I first met Simon when we both worked together for Madison back in the day and was impressed by him immediately. Not only was he the top biller in the whole company, but he was/is a pretty rad dude too.

I came back into contact with him again recently when Vend took on Weirdly as a part of our recruitment process. Normally I will not plug a business on my blog, but these guys bloody deserve it.

When you’re recruiting, identifying candidates with the right skills is the easy part. What’s much harder, and more important, is how they fit with your business vision and your team. That’s the difference between an awesome employee and an expensive one. Using a fun, customised quiz, Weirdly ranks candidates against your ideal ‘match’.  It automatically turns a long list into a shortlist, while also managing things like CVs, video applications and applicant photos all through a simple dashboard.

It isn’t just faster and more fun, it also gives candidates a taste of your company culture, before they’ve even applied.

You should definitely take a look and bolt it on to your recruitment process as it is one of those tools you just bloody love.

Also to my Melbourne readers Simon is in your town this week and so reach out to them if you fancy checking Weirdly out while he is there.


Anyway onto bad-ass #10


Simon, what do you do in the HR/Recruiting Scene?

Well at the moment I do two main things in that I am part of the awesome Weirdly team with a focus on sales and annoying the developers with feature requests. We help companies find out more about their candidates right from the start of the process, and make it heaps more fun for both the hirer and the candidate.

I also still source IT bods under the Talent Magnet brand and work with a range of NZ companies recruiting developers, BA’s, engineers, you name it.

Why/How did you get into the Industry?

Same old same old here, never really knew it was even a job you could do back then, but after I had completed a computer science course I wasn’t too sure about going into the industry so started looking at other options, ended up meeting an IT recruitment firm and that was that. Started as a candidate sourcing type in the UK and on from there.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I like monkeys …

I used to collect toy monkeys as a kid. Those funny little dudes are awesome.

Which people inspire you globally?

I get inspired by all sorts of people but generally people doing crazy stuff that hasn’t been done before , like that dude Felix Baumgartner…He sky dived from the edge of space….THE EDGE OF FREAKING SPACE … thats insane and must have take huge balls to get up there.


What about companies then, which inspire you globally?

Not sure on this one, so a cop out it is….. Every start-up around is inspiring. It’s damn hard work and people only see the successes out there, so any company thats trying their hardest to make it by doing something different or better gets my vote.

What advice would you give someone looking to enter this industry?

From a recruiter point of view I would say you get out what you put in, work hard and you’ll get the rewards. Its not rocket science at the end of the day, but there are lots of things you do in a day that become second nature so you need to pick these little things up along the way.

What is your favourite drink?

At the moment its black coffee, and lots of it.

What are you currently reading?

“Gangsta Granny” (David Walliams) My son and I are getting through that one at the moment, pretty tense stuff.

And I need to finish “Zero to One” by  Peter Thiel.

Why do you love the HR and Recruiting industry?

I love the fact that you get to deal with people from all walks of life and helping people to get somewhere. From a recruitment stand point its awesome to be able to help someone get a job they really love.

And from Weirdly side of things, its been a crazy last year but when I hear people say they literally couldn’t imagine doing their recruitment job without using Weirdly (Vanessa Payne, legend), and seeing tweets from candidates who have loved applying for a job through Weirdly, (people just enjoying applying for a job, I mean who’s ever enjoyed that bit of the process) its just amazing and blows me away every time.

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Who would be top 5 on your list?

Top 5 is hard, but here goes.

Dale Clareburt (Obviously) I see her work her butt off every day and do amazing things.

Kirsti Grant – To see someone rise up through the industry to being as highly thought of as she is in such a short time is amazing

Daniel Glyn-Jones – My first Manager in recruitment in the UK and now has is own boutique search firm we still talk and he was and still is one of the hardest working and most dedicated people i’ve ever met.

I’ll round it out with Hugh Lloyd from Lloyd Exec and Brandon Gallagher from Global Attract those boys are top-notch recruiters and always having “the best month ever”! 🙂

Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Kirsti Grant

Welcome back to my series on bad-ass HR and Recruiters in APAC and we kick back off again with the one and only Kirsti Grant

I have known Kirsti for a while now and cannot remember if I met her first during her stint at Trademe Jobs or when she joined, though it was a while back now.

When she started at Vend, like a lot of people I think I remember thinking

“Oh dear she has jumped in the real fire of recruiting now, i hope she does ok”

However, it was clear that this was something she was meant to do and she has obviously killed it.

I respected what she was doing at Vend so much that I joined her.

Obviously she has done some great work throughout her career and kicked ass in recruitment for Vend, though the side of her you respect the most when you work with her is that she cares about every single person she comes into contact with each day.

Anyway, I will let her talk for herself below.


What do you do in the HR/Recruiting Scene?

I have the most excellent role of VP Talent at Vend which I’ve been doing for the last 2 years. It’s probably been the hardest yet most spectacular 2 years of my life. I started as employee #37 and we’re now at 250(ish) with offices all over the world. In the last year I’ve also had the pleasure of building who I think is the best Talent team on the planet. You’ve read about Vanessa, you’ve obviously heard of Troy and we have the amazing Lisa in our Toronto office. They’re all amazing people who are so good at what they do and make every day 10 different kinds of awesome.

I’m also a Director on the board for Weirdly which is a great new Kiwi start up that has built a platform that helps companies design their own culture quizzes for candidates to engage with the aim to find the best fits for their company. This goes above and beyond those cv’s we all love so much and at Vend we get feedback every day from candidates who love it too.

Why/How did you get into the Industry?

Text-book story really. I’m looking for a new job, I have an interview with a recruiter and recruiter says “hey you should be a recruiter!”. That was rather short-lived though. Not because I didn’t enjoy it but because the company was incredibly young and the level of risk was a bit too high for me at that time. So 5 weeks in, when the lovely Peter Ashby, a BDM at Trade Me Jobs at the time came in to get us on board and the conversation moved to the fact I was looking for another opportunity he told me about the Account Managers role in his team. Five interviews later I was in and I loved it! It’s also where I first got to play with social media in recruitment and I set up and managed the Trade Me Jobs Twitter handle WAY back in the day.

What is something we don’t know about you?

Haha, due to the nature of my over-sharing on social media there’s probably not much people don’t know but here’s a fun fact.

I’m an oldest child, an only child AND a youngest child.

Which people inspire you globally?

First off, every single employee of Vend inspires me in some way. They’re why I get up each day excited about the day ahead. That’s the money right there!

In terms of other people:

This woman turns everything she touches to gold. Stacy Zapar. From what I can tell she JFDI’s like there’s no tomorrow, there are no obstacles too big and she has the great ability of using all her experience but not letting it weigh her down and limit her innovation.

CoFounder of Intercom – Des Traynor. If you don’t know about Intercom they’re a platform that solved a problem companies didn’t even know existed. They’re a poster child for SaaS companies and they’re doing it for all the right reasons. Des shares a LOT about what they’ve done and how they’ve done it and in typical Intercom form is so accessible. He has a lot of time for his customers even though he literally has zero actual time because he’s so busy running a kick-ass company.

What about companies then, which inspire you globally?

Intercom, obviously. Generally speaking I’m obsessed with any companies that have built solutions for fast growing technology companies.

ProductHunt because every day it feeds me new and shiny things. Some are awesome, some are awful but what it does it encourages you to try new things, to solve problems in new and exciting ways and that no idea is stupid.

Apple. Any company that can build product so well that a 1 year old can pick it up and use it like a boss commands the utmost respect.

In People & Culture we can draw a lot of inspiration from how these companies operate.

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What advice would you give someone looking to enter this industry?

This is like giving parenting advice. I’d recommend you don’t listen to 99% of it. The only thing I will say is that being a “people person” isn’t enough. I believe you need to really, truly be motivated by helping other people love their work and you need to do this in a place that fits for YOU. If you’re not happy how on earth are you going to help anyone else?

What is your favourite drink?

  1. I have three. I’m allowed three right? Beer = Panhead Quickchange XPA or Supercharger (not fussy).
  2. Wine = Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir (preferably 2013)
  3. Non-alcoholic = Pineapple juice. I love pineapples in and on everything.

What are you currently reading?

The only real books I’ve read lately have been the likes of Gruffalo, Monkey Puzzle and other assorted childrens books. I generally consume a lot of blog posts (yay for Medium). Many are curated by my lovely other half and many are sourced from the magical land of Twitter.

I have a couple of weeks of holiday coming up soon though – your book recommendations are very welcome!


Why do you love the HR and Recruiting industry?

ALL the people. I’m particularly proud of the HR/Rec community we have here in NZ. No other country has what we have when it comes to sharing our knowledge and collectively making the industry a better place.

Who would be top 5 on your list?

I am going to break the rules a little here and combine a few….

Carmen Bailey & Jane Kennelly  – Two beautiful & strong women who have built great businesses and very loyal teams. They are so respected because they deliver to their clients the best talent and that talent is loyal to Carmen & Jane throughout their careers, they have great networks (they literally know everyone) and they both tell you EXACTLY how it is.

The Dream Vend Talent Team (Troy, VP & Lisa) – These three take things up a few notches when it comes to delivering excellence. They are widely trusted throughout Vend – they’re doing more for our teams than just filling roles. They help me execute on my crazy idea’s and are always enthusiastic and positive about doing things differently. There are no ego’s, they all just want what’s best for Vend and for our candidates. They ARE the Vend culture.

Kimberley Gilmour. Kimbog is our VP People Ops and she is an incredible human. Within 2 minutes of chatting on Skype; I knew we would 1) hire her and 2) she’d be one of the best things to ever happen to Vend. She cares so much about our people and everyone absolutely adores her. She does the right thing, in the right way every time, is always calm, brings out the best in people and ALWAYS has a beautiful smile on her face. She’s a total inspiration.

Dale & Simon from Weirdly also get my vote. Two really great recruiters with a really great idea who did the impossible, rallied the troops and built something that we now can’t imagine life without. We literally cannot imagine recruiting without Weirdly. I LOVE working with them both and am so excited about Weirdly taking over the world and helping everyone into a company and job of their dreams.

Man, talk about a giant love fest! Thanks Troy!

Thanks as always Kirsti.


Why your recruiting is just plain…….. LAZY

I take a moment out of my blog series for something that I think needs to be said.

Your recruitment strategy is archaic and lazy…
IMG_3780                                                                                   Shots Fired

I have had a lot of conversations over the last few months and lot’s of people have called or e-mailed to ‘pick my brain’ which is a saying I hate every time I read it, but I am always happy to help. Usually the call goes like this:

Recruiter: “What job boards are you using?”

Troy: “None.”

Recruiter: “What? Then how do you find candidates?”

Troy: “I source them”

Recruiter: “Yeah, but how do you find the time?”

Troy: “I am not rejecting 100’s of applicants from job boards so I have time!”

Recruiter: o_O


Now, I am not saying that job boards are crap and you should not use them. What I am saying is that if you want to truly attract the best talent, you should not just write an ad and stick it up on a job board and hope…..

You are probably reading this now and thinking, yeah but we fill jobs through boards and I get some good candidates on them sometimes.

Well that is probably right and you get lucky sometimes

but you are being just plain lazy……

Since going internal I have not filled one role from job boards and I am filling all my roles without going to other mediums (including agency.)


Well I am working my damn ass off to find the right candidates online and then I use x-ray search to find their contact details and then I call or e-mail them. I don’t want to reject 100’s of applicants that are wrong, so I find the ones that look right and speak to them.


There is so much more I do and that you can do to engage and attract candidates, though for all you recruiters just posting and praying please get in the sourcing game.

What I say in the call or e-mail is quite relevant too and I will be covering this in my talk at IT18 and so will post afterwards.

So, stop being lazy and go out and find the right candidates. 


I challenge you right now to actually source ALL your candidates, and two things will happen.

  1. You will be screening 60% less candidates
  2. The candidates you now screen will be 100% more suitable

As always if you want some tips and help on sourcing, then I am happy to help point you in the right direction or let you know what I am doing if it helps.