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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 11.14.51 am

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.


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