Rice Consulting isn't afraid of doing things differently. Take the company's blog, which is pretty vocal about the state of the recruitment industry (sample post titles: The Increasing Desperation of Struggling Recruiters; The Age of Recruiter Spam). Or its on-demand recruiting service VRPO, which launched in 2012 and is now looking to crack the SME market.
Managing director Jonathan Rice says the 20-odd clients it's worked with to date have mostly been in the blue chip space - banks, FMCG - but given the vast majority of New Zealand businesses are small companies, it makes sense to start targeting SMEs.
He reckons unlike many other fields, the traditional agency recruitment model hasn't experienced much in the way of disruption or innovation over the past few years. VRPO's 150 recruiters on call (ROCs) can be brought in to help with any step of the recruitment process or to manage the whole thing.
A typical agency fee might be $10,000-20,000 for a placement but business manager David Gordon says the VRPO model offers clients a "better hire for half the cost" and lets them get on with running the business.
With economists bandying around growth predictions for the New Zealand economy this year, Gordon says hiring intentions will also be up - but the amount of money companies have to invest in the recruiting process may not have increased to keep up.
As well as using traditional job boards, VRPO runs quarterly networking events and is experimenting in the content and social media space.
According to Gordon, there's also the potential to collaborate with the likes of The Selective, a company that offers ad-hoc access to creative and marketing experts.
"Both of our businesses are going to appeal to the same sorts of clients - it's just a different faction of their business."
Rice says the the concept of flexible working is gaining momentum globally, benefiting both the recruiters who work for VRPO and the candidates they place.
"There are more people looking for work-life balance, more flexibility, and some people have portfolio careers where they do one job for half the week and another job for half the week.
"It's fast becoming a lifestyle choice."
And while technology may have enabled the rise of telecommuting, he says the "human element" is still very much a pillar of the recruitment industry.
"We haven't created a technology solution ... [it's] still very much a people-based solution."
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