Ex-coach reaches for new recruiting heights

IT recruiter Spherion aims to reach new heights with its new country manager, a former coach of the Wellington Saints in the New Zealand National Basketball League.

IT recruiter Spherion aims to reach new heights with its new country manager, a former coach of the Wellington Saints in the New Zealand National Basketball League.

Brian Powell says the US-owned agency plans to offer new HR outsourcing and IT consultancy services next year, widen its range of courses, open a Christchurch office and even partner with rivals.

The former IT@Manpower Wellington regional manager, Powell effectively replaces veteran IT recruiter Doug White, who left the IT recruitment industry several months ago after 20 years, selling his share of Wilson White to Spherion.

Powell, who has also worked for TMP, Robert Walters and Rob Law Consulting, says IT recruiters need to be different to survive. For Spherion, that will be offering tailor-made courses ranging from IT introduction to MCSEs that can help firms realise their staff strengths and weaknesses. “Clients often tell me that the candidate was great but they wished they had more experience particularly on the IT side," he says. he says.

In addition to IT training, more business-orientated courses will be offered next year. An IT solutions division will be created in New Zealand, which in Australia helps firms decide on a total hardware and software "solution". New outsourcing services next year will also serve firms who want to contract out their HR functions. In an " industry first" move, Powell also plans to work with other agencies to fill vacancies, should his agency be unable to fill a role. Nothing has been formalised, he says, and deals will be done case by case.

The growing IT cluster in Christchurch also means room for an extra IT recruiter there, he says, which will employ two or three staff.

Powell has worked in recruitment since the mid-90s. Before that he spent 14 years with Telecom as regional manager for its network design and build division. In the early 1990s, he coached the Wellington Saints in the New Zealand National Basketball League, and at Washington State University. The Wellingtonian is also an under-20 and under-23 national title winner.

Powell believes Spherion has the capability to double its business over the next two years.

"The market is reasonably flat now without significant growth opportunities, but over the next three to six months, there will be an upturn in the industry."

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