Armstrong Motor Group

June 8, 2016
There was a time I was spending endless hours on LinkedIn searching for talent to staff our Greenlane dealership. As it is impossible to find a trained Mercedes technician in New Zealand, unless it is from another dealership, I had to look offshore. The thing is the local talent pool seems to be shrinking and one of the attributing factors is age with the average age in this industry being 45+. As a result of that and other factors, I was online looking for opportunities to connect with recruitment agencies in the U.K to see if they had any leads for people who wanted to move and work in New Zealand. 

One evening I connected with a recruiter and briefed them about the opening of our new site, our expansion plans and enquired whether they would be interested in a partnership. The recruiter connected me with her boss who gave me Jonny Wyles, the Managing Director of Workhere’s contact details. Via social media I had literally gone 12,000miles to literally come 900 metres up the road.  

What worked for us was that Workhere could connect us to overseas talent whether it was a Kiwi returning home or a skilled migrant looking to relocate to New Zealand. In my experience migrating from the U.K in 2002 I understand the push and pull factors as well as the importance of making the process easier. Before relocating to New Zealand I had previously visited on a holiday. One of the items on my bucket list had been to go to Great Barrier Reef and I actually proposed to my wife under the base of Mount Cook. 

Upon returning from our holiday in New Zealand, things started going a bit wrong. At that time, we had been burgled a couple times, woken up to our car keyed or slashed tyres and in fact my brother who lived a street behind me had been burgled six times. The final straw was when I read in the local newspaper that a guy had been stabbed almost to death and robbed for 30pounds. What shook me was this stabbing had happened on the same day I had been out with my friends for a drink. I read the time and the name of the street and it was literally five minutes after I had walked the same street. 
We made plans to relocate and when I hire overseas talent I always keep this experience in mind and remember that when people migrate it is about making it a smooth transition. From offering a car for a month or accommodation close to the dealership to informing them about bringing extension cords and plugs, all these things matter. 

While language may be a barrier when hiring overseas talent, it is always about presenting the Armstrong brand for what it is. For instance, we have a real slick and smart operation and everyday everyone wears a white shirt. If someone likes processes and identifies as a slick and smart individual with the right experience of course, I know that they will be the right fit for us and that we will be the right fit for them. People relate to an image as well as what they are comfortable with. 

Mark Atkinson
Group Aftersales Manager of Armstrong Motor Group