Placing Migrants in Employment: Recruitment Consultants' Experiences


  • Jacqui Campbell Massey University, Wellington
  • Mingsheng Li Massey University, Wellington



The purpose of this paper is to discuss the issues that recruitment consultants face when trying to place non-native English speaking professional migrants in employment in New Zealand. Five recruitment consultants participated in two focus groups as part o f a wider study conducted in 2007. The consultants in this study worked in the permanent and temporary markets covering a range of professions. Theirs is a highly competitive market, aiming to match candidates with employers to the satisfaction of both. Essentially, the role is a sales one, volume driven and time pressured. Consultants follow the same standard process for all applicants: assessing skills, including communication skills, and preparing three candidates to present to the employer for interview. The perceived differences between migrants and local candidates include difficulties in oral communication; limited knowledge of New Zealand culture, and lack of experience with behavioural interviews. Consultants adopted an educative role towards some highly prejudiced employers. Employers with previous positive experiences with migrants tended to be more receptive. Consultants considered that migrants needed to be more realistic in their job expectations; be prepared to accept contract positions and accept lower level roles initially. They should familiarise themselves with the New Zealand culture, humour and workplace expectations. Current labour market shortages place migrants in a very; good position for accessing employment.


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Author Biographies

Jacqui Campbell, Massey University, Wellington

College of Business

Mingsheng Li, Massey University, Wellington

College of Business