Why a $160 job ad could end up costing you over $10,000

Gone are the days of using newspapers to advertise for staff: these days, it’s cheap as chips to advertise for employees online. It’s currently just $160 on TradeMe, and $218.50 on Seek.co.nz.

So why on earth would you use a recruitment agency, when it’s so cheap to DIY?

Fact #1: Most employers write terrible job ads

There is a definite skill in writing a job ad – if you want to attract the best candidates, that is. Most employers make a lot of mistakes when writing job ads. And these not-so-great job ads risk attracting poor-performing, disloyal people – for example, if you don’t mention training and reward incentives.

Often, DIY job ads are very vague, and that results in you getting flooded with unsuitable applicants – and it will take you many hours (if not days) to sort through them all.

A well-written job ad will attract the right staff, and begins the process of filtering out undesirable candidates. This is because a good recruitment agency doesn’t begin the process with writing a job ad; they’ll take the time to find out exactly what kind of person (and skills) your business needs.

Fact #2: Employers rarely keep a database of suitable job seekers

There’s a good chance that a recruitment agency won’t even have to do much advertising… we may already have the perfect candidate on the books.

Now wouldn’t that save you a lot of hassle?!

Fact #3: Screening – what screening?

Most employers do very little screening of candidates. This means you might spend far too much time interviewing – which is extremely time consuming.

Instead, as your recruitment agency we’ll keep the employer interviews to an absolute minimum, while at the same time being confident you’re seeing the very best candidates.

That’s because we have a number of steps in between, each designed to filter out unsuitable candidates. This involves:

… Only then do you get to meet the remaining candidates.

Fact #4: Reference checking is vital – but is often skimmed over   

Reference checking is a crucial part of the recruitment process, as this is most likely where you’ll encounter questions marks or warning flags about a candidate.

However, this can also be a bit of a minefield as there are legal considerations. The candidate needs to sign an authorisation form and declaration form, plus you need to comply with the Privacy Act. You can only speak to the person the candidate has given permission for you to speak to. Plus there are confidentiality issues, whereby you need to juggle the needs and legal rights of both the applicant and the referee.

A good reference check will take 20 to 30 minutes, and you should have questions prepared, peace and quiet, and lots of paper in front of you for taking notes. You should arrange a time with the referee, so they have time to talk to you.

You’ll need to listen very carefully to what the referee is saying. If they hesitate to answer questions, that’s usually a red flag. You need to keep pushing to get the referee to talk. You can also hear it in their tone of voice if they feel positive or negative about the applicant. Good listening skills are essential – and at Recruit NZ ours are very finely tuned.

Fact #5: Employers rarely make background checks

At this stage in the process, we’ll conduct some background checks. There are many types of pre-employment checks available, and the ones you’ll choose will depend on the role you’re recruiting.

We can help you with the following pre-employment checks:

  • ACC check
  • Credit and debit check
  • Criminal record check
  • Driver licence check
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Immigration check
  • Police vetting check
  • Psychometric testing
  • Skills assessment

Be honest, how many of these checks would you perform if you were recruiting for a position?

Fact #6: Employment law is a complex (and ever-evolving) beast

Employment law is becoming increasingly complex, and as a number of high-profile cases have shown, the courts often rule in favour of the wronged employee. The employer is generally left with a big compensation payment to make.

There are a number of laws surrounding recruitment, and relate to:

  • The questions you can (and can’t) ask at candidate interviews.
  • Questions you can (and can’t) ask when reference checking.
  • Recruitment documentation you need to have in place for new starters.
  • Specific requirements around 90-day trial periods.

Are your current recruitment practices exposing you legally? Using a recruitment company will keep you on the right side of the law (and out of the naughty pages of the newspapers).

Fact #7: Doing all this recruitment is extremely time consuming

Did you know that it could easily take 50 hours to recruit for a position?

It actually works out more cost effective for you if we do the legwork – and you can stick to doing what you’re best at.

Fact #8: The chances of hiring the wrong person are very very high

If you really want to give yourself a scare, check out our online ‘Bad Hire Calculator’.

What might seem like just a $160 gamble on TradeMe could very easily cost you anywhere from $10,000 upwards, when you consider training costs, loss of productivity, your time, etc.

That’s right, you can spend over $10,000 hiring the wrong person – and still be back at square one.

Yet if you use a recruitment agency, you’ll normally get a guarantee of some kind. Here at Recruit NZ, we offer a 90-day replacement guarantee, so if someone we’ve placed leaves within 90 days of you appointing them, we’ll find a replacement for free.


There’s a lot more to hiring a new employee than placing an ad online:

  • You need to write a job ad that’ll attract the best candidates – and filter out the weakest.
  • You may not even need to do much (or any) advertising, as a good recruitment agency will have an up-to-date database of suitable candidates.
  • Multi-stage screening processes filter out the vast majority of less-than-ideal applicants (yet most employers skip these steps).
  • Keep on the right side of the law when making reference checks and listen very carefully for the tone of voice and any hesitancy when the referee is talking.
  • Making background checks can save you some major headaches in the future. Without these checks, you have no idea of who you’re employing is really who they say they are. Or have the skills and qualifications they claim to have.
  • Employment law is getting more complex all the time; getting it wrong can get you into a lot of hot water (and could leave you with a massive compensation bill).
  • Hiring for one new recruit can easily take you 50 hours. A recruitment agency will be able to tackle this work a lot more efficiently, because we do it all the time.
  • The chances of hiring the wrong person are very high and can easily cost upwards of $10,000; the gamble is much greater than a $160 online ad. Yet a recruitment company will usually offer you a replacement guarantee. 

Next step: Would you like your recruitment to be less of a gamble – and more of a ‘sure thing’?

You’re invited to contact us for a free and friendly chat to see how we can help you.

Either give us a call on 09 280 3977 or email info@recruit-nz.co.nz.

Or if you’d prefer, you can schedule a 15-minute phone meeting online:

DIY is great for many things… but recruitment isn’t one of them. These are 8 reasons why you’re better off using a professional.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business.

The following two tabs change content below.
Tanya Gray is your strategic HR partner, passionate about driving clients’ productivity with innovative solutions and collaboration.

Similar Posts