Building a resilient recruitment business

By Claire Hewson

Managing Director, PN Personnel


Resilience is a required attribute for a successful recruiter, and the same is true in business. A resilient

recruitment agency effectively responds and adapts to a constantly changing business environment. This is achieved by embracing change, utilising best practice, constantly striving for excellence and maintaining a solid infrastructure.

Organisational success will always be reflective of the collaborative achievements of the people within it.

My best piece of business advice is to surround yourself with people who have strengths in the areas of your weaknesses.


This advice has been relevant throughout my recruitment career. When my business partner and I bought PN Personnel nearly 20 years ago, it was our combined strengths which underpinned our success and growth.


When I recruit for my team attitude is everything. I believe if you identify an individual with true potential, a hunger to learn and desire to succeed, with the right support and training they can learn to become an effective and successful recruiter.


Develop talent in your team by mentoring and coaching in recruitment best practice. Provide your team with opportunities for advancement, embrace diversity and flexibility and align their individual needs with your organisational needs.


Retain your talent by fostering a supportive environment based on honest and open communication. Understand an individual’s key drivers and motivators and align their on-going learning, development and job satisfaction specifically to these.


Within PN Personnel I made the strategic decision eight years ago to challenge the norm and cross skill my recruiters in both temporary and permanent recruitment. My recruiters found this resulted in increased individual rewards for themselves and had a positive impact on our client relationships. Recognise and invest in success. PN Personnel celebrates and rewards achieved goals and milestones.


I have found in bringing talent through, PN Personnel continues to flourish with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, with the knowledge and experience to deliver the exceptional recruitment services we are well-known for and the ability to adapt to ever changing environments.

After 23 years in recruitment I am slowly transitioning from management to governance, coaching and mentoring a capable leadership team. Supporting and empowering them to make considered decisions, continually reviewing best practice and maintaining our infrastructure ensures our continued success.


Organisational success is based in part on continued investment to maintain and upgrade appropriate infrastructure, including your physical environment and technology. Give recruiters the tools to be able to deliver best practice and they will be able to adapt to challenges whenever there is a downturn.


In the global recession of 2009, I went from managing the business to recruiting full-time alongside my team. My commitment was to excellence in delivering our core business offering. By reducing expenses, reviewing work and re-prioritising how the team worked, our service offering became more effective, internal workloads were manageable and we became more productive.

We have taken a resilience strategy to manage the impact of COVID-19. Technology we had in place allowed the team to transition to work from home for two months, whilst remaining connected to each other as well as to external clients and job seekers. I reverted to a more hands-on approach and, together with our Leadership Team and talented team members, we ensured the continuation of quality recruitment services.

The recruitment landscape has and will continue to change and evolve, but the core fundamentals remain. I am confident there will always be a need for professional recruitment services and talent management as long as professional recruiters continue to provide a value-add professional consultative service to both candidates and clients.

Resilient recruitment businesses know the pathways to achieving their goal may change as they adapt and respond to outside influences, but the goal itself will remain.


As a small and successful recruitment businesses in the Manawatu, PN Personnel is highly adaptable and resilient. My vision is for PN Personnel to continue to be a market leading brand and champion of the recruitment industry.


Claire Hewson is the Managing Director of PN Personnel, recently celebrating 20 years with this leading Manawatu based recruitment agency.

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