Meet Brian Bernard – winner of the RCSA Industry Awards for Recruitment Professional of the Year


Brian Bernard has plenty to celebrate after taking out the Recruitment Professional of Year award at RCSA’s NZ Industry Awards earlier this year.


With more than 30 years’ experience in information and communications technology, Brian is the Regional Manager of Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki at Absolute IT, part of the Accordant Group – New Zealand’s largest recruitment company.


We spoke to Brian to find out about his career highlights and winning the prestigious award; along the way he shared a few gems of advice with us.


Tell me about how you came to join the recruitment industry?


Like many recruitment professionals out there, it really was by chance. I was working in Florida for a company that wrote software for clients. They were setting up a division to also sell products, and I took the chance to get involved. I started off delivering training, which morphed into a role that focused on finding resources. We scaled up quickly, and this was the foundation of an incredible opportunity for me. I loved it, and I got hooked on the diversity. With recruitment, every single day is different. The connections and the conversations with people are always awesome. A lot of personal relationships grew from here – I naturally get a lot of energy from people. I moved to Wellington with my wife and two children and started with Absolute IT in 2008, and I’m now the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Manager.


What has been a highlight of your time in recruitment?


Aside from winning this award of course, it’s the moments when I make a significant connection between an employer/workplace, and a job seeker. One example I remember well was hiring for a role in my hardware sales team. I fielded a call from a man named Shaun. Right off the bat he led with: “Brian, you don’t know me. I’m a milkman right now, but I’ve seen your job ad and I need you to give me 20 minutes for a face-to-face meeting, then I’ll never bother you again. I know nothing about sales, but I want to do something more significant”. To this day, Shaun is one of the best salespeople I’ve ever hired. He’s now working for an IT integrator, leading a team of a few hundred people. It goes to show as recruiters, we have the ability to open up some powerful opportunities and make some rewarding connections.


You clearly have strong personal values. How do they play a part in your day-to-day work?


Honesty is always key, and that goes hand in hand with integrity. If you make a mistake own it, and don’t shortcut a process. People will appreciate that. For me it’s important to know I’ve given 100%.


Tell me about some of the ways you’ve been able to use your recruitment skills to give back to your local community?


Bringing young tech talent into the industry is one way I’ve been able to share my experience. Speaking to students who are embarking on an IT degree allows me to talk about the different options available in IT and broaden their view of what’s possible.


What does winning NZ’s Recruitment Professional of the Year mean to you?


For me, it’s the acknowledgement that I brought something great to the industry, and that the way I behave and how I conduct myself matters. As a finalist my heart was racing. I knew I was amongst some outstanding recruitment professionals in this category, and I’m honoured to have won.


What one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in their recruitment career?


Commitment. Whatever area you want to work in, just go for it. Be considered about your personal brand, and the brand you work for. Try to join an organisation where their integrity and values align with yours. There’s so much to be gained from taking charge of your career path, and I’ve found personally there’s value in tenure too. A lot of what we do is results based, and my customers say it’s great to be dealing with the same person. I’ve developed so many incredible working relationships over the years.

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