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Claire McGrory, ACC

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Welcome to our Beyond Recruitment “Women in Leadership” series, dedicated to the journeys of women in leadership across New Zealand businesses. There’s currently a lot of discussion around women not being in leadership roles, not joining the executive ranks or not serving on boards. We’ve found, however, that there are so many stories to share of women who have done well in leadership, and so many organisations that are running fantastic programs to allow women to grow in leadership roles.

This week we’re joined by Claire McGrory, Head of Talent Acquisition at ACC, to share her passion for the recruitment industry, the knowledge she’s gained from her work internationally – and her thoughts on leadership and success in business.


Why a Career in Recruitment?

Claire’s recruitment career stretches back 20 years, during which she gained experience in various branches of recruitment, including agency, in house and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). Unlike many recruiters, Claire did not “fall” into the profession – she consciously chose a career in Recruitment because of her passion for innovation and change. Claire’s work has taken her to some incredible international locations, working on projects of such magnitude other recruiters can only dream of.

On her International Work 

Claire recently spent five years in Singapore. One of the biggest challenges she faced was the difference between talent sourcing overseas and in New Zealand, as well as the learning curve involved with large-scale recruitment (compared to New Zealand’s low volumes), often recruiting up to 12,000 vacancies at a time. Having to adapt to unfamiliar environments and new ways of doing business, Claire also discovered the secret to working successfully with clients – her advice being, “if they know you, and if they like you, they will work with you”.

The “Talent First” Approach and Technology as the New Tomorrow

Today, it’s common to see four different generations in a workplace at a single time, each of which works differently and has different expectations for how they want to be treated by employers and recruiters. One of the things that stood out for Claire whilst recruiting internationally was the move towards putting the candidate first and tailoring the process to their unique needs, a shift which she is excited to see making its way to New Zealand.  Claire believes this “talent first” focus goes hand in hand with technological advancements such as AI, robotics and social media.

Whilst New Zealand is still slow in the uptake and relies mostly on what she calls a “post and pray approach”, she believes the use of technology is becoming increasingly normalised. More and more companies are looking towards social sourcing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat), and using chatbots as ways to communicate with candidates in real time. This in turn speeds up the application process, saving time and money for NZ businesses and Government organisations. Leadership and Working in NZ

Claire gives credit to a number of exceptional mentors she’s worked for during her career. She believes that a successful career (especially for a working mum) comes down to finding a Manager who you can resonate with, and who wants to invest in your growth and development. It’s important to identify a leader who will ultimately respect your values and strive to work alongside them.

When asked why she thinks people are looking to NZ as a place to work, Claire explains that it’s a country where change is about to happen – or is already happening –and people are eager to be part of the shift. As a mum of six, Claire recognises that, whilst NZ is behind in the global rankings in terms of salary, it has the added value of being a safe place to raise families and offering a good work/life balance. These factors can often be even more attractive to candidates than money.

With Thanks

A huge thank you to Claire for taking the time to talk to us and share her experiences, insights and advice. Watch this space for the next edition of the Women in Leadership blog series, and if you have a great story you’d like to share, then feel free to get in touch.