Hints from HR: Job Search Tips from AJ Hackett Bungy’s Recruitment and Training Officer

The competition is real. A job seeker needs all the job search tips, hints, and advice to shine as they can get. 

But, easier said than done. Which advice works best? 

We say, the best advice comes from the source — the JobGivers (…see what we did there?)

If you want to get a job, you’ve got to ask the ones who give the jobs for their advice.

So, we asked for you. 

Read on to get some straight-talking, candid revelations from Heidi Gillingham, Recruitment and Training Officer at AJ Hackett Bungy. 

AJ HACKETT BUNGY

We started the worldwide Bungy phenomenon way back in 1988 when we threw our first customers off the Kawarau Bridge – attached to a Bungy cord obviously. Recognised as ‘the Bungy originals’ we have been attributed to pioneering adventure tourism in New Zealand which we think is pretty awesome. Fast forward a whole lot of years and we’re still at it, although now we’re a whole lot bigger with a wide range of cool activities in Queenstown and Auckland.

Of course none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for our fantastic Crew and our ‘culture’ which is extremely important to us – it represents who we are….

• Our feet are always on the ground even if our customers aren’t
• We wear our heart on our sleeve – raw emotion is good
• Humour is our antidote to fear
• We genuinely want our customers to succeed
• We keep it real

MEET HEIDI

What was your first job?

I was a swimming teacher for 14 years and first started back when I was 15 years old!

How long have you worked in HR/recruitment?

I’ve worked at AJ Hackett Bungy NZ since Jan 2018, but before that, I worked for 1.5 years in recruitment as the Internship Manager at Queenstown Resort College.

When you were 9 years old, what did you want to be when you “grew up?” 

Taller! Honestly, I actually just wanted to be a Ski Instructor in Winter and Surf/Swim Teacher in Summer – because that’s what I love doing, and to me that sounded like a pretty sweet deal. I’ve since ticked off 2 out of 3 of those, which I’m pretty happy about. Like most people, though, I’ve changed my mind hundreds of times since then and had heaps of different jobs; all of which have added to my skill set and given me some great experiences to take into the recruitment field. Never underestimate the power of what you perceive to be a ‘rubbish’ job, it can teach you a lot! And never stop dreaming about ‘what you want to be when you grow up’ – that’s all part of the fun and I certainly haven’t!

What is your favourite part of your job?

(Getting to read some hilarious applications!) Actually, it’s meeting tonnes of new people and getting to share in their excitement of starting a new job, helping up-and-coming talent within the industry to succeed and building a strong workforce that is proud of and best represent our brand.

HINTS FROM HEIDI

What I look for in candidates: 

The long and short of it is, our Crew is what makes our company.

We want them to embody our mission and values from the moment they put on their uniform in the morning, to the second they kick off their shoes at the end of the day.

It all boils down to being interested, interesting and treating our customers how we’d like to be treated. Plain and simple, we don’t hire wannabes, try-hards, deadbeats or dropkicks.

For me, the most employable skills a candidate could have are: 

For us, the deal breakers are:

Safety – it’s everything and, for us, there’s no compromise, ever.

Respect – you’ve got to respect the team and look out for each other

Passion – for our products, industry and providing excellent customer service

Fun – you can’t have this if you’re not being yourself

What we’re really looking for is:

Innovation. Expertise. Energy. We want pioneers who stand out and are gritty, cool, edgy, real, bold, raw, rugged. We appreciate the mix of personalities in our Crew; some are with us for a good time (not a long time!) and others are looking to make waves in the industry and forge a successful career with the Bungy Originals – and both of those options are fine! We’re all about catering for everyone and we want to keep exceeding our Crew’s expectations and delivering the best employee experience that matches what our customers get to enjoy.

My advice to applicants who want to stand out: 

Although we hire for personality and can train for skills, the more you can bring to the table, the happier we’ll be. That includes life outside of work too; we don’t hire boring people who’ve got nothing to talk about!

We tend to hire seasonally, to meet market demand, so the more you do to upskill and prepare before Summer hits, the more likely you’ll be to meet us in an interview.

An interest in the Tourism Industry goes without saying and, as well as the basics (like being able to legally work in NZ and speak English like a pro), we also like Crew to hold a full, clean, NZ Driving Licence (that means driving stick, not just cruising on auto!)

Something you might not know about working for AJ Hackett Bungy: 

We’re serious about having fun – once a year we hold our August Assassins competition where every Crew member from the newest recruit to the CEO gets given a water pistol and the name of a colleague to ‘kill’. There’s prizes for creativity, multiple ‘kills’ and the last person standing wins 3 paid days off and the glory of holding the August Assassin title!

The biggest mistake you could make:

Spelling the word ‘bungy’ wrong in your application email…! That instantly negates any claims of ‘attention to detail’ or ‘having wanted to work at our company since forever’ in your cover letter!

The first thing I notice about a resume:

Whether it’s tailored and intended for me, or if it’s a generic one full of blah blah blah!

The first thing I notice about a candidate at an interview

Whether they smile, how confident they are at saying hello and if they chat to Crew when they come to our HQ. If they don’t, chances are they won’t with our customers either…

Questions a candidate should never ask:

Things you can easily find out the answers to online. If you haven’t bothered to do any homework, we’re not going to bother either. That’s pretty fair, we think.

Don’t shy away from asking:

Any questions that you genuinely want to find out the answer to. We’re fully transparent as a company and happy to tell you all about the good, the bad and the ugly parts of any role. Any employer that isn’t happy to discuss things like pay, holiday, working hours etc. but wants to know the complete history of a candidate (what they had for breakfast, what their first pet was called) is asking too much and not being fair.

We understand that these sorts of things are key deciding factors for job seekers and we want you to assess whether or not we’re a good fit for you too. As long as you phrase your questions correctly and don’t come across with a solely ‘what can you do for me?’ sort of attitude, most recruiters are willing to discuss the more difficult topics – it helps us get rid of time wasters as soon as possible too, as well as making you feel confident that you know and want what you’re getting.

Don’t let this hold you back:

Not being ‘qualified’ for a job. Anyone can learn and as long as you’re determined, proactive and can sell yourself you’ll do fine. Oh, and if you’re scared of Bungying too, we don’t mind that either!

What I want to know about you as a person: 

Whether or not I can work with you for 8 hours a day!

What homework I expect you to have done before the interview:

Who we are as a company, where we’re based, our history, what the job involves – you don’t need to be able to recite our history and values, but you should at least know what you’re applying for and why you want to work for us!

My advice to a candidate who wasn’t successful: 

Rather than straight away asking for external feedback, do a little bit of self-assessment first. Did you present yourself well? Did you answer questions fully and to the best of your ability? Were you engaging? Did your persona and answers align with the company’s values? Did you do your research? Too often people want to pass the buck and get a quick answer and an easy fix without having to do the hard-yards themselves. If you genuinely want to work for a company, do an individual evaluation post-interview. Then, for sure ask for some feedback but make sure it’s specific – how you can improve your skillset, tips of courses to go on and ways to increase chances of future employment. And then actually do them!


If this Q&A with A.J.Hackett Bungy’s Recruitment and Training Officer has sparked your interest and you want to ‘inspire people to awesomeness by helping them do things they never thought they could,’ check out the video below — and current vacancies here

Want more hints from HR? Click here to view all… or skip straight to hints from the “people” people at Dymocks or LUSH.

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