A Kiwi expat's return to NZ during COVID-19

Tribe’s Josh Pidduck recently placed an overseas candidate who is making the trip home to New Zealand after four years abroad. While he wished to remain anonymous, Josh caught up with him to ask why he’s coming home and the challenges he’s faced looking for a role during a pandemic.

 

 

What are your main reasons for coming home?

We had always planned to come home in 2020, having spent four years in the UK. The intention was to travel on the way home but with COVID-19 that wasn’t going to be possible. We pulled our timing forward once one of us found the right role to return home to. 

How did you start your job search and why did you choose to start looking for a job while still based in London?

I had been keeping an eye on the market in NZ (LinkedIn/Seek etc) while in the UK. I reached out to you and Cam at Tribe, who I had known from a previous role I interviewed for in New Zealand. After a conversation with the both of you, we kickstarted the job search. The decision to do this from London was because the opportunity had to be strong enough to move home for. My partner and I were in really good roles at big companies in London and we weren’t prepared to chance both of us coming home unemployed given the uncertainty in the market.

How did you find the New Zealand job market as a Kiwi returning home?

The opportunities were very limited, but there were some options and roles that appealed. In my industry, I had a good understanding of the roles/businesses I was interested in. I was looking for something quite specific and managed to find that relatively quickly. Timing is everything and I was lucky the right role was available. 

How responsive were companies you applied to? 

They were very responsive and I had conversations with them within a week of making first contact.  

How long did it take to secure your role? 

From start to finish it was about six weeks. The role I accepted was with a business that had a very in-depth interview process that took time to work through. I was also dealing with various people in different time zones so scheduling interviews on days that worked for everyone was a challenge. 

What did you and the company have to take into account when securing your role?

The biggest considerations were around relocating during a pandemic and my three month notice period in the UK. I secured the role in May and with my notice period it means I’m not starting my new role until September. Without flexibility from both sides we would never have been able to make the move work. It was very important being up front about these barriers from the outset. 

What was the most difficult part of the job search being based overseas?

The time difference was the most obvious issue. At 11 hours difference it really only gave us a window of a few hours to have conversations each day. It can mean early morning/late night calls to keep the ball rolling. Things can also develop quickly during the day in NZ, so you can wake up to find you have a call scheduled early morning UK time. It means you need to be comfortable having those conversations without too much warning. 

Any advice to other returning Kiwis? 

I found it really useful keeping up-to-date with the NZ market from abroad because I got an understanding of how often the roles I was interested in were coming up. Speaking to recruitment agents or your network also keeps you up-to-date with developments. If someone is looking to move to NZ and worried about landing the right role, I would really recommend going through the process before returning. Aside from the time zone barriers, it’s a relatively smooth process and everything can be done via video calls. 

If you’re a returning expat, get in touch so I can help you find the right role to come home to: josh@tribegroup.com