Mobile Apps are NOT the future they're the now!

Mobile Phone user India.jpg


Transferring bank balances? Posting cool shots on instagram? Searching for your next IT job? Mobile Apps play a big part in our life because the power of our smart phones. So what’s the latest technology changes in native iOS and Android?



Since Swift was unveiled in 2014, developing the new modern language to replace the ancient ObjectiveC....the irony of developing ultra modern mobile apps with a coding language created in the early 80’s for Steve Job’s company NeXT was kind of weird! But on the whole Swift has been well received as an eloquent language & a welcome upgrade and there’s been some awesome new stuff in the past year added to the iOS quiver including:


***Machine Learning

***Augmented Reality

***Swift 4


***Apple HomeKit

***File Management

***Apple Pay


 Kathmandu, Nepal photo by Sunstone

Kathmandu, Nepal photo by Sunstone



Oreo 8.0 was released in August 2017 and brings a number of major features including:


***Notification grouping

***Picture-in-picture support for video

***Performance improvements & battery usage optimisation

***Support for autofillers, Bluetooth 5, system-level integration with VoIP apps, wide colour gamuts, and Wi-Fi Aware


Android Oreo also introduces two major platform features: Android Go – a software distribution of the operating system for low-end devices – and support for implementing a hardware abstraction layer.


The world of mobile blows my mind everyday especially for someone who grew up having to physically go to the bank to withdraw money - things have changed a little and the power of mobile simply makes our lives easier.


If you're looking for a graduate or junior Mobile Apps developer role in Christchurch please check out:


Graduate Mobile Apps Developer, Christchurch NZ

Junior Mobile Apps Developer Christchurch NZ


I'm Paul, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, development & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.



How to Ace your Job Interview



One thing I’ve learnt after a long time in this business is that the interviewer and the interviewee have something in common – both want you to succeed in getting the job. These are some tips to enable you to show your best side.



Not only research the company’s products (their website/social media) and who’s going to interview you (LinkedIn) but also do a drive-by to know where you’re physically going.

There’s nothing worse than trying to duck out of your current job undetected, to then spin into a panic, adding extra stress of not knowing where exactly the company location is and where you’re going to park….



Let’s face it - if you have a mutual friend or business contact the company is more likely to HIRE YOU as there’s significant LESS RISK taking on a 'known quantity’! This could be anyone - a neighbour, old work colleague, family friend and name-dropping never hurts if you know them to be well respected in the organisation….



Find out as much as possible about the role and how it fits into the company, current trends in the market / recent news / media attention with the company or the specific technology / domain - you want to come across as CURRENT and ON-THE-BALL - someone who’s a ‘Knowledge worker'!



You’ve got ONE SHOT to get it right! Or too EARLY for that matter….turn up into reception 10 minutes before your meeting (if you’re earlier then sit in your car or go for a walk around the block to calm the nerves) and be positive and friendly to reception…when interviewing consultants I often asked reception / our secretary what their first impressions was of the candidate? Check out any awards or accolades in reception that might act as a nice icebreaker conversation…it shows awareness and interest. My first recruitment boss would make candidates wait in the interview room for 5 minutes and see if they noticed the one (and only) framed press release about our company….



You won’t be the first or the last to turn up 10 minutes before the appointed time on the wrong day or week!



Have a simple email address i.e. your name so you can be found easily in the Recruiter, HR or Line Manager’s inbox. Ask for their business card and drop a polite thank you email after the interview thanking them for their time & why you're keen on the job – it will put you above the rest instantly.



Find out if they're 'suity' or smart casual….there’s nothing worse than being under-dressed….so play it smart and be on the safe side…NO ONE DIDN’T GET THE JOB FOR BEING TOO WELL DRESSED…but pull up in your stubbies & jandals and you better be able to pull code out of where the sun don’t shine…now go buy a new shirt or shoes! You’ll feel great and pumped for the interview!



People HIRE people they like and we tend to get on better with friendly, positive people…it costs you nothing and let’s face it - it’s a far better way to approach life…In saying that ‘MIRRORING’ is an important technique when interviewing. You should match your Interviewer’s body language and pace of speech / type of language to align to them….Remember you’ll be working with them so they need to like you...



Everyone gets nervous, it’s just how you handle it. When I'm presenting I like to do as much research / preparation as I can and then I feel ‘I’ve done as much as I can and thus I’m well prepared’. Often you find interviewers are just regular, friendly people who will put you at ease as THEY WANT YOU TO GET THE JOB so they can finish their search….so give them every reason to say YES!



You can ask 2-3 killer questions that are different in content to the info you’ve already discussed so you can FINISH STRONGLY. In psychology we have the primacy & recent effect -  like your Mother taught you - first impressions and last impressions are important, so remember a firm handshake to start & great questions to finish which will show you’re interested in the position, company & working for them.

My favourite question….’What do you enjoy about working here’? or ‘What attracted you to the company’? Often that will get the interviewer talking about themselves…you might find out about some commonalities - similar companies you’ve previously worked at, cities or technologies, and as humans this is very gratifying and will leave a lasting impression of you as a great candidate and someone they might want on their team.



If you’re feeling confident you might want to ask ‘What concerns do you have in my ability to perform the role? This gives you an opportunity to cover off any objections they have. If you can cover off these objections you may then want to ask what are the next steps? Or it could even be 'When do I start?' if you’re feeling especially confident. Although in some cultures / roles this is expected. In my first recruitment role I failed to ‘ask for the job’ and it meant I had to do a further interview and presentation to secure the role. But that's experience for you!


And remember always explore ALL options. Some of the least interesting roles on paper have turned out to be the most rewarding jobs I've accepted!

May the force be with you


Paul is Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, development & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.



Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers / Employers



I thought I’d write a handy article from the other side as you’re often thrust into the interviewing situation when you're promoted, with little or no formal training on 'How to Interview' as a hiring manager.

So what are the best questions to ask? What is the optimum way to get the most out of that initial first 45 minutes with your potential new team member? How many interviews should you conduct? Potential candidates are likely being courted by 5 or more competing tech companies....So make it count!

It’s always nice to offer a coffee, tea or even water.  It can get darn thirsty answering all those questions and it helps to break the ice before you kick things off.  This is also a chance to show off that champion espresso machine the boss was so proud of when they bought it for the team last Christmas…..

Making the candidate wait
A pet peeve of mine is being made to wait  typically  a candidate will arrive 10 minutes early so you can kick-off on time. The serial position effect tells us that the first and last impressions you make are the ones that make the most impact, so make them wait for 20/30 minutes and you’re giving the impression that you’re not interested and disorganised.   Let’s face it, we all hate being made to wait.  So print out their CV or have it ready to go on your iPad the day before, and give your colleagues a wee reminder to avoid the last minute rush.

The Icebreaker
To get the best out of your candidate, start with some context or clarification about how the meeting came about, and set the scene.  Something as simple as "Thanks for coming in and I understand you know so & so".  Give a brief overview of the process i.e.  we'll give you a quick intro about the company, how the role fits in, then there'll be some technical questions and a chance for you to ask us some questions towards the end.  Explain who the people are around the table "I look after X and this is  the ‘Line Manager of Digital’ etc….  Speaking of "around the table" do try to sit around the table, as opposed to everyone on one side which feels a bit like an inquisition...this is a two way meeting - welcome to the new school!

Types of questions

The most important questions you can ask are open, role specific questions.  When you're asking a question, make sure the answer you're expecting to receive is something you can learn something from rather than an "interesting but ultimately irrelevant" answer.  You're trying to find the person who can do this job for you - and the best way to do that is to put them in a position where they can answer to the best of their abilities.  

If the role is highly pressured, sure, ask them high pressure questions, and if it's creative, ask them a creative question.  Remember this is a 2 way street, candidates will want to be able to show you what they can do, rather than walking out with regrets that they forgot to mention something.

My favourite questions to ensure we elicit the forgotten information are - "Is there anything else you wish we had asked you?" and "Is there anything else we need to know?"


We put this out to Facebook & LinkedIn and here are some favourite questions we received back:


"How many petrol stations are there in the UK?" - Ollie (Recruiter - Google UK)

"Is there anything I didn't ask you that you wish I had?" Steve (UI/UX Manager/Consultant)

"What do you think the role will be like?" - Jason (Retail Manager)

"What extras do you bring to the workplace?" - Donna (Deputy Principal)

"What makes you want to work for us?" - Andy (Head Ski Instructor)

Best question I once got asked was, "How do you make a cream egg?" - Andrew (Head of IT Services)

"If it looked like you were going to miss an important (client) deadline on something, how would you handle this? And when would you do it?" - Steve (Web Architect/Managing Director)

"Describe yourself on a good day at work"... then ask "and what about a bad day?" - Duanne (Manager - Architecture)

"What would you achieve in your first three months in the job?" Jane - (Fundraising Manager)

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" - Jess (HR Manager)

"What is the biggest challenge in your life so far that you have had to overcome?" - Colleen (Recruiter/HR Manager)

"How do you think you did in this interview?" - Amy (Psychologist)

"What are your passions?" - Mikala (Consulting Manager)


And don’t forget to ask at the end - "Is there anything else I should be aware of with regards your application?"  I've been surprised on more than one occasion at what that can elicit...

Include your team
It’s always great if you can include one of your technical member of staff, not only to ‘suss out the candidate’ but to be able to sell to them the technology stack & exciting projects the team is working on.

To TEST or NOT to test in the first interview?
if it's a highly technical role it's great to test the candidate first - why waste an hour on a first meeting, then test them in a second to find they're not up to speed. You just need to make the candidate aware of the process - if it's online or in-house, what the expectations are and the instructions, and include a brief introduction to make them at ease & comfortable.

Office Tour
While you have them in the office, show them around and introduce them to some of the team.  It gives the candidate a better feel for your culture, it also gives you a chance to again show off your great team, what you do and some of the neat people in it, the nice new hardware you’re using, some of the quirkier stuff in your office - the office dog or goldfish, the cafe, or the fact you have a shower or a ping pong table.  We forget that some of these small things really catch the attention of a candidate and allows them to start to visualise themselves working in your company & often will set a strong memory when they’re comparing job offers later.  

Half or Full day Work with the team session
I did a lot of internal hiring for one of the consultancies I worked for in the UK and when we snagged a good potential candidate we’d get them back for a 2nd full day in our office to show them warts & all, what the job really entailed.  

We were also really proud of our great culture, everyone knew the drill and would go up to them and introduce themselves, ask them where they worked, if they wanted to know anything about the company and what it was like.

It was very powerful to build on the great culture we already had.  You don't need to do a full day but maybe consider a half-day, take them for lunch, have them work through some problems that are similar to the job they’ll be performing. Yes it's sometimes hard to make the time available but taking some time up front to get the right new team member on board will cause a lot fewer headaches later on. This is also a career move for the candidate and will test their commitment - if they aren't interested in making the time to come in and spend some quality time with your team they're probably not the right fit for you.

You have to sell your company
I think one thing that has changed is the culture of job interviews. Back in the 80’s/90's it was the employer with all the power, you had to impress them to ‘win the job’. Now it goes both ways with skills shortages for great talent, especially within IT.  It really is up to you to ‘sell the job’ because there’s 5 other companies doing just that, competing for that talent in the market. Counter offers and competing offers are typical for good people these days.  Don't forget to run through your full list of benefits!

So go on, include lots of your team, have a bit of fun with it, spend a little more time at the front-end and you'll have your next star joining you soon…..

Paul is founder of an IT Recruitment company based in Christchurch, New Zealand. To see what our clients say about us please go to:



What is the difference between an IT Account Manager & an IT Business Development Manager?



Well first we need to make the distinction between what the roles of an IT Account Manager and an IT BDM actually do.

Loosely we can describe these as:


An IT Account Manager is a ‘Farmer’

The Farmer or IT Account Manager looks after current accounts and ‘farms’ the opportunities. They manage the relationship, ensuring the solution is solving their client’s problems and are often incentivised to spot sales opportunities and 'up sell' as they arise.




An IT Business Development Manager (BDM) is a ‘Hunter’

The Hunter, or IT Business Development Manager blazes the trail often looking into new markets, untapped potential researching opportunities, strategically targeting new areas or areas already known by building new relationships with key decision makers by networking, ‘getting in front’ face-to-face and understanding if their product & service can solve that problem for a potential customer / prospect.


Both roles share similar attributes in that candidates have:


Great communication skills

Excellent people skills / understanding of how to influence

Well presented / in-line with their customers

Positive attitudes


Excellent listeners

Responsive & Proactive

Well organised & experts at time management

Excellent presentation & face-to-face skills

Good rapport & relationship builders

Good product or service knowledge of their solution

Customer-centric focused

‘Knowledge workers’ - excellent understanding of their market / industry 



So what are the killer attributes needed specifically for the two roles…..


Farmers need to have patience and can often be involved in training, implementation & support aspects (depending on the role / company). They need to have a ‘long game perspective’ with the ultimate goal to keep the client happy but also keep abreast of contact changes within an organisation, being aware of these & ensuring they can utilise these successfully through times of organisational change. They have superb influencing skills, are able to think on their feet and come up with win / win situations to always keep the customer relationship positive and moving it forward.


Hunters often need to have that killer instinct to ‘put themselves’ out there & take a few risks.  It can be a real art for strong BDMs to turn what look like ‘cold calls’ into ‘warm calls’ through strong market knowledge & influencing skills, contacts they know from a large network often built up over many years. These experts know people - and lots of them. Hunters look at opportunities short, medium & long-term knowing that some of the large clients / big deals can take years to develop, win the business & close. They also give themselves the opportunity to make revenue from ‘low hanging fruit’ in the short & medium term by having strong market knowledge and are sometimes referred to as ‘knowledge workers’ adding value to clients and becoming trusted partners & expert advisors within their speciality or industry. They are brave, tenacious & extremely motivated.


Again, what both roles have in common is the understanding of revenue targets and ‘making their number’. Some account management roles can be incentivised more on a referral basis, passing qualified leads to the ‘sales person’ to follow up. BDMs have clear targets that need to be met being a more pure sales role to bring in significant revenue with their remuneration often structured with a large commission component.


You can see some of our current live IT sales opportunities for Christchurch here:


IT Business Development Manager (Virtual Reality)


IT Account Manager / Implementation Consultant


I'm Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within IT Sales (Account Management / BDM), Data Science, Data Engineering, Software, Web, Mobile, Development & Networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.



What is the difference between Data Scientists V Data Engineers?

 Albert Einstein one of the greatest Mathematicians & Physicists of all time

Albert Einstein one of the greatest Mathematicians & Physicists of all time

Data Scientist V Data Engineer? As these roles have become particularly sexy in the IT industry we ask what are the real differences? 

Since I’ve been recruiting in the Big Data space for the past 4 years I’ve noticed Big Data product development shops & the IT industry in general creating this differentiation...


So what do these two roles actually do?


Data Scientist 

Basically a mathematician who uses a lot of mathematical & statistical modelling to work out what they want the data to do. They’re not hardcore developers so tend to use scripting languages (Python) & statistical tooling like MatLab & R Shiny.


Data Engineer 

This is a software developer who works with the data to put the rigour & engineering around it to create a robust software product. They’ll code in native languages like Scala for Spark, C++, Java or C#.Net & work with the Big Data platform technologies like Hadoop, HDFS, Spark, TenserFlow etc interacting with tools like Git, Docker and creating UIs for users to interact with BIG Data building these in web - JavaScript, React, Node etc.


So let's check out a few infographics to highlight the differences....


 Source: Data Camp blog

Source: Data Camp blog

 Source: Data Camp blog

Source: Data Camp blog


So I hope that helps explain the differences and no doubt as this fascinating area continues to grow (or should I say scale ;-) other roles will continue to morph.


We currently have a variety of Data Science & Data Engineering roles live in Christchurch, New Zealand please check out:


Data Scientist


Senior Data Scientist


Data Analytics Engineer


Data Engineer


Senior Data Engineer


I'm Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within data science, data engineering, software, web, mobile, development & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.