A career protecting the community: Meet James Sutherland

Explain your role at CVCheck

I spend my time supporting the NZ business and providing direction and resources for the team in NZ to deliver on our promise to our client base.

Tell us about your life before CVCheck

I left university without graduating and joined the New Zealand Police. During my nine years of service, I did everything from walking the beat to becoming a detective. This gave me great insight into the problems society faces.

Then I had the opportunity to move to Australia and work for IAG Insurance within their insurance fraud team. I lived in Sydney and enjoyed the weather and beaches for four years. Then I moved back to NZ to continue working for IAG at their Auckland office.

When I finished up in the insurance industry in 2006, there was a big case of CV fraud at CEO level in the media. I had always wanted to start and run my own business and saw that this was the opportunity in the market I had been waiting for. I started my business Resumé Check, which became New Zealand’s leading background screening specialist.

I grew our team from just me to nine staff within 18 months. It was mid-2008 and then, unfortunately, the recession kicked in and I became the only employee again. I’m forever grateful to my clients for their loyalty during this time, so that the business was able to stay afloat.

In 2016 we could see that our client’s recruitment process needed smart technology that integrated with their systems. I had known Steve Carolan (another a kiwi), the founder of CVCheck for some time, and knew that CVCheck had that smart technology, and the ability to scale up and support the growth in NZ. I could see it made good business sense, would allow us to meet the current demand and provide the agility to future-proof the company. So I sold Resumé Check to CVCheck and became the Managing Director of CVCheck NZ.

How would you describe the culture at CVCheck?

I believe the success of the CVCheck brand is reflective of our internal culture. The team works hard together as a group on our culture, creating a platform that reflects our service delivery in our business space. It’s fun, it allows our team to be human as we interact with our all NZ clients and their candidates.

How has CVCheck changed since you started at the company?

We’ve learnt that CVCheck’s ever-advancing technology is an integrator and enabler for our clients, but it doesn’t change that our clients and CVCheck deal with real people. Both our clients and our businesses are about people, and our technology is constantly improving the way we work.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

There are two aspects. Seeing an employee arrive at work smiling. It’s so wonderful as a manager to know that your staff are happy to be there, and also importantly, that they feel comfortable enough to have their own voice within the company. Secondly, having happy and thankful clients. That’s the pinnacle of doing business with our clients, seeing that they’re beyond satisfied with the product and service.

When did you realise that you were good at your job and passionate about it?

My whole career has been about protecting people, and building trust, so I’ve always been very passionate about what I do. I knew I had really made it when someone (CVCheck) wanted to buy my business in 2016.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Find a good manager and organisation that has principles that make society a better place, and you’ll find your part to play in that.

What does innovation mean to you?

Using technology to better companies and society.

How do you relax?

I enjoy sensory deprivation floatation tanks twice a month. They say one hour in the tank is worth two days sleep. I also spend time on the weekend with family.

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