Category: News from InterSearch Ireland

Technology, the Bedrock for Innovation and Opportunity

Technology creating solutions in healthcare management

Growing up, one phrase that was often used to motivate kids was the wise words “necessity is the mother of invention”! This has been proven time and again throughout human existence, whatever your faith and beliefs may be. As we face challenges, we find ways to cope, emotionally and physically. We use resources available to us to either change the situation or develop better and easier ways to mitigate challenging circumstances. This has been the truism of human existence. There is an inherent ability for us to adapt and change.

The barriers to adaptation and change have always been first human resistance; largely due to fear of the unknown and lack of the necessary resources to enable change. By resources, I refer to both societal and environmental; beliefs -culture, faith; geographical and political. We have evolved over such that changes have been made due to challenges to these beliefs, globalisation, and access to information. With education and enlightenment, research has been instrumental in technological breakthroughs, mainly due to enabling environments that have encouraged creativity. This has led to the development and implementation of innovative solutions to challenging situations over the years.

Innovation has led to exponential growth in the use of technology and in a roundabout way, technology has fed the development of innovative solutions to everyday living. Look no further than the following areas;

  • ICT
  • Manufacturing & materials
  • Health & medical
  • Food
  • Energy
  • Services & business processes

 Covid-19 and Technology

As the world faces the challenge of a global health pandemic, once again, technology is at the forefront as the enabling resource for combating the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The healthcare sector has been called to duty – to arm itself not only with the tools that it has always relied upon – professionals and medical supplies, but most importantly information dissemination. The need for correct and factual information has never been more important. In this situation where facts are fundamental to managing the situation, scientists have been key in leading research into the nature of the virus, feeding information to governments and frontline healthcare workers and subsequently informing public health strategies and actions.

Businesses have looked to governments for direction on how to stay afloat in what is shaping up to be an economic crisis. Financial experts are working diligently to assess the impact of the situation and advising governments of the likely scenarios and how to mitigate or manage another global recession. Information to the public based on this advice has been one of reassurance from most western governments. “We will get through this” has been the rallying call. Business practices and processes will be re-evaluated to guide against adverse impact that the current pandemic has had on businesses; logistics and supply chain, outsourcing, manufacturing and distribution. As people self-isolate, businesses will increasingly explore ways of capitalising on this to enhance their online presence and stakeholder’s engagement. Innovation is going to be fundamental in achieving revised business strategies and the drive towards global economic recovery in the coming years.

In academia, from primary to third-level institutions, teachers and administrators have had to think outside the box and find innovative ways to continue teaching and engaging with students and parents.

Employers have had to implement actions that encourage remote working, teleconferencing, social distancing and increased the implementation of environmental health and safety in the workspace. See

Governments have developed and began the implementation of systems of payments for employees that have been impacted as a consequence of the virus.

Artists and celebrities are live streaming to keep their fans engaged and happy, people are using social media platforms to volunteer support for their neighbours and communities and to show solidarity to each other across borders.

A common denominator for all these actions has been the use of technology. It is commonly held by experts that technology creates solutions, but it also creates opportunities. As we face this global health crisis, it is important for professionals seeking new career paths to analyse and examine opportunities for the future. As earlier stated, we know that we will get through this. It is important to ask ourselves what lessons can and, have been learned and how we can use these in conjunction with technology to create innovative solutions and advance our career prospects. A country’s greatest strengths are its people. Innovation depends on technology and innovative solutions depends on the use of technology for the greater good. See our insight on med-tech and the healthcare sector

Remember, necessity they say, is the mother of invention! Inventions require innovative actions.

Written by Clementina Mustapha

Executive Search Specialist, InterSearch Ireland

Clementina Mustapha

Talent Hunting in a competitive Irish Market

With Brexit looming over Europe and the uncertainty around how it will affect all facets of trade and travel, one certain thing is that its impact on the Irish economy will be significant. This is more so in the sectors that are reliant on the Irish -United Kingdom trade link; agri-food exporters, tourism, and other sectors. In spite of the projected challenges, there is significant opportunity, a silver lining if you like – as Ireland is well placed to see an increase in the influx of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and companies looking to be domiciled in the EU, Dublin oftentimes seen as the viable option.

With this opportunity comes obligation and needs. The impact on infrastructure, cultural diversity and importantly, talent demands are projected to be significant. The challenges experienced in Executive recruitment today is primarily based on the impact of a candidate driven field. With the influx of multinationals and other organisations moving to Ireland, the demand for top talent increases and the power shifts more and more to the candidates.

Companies who have operated in Ireland for decades and have for so many years influenced the recruitment process will find that this is no longer the case. From experience, I can see that candidates have multiple options. They are valued in their current organisation and that is not by accident. Discerning employers are keen to hold on to top talents. They are increasingly investing in employee wellbeing, professional development thus ensuring employee engagement.

Talent is based on experience and experience is earned from years of performance. To attract top talents, employers must be proactive. Top talents need YOU to convince them to leave their current employers. Your offer need not be commensurate with their current package – it needs to be more than that.

This is the current position of the candidate driven market in Ireland. Add to that the impact of Brexit – traditional Irish employers are faced with the challenge of competing with multinationals for available talents. The need for introspection and objective assessment cannot be overemphasized.

A look at the recruitment timeline is a no brainer – a viable candidate is NOT going to wait for months for a decision to be made by a prospective employer. Organisations need to recognise that if you think a candidate is strong; you are most definitely not alone in that assessment. Your competitors are also aware of that and most significantly, so is the candidate. Re-evaluate your hiring timeline and be proactive in the recruitment process. If an ideal candidate is identified and is engaging, time wasting is not an option! Time and attention should be on relevant role alignment and person/cultural fit. At executive level, interview boards MUST be able to differentiate interview questions for entry level staff and know that using this approach at executive or middle management level is off-putting to top talents.

Have a critical look at the role specification, person requirement and the package you are offering – how realistic is it for your ideal candidate to leave his/her current employer and location for your offer? I have had candidates say; “the salary on offer is way below their current package”, “this is my dream role, but location is not suitable”, “I am expecting a promotion in a few months and it makes no sense to move for what is on offer”. Employers need to be prepared to face these eventualities and have options in place to attract this candidate. It is oftentimes said that once a problem is identified, you are halfway towards a solution.

When recruiting at any level, it is important to be professional and treat all parties involved in the hiring process with respect. This is important so as to avoid the need for awkward conversations in the near future that might leave you with fewer talent options. Employers cannot afford to be aloof in this market. The core to the success of a business is customer service, treat prospective candidates as you will treat your customers. As a matter of fact, they are your customers because they base their perception of your organisation on their experience with you prior to joining your organisation.

Companies need to explore the need for diversity, they cannot afford to overlook this critical issue. The ideal candidate does not have to fit a specific profile, there needs to be flexibility, thinking outside the box when it comes to attracting top talents is a must especially for SMEs. Blue chip companies and multinationals applied this for years hence their ability to attract top talents from diverse cultures and gender. With Brexit in the horizon, Irish companies cannot afford to exclude themselves from the diverse talent pool within and outside of Ireland.

For companies that retain Executive search firms, it is important to be proactive. Discuss and analyse your expectations and projected challenges with the head-hunter. Listen to feedback, monitor and re-evaluate as needed. Hiring managers have to adhere to company guidelines, however, it is important that they give realistic feedback to their line manager or the Board hence the need for objective analysis of the talent market relevant to the position on offer.

“Once an offer has been made, it is imperative that the prospective employers maintain constant communication with the incoming executive during the notice period. This helps the onboarding process and creates as seamless a transition as possible to the new culture. Feedback in the areas of induction preparations, payroll information and role relevant updates (where confidentiality is not breached) should present opportunities to keep the offeree engaged and possibly overcome any signs of doubt during this period of time” – Micheál Coughlan

In summary, hiring companies need to critically analyse their talent needs, re-evaluate the hiring process and timeline, be open to diversification and be proactive throughout the hiring process.

Written by Clementina Mustapha,

Executive Search Researcher, InterSearch Ireland 

Leadership Strategy Development – Part 3

Developing your Leadership Strategy

Oftentimes, aspiring leaders are said to be ambitious and driven – true! But more than anything I think leaders are simply able to identify opportunities, position themselves and play to their strengths.

Written by: Clementina Mustapha, Executive Search Specialist, InterSearch Ireland, 14th December 2018

“Your most important sale in life is to sell yourself to yourself.” – Maxwell Maltz

It is challenging to actively promote yourself because of the fear of being perceived as arrogant, but in an interconnected world, I do not think that you should be wary of doing it. If your self -sales pitch is backed by verifiable data; experience and achievements, why fear? You have earned the right to promote yourself. Most importantly, note that selling yourself is a necessary tool for career growth.

At C-suit level, it is not enough to assume landing the ideal leadership position is constitutive of your acquired experience and skills. Creating opportunities, networking and in some instance, interviews communicate information about you as a worker, in other words; representations of you as a product- not the product itself. So how you represent your experience, personality, and work ethic is really important, it is what gets you your executive role.

In developing a business plan, we carry out an extentive analysis – market research, product analysis, benchmarking, consumer/target analysis, and other relevant surveys. The outcome of these studies basically informs on the viability of a product or service through identification of target needs and wants, communicating of desirable outcomes and then developing a marketing strategy.

Similarily, it is important to carry out an analysis of your hard and soft skills, your track record, your achievements, and your capabilities going forward. Armed with this information, develop your unique selling points and start marketing yourself. As earlier mentioned, allowing yourself to be daunted by the fear of self-promotion as a vain and arrogant trait is self-defeating. Remember that no one can sell you as well as you can sell yourself – think of what a hiring manager’s thoughts are listening to your compelling sales pitch; “knows his/her stuff”, “confident”, “great representative for our brand”, “good communicator” ……

Oftentimes, your CV tells your prospective employer much of your hard skills but what you communicate when selling yourself are those skills that are not easily verifiable on paper- stakeholder management, change management, work ethic, communication skills, adaptability, confidence, problem solving and critical observation to mention but a few. It’s your responsibility to take any opportunity to make others sit up and notice your work and skill set. You are your own Director of Marketing.

Note that in the business of selling yourself, NEVER make the mistake of misrepresenting yourself. Credibility at executive level positions is key to your reputation!

From a careful analysis of your career progression, you will be amazed at your past achievements. Develop a value proposition based on your experience and skills and ask hard questions of yourself – What do you do best? Who can you best serve? Look at a SWOT analysis of yourself. What makes you different? Based on the outcome of this analysis, you can get a better sense of who you are, what you have to offer and who you can serve. Create a value proposition that is compelling and helps you stand out amongst your peers. It’s also important to back up your reputation with results from your past work and projects. If you can prove your abilities and not just talk about them, you will be much more effective at persuading people to take notice.

As we approach the new year and you look back at your career in the last year and the desired progression for the coming year and beyond, start by building a case study into any project that you have been involved in so as to leverage on them as part of your marketing pitch.

Finally, as you begin to identify opportunities, build and leverage on your networks and promote and sell yourself. It is important to note that one of the key stakeholders that you have in your network; to conscript into your marketing plan is the Executive Search Consultant. They are in the unique position of having first-hand experience with their client – your prospective employer, they have access to a wide network of professionals, industry knowledge and most importantly, they are willing to listen to you; and how you sell yourself to the head-hunter is key to how he/she sells you to the client.

At InterSearch Ireland and within the InterSearch Worldwide network, we work diligently to ensure that we attract the best talents for our clients anywhere in the world. We do this by going way beyond ticking job specification boxes. We pay attention to the mutually beneficial traits between candidates and clients to make for seamless fits.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Clementina’s article HERE.

InterSearch Academy

2018 InterSearch Worldwide Academy – Ireland

InterSearch Ireland recently hosted the InterSearch Worldwide Academy in Dublin, Ireland, in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road.

Each year, the Academy offers Consultants and Researchers within the InterSearch Worldwide network the opportunity to discuss and explore the hottest topics in our industry. 25 consultants and researchers from 17 different countries came together for a weekend full of knowledge-sharing, open discussions, and social activities.

This year covered a variety of topics from changing markets and industries, to business development, to employer branding and cross-border and multi-country assignments. Participants also explored ways of further developing local and global capabilities.

Along with the Academy training, the evenings gave the consultants, researchers, and trainers the opportunity to get to know one another further through terrific dining experiences and experiencing the local culture by watching live traditional music and getting a tour of Dublin City. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time getting to meet with new and familiar faces from the InterSearch family.

On successful completion of the Academy, each participant was awarded with a certificate. We are delighted that all three researchers from InterSearch Ireland attended the Academy and were also awarded with certificates.

“We found the InterSearch Academy to be a great opportunity to network with other researchers within the InterSearch family.  We had open discussions based around best practices, our individual contribution to our team, and how we can positively impact business development. We took so much from the experience, and it was certainly a weekend to remember.”






InterSearch Ireland would like to thank all of the consultants and researchers for their participation. Although InterSearch Ireland were honoured to have hosted this year’s event, it wouldn’t have been such a success without András Lipcsei (Hungary), Jonas Soenens (Belgium), Summer Hamad (Dubai), Carla Calvo (InterSearch Worldwide), and our very own Micheál Coughlan (InterSearch Ireland). The training and hospitality they provided made the experience even more memorable.


Leadership Strategy Development – Part 1

Developing your Leadership Strategy

Oftentimes, aspiring leaders are said to be ambitious and driven – true! But more than anything I think leaders are simply able to identify opportunities, position themselves and play to their leadership strengths.

Written by Clementina Mustapha, Executive Search Researcher, InterSearch Ireland

Aspiring to lead a team, a unit, department, organisation, or even a government requires meticulous planning. As a team leader, you hope that your manager or unit head will recognise your leadership potentials, however, you consciously or unconsciously play out your leadership skills to the intended audience. As you progress through the ranks, it becomes a skill that you have honed through the years – this is true for any sector or industry! You want to lead? Then you want to be seen as a leader and you do all you can to prove that you can lead.

Individuals with these skill sets are very adept at marketing themselves. In the goods and services industry, we talk about product development, brand development and marketing, market penetration and diversification all with the aim to expand current markets, acquire new markets, promote brand and/or organisational reputation. This way a firm maintains competitive advantage and possibly ensures market leadership. It takes a lot of investment in planning and execution! Same requirements for potential leaders.

Identifying Opportunities

Should you be seeking executive leadership roles, you have got to consider yourself as that product or brand that your current or prospective employer seeks in order to achieve the next level of organisational success.

This brings me to your ability to identify opportunities. You are likely aware of new openings in your current organisation, however, true leadership aspirants need to develop the vision to recognise opportunities.

“Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it.” – George Bernard Shaw.

Understanding your industry, the market, new market entrants, new technology, new legislation, new skill sets and identifying the need to make changes all present opportunities. On the surface, analytics from surveys of the aforementioned may be considered as challenges by a majority of your colleagues, but the leader in you sees the silver lining, the opportunity to create something new, take charge of a new project, volunteer to adapt a new technology or relocate to advance the goal of the company. These are opportunities that a leader recognises and helps to create.

Outside your firm, you can also explore leadership opportunities by equipping yourself with sectoral knowledge.  Do not close yourself to approaches from head-hunters – recognise the opportunity that they present! You may not know all the potential leadership roles out there – it is the job of Executive Search firms to present these roles, and help identify and place people with your skill sets in their client organisations.  They look at leaders or executives who have helped similar size companies achieve large growth and have insight into what works. They understand how you have successfully developed or implemented strategies and tactics that were successful at your previous employment. In collaboration with you they explore how you can transfer your skills into developing new strategies or implementing change in their clients’ organisation.  As a result of your experience, you have a benchmark of success for what is attainable for a prospective employer.

Simply put, you have to appreciate the opportunities that Executive Search firms present to you as a source of leadership opportunities.

“Opportunity is everywhere. The key is to develop the vision to see it.” – Anonymous


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