Tag: InterSearch Ireland

Unlocking Talent and Insights: The Dual Role of Executive Recruiters

Unlocking Talent and Insights: The Dual Role of Executive Recruiters

In a prior InterSearch news article, you may have encountered a discussion on the primary value that head hunters bring to organizations commented by the Board of Directors of InterSearch Worldwide. Today, we delve deeper into the reasons why executive search consultants closely monitor industry developments within their areas of specialization, enhancing their ability to provide optimal service to clients.

“Executive search consultants play a multifaceted role beyond talent acquisition; they serve as invaluable sources of market intelligence. Beyond identifying top talent, they provide clients with critical insights into industry trends, competitive landscapes, and emerging opportunities. This dual function helps organizations make strategic decisions and maintain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving business world. At InterSearch Ireland, we prioritize our commitment to the Life Sciences sector, which is why we maintain a vigilant watch over industry developments, including noteworthy events such as the recent approval of Amgen’s $27.8 billion (€25.8 billion) acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics, based in Dublin.” – says Micheál Coughlan, Managing Partner of InterSearch Ireland, initiator of Life Sciences & Healthcare Practice Group of InterSearch Worldwide.

Let’s see the reasons, why an executive search consultant shall follow the news of an industry:

Industry Knowledge: Staying informed about industry news and trends allows the consultant to develop a deep understanding of the sector they are serving. This knowledge is crucial for identifying top talent, understanding the specific challenges and opportunities within the industry, and making informed recommendations to clients.

Identifying Top Talent: Being up to date on industry news helps the consultant identify high-potential candidates who are making significant contributions or advancements within the sector. This can lead to more effective and targeted searches for executive talent.

Client Trust: Clients rely on executive search consultants to provide valuable insights and expertise. By staying informed about industry developments, consultants can build trust with clients, demonstrating their commitment to delivering the best possible candidates who are well-suited to the industry’s current and future needs.

Understanding Competitive Landscape: Knowing what competitors are doing, industry disruptors, and emerging technologies or business models allows consultants to advise clients on how to stay competitive in the market and recruit executives who can drive innovation and adapt to changing landscapes.

Cultural Fit: In addition to industry-specific skills and experience, executive search consultants often need to assess cultural fit when matching candidates with organizations. Understanding industry dynamics and corporate cultures helps consultants make more accurate assessments in this regard.

Targeted Networking: Keeping up with industry news also helps consultants identify key players, influencers, and industry associations. This can be invaluable for networking and building relationships with potential candidates and clients.

Market Insights: Consultants can provide clients with valuable market insights, including salary trends, compensation packages, and other competitive factors that can affect recruitment and talent retention.

Niche Specialization: Some executive search consultants specialize in specific industries or niches. Staying informed about industry news is essential in such cases because the consultant’s expertise and reputation often hinge on their in-depth knowledge of that particular sector.

Adaptability: Industries are constantly evolving. Staying informed ensures that the consultant can adapt to changes and shifts in the industry’s landscape, making them more agile and effective in their search efforts.

Keeping abreast of industry news isn’t just beneficial; it’s a crucial part of the role of executive search consultants. It enhances their ability to provide valuable insights, identify top talent, and help clients navigate the complexities of their specific industry.


“InterSearch Worldwide, through its 11 Global Practice Groups, empowers its executive recruiters and researchers to remain well-informed about various industry sectors and facilitates the exchange of global market insights”. – adds Leslie Cooper, InterSearch Board Director responsible for Practice Groups.

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InterSearch Ireland, Life Sciences industry, Professional Head Hunter

Ireland – an attractive location for MedTech sector

Ireland – an attractive location for MedTech sector

When it comes to positioning itself as a major player in the global medtech market, Ireland has made significant progress.  The country is one of the top 6 hubs for medical technology worldwide.

Ireland is home to some of the top medical device companies in the world, such as Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson and Stryker. Every year, Irish medtech companies export goods valued at approximately €13 billion. The country has over 300 medical device companies based here, ranging from multinationals to start-ups while employing over 45,000 people in this industry. One in five of those working in the sector are employed directly by Irish-owned medtech companies. Europe’s premier cluster of medical devices companies is based in the Galway region of Ireland.

Infographic. Top 20 Medical Device Companies Based on 2020 Revenue

Top 20 Medical Device Companies Based on 2020 Revenue

Why is Ireland an attractive location for MedTech?

In Ireland, medtech innovation is being fuelled by university research, government-supported R&D facilities, and commercial partnerships. A total of 14 industry-led technological centres focus on fields like to connect health and composites and pharmaceutical manufacturing, while incubators and accelerators are bringing ground-breaking innovations to reality.

The MedTech sector also benefits from Ireland’s high ranking globally in terms of the employability of university graduates. The flow of skilled graduates is delivered through Ireland’s universities and the institute of technologies, but it is the close cooperation between industry and academic institutions that ensure the evolving skill needs of the sector are constantly met. This close work between MedTech, Education, and Research sectors reinforces the importance of exchanging of technology and ideas, which in turn helps drive growth in research and development.

Highly Qualified Personnel

Ireland received high marks from the IMD World Competitive Yearbook 2021 for its workforce’s accessibility to trained personnel as well as its adaptability and flexibility. Ireland also has certain inherent advantages; it has Europe’s highest increase in the population of working age. In essence, Ireland offers a rising population of individuals who have the skills they need or are eager to gain them, which is a powerful appeal for any firm when deciding where to invest.

Accessibility to Europe

Companies that base their manufacturing operations in Ireland are more conveniently located to access the European market. This market, which is still the second-largest in the world for medical products, is crucial for multinational corporations. For American-based businesses, this is especially important because it gives them a foothold in a market that is important to them. A base like this within the European Economic Area also means that there is freedom of movement for workers from other members, allowing businesses to access talent across Europe as needed without the need for work authorization or visas.

Cluster Effect 

Medical technology is evolving, making equipment more complex. It is increasingly common for various specialized businesses to collaborate to create items using “combination technology” that no one company alone could. Over 25% of Ireland’s MedTech companies currently have a shared service mandate to encourage such co-working, which is desirable due to geographic proximity and the potential to collaborate with local partners on such initiatives. These circumstances provide the best foundation from which a talented person might start a fruitful and satisfying career that has real lasting power.

Superior Quality & Reputation

Over the past few decades, Ireland has demonstrated its dedication to the medical technology sector, and the country and the sector have a solid working relationship. Therefore, although competitors may emerge in one or two of the aforementioned sectors, they cannot compete with Ireland’s history and its stable, trustworthy, and alluring reputation in the global MedTech market.


In addition to the government’s initiatives to entice industry through its tax environment, organisations have been set up to offer targeted assistance and support to businesses wishing to migrate to Ireland, or for new businesses looking to start-up here, such as IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Agency).

Irish Exports

Around 8% of all Ireland’s exports is medical device equipment. Ireland is the second-largest medical equipment exporter in Europe, coming second to Germany. Ireland supplies items including contact lenses, stents, diagnostic tools, and prosthetic joints. The industry is still developing, increasing its capacity for innovation, digitisation, and next-generation technology.

Ireland produces four out of every five stents used worldwide. Here are made a third of the contact lenses used worldwide as well as half of the ventilators used in acute hospitals. Injectable medical equipment developed in Ireland is used by more than 30 million patients with diabetes.

The Irish government has identified the medical technology sector as one of the key drivers of industrial growth for the future and provides a wide range of support to encourage and foster this growth. The medical technology industry in Ireland is changing from being prominently manufacturing to being more complex and driven by R&D. It now involves intensive collaboration between a broad range of partners, including research institutions, clinicians, manufacturing companies, and government agencies. Ireland is well placed to capitalize on the growing global market for medical technology products and services. The challenge is to continue to develop and integrate the broad range of strategic competencies and support systems that will enable this island to compete as a mature, high value-added economy, with innovation at its core.

“The medical technology sector is essential to saving and altering lives. Ireland’s global medtech cluster can increase its position internationally and help shape the future of healthcare provided the correct policies and supports continue to be put in place”.

— Micheál Coughlan, Managing Partner of InterSearch Ireland & Global Head of the Life Sciences Practice Group InterSearch Worldwide.

Top MedTech Hubs

Ireland is one of the top six global medtech hubs, competing with Minnesota, Massachusetts, and California in the US and Israel and Germany.

Top MedTech Hubs


About the author – Micheál Coughlan

Managing Partner of InterSearch Ireland Micheál joined the InterSearch Worldwide Board of Directors in 2017. He began his career with InterSearch Ireland in 1996, becoming Managing Partner in 2010.

He is the initiator of the InterSearch Life Sciences & Healthcare Practice Group, supporting clients and candidates within the pharmaceutical, medical technologies, and healthcare sectors.

He has worked with a variety of organizations designing and implementing recruitment strategies for leadership and management appointments. Many of these assignments involve multi-country searches.

Micheál joined the Academy team in 2013 where he is responsible for the training and development of talent within the InterSearch Worldwide organization.

Micheál holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from NUI Galway and a master’s degree in human resources management from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

InterSearch Ireland, Medtech, Medtech Ireland

“Even multinationals require the help of executive search”

“Even multinationals require the help of executive search” – Interview of InterSearch Germany with Micheál Coughlan, InterSearch Ireland

Consultants need a sense of the non-verbal

Sometimes unexpected paths can lead to the right professional decisions. Micheál Coughlan, Managing Partner at InterSearch Ireland and member of the board of InterSearch Worldwide, knows this well. Never planning a career as a recruiter himself, he caught the attention of InterSearch while he was a candidate for one of its clients. “It did not work out with the position I was applying for, but the consultant must have recognized my potential as an executive search consultant,” says Coughlan. In addition to convincing communication skills, he believes that this includes above all a keen sense of nonverbal signs and gestures. To assess whether a candidate is a good “fit,” the hard facts are simply not enough. “This is one of the problems young applicants in our industry are facing. While they often have excellent technical skills, they sometimes lack communication and people skills. We have become very accustomed to video interviews but unfortunately, a lot can get lost in these digital processes,” Coughlan explains. In his experience, the most important decisions for or against candidates are often made during the coffee break or the five minutes before the appointment. Whether the chemistry is right can often only be determined in a personal meeting.

It is all about asking the right questions

According to Coughlan, listening and formulating the right questions are among the most underrated skills for personnel consultants. Certain questions are rightly off limits, but if you want to find out about a candidate’s family situation to gauge whether the job is a good fit, you need to be sensitive. Coughlan explains: “If a position requires the candidate to relocate, for example, I can ask questions along the lines of, ‘Who else would be affected by your move?’ This way I can find out if a family or, say, school-aged children need to be considered.” According to Coughlan, the really substantive questions start coming up once you have identified the top two candidates. Therefore, it is most expedient to phrase them in a way such as to identify potential obstacles that might prevent candidates from taking a job. Making them feel like they are under scrutiny, on the other hand, is not the right way to go. “Ideally, you can work together to remove obstacles,” says Coughlan.

Informal conversations are part of the process in Ireland

To gauge whether an applicant is a good fit for the team, more informal settings are often chosen as part of the hiring process in Ireland. “Sometimes, people meet again for a dinner and bring their respective partners. On these occasions, people talk about more than just work and get to know each other in a completely different way. A person is more than just his or her career – you have to understand them holistically,” says Coughlan. Even in more formal interviews, consultants usually start with a more casual chat about informal topics to make the applicants feel comfortable. Because Ireland is very small, people tend to share a lot in common, which is a good basis for small talk. But this is not the norm everywhere, Coughlan recalls: “I was abroad for a meeting at the Irish Embassy with an international colleague. She was completely shocked at the informal conversation that took place in the first 15 minutes. All the Irish colleagues, on the other hand, found the conversation pleasant and nothing out of the ordinary.”

Better employee retention makes candidates less likely to change jobs

Recruiters in Ireland have witnessed a number of changes in recent years – many of them driven by the strong candidate market. For one, the number of counteroffers that candidates have been receiving, has increased. “Right now, companies are trying to retain talent at all costs and match or beat salary offers,” Coughlan says. Candidates are also less open to interviews overall because many companies have started to take employee retention very seriously. Large multinationals – U.S. companies in particular – are far ahead in this regard. They have greater resources available to identify talent and promote it.

Even multinationals require the help of executive search

Interestingly, it is large multinational corporations that have been increasingly using InterSearch’s services for the past year or so. “These companies actually run their own recruiting programs. But they are simply overwhelmed with the number of vacancies they need to fill at the same time. So, they are tasking outside firms with the most critical searches – especially when they want to poach talent from competitors,” Coughlan explains. To be sure, the impact of inflation and the Ukraine war on certain industries will be a significant drag on growth and some industries are already feeling it. Coughlan says: “This will definitely affect the staffing situation. Currently, however, demand in Ireland is still greater than supply.”

Executive search consultants contribute to the lives of candidates

“The real reward for consultants is the validation of having made a small contribution to a person’s life and career,” Coughlan says. He experienced this himself a few years ago when searching for an operations manager for an Irish manufacturer of agricultural machinery. They found a suitable candidate who was in the Middle East at the time and later found that he was very familiar with the client. He had used and repaired this very machinery as a child on his father’s farm. “This candidate was perfect for the role. Not only was he qualified, but he had the necessary passion for the product. He then moved the whole family back to Ireland – it really was the perfect fit.”

Micheál Coughlan

Micheál Coughlan has been an indispensable part of the international InterSearch network since joining InterSearch Ireland as a junior consultant in 1996. He joined the Board in 2017 and was most recently confirmed in 2020. He is primarily active in the Life Sciences and Manufacturing sectors.

Ireland in numbers

GDP: USD 498.9 billion
Economic growth: 13.5% compared to the previous year
Per capita annual income: approx. 99,013 USD

Inflation rate: + 2.4 % compared to the previous year
Unemployment rate: 6.3%
Employees in the service sector: approx. 77 %.
Source: Statista 2021

executive search, InterSearch Ireland

pexels photo 175389

Irish start-ups prospering in agrifood and green energy sectors

Written by: Charlie Taylor 

Reposted by InterSearch Ireland

TechIreland report shows 58 agri/food tech firms raised €25.4m in funding last year

Irish technology start-ups are making waves in areas such as agri/food, green energy, financial services and education, according to new findings from Tech Ireland.

The not-for-profit organisation tracked 58 tech companies working in the agri/food sector last year, of which 20 were founded by women. Such companies combined raised €25.4 million in funding in 2017.


For more on this visit:



agri, executive search, Farming, food industry, green energy, headhunting, InterSearch Ireland, Technology

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