Antoinette O’Flaherty is now Director of Collins McNicholas Recruitment& HR Services Group. At the time of this interview in 2012 she was Regional Manager of the North West.
What is your role and how long have you been with Collins McNicholas?
My role is that of Regional Manager for the North West, based in the Sligo office. I joined Collins McNicholas in November 1998 just after Niall Murray set up the office. We spent just over one year in what was the Hanson Building at the time (now replaced by Motor tax office) and have been based in Millbrook House on Kennedy Parade since 2000.
How did you get into recruitment?
After graduating from Sligo IT in 1995 with a Degree in Business Studies I worked in Dublin for over two years with American Airlines on Mount Street. I worked in a sales/customer service role and was promoted to the tariff department after a year. I enjoyed working with sales targets and this was certainly a good base for a move into the recruitment industry. I moved home to Sligo in 1998 and was temping for a local recruitment agency for a couple of months. I sent my CV to Niall Murray in search of a more permanent role and 14 years later I am managing the Sligo office.
What are the main changes you have seen in recruitment since starting your career in 1998?
When I started out in recruitment we received a lot of CVs by post and fax. We were constantly trying to build up our database with new candidates as we were pretty much starting from scratch in the Sligo office and I remember manually adding hundreds of CVs to the system in the early days! Now, with the advancement of technology we have a cloud-based system which automatically adds candidates’ CVs straight from our Inbox. Another big change for me is the fact that you are never really switched off, with access to your emails at all times. So if you see a good CV in your inbox on a Saturday you don’t tend to wait until Monday to get back to the candidate!
What do you like about working in recruitment?
I enjoy the constant challenge of finding the right candidate for the right job. I get great satisfaction from helping others and building relationships. We help clients to hire great people and grow their businesses and help our candidates to find out about new opportunities and develop their careers. I love the variety of working in recruitment and the fact that you are ultimately in control of your own destiny and your own success. Given that I am 14 years in the business and am enjoying it more than ever is also testament to Collins McNicholas as an employer.
What is the last/current book you are reading?
With a busy work life and two small children at home I don’t get as much time to read as I would like. I am currently reading “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. It was given to me by a friend who thought I might be interested given that I have some history with running injuries! The author sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets. In the process, he shows us that everything we thought about running is wrong! It’s certainly a very interesting read.
What are your hobbies?
I was a member of Sligo Athletic Club for about 10 years and have done many 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons and the Dublin City Marathon. I struggled with an injury after I had my youngest son and I haven’t gotten back to running regularly since. I enjoy aerobics and circuit training and find that exercise is great for de-stressing after a long day in the office! I do hope to go back running at some point in the not too distant future.