7 years ago, myself and Lorraine set up TalentHub with a vision to build a recruitment business that was different – one that focused on customer care, both in the terms of the client and the candidate and was highly consultative.
Borne over a discussion about how we felt we could add better value to the Digital, Ecommerce and Innovation sector, we decided to take a leap of faith and venture out on our own. I wanted to share our 7-year journey as it may give inspiration or confidence to anyone considering setting up a business or venture, or anyone who wonders, ‘what if’.
Lorraine and I had previously worked together in a couple of capacities. We worked on the same Talent Acquisition team in a former company for many years, and we also had a Client-Agency relationship when I was onsite at a large Tech company, and she was a first-tier supplier.
We felt that this new ‘marriage’ would last well as we’d certainly had many years’ experience working very closely (and believe me, it is a marriage! – I probably spend more time with Lorraine than my own husband!). We even ended up in Holles St together when my daughter and her twins were born at the same time, so I’d like to think we were destined to be a couple for life.
I am a natural business developer and extrovert, who really enjoys speaking to/meeting people and building relationships. Lorraine also had these skills, but her true talent was operations, analytics and people management, so we felt this was a good combination to launch our new business.
From the get-go, we decided that we didn’t want to go down the route of two mums working from a kitchen table with kids running around (rather ironically, once Covid hit, this is exactly how life panned out!) – we wanted to invest in good IT systems, a professional office in Merrion Square, and a great team, all of which come with a significant cost.
To help us get all of this up and running, we went into partnership with an investor. Lorraine had previously worked with our investor but in true ‘Dragons Den’ style, we pitched ourselves and our vision. This was the smartest decision we ever made, as we not only had the finances to launch and run the business, but the skills, connections and knowledge of our investor are invaluable.
Where to start? Gaining clients and roles has thankfully never been a challenge for us, as we were already highly networked and had excellent warm relationships with both clients and candidates. However, like most businesses, staffing and staff retention was a challenge, as somewhat ironically (considering the sector we are in) we trained our staff to a level where they were constantly approached by other companies.
Thankfully we have very low attrition and in cases where someone did leave us, it was after several years of loyal service. Lorraine and I were like two proud mums (I’d prefer to think two big sisters) waving them off on their new journey, half delighted for them, and half upset.
And then there was Covid. We are an agile business, so we were able to move and adapt quickly but it was still a huge transition. Thankfully our sector recovered quickly as demand for digital and ecommerce talent rose during the pandemic, but from a people-management point of view, this was a strange new world for us. Thankfully, as we also own a coaching business, led by Tim McCarthy (A highly respected business coach), we stayed sane during Covid and learned how to run our business in a different manner, as well as being able to advise our clients how to do same.
One of the things that was incredibly important to us from the start, was candidate care. Whilst the clients are the ones who pay the invoices, the candidates are the oxygen in the tank and the duty of care to candidates is equally as important as the clients.
Culture and the care of staff is equally as important. Over the last 7 years, we have dealt with situations such as bereavement, babies born, and sadly lost, weddings, relationship break ups, relocations by valued members of staff and of course, a global pandemic.
Thrown in the deep end (as were all businesses), we had to be agile and transform a highly people orientated business – one that had a presumption of meetings face to face for a career discussion, to a new modus operandi, where not only ourselves, but clients and candidates had to acclimatize to a new world of conducting business via Zoom/Teams meetings, in a world with huge hiring freezes.
In addition to the Recruitment and Coaching services we provide, we have always immersed ourselves fully with industry partners, by hosting a variety of events such as HubTalks and LeadersHub, as well as participation and sponsorship of such events as Women in Technology, the Start Up Show and various other events tailored to our sectors of SaaS, Innovation, Ecommerce, Product Management, Data/Analytics and Marketing.
I am so proud of what we’ve achieved over the last 7 years, and we have many more lines on our faces to show for it (Facebook memories are torture!). We are now busy working parents with teenagers rather than toddlers, and we are on several PSL’s for major global corporates to hire the very best talent as well as helping indigenous brands build their digital teams.
We are very lucky to be in a position where demand for the areas we specialize in (Digital, Ecommerce, Sales, Marketing, Product, Design and Data) is high, and despite a candidate-driven market, we have delivered to both multinationals and indigenous companies in the abovementioned sectors. Our focus will always be to deliver recruitment and coaching services with the best-in-class service, and we thank everyone who worked with us over the past 7 years.
Our next goal is to build out teams specialising in Customer Success (we are currently working with Silicon Valley tech companies to scale their CX and Onboarding teams as well as Data teams for the abovementioned sectors). Coupled with our success in the areas we’ve worked in since day one, we are very excited about the next 7 years!
Founder & Board Director