IT Recruitment insights with Mick Duffy from Software Placements

Mick Duffy

We caught up with Mick Duffy to learn a bit more about what he does for Software Placements. Mick is the Principal IT Consultant at Software Placements and is currently interested in speaking to candidates for the following positions:

Software Development Manager
Product Manager
DevOps Manager
Software Development Project Manager
Service Delivery Manager
IT Security Project Manager
Infrastructure Project Manager
Software Implementation Project Manager
Agile Business Analyst
Data Analysts
BI Analysts

Mick worked overseas before returning to Ireland.

On graduating from University I spent 12 years in Japan in various management positions. When I returned to Ireland I decided to move into recruitment as I was looking for a career change.

We asked him if he specialised in a particular area or not.

Although I specialise in a particular vertical of IT, it is still fairly broad. This results in a good variety of roles that I would recruit for which keeps the job interesting.

What are the variety of roles that you recruit for?

I recruit for all the IT senior positions, €70k and above, including project management, software managers, and many other managerial level positions, and all other roles at the management level. Our clients contact us when they can’t source people themselves, so this involves a lot of head hunting. It is a lot of searching to find the right match. We start by looking in Ireland first, but the more senior the roles, we often have to look further afield. Fortunately, we can do most of this using online searching and LinkedIn.

Is it hard or easy to persuade potential candidates to come to Ireland?

The pitch to attract people to come to Ireland? Ideally, it’s someone who is thinking about coming to Ireland anyway, so then you might be knocking on an open door. We would often be talking to someone who wasn’t actively looking for a job but had perhaps thought about moving to /or back to Ireland already.

You are the Senior IT Recruitment Consultant – BA/PM/BI, is the challenge in finding the right positions or the right candidates? What advice would you give to potential candidates?

The main problem I face is a candidate shortage rather than a job shortage. The main tip I would give a candidate going to an interview is to know your CV inside out. It sounds simple but it is amazing how many candidates are not able to outline their previous work history in a fluid manner. The old adage, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is still very true. 

Has the recruitment process changed over the years?

Yes, over the last number of years companies have significantly grown their in-house recruitment teams which have resulted in the jobs released to agencies getting fewer. This has resulted in agency recruitment moving into the “purple squirrel” business, where companies only release roles which they have tried but failed to fill. This will be the role of the agency recruiter for the foreseeable future.

Purple squirrel is a great phrase, can you explain more what this means, and how can candidates look to be the ideal purple squirrel for employers?

A purple squirrel is a candidate that doesn’t exist. Companies looking to fill certain positions will often have unrealistically high expectations in relation to all the skills they think they might find in one person. It’s important to manage these expectations to ensure they are not trying to find a candidate that doesn’t exist.

Any tips on future-proofing your career for those working in this sector?

To future proof your career in IT you really need to be changing jobs every 3 years or so, in order to keep your skills up to date. Companies are also now often preferring those candidates who have a more diverse range of experiences, with a range of different companies. 

What future recruitment trends do you see for management in the next few years?

For senior management, it shouldn’t be changing too much in the next 5 – 10 years. Companies will still need to manage their people, which will require senior management roles at the top. In the recruitment space though, things will change a lot in next ten years, with companies bringing in their own recruitment teams,  especially at the bigger corporate level. Here you will have recruiters that work in-house, however they will have less incentive to do more than just fill jobs, so there will still be the need and opportunity for us, more niche recruitment companies.

What do you think about remote working, will it become more of a trend?

Yes, it does get brought up in interview negotiations. People are interested in working from home a day or two a week.  People are therefore open to working for a company that offers this possibility, though not all do so yet. Most companies still taking it on board and considering it.

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