Leaders’ Insights: Orla Moran, IrishJobs.ie

25 Feb 2016

Orla Moran is the general manager of IrishJobs.ie.

Orla Moran has been with IrishJobs.ie since it was a start-up in 1999 and has seen it grow from having 50 customers to more than 1,000 customers.

She started out in the company as an account manager, working her way up to be appointed to the role of general manager in 2008.

Future Human

IrishJobs.ie is Ireland’s No 1 recruitment website and is part of Saongroup.com, a privately-owned Irish online recruitment business with offices in 16 countries.

Describe your role and what you do?

I am the head of Ireland’s leading online recruitment website, IrishJobs.ie. I work to ensure IrishJobs.ie continues to offer the best service to both recruiters and jobseekers in a rapidly-evolving market where technology and demand is changing constantly.

I do this by harnessing the talents of a cross-functional team of technology, sales, marketing, finance and customer service professionals and I also do my best to inspire a productive and cohesive company environment.

How do you prioritise and organise your working life?

Having two young children means that it’s really important that there’s a good work-life balance. I find the best way to ensure I can leave a clear desk every day is to set myself clear priorities – deal with the most important tasks first thing in the morning and always leave time in my diary for anything that arises during the day. I’m very much a ‘get all boxes ticked’ type of person and I like to move on to the next task, I don’t like to let things linger or have lots of outstanding items that need attention.

What are the biggest challenges facing your business and how are you tackling them?

Jobseekers are adopting new technology and making increased demands on that technology at such a fast pace that we’re constantly challenged to stay ahead.

Personalisation is a big focus for us. On IrishJobs.ie we have thousands of jobs from hundreds of Ireland’s top companies, but when you are looking for a job, all you want to see are the jobs that are a perfect match for your skills and experience in the location you want. From the recruiter point of view, they want applications from people who are a great match for their roles.

All of this already happens, thanks to the substantial amount of work we’ve done on the backend of our site, but refining and improving delivery to both our clients and our users is something we continue to concentrate on.

‘I find the best way to ensure I can leave a clear desk every day is to set myself clear priorities’

What are the key industry opportunities you’re capitalising on?

Mobile is central to our product development approach – high levels of smartphone penetration and demographic changes mean that, increasingly, candidates are applying for jobs on mobile devices. The IrishJobs.ie app, which we launched at the end of last year, facilitates that. Remaining at the forefront of new mobile innovation and making it easier and quicker for people to job hunt on the go is extremely important to us.

Similarly, we realised the importance of peer-to-peer recommendation, particularly for millennials. We also understand that it isn’t just about finding any job, but finding the right job. Jobseekers want to know more about a company before they apply for a position, so we launched IrishJobs.ie Company Reviews. With real reviews written by real people, Company Reviews provides valuable insights for applicants and will be a very strong resource for jobseekers. It also aligns with our customers’ focus of building strong recruitment brands, which convey their work culture and the benefits of working with them.

What set you on the road to where you are in the technology industry?

My career started working for Denis O’Brien after college and, in 1999, following the purchase of IrishJobs.ie, I was approached to join the team setting up the business in Dublin. The CEO, Maria Mahon, suggested that I move into a sales role, cold calling companies that had traditionally used the newspaper to recruit.

Initially, this prospect instilled fear – the thought of picking up a phone and cold calling was bad enough, but to have to try and sell this new concept of online recruitment was something else altogether.

However, after two weeks, there was no going back. I loved getting out and about to speak to companies across all industries and explaining how they can reduce their recruitment costs. That was in the days when we had about 30 companies on site, we’re at more than 1,000 now.

Watching and contributing to the growth of this small start-up to industry leader has been a fascinating journey.

‘Remaining at the forefront of new mobile innovation, and making it easier and quicker for people to job hunt on the go, is extremely important to us’

What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?

During late 2008 and into 2009, online recruitment was a very difficult industry to be in. I found more and more that I was taking the stress of the impact it was having on IrishJobs.ie personally, which lead to many a sleepless night. Taking these stresses home had a big impact on my partner and family life in general. I guess the learning here is that, no matter how invested you are in your work life, there are things you can’t control and you need to learn to try and leave it behind you in the evening.

How do you get the best out of your team?

Lead by example. For instance, we recently launched Company Reviews on the IrishJobs.ie site, which was a significant new product for us to introduce to our clients and to jobseekers. I knew it was important the team knew I had complete confidence in, not just the product, but also in the reasons the business were introducing it to the Irish market. How I achieved this was to put myself front and centre when we started contacting customers and dealing with queries.

Open communication is also key. Ensuring the team knows the overall strategy for the year ahead and that they’re confident when dealing with customers.

I don’t micro-manage. We have a strong commitment to recruiting graduates, who may need a little extra coaching, but essentially I learned well from an environment where my strengths were recognised and I was left to get on with my job. I’m always happy to be a sounding board in any situations that might arise, but I find most people thrive on autonomy.

STEM sectors receive a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity. What are your thoughts on this and what’s needed to effect change?

My career grew and evolved at IrishJobs.ie, so I am a firm believer in training and development. Quite simply, if you hire talented people then it is in the interest of the business to keep them. We have a great gender balance at IrishJobs.ie and many of our senior positions in the company are held by women.

How you [keep talented people] is to offer opportunity, support people’s ambitions with training and provide a supportive working environment. A company may have great mission statements about diversity but, if they are implemented grudgingly, then then they are worthless. When a company appreciates their staff as people, with lives, families and caring commitments, and does not view them as just another ‘resource’ then that attitude feeds a work culture that empowers people to put themselves forward for senior roles. Flexibility and a belief in the value and talent of all members of your team are essential.

‘No matter how invested you are in your work life, there are things you can’t control and you need to learn to try and leave it behind you in the evening’

Who is your business hero and why?

Leslie Buckley. In 1999, when IrishJobs.ie was a start-up, he worked closely with the board and always had a clear vision of what the business should be. He helped to guide the business until we made it to the market No 1 spot. This was all while he was still managing so many other business interests.

On a personal note, his constant determination to achieve was inspirational to me as a young recruit and I hope that it’s something I’ve held on to and that I can pass on to the rest of the team.

What books have you read that you would recommend?

Not Now, Bernard by David McKee – gets the kids to sleep every night!

What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?

The entire team – and Art of Coffee on Grand Canal Quay.