Stephen Killilea, Liberty IT
Stephen Killilea, recruitment specialist, Liberty IT. Image: Liberty IT

‘The time I spent working outside Ireland was always going to be limited’

7 Mar 2017

The Irish diaspora is broadly spread, living and working around the world. But what makes them come back home?

Successive generations of young Irish men and women have left Ireland to pursue education, work and a different kind of life. Many never come back, but what of the ones that do?

Stephen Killilea – a recruitment specialist at Liberty IT – returned to Ireland four years after he left, hoping to build his career in the country he would always call home.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Galway.

When did you decide to emigrate and why?

I kind of emigrated in two phases. First, I moved to Newcastle in the UK to complete an MSc in international human resource management at Newcastle University Business School.

I then moved from Newcastle to Auckland, New Zealand. Why? For a change. Ireland was in the depths of recession in 2011, so there wasn’t much opportunity for graduate HR professionals – especially those who wanted to build a career in recruitment.

Also, the fact that the Rugby World Cup was kicking off just as I was planning on arriving to New Zealand made the move easier.

Where did you emigrate to and for how long were you gone?

In total, I was gone for four years. I left Ireland in August 2010 for Newcastle, then moved to Auckland in August 2011, before returning to Ireland in August 2014.

What made you want to/decide to come back?

There were two main reasons.

New Zealand is quite a distance from Ireland. I never saw myself building a settled life there and there was always going to be a limit on the time I spent there.

Also, from afar, I could see the positivity returning to the Irish economy, in particular in the IT industry, which is the area in which I wanted to grow my recruitment career.

How did your current role come about?

Having moved back to Ireland as part of the same recruitment agency I was working with in New Zealand, I wanted to step into an in-house role. I joined Liberty IT on an initial six-month contract and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since.

What work do you do?

I am a recruitment specialist for Liberty IT. I attract and recruit technical talent for Liberty across our Dublin and Belfast offices. In addition to this, I work on quite a lot of project work to streamline and review our recruitment process to help Liberty IT identify the best technical talent, while also maintaining a positive candidate experience.

What do you like most about your job?

I get to see, first-hand, the growth of both Liberty IT and the employees I recruit. Our Dublin office has gone from strength to strength and, alongside this, our employees’ careers have grown with the company.

How did this company make it easier for you to move back?

For candidates relocating to Ireland, Liberty IT conducts initial interviews virtually and provides relocation assistance once you begin your employment with them.

How did your time working abroad make you better suited for your job, if at all?

I began my career in recruitment in New Zealand, so I may not have been in this position had I not taken the leap to relocate.

What is the best thing about being back in Ireland?

The people. The craic and humour just isn’t the same in other countries.

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