How did it all start for Purcell O’Leary Recruitment?

I lived and worked in Dublin city as a senior manager for a large recruitment firm.

I got married and moved to the very rural Galbally, in Co Wexford in 2013. I still commuted to Dublin as I loved my job and the people I worked with. But the commute took nearly three hours, and after we had our second child I realised that there was no way I could do that drive each morning.

But I really felt that my job was part of who I am and wasn’t willing to give it up. So I took a chance; after working in the industry for over 13 years – and set up my own recruitment business in 2017.

How has your business coped with COVID-19?

When COVID came at first, everything seemed to shut down. It was difficult; I didn’t know where my business was going. But I sat down and said to myself that I have done this for 14 years and managed to work through a recession.

So I looked deeper into my client list and saw that the gaming, IT and pharmaceutical industries still had a lot of roles to offer. So thankfully by the end of 2020, our work really started to build up again.

It is a little bit more difficult in my business at the moment, because meeting people is very important in recruitment. Maybe I am old school, but I feel that the warmth of meeting someone face-to-face is hard to replace with Zoom.

People may have thought it was impossible to live on a farm and run a recruitment business, but I think COVID has highlighted that it is possible to live anywhere and do almost any job.

How important is job satisfaction to you, as a business owner?

I love my business because I get to meet so many new and interesting people all the time. Job satisfaction for me is placing a person in the right role and seeing that it has really worked out for them and the employer.

I am very lucky to have worked in the industry for so long, before establishing my own business. Now I can be more careful of the clients I work with. It is very important for me as a small business owner to place candidates with clients who I trust and I know that they will have the career opportunities that they are being told they will have.

I’m really interested in the person as an individual. I genuinely love talking to people and understanding exactly where they would like to work and where they see themselves going. I think it is so important to have interest in what you are doing to succeed.

What is your best advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, on establishing their own business?

My biggest piece of advice for someone thinking of starting up a business is to work in that industry first – whether it’s digital marketing, retail, or farming. See how the business is run; from administration and accounts, to orders and invoicing. Work for a few different employers in the sector, to see how other people do it.

I think that is sometimes why businesses fail, because people don’t know what they are getting into before rushing into a business idea.

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