5 Minutes With Shane Mc Donald

Written by Amanda Souza | Posted 13/06/2024 15:12:47

Welcome to “5 minutes with…”, a series where we sit down with a Sanderson team member to gain insights into their careers and experiences. Today, we’re delighted to introduce our Associate Director Shane Mc Donald, who will be sharing his work background and how he got into recruitment.  

Through this series, we aim to showcase diverse personalities and talents, offering a glimpse into the culture at Sanderson. 

  • Could you share a brief overview of your work background prior to joining Sanderson and how it has contributed to your role today? 

I worked several different jobs in several industries before falling into recruitment. A brief overview, I studied general business and specialised in HR, during college I did an internship with Zurich Insurance, and after college, I got a job with Permanent TSB.  

I quickly found out the world of banking wasn’t for me and luckily after performing strongly during my internship with Zurich Insurance they hired me into a permanent role, I then studied and became fully qualified in Insurance and after a year moved to Dublin to work for an insurance broker.  

Here’s where my story with recruitment started. One day a director of a recruitment company called to purchase insurance and told me he thought I would make a great recruiter. I had studied HR in college so a job in recruitment piqued my interest, he invited me for an interview and five years later I have never looked back. It was by far the best move I ever made in my career.  

I started in a boutique agency which specialised in international recruitment so I was truly thrown into the deep end, but I was hooked and loved how each day was different and the challenges and rewards that came with recruitment. 

I then had the chance to move companies to become a specialist IT recruitment consultant. Technology was a sector that always interested me and Ireland has a brilliant reputation as a technology hub so I knew there was a clear career path and the chance to earn a great living. Over the years I worked hard and climbed the ladder from consultant to manager it’s over this time that I really became an expert in recruitment. 

This year I joined Sanderson as Associate Director, with responsibility for Technology and Transformation. I lead a team of consultants who work with our blue-chip client list across our four areas: Recruitment, Solutions (RPO & MSP), Projects, and Executive Search. My experience of working in insurance, banking and recruitment has contributed to me being appointed Associate Director. I improved and learned new skills in each role. I developed an in-depth understanding of retail banking and insurance and how organisations of varying size work. I emphasised honing my interpersonal skills to better deal with our colleagues, clients, and candidates. I have had the opportunity to work and learn from some amazing people over the years. I was a sponge in every role I worked in and constantly looked for ways to learn and improve.  

With hard work and a bit of luck, I’m working in a job I love and after reflecting I’m very proud of what I have achieved. I made some great friends along the way and have a lot of good memories and stories from my travels too. I’m thankful for everyone I have worked with as I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.  

  • What specific skills or qualities do you believe have been crucial in your career? 

Being successful in recruitment requires a combination of skills, qualities, and strategies to effectively identify, attract, and retain the best talent for an organisation. Here are some specific skills and qualities that can contribute to success in recruitment: 

Effective Communication: Clear and concise communication is crucial in recruitment. Recruiters need to be able to articulate job roles, responsibilities, and company culture to candidates while also actively listening to their needs and concerns. 

Interpersonal Skills: Building rapport with candidates is essential. Recruiters should be able to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and establish a sense of trust throughout the recruitment process. 

Networking: Strong networking skills help recruiters identify potential candidates, tap into referral networks, and establish relationships with industry professionals. Networking can also provide insights into industry trends and talent pools. 

Problem-Solving: Recruitment often presents challenges such as skill gaps, unexpected candidate withdrawals, or tight deadlines. Recruiters must be adept at finding solutions to these challenges quickly and efficiently. 

Time Management: Efficiently managing multiple job openings, screening candidates, conducting interviews, and coordinating schedules require strong time management skills to ensure a smooth and timely recruitment process. 

Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and empathizing with candidates' emotions and motivations is essential for providing a positive candidate experience. This also helps recruiters make informed decisions about candidate fit. 

Adaptability: The recruitment landscape is constantly evolving, with changes in sourcing techniques, candidate preferences, and industry trends. Recruiters must be adaptable and open to trying new approaches. 

Persistence and Resilience: Not all recruitment processes go smoothly, and rejections or candidate dropouts can happen. Recruiters should remain persistent, maintain a positive attitude, and learn from setbacks. 

Continuous Learning: Staying updated with industry trends, recruitment best practices, and evolving technologies is crucial for staying competitive and delivering effective recruitment outcomes. 

  • What aspects of recruitment do you find most fulfilling and enjoyable on a day-to-day basis? 

What I love about recruitment is no two days are the same, each day has its own unique challenges which once overcome make it a very rewarding and fulfilling job. In my opinion, recruitment is very enjoyable due to being able to: 

Make Meaningful Matches: One of the most rewarding aspects of recruitment is successfully matching candidates with job roles that align with their skills, aspirations, and values. Helping individuals find fulfilling careers and contributing to a company's growth can be incredibly satisfying. 

Impact on Organisations: Effective recruitment directly impacts an organization's success by bringing in top talent. Seeing how your efforts contribute to a company's achievements, growth, and overall culture can be highly rewarding. 

Personal Growth and Learning: Recruitment is a continuous learning process. Every candidate interaction, every new role, and each hiring challenge offers opportunities to learn and grow. This dynamic environment helps recruiters develop a diverse skill set. 

Problem-Solving Triumphs: Overcoming challenges in recruitment, such as sourcing for niche roles, addressing skill gaps, or managing tight timelines, can be immensely fulfilling. Successfully finding creative solutions showcases your adaptability and resourcefulness. 

Building Relationships: Recruitment involves building relationships with both candidates and hiring managers. The connections you establish can lead to long-lasting partnerships, referral networks, and insights into various industries. 

  • What advice would you give to someone considering a career in recruitment, based on your own journey and insights? 

My main takeaways from over the years are focus on the basics.  

- Recruitment is a people job: if you treat candidates and clients well, they will look after you. 

- Network: Building a professional network with candidates, hiring managers, and other working professionals is invaluable.  

- Work Hard: What you put into recruitment is what you get out of it. It’s a competitive field so you need to work harder than your neighbour. 

- Embracing the highs and lows: Recruitment can be the most rewarding and the most disheartening job in the world, being able to celebrate the highs and work through the lows is massively important, every day is an opportunity to learn and improve and those with grit and determination which achieve the most success.  

- Master your market: becoming a specialist recruiter in certain markets is hugely important as it helps you to better understand your clients and candidates. It loops back into points one and two, being able to understand your clients and candidates' needs helps you be a better recruiter and build long-lasting relationships as a trusted partner as you fully understand your market. 

- Love it: Do what you love, and you'll never work another day in your life.  

Please feel free to send me a connection request and if you’re looking to start your career in recruitment do feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more: ?? shane.mcdonald@sanderson.ie 

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