Killian O’Leary is Partner with Barden’s IT practice. He is an expert in recruitment and careers, in particular Cyber Security and Senior Tech roles.
He focuses on helping leading companies to build their tech teams, across all sectors, from retail to banking to pharma to manufacturing. Killian is also an executive leadership and career recruitment coach.
Killian joined Barden in September 2020.
We recently caught up with him to find out more about him.
Where are you from?
I’m from Cork, partly reared in Killarney but very much Cork :-).
How old were you when you had your first paying job?
I’ve been working more or less since I was 11 years old. I used to give my uncle a helping hand in his fitted furniture business, sanding doors etc. The early mornings and the hard slog definitely toughened me up and gave me a good learning base for what lay ahead In work moving forward.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
It’s quite a bit of background but feel it’s important to show where my career path has taken me this far!
When I left college, I actually joined the Guards, but I decided it wasn’t for me and I went back to college to study marketing. I then spent time with Enterprise Rent-A-Car on their Graduate Management program and after some time in Cork Airport, working in Customer Service, I moved to London. I spent some great years there working within Business Banking for Allied Irish Bank GB in North London.
I decided to come home after four years away and joined Ulster Bank in Cork as a Relationship Manager within Business Banking. In 2011, I took voluntary redundancy from Ulster Bank and this enabled me to seek out a new career in recruitment.
I was very grateful for an approach to get Involved in a start-up SAP Contracting recruiting organisation called ‘Straight 12’ and I then moved onto CPL where I gained some great experience in IT Recruitment. For the next five years I worked with the Berkley Group heading up their IT Delivery function for Ireland.
Last year, I made a move in a different direction to set up my own Career Coaching business ‘ProgressCoaching.ie’ which was really a ‘labour of love’ having spent a number of years studying coaching and becoming a qualified Life, Leadership and Career Coach along the way.
When ‘Covid-19’ hit it did impact on my business, but I still keep those coaching skills alive by working with some career coaching clients. The pull of recruitment lured me back however, and I’m now 12 months into our new start-up venture in Barden, the aim of which is to build out a new IT function nationwide for Barden. 12 months In and all is going well, thus far anyways.
Why did you decide to get into recruitment?
I was approached out of the blue in 2011 by some people looking to set up a start-up SAP contracting firm – ‘Straight 12’. This proved to be a real learning curve for me and was certainly an eye-opener in terms of the work ethic one would need to employ in order to make a success of a recruitment business.
What made you decide to join Barden?
When I Initially started speaking with both Ed and Johnny at Barden I was very unsure about getting back into recruitment. Having been in it for so long, I felt I needed to do something different. But from chatting on a number of occasions with the guys It was clear that they were keen to build a different type of IT recruitment function. A function not driven by KPI’s or metrics etc.
Their approach is non-transactional, and people focused, and it empowered me to think again about recruitment and the promise of being able to own and shape something from scratch was just too appealing not to seriously consider. It was that approach which ultimately got me to join the business.
What’s your role in Barden?
I head up a newly created IT recruitment function for Ireland. My brief is to continue to embellish the already well-established Barden brand by creating another reason for clients to talk to Barden through our IT offering.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Really, It’s just having a part to play in building out something that I feel proud of and knowing that every email, every phone call, every meeting can have an Impact on someone’s life and on the future prospects for our business here at Barden IT.
What three words best describe you?
Resilient, focused and engaging.
Who is your role model, and why?
When I worked in London there were many people whom I met who are now good friends, the way they grew, and continue to grow, their businesses living away from home and their relentless work ethic is always a source of empowerment to me and helps me out at times when my own resilience and focus may tend to wane.
What do you think other people should know about Barden’s expert IT practice?
I’d really like people to know that we are passionate about what we do first and foremost. We treat every candidate the same, always being conscious that it’s a unique ‘candidate experience’ for all. We place equal importance on both sides, so whether that be representing our clients or our candidates. We see both as our clients and as key partners in our overall recruitment efforts.
We pride ourselves on having an excellent thoroughness of process and we are accountable at all times to those who matter most…our clients and candidates.
What kind of roles and companies do you work with?
I partner with clients nationwide and beyond, these companies range from SME’s, Tech Start-ups, Global Multinationals and Consultancies.
My team focus right across all tech verticals ranging from Cyber to Software Development to Analytics to PMO-focused positions. We are also seeing a huge rise in Senior IT leadership positions.
What’s the market like at the moment for IT career opportunities?
The market is buoyant right now for those working within IT. Specific areas are likely to see a candidate shortage for some time – for instance Cyber Security won’t be going away anytime soon and it’s a skill that is now vital for organisations whether they be technology companies or otherwise – no company can overlook the importance of cyber security.
Right across all IT verticals, if you are good at what you do then it really ‘s a ‘candidates’ market’.
What’s your biggest achievement?
When it comes to Recruitment it is making some placements in my very first job with a start-up company when we didn’t have any website or online presence, nor the ability to meet in-person or virtually with clients or candidates. Recruiting remotely for positions in Europe, I was solely dependent on phone calling.
What’s your favourite movie?
The Field with Richard Harris
Who would win a fight between Spiderman, Batman and Wonder-Woman?
Spiderman, as he has what Is a key requirement to survive in modern society – Agility.