In the Green Chair: Mary O'Connor

How did you end up in the green chair?

I think a long-standing passion for meeting people from a range of different countries and cultures goes some way to explaining my being here! From au-pairing at a young age throughout Europe and America, I became interested in diverse cultures and languages and chose Human Resources as a career, working for many years working in blue-chip companies in London, where my main role included sourcing and recruiting staff.

I returned to Dublin and diversified into language education, enjoying the business development, sales and client contact sides of the job.  This experience led me back to recruitment, which encompasses all these skillsets  – dealing with candidates, business development and building up relationships with employers so all are satisfied with the calibre of job and placements that are made.

What do you like about the sector you work in?

Well, I love to keep learning and continually develop myself. Accountancy recruitment presented a great opportunity to expand my knowledge into a completely new field, where I could apply my recruitment skills for job seekers wishing to progress and liaise with employers keen to recruit part-qualified and qualified accountants.  I found the change of direction very refreshing – on foot of it I like to think I can inspire candidates not to be afraid of change along their own career path.

I greatly admire the dedication and focus of many part-qualified and newly qualified accountants who study and work and know exactly in what direction they are headed.  For those who don’t quite know which route to take next I can advise them. I get great satisfaction from this.

There is great progression through different accountancy roles. I deal with different levels, from junior to senior financial jobs, and enjoy matching candidates to jobs that are the right fit and that they aspire to, while at the same time offering the employer the very best calibre of employee.

What are the stand-out trends in your sector?

Previously accountancy was considered practice-orientated, yet most companies out there need an accountant. I have enjoyed placing candidates in companies ranging from media and retail to multi–national technology and events companies – the list is endless.

What advice do you have for employers looking to attract and retain employees in your sector?

To attract the best candidates, companies should highlight more than salary – benefits are more important than ever. People are looking to stay in companies that care about them – financial renumeration is one side of it, but so is their well-being. Trust is critical nowadays, especially as more people are seeking the flexibility to work from home or remotely.

Let us in on one thing clients would be surprised to hear about you!

My passion for travel combined with a degree in languages has led to my being fluent in Spanish, French and Italian! I like to upskill my language skills through foreign cinema and cultural events.

Another thing: I am a life-long fan of Audrey Hepburn. I especially love the cheeky character she takes on in movies. I think you can easily relate her quote here to recruitment …

Finally, tell us about the ‘passion shot’ on the screen behind you …

Sticking with Hollywood, when I was younger I really enjoyed acting – would you believe I was once described as a “promising young Irish actress” by a local newspaper! Well, it wasn’t to be, but recently I took a part as an extra in two series of The Vikings … apart from the 5am starts, it was a wonderful opportunity to see beautiful sunrises in remote parts of Wicklow where no one else would get to!

Mary O’Connor is Accountancy and Finance Recruitment Consultant at Eden Recruitment.