The Northern Irish recruitment roundtable.

In February 2021 Raise Ventures hosted a Norther Irish startups focused Recruitment Roundtable. Our virtual Tech for Non Tech event pivoted from a ‘virtual stage’ to a conference style ’roundtable discussion’. We decided it was the time to focus on the recruitment challenge that many startups here in Northern Ireland are up against. One of the main aspects of the recruitment challenge that’s been highlighted over and over again with team at Raise is the question: How can Northern Irish startups attract talented team members away from the large FDI companies that have established themselves in Northern Ireland over the past ten to twenty years.  We’ve covered this topic within our Raise programme and we where delighted to have CEO of  Scale Up For Growth  and (Raise Cohort 2020) Kufa Matiya providing his insight from a UK wide perspective. In our circle, Kufa was sitting ‘virtually’ beside speakers from  UpSkill Enterprise, VANRATH, Rapid 7, VML Technology and RealTime Recruitment.

This made our roundtable made up with leaders in recruitment both from a Recruiter side of things, a startup side of things and tech founders in the recruitment sector.

We’ve uploaded the whole discussion, so if you’d like to watch the video before reading on please do!


Our Norther Irish recruitment roundtable was a successful evening chatting with startups, tech companies and friends who have experience in hiring, recruitment agencies.

Some key highlights from the event where:

If you are a small company or startup in the tech industry and you’re looking to attract the top talent you have to focus on what makes your company unique and different.

      • Tell your story from the start, shout about your company values and put yourself in the shoes of a new graduate paying £700 a month to live in Belfast.
      • What makes you different, what makes your startup stand up, what ethical impact does your startup have on the world?
      • People want to work somewhere that is making impact, design your startup to make an impact, think about ethics not just growth.

    Often a vision or story from the founder makes the company interesting for candidates to want to apply.

          • Don’t forget to share your founder story, we want to inspire students/graduates to become the founders of the future.
          • By showcasing your journey you’ll engage and attract the top talent.
          • Speak at events, Sponsor events and Host your own events.

    As s a company make sure you are engaging online on a regular basis so you become known in the marketplace.

          • Engage with all touch points, it’s not just Linkedin and Twitter. It’s TikTok, YouTube, Clubhouse and more!
          • Your personal branding as a founder matters. Make it real.
          • Lead by example, train and mentor.

    We also gained some advice  for people looking at the Northern Irish recruitment scene from the job hunter side of things.  If you are looking for work, think about the wide range of experience and career development you will get working in a startup. These companies are more open to attracting talent who may not 100% fit the criteria as they are happy to be more flexible.  Look at the founder’s, look at main team. Look for mentors that can help you grow. If you can work remote, what will benefit your career most?

    One of the highlights was listening to Chris Laughlin from Rapid 7. He talked about how the company focussed on recruiting talent from internships and up. This made Rapid 7 build the foundations from the ground up and allowed them to design the culture they wanted to see in their future leaders. The problem startups sometimes face is they don’t always have the money to make the investment in recruitment that is required and it has to be applauded what Rapid 7 have done. We hope that we’ll see well developed graduates leading the way in new Northern Irish startups and we are left with the question. How can we encourage more startups to make the investment in our youth and how can we help fund this as a community?

    Rapid 7 have also opened brand new offices in Belfast city centre, have a look at this article from the Belfast Telegraph for some insight.

    Watch the video and share your thoughts on the topic via social media @raise_ventures

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