We are very excited to welcome Clair Schindler to Frazer Jones, who’s leading our HR recruitment services in Dublin, Ireland as our new Regional Director.
We sat down with Clair to hear more about her career, how she helps businesses and HR professionals in Ireland, and the biggest recruitment trends she’s seeing in her market right now.
How do you help businesses in Ireland?
My focus is to support organisations by supplying HR professional talent that impacts the company’s structure and culture, affects change and supports the people strategy.
“For me it’s all about understanding that every company I deal with has a different issue or need.”
Truly understanding the impact that HR talent can have on an organisation is key. Regularly, my clients will give me an overview of their need or issue to solve and seek my advice in relation to a potential solution, tapping into my understanding of the HR talent market.
For me it’s all about understanding that every company I deal with has a different issue or need. Not all companies are as progressive or far down the line in their HR journey, so asking a lot of questions to understand their history, culture and goals is essential for me to provide a solution.
“Experienced HR professionals are predominately focused on joining progressive organisations.”
I add value for businesses when I develop and continue our relationship – built on trust and understanding – beyond when the candidate commences so I can understand how the business is evolving.
How do you help HR professionals?
Experienced HR professionals are predominately focused on joining progressive organisations that utilise excellent technology and understand that the company’s culture is extremely important.
These professionals frequently want to work in an environment where the company engages their employees and understands their experience, so they can actually impact change based on the feedback from the business.
Assessing an individual’s experience and knowledge is part of my role but it’s equally important to align a candidate’s values, culture fit and career expectations to a business so they have every opportunity to excel in their role.
I operate as a support once they have commenced that new role, understanding their experience with the company and continuing to support them as they progress.
How did you get into recruitment?
I started my recruitment career in the late 90s in a recruitment sales role, supporting consultants with leads and opportunities across the country. I subsequently moved into a recruitment consulting role within the professional sales space.
I then secured a sponsorship in Australia where I worked for four years specialising in professional sales recruitment within the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. On returning to Ireland, I spent some time recruiting recruitment consultants independently, before moving into an accountancy and finance specialism. I also spent some time in learning and development, and as an Operations Director for a boutique financial services consultancy.
“I love being amongst the Irish because of their sense of humour and positive approach to life.”
I have been working with organisations to support the mid-senior HR talent market for the last number of years.
Why do you love living in Dublin?
Dublin is a cosmopolitan city but hasn’t lost the Irish sense of craic (fun). I love being amongst the Irish because of their sense of humour and positive approach to life, and the people are generally helpful and supportive. They try not to take themselves too seriously.
My very large family of five siblings, my parents and 13 nieces and nephews all live in close proximity to each other and spend a lot of time together, celebrating milestones and supporting each other through thick and thin.
My husband is French, and my stepdaughter lives in France – so Ireland is not too far away and it’s easy for us to see each other as much as we want. One of my big passions is travel, so we are uniquely located to ensure there’s always a trip away to look forward to whether that’s a weekend in Rome or Lisbon or to our favourite Island in Spain (Fuerteventura) where we spend our Christmas breaks.
My husband works in the tourism industry so a quick overnight to one of the beautiful locations in Ireland happens frequently too.
What does the HR landscape look like in Ireland?
The HR market has become much more established in recent years. There are exceptionally talented HR specialists on the contracting and permanent market – individuals who can impact a business in a reasonably short space of time.
“The HR market was impacted heavily by Covid and this has allowed a lot of progressive HR candidates to demonstrate how they can truly make an impact.”
The appetite for talent development, performance management and succession planning is strong. Many businesses within the small-medium enterprise (SME) space are starting their succession planning when it’s urgent and close to retirement time, so this is an area that needs a more proactive approach.
The HR market was impacted heavily by Covid and in my opinion this has allowed a lot of progressive HR candidates to demonstrate how they can truly make an impact.
Hybrid working is the new way of working in Ireland, and this has had an impact both positively and negatively. Not all leaders are equipped to manage remote teams and require significant development to ensure success.
Companies value my advice around the strategy and engagement that a solid HR specialist can bring to the table. Senior HR professionals are required to understand the business strategy and align their HR strategy to ensure success.
“The self-employed contracting market has grown and become much more populated in the last three to five years.”
There are some talent gaps though. The talent acquisition, reward, workforce planning and talent management space can be difficult to secure enough available talent for organisations. Organisational psychologists are also limited in today’s market, so if this is a requirement for an OD role the choice can be limited.
There is still a unionised element to many public sector/government and semi-state organisations, however HR specialists with strong industrial relations experience are not always readily available.
The self-employed contracting market has grown and become much more populated in the last three to five years too. There is a strong professional HR contract market, but some companies haven’t availed of this and do see it as a high-cost product.
In my experience, HR career contractors are high impact in a business and can deliver strategic projects, thus allowing permanent employees to focus on operational delivery, so it’s money well spent!
There has been a strong focus on work-life balance in the last few years and companies are more inclined to offer four-day weeks or 100% work-from-home opportunities. This has increased the talent pool and reduced the need for a geographical match when seeking HR talent.
What are the greatest challenges and opportunities there for businesses?
There are challenges are around talent shortage and the impact of not having roles filled within the forecasted timeframe. This can affect business growth and development when trying to deliver a people strategy. Securing talent is essential, so this can be a massive issue for companies by potentially delaying operational progress.
“Ways of working have changed so dramatically in the last few years, impacting how we engage our employees in today’s world.”
Leadership development is a major focus for a lot of organisations along with attraction and retention of talent. Employee engagement is also a huge challenge right now. Ways of working have changed so dramatically in the last few years, impacting how we engage our employees in today’s world.
And for HR professionals?
Talent management, attraction and retention is a big challenge right now, as well as leadership development and talent development.
When HR professionals are considering moving roles into or within Ireland, better career progression opportunities and work-life balance continue to be the main drivers.