I’ve been a founder or co-founder in Internet companies for almost 20 years. I set up a Web development company in 1999. Sold it. Made millions and lost them again a year later when the dotcom bubble burst. I then co-founded a company called fonepool which was sold to Jersey Telecom. And co-founded Upstart Games, a mobile games company in 2002 with my good friends Barry O’Neill and Hiroshi Okamoto. We sold the company to a Chinese media group which was, as they say in China, interesting. I’ve been running Zartis.com since 2009 and I’m 100% focused on that.
What does Zartis do?
We provide “full stack recruitment” for the tech sector. We work with clients in three ways. Firstly, we provide a curated marketplace for tech talent and employers. We showcase pre-screened candidates to clients we work with for one week. The employers can review candidate profiles, including CVs, salary expectations and so on. Companies then reach out to candidates and request interviews. It’s the most transparent way for recruitment to work and we’re effectively removing the recruiter from much of the process.
We also work with clients on retained search and contingency basis. If a company needs a specific skill we’ll find them and introduce them to the company. We have an office in Madrid with three people working full time on sourcing software developers for Irish clients.
Finally, we provide what’s called recruitment process outsourcing where we will work with a client to fill all of their roles for them. We do this with Ryanair on their Labs project. We’ve placed close to 50 people in there in less than a year right up to CTO.
— Zartis (@Zartis) March 30, 2015
How are you different?
We develop our own software which is unusual in the recruitment sector. We act ethically which isn’t something most people think of when they think of recruitment. And we constantly innovate. For example, we were the first company in the world to use Twitter Lead Cards for recruitment.
When was the company launched?
How much are you based in Cork, in relation to the other offices?
Most of us are in Cork. We have three people in Madrid, one in Berlin and we’re opening in Vancouver in April.
— Zartis (@Zartis) March 18, 2015
2014 seemed like a good year, biggest successes? Anything you would do differently?
The three big successes of 2014 were launching Zartis.com, the marketplace for tech talent; signing an exclusive recruitment deal with Michael O’Leary to build out the team at Ryanair Labs; and hiring some really great people for our own team.
The only thing I’d do different is be more successful in London, something we haven’t yet managed to do.
Any changes for 2015, and what are you aiming for this year?
Grow our business deeper in Ireland and make our new offices work.
What are you long term plans for your product / company?
Grow it day by day. The recruitment industry is changing dramatically. It’s really exciting to be in the midst of that change. It’s a challenging sector but an enjoyable and potentially very rewarding one.
Why Cork, what’s great about working / living in Cork?
Most of our clients are outside of Cork but there are great local companies, both indigenous and multinational. It’s a short drive to Dublin and a one hour flight to London.
Cork is also cheaper than living in Dublin and there’s a great quality of life. Very few cities offer a vibrant tech scene within one hour of amazing beaches.
What are the challenges of growing a company out of Cork, rather than Dublin / London / Madrid etc?
The challenge in any small city is the availability of talent, finance, and local clients. We’re bootstrapping now so we’re not raising finance. We’ve opened offices in Madrid, Berlin and Vancouver so staff can work from any of those locations. We already work remotely with most clients. Being based in a small city forces us to look outwards and maybe that’s a good thing.
Predictions for the future of recruiting?
There are three very big themes impacting the recruitment of professional workers. Technology is changing the way people get hire and get hired. Most people we see getting hired never even applied for a new job, they’re “passive candidates” contacted by internal or external recruiters. Secondly, international mobility is on the rise. There are approximately 260 million migrant workers in the world. If they were a country they’d be the fourth largest. There are half a billion people within a short flight of Ireland who don’t need a visa to work here.
We’re witnessing a once in a century migration change from the South and East of Europe to the North and West. Finally, there’s going to be an increasing shortage of skilled professionals in IT for the foreseeable future. This shifts the balance of power to the employees and changes the dynamics of recruitment for everybody.
Life / work balance?
We don’t do the crazy startup thing with sleeping bags under desks. There’s a great work life balance in the company which makes everybody more productive and happier in the long run. Almost everybody here does a sport which is really important.
What do you do for fun?
Mind four children.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
I have a little used underwater metal detector. Does that count?