Boards.ie has taken the country by storm, becoming Ireland’s largest discussion forum and online community. It has most definitely made its mark in Irish society, being founded in 1998. It is a branch of the Distilled Media group and a sister company of Daft.ie, Adverts.ie and The Journal. This website has consistently taken a spot in the Top 20 Internet sites in the world for the Irish internet audience with over 2.2 million people visiting the site each month. There is definitely something for everyone on this site, with 17,000 new conversations started each month. It is a fantastic place to get a genuine and honest opinion on a variety of topics – whether you need an opinion on a good place to watch the GAA matches abroad or a heated debate on whether “the Western World is anti-man?”
realTime Recruitment are fortunate to partner with Boards.ie and Sean Coughlan, CEO, who has just celebrated his 1 year anniversary with the company. The close knit team is growing rapidly and Sean gave us some insights into his career and his path to success.
Sean began his technology career in Baltimore Technologies in 1998 which grew to be a very successful Irish Corporation. In 2001 he continued his career in IT joining a subsidiary of Siemens.He then changed tack setting up Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, an organisation which has invested in 169 start-up social entrepreneurs to date, who in turn have changed the life of 250,000 Irish people for the better.
What are the biggest challenges of your career?
“One of the real skill sets that a person in a leadership position struggles with is to combine/hold two very important things. Firstly, you need to have a strong vision/idea of where you want to be. To be an effective leader, you need to know where you want to go with the group that you are leading. You need to be visionary but you also need to be really focused in excellence in execution – if you don’t have both you just become a dreamer.
What is the most important quality when hiring a new team member?
“There will always be a set of technical requirements when hiring someone and it is very unlikely that you will find someone who ticks every box technically. A person’s ability to be able to upskill/learn and use their previous experience and knowledge to their advantage as an employee is essential - openness and a hunger to learn is critical. The candidate also needs to be a good cultural fit. They need to gel with the team and company. If a candidate isn’t a suitable fit, this creates friction and there is a waste of energy focusing on the friction rather than getting the job at hand done”
What makes Dublin such a great place to work?
“Dublin in one of the epicentres of the technology sector worldwide because of our positon in the EU and our great talent pool. It makes it very attractive for companies to set up here. Then there is the soft element too – the culture. Dublin is a great place to live and work – there is a great buzz, it’s accessible and it is easy to get to know Dublin.”
What is the best advice you can give a person looking to start a career in IT?
“The IT sector is buoyant. Therefore, there are a huge amount of opportunities out there. It can become tempting to go for what seems like the most lucrative opportunities in your career – what pays the most or positions that put you at a senior level. To build a really good career in IT, you need to be strategic and long term. People that get to senior positions in brilliant companies always focused on what motivates and stimulates them. Getting a good grounding and knowledge base will lead them to be snapped up later in their career.”
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“I’ve had a very interesting and not linear career path. I’ve been a researcher at a University, I’ve been a teacher, I’ve been a start-up entrepreneur in Turkey, I’ve been in technology, I’ve been a civil servant for 4 months, I’ve set up social entrepreneur Ireland and I’m doing Boards.ie now. Each place has contributed to where I am. When I left school originally, I became a trainee actuary – someone after 3 months gave me the best advice I’ve ever got and he told me to get out of actuarial!”
What does success mean to you?
“Success for me from a career perspective means being in a position where I can help lead and contribute to building a really great business that provides something positive for the users of our services and products. A commercially successful businesses for me, is a growing business and a company where our employees and members have a really great experience in using our products and are inspired and get other people involved.
From a personal level, success for me is finding opportunities to allow me to do the sort of things that interest, stimulate and excite me and to do as well as I can at them – I don’t have to be better than everyone else at them I just have to fulfil my own potential at whatever I am doing or what I am looking at.”