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Meet Michelle Magner and Alison Byrne

08 Dec 2017

Brightwater’s Talent Acquisition Specialists Michelle Magner & Alison Byrne give a little insight into their own backgrounds and how they came to develop their careers in (and love) recruitment!

What is your educational background?

Alison: I always thought I wanted to be a primary school teacher but I didn’t like the idea of working with kids all day – I suppose I wanted to have conversations with people and wanted to be friends with the people I worked with. So… last minute I changed my CAO form to Business & Entrepreneurship in IADT, just because I thought it was broad and gave me the chance to go into a couple of things.

Michelle: I have an LLB in Law, French & Politics from the University of Limerick and an LLM in International Trade & International Economics from Trinity College.

I chose the LLB because that’s where my friends were going and it was the most attractive course. I didn’t know what I wanted, I thought that was as good a reason as any to do it. As it turned out, it was a great decision! I loved the French but it was mostly the variety. I get bored easily…

I did my Masters because I still didn’t know what I wanted and the easiest thing was to keep studying.

What was your first job?

Michelle: My first job was at a bar in Cork, called The Newport. It was great fun! They gave me the keys to open which was great for building a sense of responsibility. I made so many friends there. In fact, one of the people I met there did a reading at my wedding and I read at hers!

Another of my first jobs was as a projectionist. I love film so it wasn’t just a job. It was fantastic to be part of a tradition, a bit of history that not many people will get to experience. I’m very proud of that time in my life. I did, however, accidentally set a film on fire but I didn’t even damage the trailer and it happens quite a lot – make sure you put that in!

Alison: I was a cleaner for a large sporting venue. It was DISGUSTING, I hated it. Late nights, early mornings, cleaning toilets after concerts, sporting events and conferences…it was horrible.

More than anything it pushed me to decide never to do anything like that again and made me want to find something I genuinely like.

What was your first professional job?

Michelle: It was as a Judicial Researcher in the High Court. I got to work with some of the sharpest minds of our time and it was an honour to work with people so high in their career, that were so educated but still so human. Then you go home and see the case you were working on discussed on the news - very exciting!

It gave me the ability to deal with any work situation, nothing compares to the pressure of that job - you are affecting people’s lives every day.

Alison: I recruited doctors and nurses for a healthcare agency on a contract basis. It’s actually where I met my best friends – even to this day, even though most of us have moved on. It was a very small company and at the start I didn’t enjoy it. It was strict, everything was monitored and I felt I didn’t have that much control over what I did.

But after a while I started to get a buzz reaching targets and really grew with the company. I got more responsibility as time went on.

I loved the relationship building side of recruitment – really getting to know my clients and after a while of dealing with them I got to know them and loved working with them!

What was your impressions of recruitment before being part of it?

Alison: I didn’t really know, just kind of thought it was matching companies with people. I actually thought you had to pay the recruiter if you got the job – so it was a shock when I actually started working in the industry.

Michelle: I had a lot of the common misconceptions about recruitment. I thought it was helping people get a job or finding their path, that it was just sending CVs. It’s definitely not that but I wasn’t put off by what I thought it was.

How did you get into recruitment?

Alison: I just had it in my head. I didn’t get a recruitment job I interviewed for before and ever since then I really wanted it. Once I get something in my head I have to go for it! I interviewed again with a different company and I was offered the job on the same day as my interview – so it was very fast moving.

As I said, I didn’t love it at first but as my responsibilities grew after a while, I loved it! It’s all about the buzz – it’s not like anything else – as I said I made lots of friends there too!

Michelle: A friend sent me an ad for a Legal Recruitment Consultant position at Brightwater. I liked the idea of staying in a legal job – I thought it would be ‘law light’ in a way. I applied and was called in to an assessment centre. Although I loved it I knew pure recruitment wasn’t for me and the directors I met afterwards saw that too. However, they did say that they would like to work with me and would contact me in the future. And they did!

What’s your role as Talent Acquisition Specialist at Brightwater like?

Alison: The culture is so different. I’ve learned it’s not just about the CV! You have to look at the person in front of you and their personality and motivations – things you can’t really see on a CV or a cover letter. I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life. You can’t judge a book by its cover.


What’s your dream job?

Michelle: I know for sure that it’s something where I get to be in contact with people, that allows creativity and personality to shine through and recruitment absolutely is that.

If you think you have what it takes then call Michelle or Alison on +353 1 662 1000 or email [email protected] or [email protected]