Meet the Corvus Team | Gareth Stirling
15th Aug 2018
Gareth has been in recruitment for 7 years and specialises in web development recruitment across the UK. Find out in this exclusive interview about how Gareth got into recruitment to market insights on changing jobs in the digital industry today.
My very first job was in IT Support with a company called Ri-interactive. I worked with Ri-interactive on a part-time basis while I was studying. I was covering helpdesk support as they were primarily an IT support business at that time. When I joined the company on a full-time basis during my placement year we decided to offer web design as a service to our clients, so Ri-interactive Media was formed.
I continued building this up during my final year at university and was able to use a major web project we secured as part of my dissertation for university. When I graduated the founder of Ri-interactive made me a partner in the business. At one time we had a full-time developer and graphic designer in the team plus one or two placement students. We used a PHP contractor for some of the more complicated back-end work.
This experience helped me immensely when I started in IT recruitment in 2010. Now that I specialise in Web Development/Design recruitment, it built my credibility with clients and candidates.
What would be your dream job?
I love to travel and visit new countries so if I could get paid to do that then that would be my dream job. If I could rewind time I would go back to before travel blogs became so popular. I would finance my travels until I had enough followers to be able to monetise the blog and then that would pay for all my travel requirements! Ah to dream.
My girlfriend and I did a mini tour of the US recently. We flex into San Francisco, then on to Las Vegas before flying over to San Diego. We then drove up to coast to Los Angeles before flying to New York for a couple of days before we had to go home. It was a first-class experience as I had always wanted to see San Francisco and New York - I will go back again someday.
I never really considered South America as a travel option until a friend of mine spent 6 weeks there. He is an avid SnapChat user and he had some remarkable stories to tell about Brazil, Argentina and Peru. In particular, the Machu Picchu hike looked amazing and is now definitely on the bucket list.
Who do you look up to in business?
There is no one specific I would look up to. Anyone who can come up with a simple but effective idea within a particular market sector and is able to make a success of it is worth admiring. Look at Instagram for instance. They began in 2010 as a free mobile app to help users share pictures. Within two months they had a million registered users, 10 million in a year, and ultimately 800 million as of September 2017. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 for approximately one billion dollars in cash and stock.
Another example would be a local company called Boojum. It was formed back in 200 John and Karen Blisard who had no previous experience in the restaurant trade. They were originally from America and when they moved to Belfast they were unable to get a Burrito at that time. So, they decided to launch their own burrito bar and base it on a popular Mexican food chain in the states.
The success of Boojum was enormous and they ended up with five branches: two in Belfast, two in Dublin and one in Galway before selling the business in 2015.
How do you get the best out of your candidates?
I provide a consultative approach to all of the candidates I work with. I use my experience as a former web developer to tease out exactly what a developer seeks in a new role and what would really entice them to make a move.
The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open no matter what stage in the process they are. If they are just considering a move I only highlight positions that are relevant to their expectations and if they are actively involved in a process, I try to keep them updated as much as possible.
What has changed in the Web Development Industry in the last 5 years?
Web Development has become a lot more specialised that is used to be. When I was working in the industry you were expected to be able to work on the front and back end on an application while providing direction on the overall design. Now developers tend to specialise on either the front or the back end and web design is a specialism in its own right.
UX (usability) design has become very important over the past couple of years as companies understand the importance of the end user when designing a website or application. It is something that became prevalent in the rest of the UK several years ago and it’s good to see that Belfast has finally caught up.
E-commerce companies and agencies are also on the rise. Obviously, the big player here is still WiggleCRC but there are more companies starting to make an impact in this sector. A number of web solutions agencies are very busy with eCommerce projects and the need for Magento and digital marketing specialists are higher than it has ever been.
In Belfast, we have seen a surge of local tech start-ups that have had real success and will continue to grow throughout 2018. I love working with this type of company as the tech is interesting and that alone attracts developers to get involved.
What’s the most sought-after skill for a Software Developer today?
In 2018, we hope to help address this for the web development sector by partnering with local web specialists to help tell their story on how they came to work in web development and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
What’s your top tip for today’s Web Development professionals who are thinking about changing their job?
If you’re in the web development industry and thinking of a new move, why not get in touch for a chat on firstname.lastname@example.org or 028 9091 8528