How to attract industry leading talent in 7 steps

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Nova Leah | AIBF
Pictured above from left: Nova Leah Founders Peter Finnegan, Dr.Anita Finnegan & Fergal McCaffrey.

As staffing issues linger in the wake of the pandemic, it’s never been more important for your business to double down on recruitment.

In launching its plans for the tourism industry last month, Fáilte Ireland said that three in ten businesses in hospitality and tourism believe they face closure if recruitment and retention challenges are not resolved.

And it’s a sentiment shared across many industries…

Studies suggest that skilled workers in tech and pharma who had come to Ireland for work may have assessed their options upon the arrival of Covid-19 and decided to go abroad.

And Irish businesses looking to recruit skilled workers are finding that those with the skills here are in high demand – a recent statement from IrishJobs.ie referred to it as “the war on talent” in 2022.

But despite the fierce competition, CEO and Founder of Nova Leah Dr. Anita Finnegan says that Irish employers can still attract top talent if they are proactive in their approach.

Nova Leah is a world-leading cybersecurity solutions provider for medical device manufacturers.

The company was born out of Dr. Finnegan’s Lero-Supported PhD Research which saw her develop a methodology for securing connected medical devices.

Anita has been named Inspiring Business Leader Of The Year 2022 by The All-Ireland Business Foundation recognising the enormous impact of her work on the cybersecurity and medical device industries.

Nova Leah’s solutions, designed by industry experts, provide complete oversight of medical device vulnerabilities and threats and automate the management and mitigation of risk.

In the face of skill shortages in the cybersecurity industry, Novah Leah continues to retain and attract brilliant people

In a fascinating chat ahead of International Women’s Day, Dr. Finnegan shared with us her top 7 strategies for building a world-leading team…

1. Be the leader that people want to work with

When I think about leadership, I always think about the ultimate goal – which is to take either a product or business along a journey that ultimately leads to success.

That journey is highly dependent on your people and so you have to be wholly committed to encouraging and nurturing success in your teams.

And so if I was to focus on my own key attributes as a leader, it’s ensuring that their growth is nurtured during our journey.


Pictured above is Novah Leah CEO Dr. Anita Finnegan

2. Create a culture that will attract the best talent

We have a very de-siloed environment in Nova Leah.

We cross-train and transfer skillsets across different teams within the organisation and we give our people every opportunity to develop their skills through support and training.

Watching people take pride in their work and developing themselves in new ways to better perform is the best thing about being a business leader.

3. Communicate that culture effectively

Getting the message out there that Nova Leah is an organisation that gives its workers the tools they need to expand their horizons is vital.

And communicating that message and what the journey with Nova Leah will look like should actually begin before the hiring process.

We give a detailed brief directly to all of the recruitment agencies we work with to ensure that candidates understand our culture before they apply.

And we’ve enjoyed quite a bit of success from doing that.

4. Gather social proof

79% of consumers say they trust online reviews and testimonials just as much as they trust a friend’s recommendation.

Business All-Star Accreditation is fantastic third party recognition of our work and it is invaluable social proof of our service.

It communicates quality and distinguishes us as a market-leading brand that people want to work with.

5. Always hire people who are better than you in key areas

Everybody we hire is a specialist in their own unique field.

That’s something that we need in the organisation. And so the betterment of their skill set adds to the overall betterment of our teams and organisation which is the ultimate key to our success.

You have to invest in their further development and training.


Pictured above: The Nova Leah team at work

6. Decide what kind of person you want to hire

When it comes to attracting talent – I always think that people are generally of two mindsets.

You have one camp that is much more comfortable in very specific, or “pigeonholed” roles – they do their jobs and stay between the lines.

And then there are those that are willing to be a little bit riskier and they have that “roll your sleeves up” sense of work ethic and want to push their skillset to new areas.

Neither one of the above mindsets are “correct” but we certainly try to recruit the latter because we find they are the most passionate about their work and they tend to want to go on a journey with you.

7. Consider attitude as well as aptitude

We spend quite a lot of time during the interviewing process trying to identify what we call “a level of hunger”, and people who are very passionate about building their career aggressively.

It’s very easy to identify the people who are genuinely excited by the challenge vs those who are there for the paycheck at the end of the month.

For me, it’s always attitude over aptitude and finding talent with a growth mindset is key to building success.

The All-Ireland Business Foundation would like to thank Dr. Anita Finnegan for sharing her invaluable advice with our readers.

We are proud to support her fantastic work Nova Leah and look forward to our continued collaboration.