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Brona Cathcart...Bringing Global Experience back to Northern Ireland at MCS

30 January 2017

MCS Group was founded with a view to improving standards and setting a new benchmark for quality within the Northern Ireland recruitment industry.

There are a few key elements that make this vision a reality: It starts with a commitment to deep specialisation in the company’s core disciplines; IT & Digital, Technical & Engineering and Professional Services. MCS has built its expertise and market knowledge through many years spent working in partnership with clients which range from locally owned start-ups and SMEs to major global organisations.

MCS Group combines the focus on specialisation and knowledge with great people. MCS Group professional recruiters are exactly that, professionals, all with experience gained in industry. They apply their deep knowledge of their industries and markets with an ethical and energetic approach geared towards delivering results, consistently.

Brona Cathcart, recently appointed as Head of Professional Services at MCS Group discusses her background and what it is like to work for MCS Group.

What is your role?

As Head of Professional Services at MCS Group, I manage and support a team of consultants who specialise in the recruitment of Accountancy, Financial Services, Sales and Marketing, HR and Legal roles. After years working at a senior level in HR I certainly understand the importance and value of finding and developing talent, so I enjoy getting to know a range of clients and supporting them to do the same.

Tell us about yourself

I completed my Masters in Management at the University of Glasgow and returned to Belfast where I worked with Barry Smyth for a year doing Legal recruitment.  After a successful year, I was relocated to another part of the business in Dubai. A challenging but highly rewarding project, it gave me the confidence and drive to push myself into new avenues, from there I ended up moving into the world of HR and completed my CIPD. Before joining MCS I was Group Head of HR for two fast growing companies within the Emirates Group, the exposure of working within a global organisation and the learnings has been amazing. Recruiting and retaining the best talent was always a core focus throughout my career, so my return to Belfast and into recruitment to support local companies and their growth made sense.

What brought you back to NI?

After leaving Dubai I moved to London and enjoyed travelling home much more frequently. With every visit, I noticed how much Northern Ireland was changing, Belfast was buzzing and the jobs landscape had changed quite dramatically, from a standard of living point of view it was time to go home. I started my potential job search by speaking to Barry in the Autumn and here I am!  Joining MCS Group allows me to work across a wide range of industries keeping up to date with ongoing Talent and HR challenges.

Can you describe a typical day at MCS?

In short No, it is always different, but I make time each day for every team member to ensure that they are fully supported. Recruitment is an impactful job in the corporate world, its two-fold. Firstly, you can change a candidate’s life by matching them to a fantastic job and career, secondly you can truly add value to a business and its success by a single great hire. I spend a lot of time advising clients beyond their recruitment requirements, coming from a highly competitive market in London I have good experience across Employer Brand Awareness and Talent Development. What I love about MCS is that as well as the day to day recruitment activities, all our consultants have outreach and CSR objectives, building relationships in their local communities, connecting and supporting young talent and supporting the NI skills programme is something we encourage all our teams to do.

Most enjoyable part of the job?

The team at MCS are brilliant, they are truly dedicated to their customers, both candidates and employers. After many years in HR, my biggest frustration was working with recruitment consultants who didn’t listen or ask enough questions. It makes me very proud when I hear the team consulting with our clients and understanding their needs. Probably the most enjoyable part though is hearing newer team members deliver great news for the first time. It’s a fast paced, competitive environment, plenty of variety, for me working in recruitment has always felt like home.

What does the future hold for MCS?

We have ambitious plans to grow further and despite all sorts of uncertainty we continue to see great possibilities in the market. In real terms, we have outgrown our existing premises so are on the move, seeking the space to double the business over the next 3-5 years as well as a new venture outside N.I.

The MCS team are driven by the desire to be recognised as the best in our market, so will continue our focus on quality of our delivery across all our markets. Our business is built on core customer service values and we will continue to develop our client and candidate base of local and international players further, we have amazing clients with exciting plans all dependant on getting the best talent.  

As the competition for jobs accelerates globally we need to showcase our amazing skills pool here in Northern Ireland, MCS will continue to play a major part in inward investment projects supporting the great work of Invest NI. Lastly MCS is about people, we are so proud of our team here and we want to be an employer of choice within the specialist recruitment sector offering great professional development for specialists who take a long-term view on career progression and want to grow in this exciting industry.


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