I switched my accountancy career to become a recruiter and I love it


How does a qualified accountant end up in a dream job? And how do you join the team?

Jay Davitt is a qualified chartered accountant who started his career working in a medium-sized firm in Dublin where he qualified and subsequently moved to Grant Thornton and then into industry.   

Now working with Morgan McKinley as Team Leader of the accounting and finance recruitment desk he uses his knowledge of the industry to help other finance and accounting professionals find their dream role and to advise clients on talent and relevant market insights.

Here is he shares his story.

After graduating with a BA. in Accounting from Waterford Institute of Technology, I secured my first role with a tax and business advisory firm. I qualified as a chartered accountant in 2012 and moved to Grant Thornton as an audit senior to develop my audit skills. After spending five years in practice I made the move into industry to widen my experience.

What made you consider recruitment as a career?

In late 2013 I decided to pack my bags and make the move to Perth, Australia. Finding an accountancy role proved very difficult! The mining industry had taken a slight downturn so active hiring was no longer on the agenda. I was on a one-year working holiday visa which limited the number of companies interested in offering employment.

I was registered with a number of agencies throughout Perth and I developed a good relationship with a recruitment manager who approached me about becoming a recruitment consultant. I went through a rigorous hiring process which really gave me excellent insights into the role and the personal characteristics needed to succeed.

I was hooked from the get-go. There is a tremendous sense of being your own boss in recruitment which when coupled with a strong work ethic and a passion for people means the earning potential is unlimited.

What first attracted you to Morgan McKinley?

Following my return from Australia I started to work in a boutique finance recruitment agency.  After a two-year period with this company I decided it was time to make the move to a larger global company. 

My initial attraction to Morgan McKinley was the global presence and their reputation in the Irish recruitment market. With over 100 employees in Dublin, an eight-year winner of Great Places to Work and recognised as a Deloitte Best Managed company it felt like it was ticking all the boxes for me.

Can you describe a typical day?

There is no typical day in recruitment which is one of the reasons I love it. It is a fast-paced environment dealing with clients seeking the perfect candidate for an open role and with the professional job seeker looking to move on in their careers.  There is tremendous satisfaction in placing somebody in the right role for them and in solving a client’s hiring needs. Clients regularly wish to hire very niche skills sets or experience so the sourcing for that talent can be a long drawn-out process. 

The team culture at Morgan McKinley adds so much to my day. There is a fun and relaxed environment where people are highly supportive from senior leadership down. Learning and development are key fundamentals in Morgan McKinley allowing people to flourish and develop their career.

In April 2017 I was promoted to Team Lead which has given me the additional responsibility of team management and fostering team development. I recently completed a leadership development programme which was delivered to the management group over a period of six months.  This programme included modules on personal, professional and on the job leadership.

What do you like about recruitment the most?

I really enjoy having the freedom to run my own desk. The rewards in recruitment are 100% down to the hard work and effort which you put in. The Morgan McKinley brand and infrastructure provides all the support you need to be a high performing consultant.  

It is a people business in every sense of the word – our product is people.  This comes with highs and lows (unlike a static product) as people can change their minds and decide not to make a career move after a long recruitment process and lots of hard work on your part.  While this can be frustrating, chances are that candidates will decide to finally make their next move and you will be their first port of call (and possibly exclusively) if you have delivered an excellent service.  

How did your accountancy qualification and experience help you to succeed?

Making the move into recruitment had that initial fear factor to it. Would I succeed? Why am I leaving a profession I spent so long trying to excel in?

In reality my qualifications, previous experience and skill set have been the foundation of my success to date in my new career.  I have a full understanding of all roles in a finance function which gives my clients a feeling of dealing with a true expert and gives my candidates a sense of confidence that their career is in the hands of a finance professional.

I am experienced and confident in offering candidate’s advice on different career options and further studies while being comfortable in advising clients on the best fit for roles they are seeking to fill. Who knew three little letters (ACA) after my name would make such a difference!

Do your research, meet a few recruitment consultants to really get to understand if it is a job which will match your skill set, your personality and your strengths.  After that feel the fear and make the jump.

I am currently recruiting for my team so if you are considering a career move I would be delighted to hear from you.

Jay Davitt