Kim Aherne is a Senior Talent Advisor and joined VMware in 2017, initially working in London, United Kingdom, and is now based in Cork, Ireland. Kim has held six roles since joining VMware, ranging from sourcing to technical recruiter for the AMER region, and then recruiting for sales, presales, and marketing roles for the EMEA region. Currently, Kim has a new role as Social Media and Communications Partner with the Employment Brand team. With over 10 year’s experience in recruitment, Kim shares her career journey and top tips for anyone considering becoming a technical recruiter.
I’ve been in recruitment for almost 10 years, working across multiple industries such as recruiting governesses in London, hospitality staff, and now cloud SaaS with VMware. Looking back on my career journey so far, the three elements of hard work, faith, and visualization have played a big role. I knew if I worked hard, took a leap of faith (like when I moved to London without a job), and believed in myself, I could achieve great things in my career.
In university, I studied English and Psychology, and when I completed my BA degree, I worked at Specsavers Opticians full-time as an Optical Assistant for two years. I then felt like I was stuck in a rut, so I decided to travel, visiting Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand for a year.
Returning to University to Study HR
When I came home, I got an admin role in a dental practice and subsequently decided it was time for a career change. I was interested in HR because I thought it would be an area where I could help make a difference, as well as helping to create a culture where employees could thrive. I knew that with my BA degree in English and Psychology, it would be hard to transition into HR because it was quite general, so I decided to study for an HR degree at night. Completing this while working long hours full time was incredibly tough, but I don’t regret it for a second as it led to where I am in my career now.
Moving to London, The Start of My Recruitment Career
After finishing my HR degree in 2013, Ireland was in the middle of the post-Celtic Tiger recession with limited opportunities, so I moved to London to pursue my HR career. I was fortunate enough to find a role quickly in a recruitment agency, and my new career began! I had always planned to focus more on HR in my career but realized that I had a passion for recruitment, so I never left this space!
My first recruitment role was a huge source of learning for me. I learned how to manage seriously high volume, high administrative workloads with demanding high profile and V.I.P. clients as I navigated recruiting for the private household sector. The pressure is on when hiring folks who work in people’s homes and look after their children, as candidates must have great interpersonal skills and experience to work in family homes.
When I first started at VMware, I began as a sourcer across our business functions in the AMER region, including, I.T., Finance, HR, Strategy, Deal Management – and more! I then began to specialize in technical sourcing for our business I.T. functions, which meant navigating the complexity of the domains across those areas.
I was delighted to be promoted to Senior Technical Sourcer after a couple of years, and then I moved into a full-cycle role as a Technical Recruiter. I was thrilled to then be promoted to Senior Technical Recruiter. I have also completed rotations in new geographies, such as recruiting for sales and marketing roles for the EMEA market. I am on a social media and communications rotation currently which is fun as I get to develop new skills which also helps me with recruitment.
When I joined VMware, it was a learning curve as I had never recruited for a technology company before, so I had a lot to absorb. However, I persevered and eventually felt comfortable recruiting across a multitude of roles. I learned that when recruiting for business operations, all roles are different, so first, I had to do my own research on the role before I ever started sourcing or reviewing candidate resumes.
I enjoyed recruiting for complex, niche roles such as Hybris Developer or Anaplan Solution Architect but I also had more common roles such as Java Developer or Salesforce Developer. When I recruited for other business functions, I might have roles such as Order Analyst, HRIS Analyst, Finance Manager, HR Manager, or Account Executive, and the list goes on!
Kim’s Tips for A Career in Recruitment
If you are considering becoming a recruiter, here are my top tips:
- Try applying for roles with recruitment agencies to begin with – they are often more open to giving rookies a chance.
- If you want to work as a recruiter in the technology industry, try applying for agencies that recruit for technology positions so that you can learn as much as possible and then easily move in-house in the future.
- HR/ recruitment degrees or courses such as CIPD show that you have a passion for the career you are trying to enter.
- Be open to more junior roles to get started; for example, start as a recruitment coordinator and learn from the ground up with a view to moving into a recruitment or HR role down the line.
Recruiting at a company like VMware is super rewarding for me, as I am helping hiring managers to find great talent to help us with our SaaS transformation journey! Additionally, I have never worked at a company with such an amazing culture before, it is truly something very special and difficult to quantify. Career changes can be daunting but make a plan, map out the journey and take a leap of faith!