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Industry Insights

Building a Business in the US

New york skyline

Picture by Michael Discenza  

Meeting Brendan

I had visited America twice before on summer holidays, exploring New York in 2010 and Chicago in 2013. It had always been my plan to return after graduating, but this time, there seemed to be more on offer.

I met Brendan Carroll, the MD, for a coffee at the Anner Hotel in Thurles around midSeptember 2016. Funnily enough, I had spent the day making hurleys and just managed to rush home to shower and change before racing to Thurles. Brendan, whom I knew through the GAA and Thurles Golf Club, ran a recruitment company in Dublin. I thought he might have strong connections in the US to help me find a job.


How it started

Arriving in New York in 2017, truth be told, I knew very little about business, recruitment, or even life in general. I was 25 and had just graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology with a degree in Software Engineering. I was so undecided about my future that I spent four months making hurleys in my hometown of Borrisoleigh, Tipperary, with Bourke Sports.

We chatted for an hour or two about everything and anything, and jokingly, I quoted my dad saying,

“If Brendan was any good, he’d give you a job himself.”

For some reason, something clicked with Brendan, and he said, “I’ve got an idea. I’ll give you a buzz later today. I want to run something past Paddy and Vinny,” our other two founders.
Later that day, while I was back at Bourkes sanding down a few new hurleys, Brendan called and said, “We are going to give this a go.” I replied, “What do you mean?” as I had no idea what he was talking about.

“We’re going to open an office in New York, and you’re going to take it on.”

One week later…

One week later, I landed in New York with a phone, a laptop, and a hand-me-down suit from my brother. Initially, Brendan spent time with me explaining E-Frontiers’ offerings, how we positioned ourselves, and ultimately, why a specialist recruitment firm could be successful.

It was my first dive into the world of LinkedIn and networking, understanding who was connected to whom and how it all worked.

The beginning

From there, I began meeting people in the city as much as I could, some of Brendan’s connections and some new connections I found through Irish networks in New York and the GAA. Joining the IBO(Irish Business Organization) was a good move for networking. It was great to meet people, share my story, and develop my pitch, even if the person I was speaking with wasn’t interested. My main focus was connecting clients we had in Ireland, the UK and Spain with opportunities in the US. I checked to see their operations in NYC and tried to get a warm introduction to a hiring manager.

Then, I would try to meet the right person here, share a bit about my story and E-Frontiers, and hopefully win some business. It was a great personal learning curve. Growing up, I was always a bit of a class clown, loud and always with something to say, but in more formal settings, I tended to be quiet as a mouse.

How it’s going

Over the past eight years, we’ve stuck to the basics i.e. making connections and meeting the right people who understand what we do. We’re not competing with large recruitment firms; that would be a foolish strategy.
Instead, we provide quality professional services to save time and become trusted partners of our clients.

A partner is someone you can rely on to solve a problem. Just as companies turn to lawyers or financial advisors, we want to position ourselves as trusted partners in hiring top talent.

From 2017 to 2024

Now, we have a team of four in our 5th Ave New York office. We live and breathe the business every day. The mood in the office shifts with the smallest losses and the biggest wins.

Recruitment is a game of rejection; statistics show that only one in every eight submissions for a role ends up being a hire. That means seven personal relationships with candidates where the outcome is unsuccessful.

“Recruitment is about resilience and rolling
with the ups and downs. Those who can
manage and navigate through it succeed.”
E-Frontiers US Offering

Our main focus in the US at the minute lies in 3 main areas: Technology (roles including Desktop Support, Network Engineers, Developers, and Engineering), Fintech Consulting (roles including Business Analysts, Project Managers, and Solution Architects), and finally Construction, an area that has grown massively in the past few years due to the large Irish
contingent involved in the industry here in the US.

Looking ahead, we hope for further growth and the building of a US team and business. We believe in what we’re doing and the solutions we provide.


The author of the article is Tommy Kavanagh, Head of Operations at E-Frontiers US. [email protected]

author avatar
Cristina Rafael

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