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Christine und Hagen Graf
POwer Lunch

An Irish startup wants tech workers to go for lunch and come back with jobs

Everyone’s gotta eat, right?

IT’S A LOW-TECH ploy for people who spend their days neck-deep in software and gadgetry – taking the job hunt out of the office and to the café table.

Dublin-based recruitment startup LunchIT has launched with the fresh approach, which it hopes will be another weapon in the hunt for the best talent for smaller firms struggling to compete with multinational rivals.

“IT professionals have more clout in interviews, they nearly dictate their terms, rather than other jobs where employers are in control,” LunchIT managing director Owen O’Mahony told

In a similar way to most job sites, potential candidates respond to employers’ listings through the site. However rather than connecting for a formal interview, LunchIT’s approach is to broker a low-key meeting over an obligation-free lunch or coffee.

O’Mahony said because few good IT candidates were ever out of work, it was often difficult for them to slip out of the office to talk to potential employers. But the process became a little easier with the informal touch.

The site, which launched last week, already has over 2,300 IT professionals signed up and around a dozen companies ready to list.

We have literally only just started so I think those numbers are pretty good,” O’Mahony said. ”There is nobody doing what we are doing at the moment and the feedback has been very positive.”

O’Mahony expected LunchIT to appeal mainly to startups and SMEs, which often found it the most difficult to lure skilled workers.

A recent Morgan McKinley employment monitor identified a 40% rise in professional job openings compared to a year earlier – but a 12% decrease in those looking for work in those roles.

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Those in IT jobs, who have enjoyed significant pay rises despite the average earnings for workers across all industries falling in recent years, were identified as being among the most in-demand employees.

But many smaller firms were also struggling to recruit good staff as they were forced to compete with major employers like Google and Facebook for talent.

First the UK, then the world

O’Mahony started LunchIT with his wife Helen, who came up with the concept during her frustrating hunt for a family-friendly job when she returned to the workforce after leaving her position with Vodafone to raise three children.

He is also involved in several other Irish firms and startups, including as a director of transport software company Stratum and car-sharing network FlightCar.

LunchIT currently operates with a team of five based in Dublin’s Guinness Enterprise Centre, however O’Mahony is hoping to have a funding drive completed “in the next few weeks” to fuel its expansion to all the major English-speaking markets.

“If that goes according to plan, our next focus will be going to the UK and we already have someone interested in partnering with us in the US,” he said.

I believe there is a big market out there for us, the feedback has been very positive for both companies and employees.”

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How it works

  • Candidates can sign up for the site for free, while employers pay a minimum €199 to advertise a job
  • Once recruiters sift through applicants they can either organise an informal meet-up themselves, or let LunchIT take care of the process – including organising open days to meet multiple candidates

This month, as part of’s ongoing startup and small and medium enterprise (SME) focus, we are looking at recruitment and building your career.

To view other stories from our collection, click here.

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