Talent Leaders – Caren Schwannauer

October 9, 2023

Caren is one of the Co-Founders at Staq. Staq is working with Start-ups and Scale-ups in Ireland and across Europe to help them build and scale their teams.

She started her career in Sales working for a Fintech Start-up in Ireland and discovered her passion for working with Entrepreneurs and disruptive companies. She experienced how difficult it is for Start-ups to navigate through the talent and recruitment space while they are trying to build a product, raise investment, and find new clients and partners.

With Staq she and her two Co-Founders Ivana Leto and Mark Kelly want to change the way Recruitment partners work with Start-ups and Scale-ups by offering tailored and flexible solutions and help them navigate the Start-up landscape by making introductions to partners and investors.


What do you think is the key to being successful as a Talent leader in the current business environment?

Understanding your clients’ needs and how macroeconomic trends influence hiring processes, plans, and timelines. Especially when working with SME’s or startups it’s important to understand how economic downturns can influence the decision-making process and therefore their recruitment plans. If you want to be successful in the talent space you need to know how to manage expectations with candidates and you can only do that when you understand how your clients work and how external factors influence their decision-making process.

As a Talent leader, what is your key advice for managing your teams and people?

Listen to your team. They will tell you what they need to be successful and stay motivated. Every team is unique and has different dynamics so while it can be helpful to take inspiration from outside your organisation some ideas might not work for your
people. Bring ideas to your teams but also create an environment where they bring ideas to you and where you evaluate and implement new methods together.

What do you think is the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity facing Talent and Recruitment?

Like any other industry, I believe AI technologies will have a big impact on Talent and Recruitment. I think parts of the recruitment process like sourcing will be made more efficient and more targeted. I also believe that with increased AI interactions the personal touch and human contact will become more important during a recruitment journey.

What is the next stage of transformation for Talent Acquisition and Recruitment?

Less a transformation of the industry but I hope we can see a change in the perception of Recruiters. When I started in the industry I was genuinely shocked by how bad the image of a Recruiter is to most people. Often enough Recruiters are seen as annoying,
pushy etc. Many new agencies make an effort to change that and actually advise and support their clients and candidates so they step away from this outdated very transactional approach that only cares about numbers, fees, and KPI’s. I also hope that companies start to value internal recruitment teams more. Some companies think that “anybody” could do Recruitment and don’t understand the skills someone might need to be a good recruiter but finding, qualifying, and hiring talent is hard. You need to have technical skills for sourcing, marketing skills to attract talent, sales skills to convince people about the position and the ability to understand new topics quickly if you’re hiring for different roles.

How do you think external staffing solutions will partner and work with companies as we move forward?

I think fractional and embedded recruitment solutions are the way forward for many companies. We’ve seen many Recruitment teams being laid off at the start of the year when hiring efforts suddenly dropped and decreased. To avoid that companies will be looking for solutions that are more flexible than having an in-house team but at the same time more cost-effective than contingency recruitment.’s Talent Leader Series seeks to share the view of leaders in the Talent space.

By sharing the thoughts and insights of these leaders will hopefully help the Talent industry as a whole as it explores new opportunities and faces new challenges.

If you are interested in participating please contact for more information.

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