'You need a 'Triple A' to get past an interview: that's attitude, aptitude and ambition'
Denise Tormey President and co-founder of Planet 21
'When I was in school at the Mercy Convent in Tuam, everyone - from nuns to parents, to career guidance counsellors - were steering people down very traditional routes, which is how I ended up doing accountancy. The advice was to go for the safe 'job for life' option...
"But that's not what I would advise young people today.
"My experience over the last 17 years has taught me that potential employees have to have the right attitude, the right aptitude and ambition. They need that 'Triple A' to get past an interview - I don't care if they have a degree, and I really don't care what they have done before.
"That approach has paid off for us. One of our best engineers was a waiter when he came to us, having trained in History & Philosophy in university. Now he's one of the top unified communications engineers in Europe.
"Sometimes it's about being in the right place at the right time, and at the right age. In my case, because I'd used a PC at college, when I started in digital they immediately decided that I had to get involved in the technical end of things - so I ended up travelling over Europe working on SAP. At the time I knew nothing about SAP - but I learned quickly.
"The power of networking is huge. When I was much younger, along with a lot of my colleagues, I was much better on the blind ambition end of things than we were on networking. Now that I'm a bit more mature in business and in life, I can understand how important networking is.
"When it comes to sales, it is really a case of going back to basics - and that means responding and being responsive. The mantra that I reinforce with younger sales execs is 'follow-up, follow-up, follow-up'.
"It's all well and good doing a good sales meeting, but you've got to follow up on it if you want a result. The people that do that will rise to the top.
"Reinvesting in people is incredibly important. They are the backbone of your business and if you want to get to the pinnacle, you have to have the best people to remain ahead of the curve. Constant training and using cutting-edge technology are incredibly important - especially when you deal with large multinationals and the best of local enterprises."
Sunday Indo Business