Press Release

Southern Region

Brand and talent via social media – embrace, but beware

2 December 2015

CIPD Ireland Southern Region Social Media Event at Maryborough House Hotel, Cork on 2nd Dec 2015, sponsored by Ronan, Daly, Jermyn Solicitors (RDJ)

Conor O'Connell, Chairman, CIPD Ireland, Southern Region; Jennifer Cashman, Partner, Ronan Daly Jermyn; and John Dennehy, CEO,

CIPD Ireland Southern Region was delighted to hold our recent Brand & Talent via Social Media – Embrace, but Beware event with John Dennehy, CEO, Zartis, and Jennifer Cashman, Partner, Ronan Daly Jermyn, at The Maryborough Hotel, Cork on Wednesday 2nd December. It was certainly an eye-opener as to both the potential benefits and considerations with respect to HR and recruitment use of social media.

Subsequent to Conor O’Connell, Chairman, CIPD Ireland Southern Region, welcoming the crowd, it was over to John (Embrace) and Jennifer (Beware), who literally fascinated the room covering general HR use of social media, particular talent acquisition considerations and essentially, how to further embrace all.

First up was Embrace, where John Dennehy spoke re the challenges of quantifying social media return for HR, but we have come so far since About us, Taleo and job boards in the early 2000’s. Per John, what we absolutely can quantify is that eg Facebook has a bigger population than China! For a company like Zartis, social media is everything. Weekly and monthly KPIs around publishing content have reach benefits for the company, and personal brand positive impact for its employees. 'I would prefer an employee with strong personal brand to leave, than one without to stay'. What’s the return on social media investment? For John, it’s a motivated and productive workforce, shared company values, lower attrition and attraction of high quality passive candidates.

Over to Beware, Jennifer Cashman spoke re law’s challenge in keeping up with the pace of social media, but that it has ability to impact the employment relationship from hiring through to misconduct. On the matter of LinkedIn contacts, Jennifer clarified that is the employee and not the company who owns all of the contacts, unless otherwise-specified in the contract of employment. From the US, some case law does exist with decisions in favour of the company, particularly if regarding databases, or where employment agreements were in place. This validated Jennifer’s recommendations of restrictive covenants and similar controls if appropriate.

Back to Embrace, from a talent acquisition perspective, John spoke as to how recruitment continues to evolve from 'spray and pray' to informed, professional and non-invasive. In addition to citing Zendesk as a great example, Zartis’ innovative collaboration with Ryanair on their 'Interested in a brand new digital media lab with airline attached?' campaign also featured here. What followed then was a sourcing case study, which both enthralled and shocked the room with the ease of candidate information discovery in 15-20 minutes. Per John, 'LinkedIn is your CV but Twitter etc. is your cover letter! Ultimately, sourcing has to be ethical, practical and legal though'.

Returning to Beware, Jennifer humorously admitted to almost having hyperventilated during the sourcing case study, but clarified that there is nothing to prevent an employer from accessing online information. However, data protection and employment equality issues equally apply with online advertising of roles. Candidates should be advised that online screening will take place, what form it will take and how information obtained will be stored. Citing the 2013 example whereby the UK’s first Youth Police & Crime Commissioner resigned when her defamatory Twitter comments from many years previous were uncovered, Jennifer highlighted that companies are actually now being criticised for not screening online at all.

Back to Embrace again, John spoke re further utilising social media by first answering questions:

  • What’s your current situation?
  • How does your company rank on Glassdoor?
  • Which of your employees are influential online? 

For organisational attraction & retention, and personal brand purposes, the benefits are huge, particularly if HR really wants a seat at the boardroom table.

Finishing with Beware, Jennifer absolutely echoed John’s comments, and that social media policies are critical en route to that boardroom seat too.

To bring to a close, Conor O’Connell, Chairman CIPD Southern Region, thanked John and Jennifer for their captivating exchange re social media in HR and recruitment, and presented both with a gift to mark the occasion, kindly sponsored by The Irish Examiner. Sincere thanks were also extended to Ronan Daly Jermyn for sponsorship, and to The Maryborough Hotel for their support in hosting the event.


CIPD members can download the slides from this event here.

For further information, please contact

David Barry
PRO, CIPD Ireland Southern Region
M. 087 2804753

Conor O’Connell
Chairman, CIPD Ireland Southern Region
M. 086 8303843


Speaker biographies

John Dennehy

John DennehyJohn Dennehy is CEO of recruitment software and services company The company has a team of recruiters and software developers located in Cork, Madrid and Vancouver. Previously, John was co-founder of Upstart Games, a mobile phone games publisher and developer. He was also co-founder of, and has been building software development teams for almost 20 years. He has a BA from DCU and a higher diploma from Rhodes University, South Africa.

Jennifer Cashman

Jennifer CashmanJennifer Cashman is a Partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn. She heads up the Employment Team and has considerable experience in advising and guiding clients on the practical application of all aspects of employment law. She has led and grown the firm’s Employment Team to its current position as one Ireland’s largest and most reputable offering of specialised employment lawyers.

Jennifer advises public and private sector employers on the negotiation and drafting of Executive Service Agreements, TUPE, contentious issues such as restrictive covenants, discrimination, wrongful and unfair dismissal, redundancies (individual and collective) and issues associated with contingent workers. She also regularly advises on all types of employment issues arising in connection with mergers and acquisitions. Jennifer provides advisory services to her clients who comprise local authorities, semi state bodies, schools, multi nationals and SME's.

Jennifer has a particular interest in the area of talent acquisition and has over the last year partnered with some of Ireland’s leading recruitment companies to speak on issues such as agency workers, recruitment and social media. She has also spoken widely on the introduction of the recent 'whistleblowing' legislation and in fact, successfully defended the first Circuit Court injunction application taken under the new Act earlier this year. Jennifer is an established member of the Law Society’s Employment and Equality Committee.

Jennifer graduated from UCC in 1993 with a BCL and went on to graduate from the same University in 1994 with a Master’s Degree in Law. She was admitted to practice in 1996 and holds a Diploma in Employment Law from UCD. She is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce HR Best Practice Working Group and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Jennifer is a regular keynote speaker at employment conferences organised by Legal-Island, IRN and CIPD. She is recommended as a Leading Lawyer in Employment Law in Chambers Europe. Chambers 2015 notes that 'head of employment Jennifer Cashman is a high-profile partner, with favourable recognition throughout the market. Clients describe her as ‘excellent - she is very forthright, easy to deal with, and her advice has proven to be spot-on’.' Chambers 2014 notes that clients say Jennifer 'has an in-depth knowledge of the law and an ability to provide various solutions before choosing the most appropriate option for us to follow'. Jennifer Cashman is also recommended in Legal 500. Jennifer was also recently awarded the Disaronno Hi Women in Business Award 2014 in recognition of her contribution to business in the Munster region.