The HR to Who Interview: Tim Barry

HR to Who, Kyle Jones, Tim Barry 

The HR to WHO Interview: Tim Barry

I connected with Tim Barry about a year ago and have enjoyed our interactions online. When considering someone for this HR to Who interview, Tim was the obvious choice. Why? After interviewing HR pros in the US and the UK, I thought it was time to expand the borders a little more so I choose South Africa. I invite you to take a journey with me on this HR to Interview with Tim Barry.


Let’s begin by asking a few traditional questions. Share with the readers your basic information – the who and the what.  Who are you?


I am an HR Technology consultant and social entrepreneur from the UK who emigrated to South Africa at the end of 2012 in search of a better life and to better the lives of others. I have African and Irish heritage (hence African Heart Celtic Soul) but consider myself to be a born and raised English gent.

I help HR professionals choose and implement the best software to help them hire, manage, retain and train their staff and run HR Technology training workshops. I also host a weekly Twitter chat to advise jobseekers and connect them with SA recruiters.


Tim Barry, HR to Who

Why did you choose Human Resources?


Strictly I didn’t choose Human Resources, it chose me! I read law at university, and always had an interest in HR and recruitment, but worked in sales for digital and print media companies (including News Corporation) in the UK for many years before I joined an HR Tech startup called Innovate CV.

I was attracted to work for this company as they had designed a revolutionary system for receiving and reviewing candidates’ resumes including photos, scanned attachments, videos and social media profiles. I saw this as a huge advance on the traditional recruitment process of going through paper or static digital CVs (PDF or Word docs) which was not only incredibly time-consuming but also did not give the recruiter much insight into the cultural fit or personality of the candidate.

My role was marketing this platform to HR professionals, on-boarding and training them how to use the system, so I learned a lot about the functioning of the HR department, especially in terms of recruitment.



What advice would you give to new Human Resource professionals just joining the workforce?


Be open-minded. As important as it is to learn the HR profession, many important things can be learned from every other department, from Finance to IT to Marketing. The modern HR function interacts and overlaps with many different disciplines so to limit your learning to Human Resources is counter-productive.

As an HR Tech consultant I would also say it is important to be open-minded to new technology. Whilst people management is the primary purpose of Human Resources it is essential for every business professional to have a grasp of the latest technology in order to stay ahead of the competition.


If you could go back and change one thing in your past, what would it be?


If I had my time over again I would have left media sales to work in recruitment long before I started working in HR Tech. After leaving News Corporation, I had the opportunity to move into recruitment but chose to stay in the digital and print media industry, which then went into rapid decline.

Since I’ve been working with recruiters and HR professionals, I wish I’d have started working in this industry long ago.


What is your favorite HR moment?

Being a proud Irish descendant and HR Tech consultant, it would have to be assisting Jameson Whiskey on-boarding with Innovate CV in order to review applications including video profiles for Brand Ambassadors and Distillery Supervisors.


How has social media changed how we communicate?


It has broken down geographical, hierarchical, and temporal boundaries, but it is a double-edged sword. Whilst you can spread a positive message, further, quicker and to more people than ever before the same is true for negative impressions.


From where do you receive your inspiration?


My inspiration comes from conversations with friends and peers, especially those in HR, Recruitment, Social Media, and Technology. I am inspired by music, with my tastes ranging from African gospel to Spanish pop. Lastly, the beautiful landscape of the country I live in is an inspiration.


Many of us often only look outside our own window; however, your window is quite a far trek from Mississippi. Please take a moment to tell us more about where you live in South Africa.

I live in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town, so when I look outside my window I can see Table Mountain, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, towering above the city in the distance. Cape Town is perhaps the most cosmopolitan and Westernised of all the cities in the Rainbow Nation, but shares the gross inequality of living conditions (mainly across ethnic boundaries) and prosperity that afflicts the rest of the country.

Whilst I live in an affluent suburb, a few miles from my doorstep are poor, run-down areas and, a little further, vast sprawling townships of shacks most of which have no access to electricity or running water.


Tim, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. My final question is not a question but an open forum for you to share any closing thoughts and comments.


Kyle, I am grateful for the opportunity to be featured on your blog. It is the prospect of engaging with such open-minded people as yourself that enticed me into working in Human Resources, and I am thankful for being able to connect and be inspired by HR professionals from across the globe like you. This inspiration coupled with the stark contrast that exists in South Africa between the beauty of the landscape and conditions in which many of its citizens are forced to live fuels my desire to assist South African HR professionals in identifying and up-skilling the vast pool of untapped talent that exists within the jobless masses, and I believe HR Tech is the means through which this can be achieved.


 Additional Information

I want to thank Tim for his time answering my questions.

If you would like to know more about him, please visit one of the following:


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