Graduate | Collins McNicholas

Graduate Assessment Centres: Practice makes perfect

Graduate Assessment Centres: Practice makes perfectMany graduates are now faced with the daunting task of undertaking the relative unknown of an assessment centre in order to make that first step onto the employment ladder. Companies dealing with a high volume of applicants, many of whom are of a very high calibre, want to view their candidates from many angles – interacting with others in a team, one-on-one, problem solving, presenting ideas etc. As Collins McNicholas Recruitment and HR Services Group have a track record of running assessment centres, we were approached by IT Sligo to develop and run an assessment process for a group of their students. There were 5 stages as part of the assessment process: The first stage consisted of 3 of the most common ability assessments used by employers Verbal Reasoning Numerical Reasoning Attention to Detail Following on from the ability assessment, the second stage involved the students partaking in a course specific group assessment. For the third stage the students were required to analyse a piece of text and make a presentation to the assessor. Students were assessed on their problem solving, presentation and communication skills. The fourth section of the assessment involved the students undertaking a mock competency based interview. The students were provided with comprehensive preparatory materials in the weeks prior to the interview so that they could gain maximum benefit from the session. Collins McNicholas then provided individualised face to face feedback to the students. As part of the feedback the students were encouraged to ask questions and were provided with guidance and information regarding real assessment processes. This was the most valuable element of the process for students. Specific feedback and advice was given to each student in a positive and development focused manner. Benefits for Students:  Opportunity for students to experience an assessment centre environment Opportunity to practice exercises that would be impossible to practice alone Students can use the developmental feedback to modify their behaviour at future assessment centres Gives confidence to students in applying to processes with assessment centres included Improved understanding of the assessment process Jamie Gallagher HR Services Coordinator Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services...

Read More

Graduate Assessment Centres – What to Expect

What should I expect at a Graduate Programme Assessment Centre? Assessment Centres are increasingly common and have been a part of the Graduate Programme for many years. Assessment Centres are designed to assess your competency or skills in relation to the role, your cultural fit and overall motivations or career aspirations. As part of the programme you may be asked to complete: Group Exercise Usually 5 – 6 people working together to complete a task or solve a problem. What may be assessed? Team Working Style, Communication Skills and Problem Solving Skills Presentation An individual is provided with a topic on the spot or prior to the day and asked to give a presentation to the Assessor or a group on that topic. What may be assessed? Communication Skills, Analysis and Decision Making Analysis Presentation An individual delivers a presentation based on conclusions drawn from a large volume of newly presented information or data. What may be assessed? Problem Solving Skills, Decision Making Skills and Communication Skills In-Tray Exercise Sorting through written material, prioritising and remaining calm under pressure. What may be assessed? Decision Making, Prioritisation, Resilience, Analysis Ability Assessments Online or paper based ability psychometric tests completed on the day or a date prior online. What may be assessed? Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Spatial Reasoning   Top Tips Ask Lots of Questions: Ensure you understand what is required of you Get Stuck In:  Suspend belief if required, be enthusiastic Take the chance to learn: About the company, the job and even yourself Be Yourself: That’s who they selected for the Assessment Centre after all!   Caroline Ward HR...

Read More

Top Tips for Graduates Entering the Job Market

Students are nearly finished their exams and soon they will be starting their first job search as graduates. In the first quarter of 2015 the unemployment rate fell from 10.4% to 9.9%. It was encouraging to see last week that the unemployment rate dipped below 10% for the first time since January 2009. Circumstances are improving for graduates entering the job market compared with recent years. Graduates can now be more optimistic about their job prospects leaving college. Despite the lowering unemployment rate there is still intense competition for jobs and graduates need to be well prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. Here are my top tips for graduates entering the Irish job market. Create a good CV and Cover Letter: a graduate CV will be different from other CVs. Less job experience means you will have to focus more on your education. Highlight any transferable skills you have developed and any areas of expertise within your qualification. A cover letter is a great place to draw attention to your skills and how they could be useful in the job you are applying for. Do an internship: this is a great way to gain experience. A lack of professional experience is often the biggest obstacle for graduates. An internship can provide you with new skills, a good reference and some valuable new contacts. A JobBridge internship, despite criticism from some quarters, can be a good option. It is often better to get out there and start gaining experience straight away than spending months sending off applications without anything to show for your time. Develop...

Read More

GMIT Graduate Careers Fair 2014

On Monday last, the 6th of October, Collins McNicholas attended the GMIT 2014 Graduate Careers Fair. The event ran from 12am – 3pm at GMIT, Galway with a great turnout. Local, national and international organisations were in attendance who were seeking current and future graduates. Employers were on site to provide insight, advice and prospects to possible candidates. Companies in attendance included HP, Kirby Group Engineering, Boston Scientific, Engineers Ireland and Avaya. The Collins McNicholas team were also at hand on the day to provide advice and guidance at their CV Clinic which proved to be extremely popular for the duration of the event. The event was a brilliant opportunity to meet current and future graduates – all talented individuals either starting out in their career or developing greater career prospects by returning to education. It was also helpful for existing GMIT students to explore their career options. Thanks to everyone who came and spoke to us on the day. Thanks also to Christopher O’ Toole, Technical Recruitment Consultant and Donal O’ Donoghue, IT Recruitment Consultant for helping out on the day and for giving CV and cover letter advice on the day. We are already looking forward to next year’s event and wish all future graduates fruitful career prospects for the future. Kirby Brennan, Recruitment Consultant Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group...

Read More

The Top 10 Tips for Writing a Great Cover Letter

I recently gave a talk to a group of postgraduate students in IT Sligo about how to find work in today’s job market. During the course of the afternoon they asked me several questions about different aspects of applying for jobs, but the question that drew the most interest from the group was about how to write a good cover letter. A good cover letter can greatly improve your chances of landing an interview. To do this you need to show what makes you the standout candidate for the job. The cover letter is usually the first thing an employer sees when they begin reviewing candidates, so it is vital that you state your case strongly and clearly. With that in mind, here are my top 10 tips for writing a great cover letter: 1.      Start strongly A strong opening paragraph is crucial. You must clearly state who you are, why you are writing, and why you are the right person for the job. You can then expand on this in subsequent paragraphs. 2.      Highlight your most relevant skills The purpose of a cover letter is to draw the attention of the employer to the most relevant points from your CV. It is about identifying the attributes that make you the right person for the job. They should be able to recognise immediately why you are such a strong candidate. 3.      Relate your experience and skills to the job Niall Murray, GM Collins McNicholasIt is important to demonstrate how your skills and experience will be applied to the new role in the organisation. Be specific about the ways in...

Read More

4th SCCUL Enterprise Awards Celebration

I attended the 4th SCCUL Enterprise Awards (St. Columba’s Credit Union) in The Bailey Hall, NUIG last Monday 27th January. This event has gone from strength to strength since its inception culminating in 200 entries this year for the overall prize of €10,000 and 8 category prizes of €1000 each plus various ‘One to Watch’ awards. This years’ event also involved a student category for the first time which greatly added to the success of this years’ awards. 130 companies exhibited their very diverse range of products and services at this years’ event and all of the students entrants displayed posters highlight their products. The exhibition was declared open by the Mayor of Galway Padraic Conneely and the awards were presented by the Junior Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Jobs Sean Sherlock T.D. It was a truly inspirational day and attracted a huge crowd to what is to my knowledge the leading event nationally for new businesses. Many of the award winners this year will surely go on to secure Enterprise Ireland grants and Venture Capital funding as has been the case with two previous overall award winners and several category winners. Many of the exhibitors also signed up for mentoring with the SCCUL Mentors Group which is a group of 80 mentors made of some of Galway’s most successful business leaders who will provide pro bono assistance to these budding entrepreneurs. This is another case of Galway taking a leading role in fostering and encouraging new business. It is a model which several other towns and counties have already shown an interest in emulating. It is a credit...

Read More