Interviewing | Collins McNicholas

How can I tell my sister her son is not a suitable candidate for a position in my office?

How can I tell my sister her son is not a suitable candidate for a position in my office?Question: Our engineering company is hiring and I am in charge of selecting interview candidates. My sister told me her son (my nephew) is applying and that he could do with the confidence boost, as he has been unemployed since finishing college two years ago. The problem is he doesn’t have any experience. How can I tell him he is not suitable without affecting his confidence? Also, what advice can I offer him? Answer: This is a very common dilemma faced by professionals, particularly in management or HR positions. It is important to consider the potential impact on your career, your reputation, your team – and your nephew. While he may receive an immediate confidence boost, gaining a role that is beyond his capability may have a more damaging effect on his esteem in the long term. Evaluate your nephew’s potential ‘fit’ for the role objectively: Encourage your nephew to apply for the role as any other candidate might. Explain that he will not receive any preferential treatment. This will allow you to consider his application objectively. Is he a potential junior option? Are there other roles that may be suitable in future? There may be aspects of your nephew’s ability that you have not witnessed as your relationship with him has been personal only. If you decide not to progress with his application, you can stand over your decision, content that you have given his application due consideration. From your nephew’s perspective, he has gained the experience of applying to a role, preparing his CV and cover letter and considering his ‘fit’ to the organisation. Provide feedback: The real benefit to your nephew is the feedback you can provide. Organise a face-to-face professional meeting where you can focus on the structure, content and tone of his CV and application. Meet at your office or professional environment, not at your home or your sister’s home. Outline the purpose of the meeting and provide your decision without apology. Emphasise that you are meeting him in your capacity as a manager not as his aunt. Adopt a coaching approach. This will allow him space to think about his career and help him generate suggested actions. Avoid negative language, focusing on improvements. Encourage work experience: Securing a first “real job” can be very difficult. Lack of experience impacts a candidate’s confidence, their ability to speak fluently about examples of their competency at interview and renders them less suitable for a role. Simply having experience of a work environment – dealing with co-workers and customers, being accountable for your work, arriving on time each day – boosts a graduate’s employability. If your nephew has worked part-time during school or college or has held a summer job, he should include this in his CV. If this is not the case, perhaps he has volunteered at local festivals. Helping him view this experience as valuable will also build his confidence and improve his likelihood to make more applications. If he has completed research projects as part of his college course, perhaps there are avenues to work experience that he has not yet explored. An organisation that has already been exposed, even in a very small way, to his expertise is more willing to consider taking him onboard on a short-term project based role or in a voluntary capacity. It is important to strike the balance between experience and de-valuing his application. While he should be open to unpaid work, his focus should remain on suitable paid positions. Direct applications: The “hidden job market” continues to be an entry point for many onto the career ladder. While job boards and newspapers will contain some roles, it is more likely that his first role will come from a direct application to an organisation. Read the business section of newspapers with his career in mind. An announcement of an award or a sales boost often indicates that new jobs are following. Develop of list of target companies in his desired location. Many do not advertise roles, relying instead on speculative applications. This approach will require patience and persistence but managed correctly could lead to success.           Caroline Ward HR Services Manager Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group This article was originally published in the business section of The Sunday Independent on the 29th of October 2017, and the original version can be found...

Read More

Jobseekers Guide – Interview Tips

Introduction “You only get one chance to make a first impression” First impressions do count, and research has shown that the average person can make up their minds about somebody within the first 30 seconds! A job interview is no different. Preparation, presentation and attitude are the key ingredients to be successful. What to Expect? From the employer’s perspective, the purpose of the interview is to evaluate you and your capabilities, to assess your ability to contribute to the organisation and to see how well you might fit into the organisation. The Stages of an Interview There are 4 stages in a typical job interview: • Breaking the ice – introductions and ‘chitchat’ designed to help you relax and feel comfortable. • Exchanging information – questions that focus on the organisation, the job and your interest in both. • Expanding the focus – specific questions about you and how well you will be able to do the job. • Wrapping up – time for clarifying, asking questions and final comments. Interview Preparation Preparing yourself properly for an interview will help you relax and give you the confidence to answer tough questions. Thorough preparation will dramatically improve your chances of getting the job. Research the Company & the Role Firstly make sure you read through the job description carefully. If you are dealing with a recruitment consultant they should also be able to tell you about the company you are going to see, and about the person who is interviewing you. You should also conduct your own background research on the firm and the individuals you are meeting. You will...

Read More

Using the STAR Technique When Preparing for an Interview

For many candidates, the interview process can be a very overwhelming experience with many fearing they will fail to recall important details and undersell their ability. The STAR technique is a method used to help candidates prepare for interviews, especially competency based interviews. This method will allow you to form your answers efficiently, focusing directly on the question being asked. What are competency based interviews? Competency based interviews are designed to make the job application process unbiased as each candidate is asked the same types of questions. This form on interviewing is commonly practiced in large organisations. An example of a competency based question may begin with “Tell me about a time when…” This may not seem difficult, however, during the interview it is common for candidates to leave out information and wander off topic, therefore, delivering an unstructured answer. It is important that you “sell yourself” during the interview while following the STAR technique to structure your answers. So what is the STAR technique? Your answer should incorporate the following elements: S – Situation T – Task A – Action R – Result Situation: Describe the background of a particular situation when you used the competency.  For example, if the competency is budgetary control, you may answer; “In my last job I was appointed to lead a project involving a €800,000 engineering factory shutdown lasting 3 weeks, and I had complete responsibility for the budget for this project. I did face some challenges on this project which required careful management to keep to budget.” Task: Define what your particular task was in relation to this, i.e. “My duty...

Read More

Ten Important Points to Note the Day of Your Interview

One of the most stressful elements of looking for employment is the interview process. The following simple tips will allow you to prepare for a successful interview and perform well on the day.   Be on time. It is crucial not to be late for your interview. Allocate plenty of time the morning of the interview and plan your route to minimise any problems occurring. If something unforeseen happens causing a delay to your journey, phone ahead and explain the situation while stating you will get there as soon as possible. Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake. A positive first impression is very important. When shaking the interviewers hand it is important to have direct eye contact while also smiling politely. You will come across as assertive and composed. Stay calm. This will allow you to think more clearly and therefore you will deliver better responses as a result. Feeling anxious and nervous is normal in an interview, the key thing is being able to control it. It is important to note that the interviewers where once in your position. Listen carefully and take your time answering. Take a moment after a question to think about what is being asked and how best to answer it before replying. Don’t get carried away. It is important to provide a full response to the question asked; however, it is also important not to speak for longer than is necessary or to go off topic. Ask for a question to be repeated or explained if necessary. This will give you both more time to think about your response while also getting...

Read More

8 Tips for Staying Calm During a Job Interview

The thought of an interview is often a daunting one. If you remain cool and calm during an interview, you will project an air of confidence which is attractive to a potential employer. You will also demonstrate that you can remain calm when stressful situations arise in the course of your work. To stop nerves getting the better of you, here are some tips to secure that coveted job: Be Prepared Know the job you are interviewing for, review the job description and understand what you can bring to the role. Research the company, their products/services and their competitors. Go onto their website and use LinkedIn to learn about the person who is interviewing you. Practice The more we practice, the more skilled we become. Don’t memorize exact answers to likely interview questions, but do have points prepared of what you want to say to a potential employer. Think about why you want the job and what makes you a great candidate for it.  If you can, do a mock interview with a friend. Nerves tend to make us speak very quickly so try and watch out for that during the mock interview. Arrive Early and Relax Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview; you don’t want to give a bad impression by being late. Try to arrive early to give yourself time to gather your thoughts and take a few deep breaths. Think positively and be confident You have already been short listed for interview so the company obviously thinks you can do the job. Focus on your strengths and this will help calm your...

Read More

Interviews – Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

  When it comes to preparing for an interview, you must consider all aspects of your CV and the job in question before you face the interview panel. Preparation is the key to success. It is natural to view job interviews as a daunting prospect when so much can be at stake. However, with the right attitude and preparation, an interview can be a positive experience for all concerned – and result in a job offer! Here are some tips to make sure you are prepared – Do Your Research – Always make sure you have looked at the company’s website in detail. Research the organisation and have a good understanding of what they do, their products etc. as this is very important to demonstrate your interest in the company. The Job Spec – Be able to look through each point of the job description and be able to demonstrate your experience.  I would recommend you go through the job spec highlighting areas you are familiar with and writing alongside examples of where you have carried this out to date. By giving real working examples of your experience this will demonstrate why you are the best person for the job. Your CV – It is important to know your CV inside out, your education to date, career to date and reasons for leaving certain roles. It is also important to be able to explain any gaps that appear in your CV. Arrive on time – There is nothing worse than being late for an interview. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes beforehand. Plan ahead by making sure you have good...

Read More