I have to bring this to your attention due to a number of people asking me if our coaching is group or 1:1 format, as there are a number of discount providers appearing in the Irish market on Groupon and other sales sites. We only do 1:1 coaching because Group Interview Coaching will fail to help you in your interview. Here is why:
1. There is not enough time to focus on you as an individual. When it comes to coaching one size does not fit all. Your answers are going to be based on your very own experience, so forget about generic group coaching.
2. In group coaching one or two people will always dominate the coaching with lots of questions and interruptions to get the coach to focus on them. This psychologically is called group dominance, the alpha of the group will always want to dominate others. You are not paying good money to let someone else get all the attention.
3. You get what you pay for, never a truer word is spoken. You may as well go and buy a book on how to prepare for your interview, it costs less than group coaching, and you will get exactly the same information. With 1:1 coaching we go beyond the generics and actually go through each individual answer with you, helping you put the best of you in to all your answers. No group or book can do that.
4. Every individual is unique, it is up to us as your coach to help you identify your Unique Selling Points, you may not even no what they are. There won't be time in group coaching for the coach to do this for you.
5. Sometimes there are skeletons or blips in you background that you don't want to talk about in front of a group of people that will get to know your secrets. This is Dublin, it's a small town, and you don't know where you may bump into your fellow group members in the future, one may even be your next boss! Don't risk letting your faults, or weaknesses become public knowledge. As a professional coach we enter a vow of confidentiality from the very moment you contact us.
I hope that helps you see why 1:1 coaching is the only way to go with interview coaching.
If you are interested in booking a 1:1 confidential coaching programme get in touch here.
Just under three weeks until deadline for applying to the top 5 law firms. These applications are getting trickier than ever before, giving yourself plenty of time before applying is a must.
Here are the deadline dates:
A&L Goodbody: Dublin office 21 October 2016, Belfast office 23 January 2017
McCann Fitzgerald: 21 October
Matheson: 26 October
Arthur Cox: Dublin office 21 October 1pm, Belfast office 11 November 2017
William Fry: 20 October 5.30pm
Note the two deadline times for Arthur Cox and William Fry!
I am really unsure as to why Matheson have left this on the long finger, the firms are competing for the brightest and the best and the sooner they can get the best into the interview room the sooner they can offer them a role. I am sure Matheson have their reasons..
This is the first step of a big process, to make sure you get the choice of traineeship, that you want, interview coaching will help enormously, making you feel more organised and professional.
As always at this time of year, the Big 4 Accountancy firms will be conducting nearly 1000 interview in November and there will be overlap with the law firm interviews making this the busiest time of the year for interview coaching. We are already fully booked for coaching from October 28th to 4th November, please make an appointment for coaching as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Good luck in your applications!
I can't believe Autumn is here again, last year's coaching seems like last week for these prestigious graduate placements. We are already in the midst of coaching students for these interviews and, as always, expect to be fully booked out.
Hopefully, those of you applying are giving a lot of thought to your applications. These applications are your key to interview invite. The most important thing is not to miss the deadline!
Here are the deadline dates this year:
KPMG: 5pm Wednesday 19 October 2016 for ROI Universities and Friday 28 October 2016 for NI Universities
PwC: 5pm Wednesday 19 October 2016 for Assurance, Tax and Risk and Monday 17th October for Consulting
Deloitte: 5pm Wednesday 19 October 2016
EY: Thursday 6 October 2016 for Advisory/IT/Data and Cyber Wednesday 19 October 2016 for Assurance, Tax, Transactions and Risk
Don't leave anything to chance, the roles available, although appearing plentiful, are not a dead certainty, you must perform to the best of your abilities in the interview, or risk disappointment. Maybe you have your heart set on one particular firm, please don't make the mistake of putting all your eggs in one basket and only apply to 1 firm, apply to them all and give yourself better odds.
Our coaching is run by Clare Reed, ex Head of Recruitment at Deloitte and Head of Professional Recruitment at KPMG, she still works in recruitment, as an executive search consultant for the Big 4, and knows these firms well. You can trust her to give the best advice and guidance in your answers and her track record over the last 8 years in graduate coaching is very impressive.
To book your coaching go to our Graduate Programme page and use the easy to use online booking system.
Best of luck to everyone interviewing this year.
Having worked as a recruiter in both recruitment agencies and industry over the past seventeen years, I have been assisted in my recruitment endeavours by great people and great machines. Technological advances today means company recruitment data management has never been easier.
For example, you may apply to a position advertised by an agency, or a company, by submitting a CV electronically, via their website, or a third party, such as a Linked In. You might expect the recruiter to open your CV, read it, assess it against available jobs and then decide whether to interview you, or leave you in the system for future roles. However, a machine – the recruiter’s database, known as a talent management system (TMS), may be initially assessing you, particularly if you have applied to a larger company.
Any time a job specification (spec) hits the desk of the recruiter responsible for finding a suitable candidate, as in ‘Find me an accountant, someone ACA qualified, audit experience, FS clients, Big 4 background’, the recruiter firstly checks their database to see if there is matching candidates for that spec already in their database. So they type in the keyword search tool of their Talent Management System spec words such as: ACA, Audit, Auditor, FS, Financial Services, PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and hits the search function and up pops the list of results – the candidates matching the key word search. If the list is lengthy, say over 50 candidates, they may then cut the list by asking their database to show only candidates submitted in the last 3 months, as there is a higher chance these candidates may still be looking for a role. Recruiters can also add detail after the initial screen of your CV by adding specific keywords against your detail on the database to assist them in their search, for example Audit people management experience.
What does this mean for you?
It means you have to guess what keywords the recruiter may use to find you and you have to think like a machine by assisting it to find you. Your CV must not only sell you, it must also be filled with keywords that may be used in these searches.
Let's say you are looking for an auditor position, make sure you use variations of auditor: audit, auditing, audited, if you have FS clients use variations and synonyms: financial services, FS, banks, insurance, funds/fund, anything the recruiter might enter in the search tool. Some TMS prioritise candidates with higher keyword counts, therefore repetition of the main key words is a good thing but resist from taking away from the 'sellability' and readability of your CV. Five or six repeats of the same keyword is better than 50 because it’s good to be found but you still have to convince the human, when they open your CV, that it looks professional and sellable to the hiring manager.
Place important key words towards the top of the CV, as TMS sophistication can rate keywords higher if they are found towards the top, you can use the summary section to highlight key skills that the job spec is asking for. A good place to start when trying to identify key words is the job specification, as the TMS may be using this to identify key words to match with your CV. If you are still looking for a job two months later then send your CV in again, otherwise your recruiter’s search may miss you if they only search for recent applicants.
So there you go by thinking like a human and a machine you stand a greater chance of getting to the top of the list of a recruiters search when they use a TMS.
* Know your keywords, look at job specs, pick keywords out and make sure you have them on your CV
* Use synonyms and variations of keywords
* 5-6 repetitions of a particular keyword is fine but make sure your CV still reads and sells well too
*Place important key words towards the top of the CV
* Resend your updated CV in to the recruiter via the TMS if you are still looking for a role two months later
I offer a CV assessment as part of all my Interview Coaching Programmes. If you aren't sure your CV is selling you well enough or if it reads well for the TMS, as well as the Recruiter, let me help you by booking in on a programme that suits you.
Making a good first impression is vital for anyone going for an interview. Us humans can't help ourselves, we have to scan the person in front of us to make a judgement of whether they are a threat to us, or not (in a primal way) and in a non primal way we look to see if the person is fitting in with the standards of our workplace, particularly if we are interviewing them. If you dress to impress, and I mean give the impression that you look like the 'type' of person the company hires, you will start on the right foot. If you go in with an outfit that is not of their environment you will stand out, for the wrong reasons. Do check with the HR team, particularly if the company is a casual wear company, such as a technology company, what they expect you to wear to interview, don't assume they will be happy for you to turn up in casual wear. When I worked i recruitment at Intel most of us wore hoodies and jeans yet for some reason, not my decision I might add, we wanted candidates to turn up in suits, it was a strange experience interviewing candidates in my jeans and trainers while they had their best suit on ( this rule may have changed since I left though).
I once interview prepped a candidate directly before they went for an interview at a legal firm and noticed they had quite dirty nails and hands and had to show them the way to the toilets to give them a scrub, these are the tiniest things I know but they can't be missed. Too much perfume, or aftershave, can also be a problem, I recommend going natural with just regular deodorant on, you can't predict what memories certain smells evoke in your interviewers minds and you wouldn't want it to evoke a bad memory, or worse set off an allergy!
If you need further help I do cover this in my training and can give further helpful tips and direction on what to wear.
Here is another good article on dressing to impress http://www.inc.com/quora/7-smart-ways-to-be-amazingly-professional-and-look-the-part.html
What is your weakness? I do not ask this question any more. Why? This is one of the most futile questions anyone can ask a candidate in a interview, it leads to answers that are often made up, unrelated to the role or just plain daft. It really irks me that there are interviewers out there still asking this very 1990's question. I train interviewers throughout Ireland, in corporates and the public sector, on how to conduct professional interviews and, without fail, because my course doesn't cover this 'dreaded question' the trainee interviewer will actually ask me if they can ask it in the interview, to which my reply is why would you want to?
In 2016 there are much more effective ways of interviewing candidates, using competency and behavioural interview questions, situational and technical questions, that a lot of the old CV led questioning is being left out, along with ad hoc questions like the weakness question.
Today I was pleased to see a great article published on the BBC about this and other cringey areas in an interview
However, if you really think this question will come up, I am here to help with this and many other questions that can make you dread the thought of an interview. Have a look at our interview programmes for more information.
Situational interviews are becoming more prevalent at interviews conducted by a lot of companies in Ireland. They are not too far removed from behavioural interviewing in that your answer can still give a real example but they can be hard to predict.
The questions is hypothetical, a 'what would you do' phrased questions rather than the behavioural 'what did you do'. Below is an example of a situational question with the incorrect and correct answer:
You’re working on a project with a tight deadline but you find that you’re unable to complete your section because your coworkers and your supervisor are unavailable to answer a few key questions. How do you deal with the situation?
“Hey, if they’re not there, there’s nothing I can do about it. If I’m responsible enough to be working on the project with the idea that I’m holding up my end to get us to deadline on time, then I would expect them to do the same.
If I can’t reach them and they can’t help me in the way that they are supposed to help me, then forget them!
Interviewers ask situational questions like these because the interviewer wants to know how you would handle a problem that might actually arise if you’re hired for the job.
Most of their questions are based off potentially real situations and the last thing you want to do is give them a reason to fire you before they even hire you!
If your response includes any sort of passing off the task to another individual in order to absolve yourself of responsibility or as an excuse to cut out early from work…that won't go down well.
“This is a tough one. The first thing I would do is really sit back for a moment and assess the situation. I would look at the project overall and see if there was a way for me to perhaps redirect my focus onto other areas I could work on by myself without their assistance and postpone the parts I need help on until they were again available. If that isn’t a possibility, then I would make sure to exhaust every avenue I have at my disposal to try to get in contact with them.
I actually ran into a similar situation on a project a few years ago where I needed to get some specific answers to a problem before I was able to move forward to the next step. Unfortunately my co-worker who had the answers was in an area where I was unable to reach him in time. I managed to continue working on sections that didn’t require his input and by the time I was done with those, he was back in range and able to answer my questions.
Not only did we make our deadline, but by getting the other sections done first, we were able to focus all our attention on the final segment and really bring it together in a way that exceeded our clients expectations. It was a real win! Staying calm and focused and making sure I was doing everything within my power to make the project a success gave me the ability to figure out how to work around the situation successfully.”
Notice how this answer started off with the hypothetical section explaining what this person would do and then cleverly backed it up with a real example demonstrating a situation where this really happened. It sounds really credible to an interviewer.
These questions are designed to be a little harder to predict but if the interviewer has been trained well they will tend to keep it competency focussed. most desired competencies can be found in job descriptions.
If you have an interview coming up that you know is situational and you are unsure of answering these don't hesitate to get in touch and book an appointment for Interview training.
This article written by Ronal Alsop on the BBC website is really interesting, pinpointing employers expectations of graduate in their interviews and what they find lacking in answer.
Communication seems to be the big bug bear over the last number of years, and in particular how students communicate experience in a way that demonstrates the skills required for the job. There is also a big disconnect between what the graduates perceive and the employers perception:
In a survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, students and employers clearly didn’t see eye to eye on how well prepared the students were in oral communication (62% of students versus 28% of employers); working with numbers and statistics (55% versus 28%); teamwork (64% versus 37%); applying knowledge and skills to the real world (59% versus 23%); and analysing and solving complex problems (59% versus 24%).
There is a debate on whether employer expectations are too high. Also that the curriculum at college needs to address these issues and ensure students are taught soft skills and other skills required by these demanding employers.
This is my favourite time of year! Milkround season is upon us and we are busy getting our training ready to help you succeed in your interviews. So far so good in that there seems to be a well organised milkround campaign in full swing by all the Big 4 accountancy and Top 5 Law firms.
Here are your closing dates for the Big 4 Accountancy Firms for Ireland
KPMG: Wednesday 21 October
PwC: Consulting applications: 5pm Friday, 16 October 2015 All other applications: 5pm Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Deloitte: 5pm, Wednesday 21 October 2015
EY: Wednesday 21 October
What are the interview processes:
KPMG: Prepare a 60 second pitch about yourself including interests, work experience and college. Answer firm related questions and motivation and competency questions. Business Exercise – The Business Exercise lasts for 30 minutes and consists of two questions. The questions may be competency-based, or about current affairs.
Interviews – Following the business exercise, you will complete two one-on-one interviews. The interviews will be with a partner and director and will last approximately 45 minutes each. At the second interview you will be asked to talk through your answers from the business exercise.
PwC: If invited to interview you will join them for a presentation prior to the interview dates.
Before your interview starts, you will do a short 20-minute case study. This will be discussed in the interview itself. They will explore how well you understand their business and services, how carefully you’ve thought about your career choice and professional qualifications (if applicable) and competency questions.
Deloitte: Competency based interview
A day at the assessment centre is the next stage of the process and includes exercises such as a team meeting, a case study and an interview with a Partner or Director from the service line & location you have applied to.
Top 5 Law Firms closing dates:
A&L Goodbody: Friday, 23 October 2015
Arthur Cox: Thursday October 22, 2015
McCann Fitzgerald: Friday 23 October 2015
Matheson: Wednesday 21 October 2015
William Fry: Thursday 22 October 2015
The interview processes:
A&L Goodbody: Competency based interview
Arthur Cox: A group interview then if successful at group stage an individual competency based interview
McCann Fitzgerald: Competency based interview
Matheson: Two stage competency based interview
William Fry: Two stage competency interview process
We appreciate the effort the milkround takes, as along with the demands of final year assignments you may find yourself running round to 4 or 5 different firm event and many interviews. We highly recommed coming in for coaching as soon as possible in the next couple of weeks to make sure you are set up for your interviews in the best possible way.
The first thing any job seeker needs to do is have a strategy. Identify the companies you want to work for, draw up a top 20 list and then follow the Twitter account for the companies that you want to work for. If your dream is to work for Facebook - you should follow @facebook. To find the Twitter account for a company, just go to Google and search for Company Name on Twitter. You may also want to narrow down your search, and find their careers feed on Twitter. There is often a separate careers/jobs twitter feed. For instance, you can follow @facebookjobs on Twitter to learn about job opportunities and job news from Facebook.
Other Twitter accounts to follow are people who work at a specific company you are interested in. A good tip is to follow the Recruitment Manager/s for as many companies as you can, and try and locate their Twitter page. The company recruitment page on their website may provide this information or LinkedIn. Alternatively search Twitter for the person’s name on Twitter, and you will find the Twitter feed of the person that you are looking for. Twellow is a useful tool that offers a profile search of people on Twitter - so if you enter Facebook, you will be able to see people who have the keyword Facebook in their profile. People will list the company they work for in their Twitter profile, so you can then begin to follow Recruitment/HR people working at the company you are interested in. And by following people at companies that interest you - you will give yourself a chance to be the first to know when these companies Tweet out job opportunities.
The other advantage to following companies and people who work for companies is that you can communicate directly with them. Either through a direct message or by mentioning them on Twitter, you can strike up a conversation so that you can stand out in the crowd. Building a network through Twitter can be a very effective strategy and many people aren't doing it aggressively, so it can help you to make a connection.
Companies want to hire employees whom have demonstrated a passion and interest in their company, so by following them on Twitter, you will show you have an interest.
Clare Reed is a leading global expert Interview Coach with over 22 years global interviewing and coaching experience.