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Prepare appropriately for your job interview

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If you have been called to an interview – well done! Your CV has clearly impressed the employer. Now is your chance to impress them further and convince them that you are the type of employee they are looking for. Interviewers will want to know three key things:

1) What have you got that they need

2) How will you apply it to the role

3) And why do you want to work with them?

These three core questions can be asked in a variety of ways which we will explore further in next week’s column, but first you need to be very clear about what type of interview you are being called for and prepare appropriately for that particular format.

COMPETENCY

Competency interviews are the most commonly used format where employers identify five to six key characteristics/traits the successful candidate must be able to prove they have by providing examples.
The best approach here is to study the job specification carefully in the job advert, focus on the key competencies they are looking for, prepare examples from previous experience in a structured way and practice your answers out loud.

STRENGTH BASED INTERVIEWS

Strengths-based interviews are on the increase and focus on asking questions to figure out what you enjoy doing in the work context. What potential employers will want to hear is what your key strengths are and how they will benefit their company. You will need to study the job specification carefully to see what strengths they require for the role and then try to match that. Taking online personality and strength tests can help to reflect on what you are best at. Ask those that know you to help out too.

TECHNICAL INTERVIEWS

Technical interviews focus on the area(s) of expertise that are relevant to the job and will require you to prove what you will need to know when you are doing the job. For example, to get an engineering position you may be asked to solve a mechanical problem. Think about what specific tasks are relevant to the new role and practice them especially if it has been a while since you have worked on a task like that.

WHITEBOARD INTERVIEWS

Whiteboard interviews are usually used where analytical skills are required and this is where you will be asked to demonstrate that you can work something out in front of the interview board. It could be on a computer, a whiteboard or a piece of paper. You will definitely need to practice talking this process out with a friend as if you were teaching them how to solve the problem in question ahead of the interview.

PHONE INTERVIEWS

Phone interviews have become popular during COVID-19 because of social distancing and also because you are not at a disadvantage if WiFi isn’t reliable. Before this type of interview, practice with a friend to ensure you have good mobile coverage and make sure there are no distractions around you. It can help to have keywords/points written down to keep you focused when answering as it can be easy to drift off-topic when you are not face-to-face with in interviewer.

SKYPE/ZOOM/MICROSOFT TEAMS

Skype/Zoom/Microsoft Teams interviews are on the increase and you really need to be careful to ensure your best performance. Lighting and positioning of the camera is critical, be careful of your background and dress as if you were at a face-to-face interview. Be very careful of your microphone prior to the interview while waiting to be admitted to the ‘interview meeting’, during it and afterwards. You don’t want to be heard discussing the interviewers in the aftermath. Practice looking into the camera on your device and not the middle of the screen.

PRESENTATION INTERVIEWS

Presentation interviews can really stress some people out because of their fear of public speaking but remember this is a part of the interview that you can really control. Take care to check exactly how long you must talk for, keep any slides/props to a minimum and with simple content, and talk directly to the interviewers not the screen. Rehearse it in front of someone beforehand.

GROUP INTERVIEWS

Group interviews more often than not involve you and other candidates being given a topic often related loosely to the job to discuss. You are generally given some time to read through the content before the discussion starts. The aim here is to have your voice heard, to make a meaningful contribution but also be mindful of the views of others and their space to contribute. Interviewers will be looking for people that are assertive and understanding and that can lead a discussion but not take it over completely!

In next week’s column we will look more specifically at how to answer interview questions.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and PRO of Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She can be contacted on careerfocusnow@gmail.com.

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Killarney co-drivers to the fore at this weekend

Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship. The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness. On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin. O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian […]

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Two Killarney-based co-drivers will contest this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire, the fourth rounds of the British Rally Championship.

The two-day event gets underway tonight (Friday) with one stage set to be run under the cover of darkness.
On the startline will be Muckross man Noel O’Sullivan and Aghadoe’s Mikie Galvin.

O’Sullivan, co-driver to Welshman Osian Pryce, is the current leader of the series while Galvin, who reads pacenotes for fellow Killarney and District Motor Club member, West Cork’s Keith Cronin, is eighth after missing the opening round.

“The element of darkness certainly brings an additional challenge to all the crews, especially since most of us will not have done any night stages for some time, the most recent I did was in 2017 on the Ulster Rally,” Cronin noted.

The route layout reads like an extract from the itinerary of the World Championship counting RAC Rally of the 1980s, featuring familiar locations such as Dalby, Gale Rigg and Langdale, and it will be the Dalby Forest test that opens the competition shortly after 8pm tonight.

Meanwhile, Irish rallying returned last Sunday after the pandemic-enforced lay-off with the ‘Munster Car Club’s Cork 20’.

London-based Listry co-driver Shane Buckley was the best of the local entrants, guiding Daniel Cronin, Keith’s brother, to fifth overall.

Ger Conway and his driver Stephen Wright were just two places and 8.9 seconds behind in another Ford Fiesta RC2. It was Conway’s first taste of a RC2 car since he and Rob Duggan finished second overall on the 2018 Donegal International Rally.

“There is a taste of more after this,” said Ger after a trouble-free day.
Damien Fleming came close to making it four local co-drivers in the top 10. He and his driver Stephen McCann were 11th, just 16.6 off the leader board. They said it took a while to get used to the bumpy Irish tar after a recent trip to the Tour of Flanders in Belgium.

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Education Minister officially opens The Mon’s new classrooms

A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education. Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room […]

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A town primary school – which has a deep connection to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty – has a whole new look which was officially opened today (Friday) by the Minister for Education.

Norma Foley TD officially opened the newly constructed wing to the Presentation Monastery Primary School on New Road which will house two special needs classrooms, a multi-sensory room and a general-purpose hall.

The project, which was funded by Department of Education along with money raised by the school as part of their ‘THE MON-ster Fundraiser’, was just one of three officially opened new additions to the school along with a special dedication of the school’s hall in honour of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a past pupil of the school from 1909-1914.

Also, The Most Rev. Ray Browne, Bishop of Kerry, officially opened a three-classroom extension at the school’s present site which was opened in 1958 having moved from its College Street location which was opened in 1838 by the Presentation Brothers.

Former Supreme Court Judge Hugh O’Flaherty and Mrs Pearl Dineen the nephew and niece of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty officiated over the dedicating of the school’s new hall to past pupil, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, in recognition of his heroic deeds during WWII.

O’Flaherty, who also taught at the school later, became better known for the role he played in World War II while at the Vatican leading over 6,500 prisoners of war, partisans and Jews to freedom to earn him the title of the ‘Vatican Pimpernel’, leading to the 1983 film ‘The Scarlet and the Black’ with Gregory Peck portraying the role of O’Flaherty.

OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

A special outdoor classroom ‘Dotts Garden’, dedicated to the memory of Dorothy (Dott) Hennggler the 2011 Washington DC Rose who died at the family home in Baltimore from a brain tumour, was officially opened by Anne O’Shea (aunt of the late Dorothy), and Àine McMahon (cousin of the late Dorothy and BOM member). The outdoor classroom was beautifully decorated over the summer by artist Katríona Lynch.

Due to COVID restrictions, the main event took place outdoors with staff joined by a small group of pupils selected from each of the classes representing the student body along with members of the school’s Board of Management.

“Your achievements have been remarkable over the last number of months,” Minister of Education, Norma Foley, said today at the official opening.

“It is my wish going forward that the next year in education will be less complicated, less trying and less difficult one. I think school staff are deserving of that. We can put the COVID atmosphere behind us and we are moving positively along. We hope that in a few months we will talk about living in a post-COVID time. The story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty speaks of the calibre of students produced here, but it also speaks of the courage and bravery and vision that Kerry people can have in the most difficult and trying of times.”

School principal Colm Ó Suilleabháin, who is shortly moving on to St Oliver’s NS in Ballycasheen, was delighted to be in attendance to see the building come to fruition.

“It’s a fantastic culmination of hard work by the staff and the Board of Management, and we are delighted to see the school is fully equipped and resourced for the next generation of pupils from Killarney and beyond,” he said.

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