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senior role interview

How To Ace A Senior Role Interview

senior role interview

When trying to find your first job there are a lot of different resources out there that can help you but what happens when you now have a considerable amount of experience and are looking for a more senior position? Interviews change, become less theoretical and more centred around the experiences you have had.

 

Interviewers are now looking for a more polished candidate who has both the relevant skill set and an in-depth knowledge of their industry. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for a job once you have gained some experience.

 

Company Knowledge

Research needs to be more in depth going into the interview, not only covering the company’s products and services but also what projects are they involved in, what is going on with their competitors and what is the latest news on the company. Highlight what has been done in the past that you liked but never criticise the past employee’s decisions. If it is a new role you need to understand why they are creating the role and how you could make a difference if you got it. The more you understand about the company, the easier it will be for you to present yourself as the answer to the company’s prayers.

 

Competency Based Questions

This is your time to shine as your skills have developed over the past couple of years and your experiences are more business orientated now. Talk about your work experiences as opposed to outside experiences. If the question they ask is not something you can answer in a work context then of course talking about your hobby or voluntary experience is fine to talk about. Again, now that you have worked in a professional environment it is important to understand the significance of working towards a company’s objectives. Showing examples of how you have worked towards a company’s aims and objectives can show your value to a future employer.

 

The interviewer will also want to know about your softer skills such as leadership and interpersonal skills. Expect questions on how you’ve dealt with pressure, deadlines, difficult employees/colleagues/management etc. as the interviewer will be trying to ascertain whether you are a good fit for the job or not.

 

Showcase Your Experience

If you’re going for a more creative role, bringing your portfolio of experience along to an interview is a great way to showcase your ability. Building a website using free template sites like Weebly or Wix with links on your LinkedIn profile or hardcopy CV can show interviewers that you have the relevant skills and abilities before you meet them.

 

Questions You Ask

Now that you have the experience of working in a functioning professional environment the interviewer will want to know what makes you tick. Ask about perks, the environment and culture, ability to move up the ranks but keep in mind the position that you are interviewing for and the company that it is.

 

How You Portray Yourself in the Interview

At this stage in your career you should be comfortable in meetings with peers that you can think well on your feet and look and feel at ease. Interviewers are searching for people who have made the most out of their previous experience and want to learn more.

 

Interviews are meant to be stressful to an extent but also a space that client and candidate can get to know each other more. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer about their experience of the company and for more information.

 

Relax and take the interview in your stride, you have the experience to answer the questions asked.

Posted by Julia Purcell, Marketing & Communications Manager Sigmar on 30 November 2017

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Reflections on Talent Summit 2019

Reflections on Talent Summit 2019

Almost two weeks have passed since Talent Summit, yet the excitement from the event is still very much alive. I met with Talent Summit Founder, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig to ask him to share some of his key takeaways and highlights from Talent Summit 2019. Kate Costello – “Have the Heart of a Lion Even When You Feel Like a Mouse” After being asked for his top five takeaways, without even a moment to reflect, Robert started with “Kate Costello’s speech was a particularly significant take away”. Kate, who is only 16, spoke at Talent Summit to present the Dermot Costello Outstanding Leadership Award in honour of her father to the Irish women’s hockey team who reached the World Cup finals for the first time ever last summer. In her speech Kate told the story of a mouse who wanted to look bigger and stronger than those he feared so they would fear him. He asked a wizard to change him from a mouse to a cat, then a cat to a dog and then a dog to a lion. After some time, the wizard said, “with the heart of a mouse there is nothing I can do for you”. It’s a powerful statement to those in leadership. Being a leader means being brave in your actions to lead and guide others. You need to be courageousness to lead beyond the odds, have the heart of a lion even if sometimes we feel like a mouse. Robert reflected on the parallel message in Kate’s story of how we can leave a lasting impression on those close to us, shaping and activating change beyond what we expect and, in many cases, never even knowing we’ve impacted on a person. “The fact that Kate stood on the stage, eloquently recounting a story her father once told her, shows the personal impact we can have on those around us, can be truly transformative, beyond what we intend it to be. The irony here is that Kate not only showed the “heart of a lion” as she presented the award to her own heroes, but she herself was demonstrating outstanding leadership through her actions. My takeaway from this is that we inspire and activate those around us, every day in most cases without even realising it.” “Last year, I recalled how spending time with Dermot, was often like a life lesson, as you would come away with a different twist on whatever topic we discussed. It’s clear that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree… Thanks for that lesson Kate!” Robert Gibbs, Chief Human Capital Officer, NASA – The Power of Positive Intent The NASA transformation story shows very clearly how purpose is our defining competitive advantage. Robert reflected on Robert Gibbs keynote which explained how NASA’s raison d'être boils down to the flourishment of human kind which allows them to operate on the fringe of what is commercially viable, giving them the ultimate competitive advantage. “Robert Gibbs also reminded us that change is a ‘contact sport’, it’s personal, constant and unpredictable, requiring continuous communication and feedback”. When Robert later spoke on a panel with Niamh O’Beirne, Partner, EY and Barry Rudden, Director, Sigmar Recruitment, what surfaced in the conversation was the power of presuming positive intent. Belief goes a long way and sometimes to get the best out of people you need to believe in them. Margaret Heffernan – Leading Change Is Human During Margaret Heffernan’s keynote she emphasized how building social capital takes time, focus and energy and if the ingredients are right, can bind human capital to achieve beyond measure. The strength of the social capital creates the foundation for companies to succeed, the components of which are uniquely human; kindness, helpfulness, warmth and candour. Robert went on to say “The thing that struck me is how the ubiquity of loyalty, friendship and comradery in the workplace create a shared commitment to success, something we may struggle to replicate in the gig economy. In short being trusting and trustworthy is the basis of creating a just culture”. Ian McClean – Every Conversation Matters Given that Talent Summit is a humanic conference, Ian argued that conversation is where the rubber hits the road in expressing our humanity. It reminds us that how we make people feel in our presence is the true measure of our engagement. Robert added “every conversation can either create a gap or close a gap in our daily connectivity and we need to be mindful of the residue that every conversation leaves”. Monica Lewinsky - The Importance of Being an Upstander Robert quoted a Mexican proverb when introducing Monica, which in mays ways captured the spirit of her story; “they tried to bury us, but they didn’t realise we were seeds”. Monica Lewinsky’s story, in many ways reflects this juxtaposition of humanity and technology. As the internet catapulted her into the limelight bringing the uninvited attention of the world upon her, it was the compassion of those around her, coupled with personal resilience that brought her back from the brink. Reflecting the theme of this year’s Talent Summit, it’s the human element that has enabled Monica to lead change through her social activism and create a global anti-cyberbullying revolution. “Monica has turned personal trauma into grace and raised a profusion of lessons we can apply in our personal lives, working worlds and within our family units. My main takeaway from spending time with Monica is that each of us can make a difference by showing compassion through our actions, by being an "up-stander". Monica spoke about this in the context of societal change, but the glaringly obvious parallel in our working world, is that as some resist change and others passively act as bystanders, we truly need to firmly stand “for” the purpose behind the change we hope to achieve.” Mirroring Margaret’s Heffernan’s comment on workplace loneliness and Kate’s story of the need for the heart of a lion, when we sometimes feel like a mouse, Monica harpooned the message of individual impact home when she said, “there is power in small numbers when there is consistency over time.” We need to create a narrative steeped in empathy to be truly compassionate in all aspects of our lives. “Our purpose at Talent Summit is to create better working lives as the world of work augments and being more compassionate is really what it all boils down to! "Tanx" for sharing such a powerful message Monica.” …..and tanx to all who supported, spoke, attended and participated at Talent Summit 2019. See you next year!

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Engineering Week 2019: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering

Engineering Week 2019: Battle of the Sexes in Engineering

A polarizing topic and a polarizing question, who wins in the battle of the sexes? The topic of equality in the workplace and lack of transparency has come to the forefront of many internal and external discussions. According to the Society of Women’s Engineers, in 2003 only 20% of new graduates from an engineering discipline were female in the United States. Compare that to a recent study in 2018 by Roberta Rincon, PH.D., Manager of Research at the SWE, where only 30% of women who earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering are still working in that profession 20 years later and only 13% of engineers are women in the USA. However, there was a 54% increase in women being awarded engineering and computer science degree between 2011 and 2016. If we bring this closer to home, just 11% of the UK’s engineering workforce were female in 2017, a 2% increase since 2015. The UK also has the lowest percentage of female engineers in the EU, under 10% where the likes of Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus have nearly 30%. One step closer again and we are in Ireland where less than 25% of the people working in STEM related professions are women. Accenture conducted a survey which conveyed that there are negative stereotypes towards STEM subjects and careers. Certainly, there is still a long way to go before we reach true equality, it is a highly important issue. Yet, how about we move away slightly from representation and focus on pure achievement and contribution when discussing women and men in engineering? We provide the engineering icons and their achievements, and you decide who wins in a casual five-a-side match up! Let’s start at a time when engineering was starting to make waves across the whole of society and specifically focus in on electrical engineering, our first match up is Nikola Tesla and Edith Clarke. Edith Clarke First Female Electrical Engineer and First Female Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University, teaching for 10 years. Invented the calculator while working as a Supervisor in GE. Also invented Clarke Transformation and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame Two of her papers in mathematics won awards from the AIEE, best regional paper in 1932 and best national paper in 1941. Nikola Tesla The famous Croatian began working in Edison Machine Works, troubleshooting installations and improving generators patented over 300 inventions but is most well known for the Tesla Coil and oscillator. Advised on the electrical system for Niagara Falls. Invented a radio remote control boat, dubbing it “teleautomation” but the general public considered it magic or even made the outlandish claim a small monkey was driving it. This would later go into mass use in World War I for torpedoes with Tesla getting little acclaim. Effectively dying bankrupt, he was well known for his eccentric behaviour, working everyday from 9am to 6pm, walking at least 8 miles every day and possessing an eidetic memory. So, who was the bright spark who outshone the other between this duo of electrical engineers? Next up we have the Civil Engineers who paved the way in their fields, Gustave Eiffel and Emily Warren Roebling. Emily Warren Roebling Contributed massively to the completion of the Brooklyn bridge. After her husband, Washington Roebling, the chief engineer for the Brooklyn Bridge, contracted Caisson Disease and became bed-ridden, she developed an extensive knowledge of Materials, Stress Analysis and Cable Construction. She also became the only person to relay instruction to his assistants and aided in the plans for completion of the bridge itself. She took over a lot of the chief engineer duties and jointly planned the bridges completion and was the first to cross the bridge by carriage. Campaigned for women’s rights and against discriminatory practices targeted at women, winning wide acclaim and awards for her essay “A Wife’s Disabilities”. Gustave Eiffel Most famous for the Eiffel Tower but also contributed to the liberty statue and also designed the Garabit Viaduct. The Eiffel Bridge, and Gustave’s first major work, which is in Bordeaux has been protected as a French Historical Monument. Even though he was only a contractor for the Panama Bridge project he was implicated in the financial and political scandal. Contributed massively to aerodynamics and civil engineering, he died on 27 December 1923 while listening to Beethovens 5th Symphony The Brooklyn Bridge vs the Eiffel Tower, who built more of a legacy, Gustave or Emily? Both certainly had their issues to overcome but left a lasting legacy behind them but who made the bigger impression on the civil engineering world? Following on from Civil Engineering, we have a match up between a physicist and a chemist who both revolutionized their own respective fields and the world as we know it. Stephanie Kwolek Offered a position at the DuPont facility in New York, the vacancy arose as the majority of men were overseas in World War II but developed a career spanning 40 years, becoming the only female employee in 2015 to receive the Lavoisier Medal for outstanding achievement. She became the fourth woman to be added to the National Inventors Hall of Fame after creating Kevlar and had an illustrious career in working with polymers. Stephanie never profited from the discovery as she signed it over to DuPont, but Kevlar is used in hundreds of different products that we use daily such as mobile phones and cables. She won a publication award for her Nylon Rope Trick which created Nylon from a beaker at room temperature but also received the Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists and an award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society. The Royal Society of Chemistry awards scientists the ‘Stephanie L Kwolek Award’ to exceptional contributions to the area of materials chemistry outside of the UK. John Bardeen Awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics twice, first in 1956 for the invention of the transistor and secondly in 1972 for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory. His development of the transistor helped with almost all modern technology such as telephones and computers, effectively bringing in the information age. In 1990, John was included in Life Magazines 100 most Influential Americans of the Century. Worked on magnetic mines and torpedoes during World War II. Sony have created a John Bardeen Professional Chair post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bursar of $3 million. With both inventors and engineers leaving a massive legacy behind them both in academia and in real life application of science, it is a hard-won battle about who comes out on top between this pair. Now to look at more of a celebrity type of engineer and inventor with a flair for the limelight. Hedy Lamarr An Austrian born, inventor and actress who both helped develop a radio guidance system for allied torpedoes and starred in the likes of Algiers, Boom Town and Samson and Delilah. With no formal training, she created improved traffic stoplights, torpedoes that could resist frequency jamming and advised Howard Hughes on changing the design of his aeroplanes to sleeker, streamlined versions. In 1939, she was awarded the “most promising new actress” and has a Hollywood walk of Fame star. She became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, was awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundations Pioneer Award and also was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She has had her fair share of controversy with her film Ecstasy being banned in numerous countries for its content, being convicted of shoplifting twice and a few other scandals. Elon Musk The South African entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of SpaceX and Co-Founder and CEO of Tesla with other massive companies such as The Boring Company which cover infrastructure and construction to Neuralink, a neurotechnology company. He founded X.com which later became PayPal and was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion and also Zip2 who were later acquired by Compaq for $340 million. Elon has stated that the goals if SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity are humanitarian in reducing the effect of global warming by increasing the use of sustainable energy and even found a colony on mars. He has been ranked as one of the most powerful people in the world by Forbes, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Business Insider named him in the top ten of business visionaries creating value for the world. Who has the bigger wow factor, the movie star who escaped Nazi occupation to become a massive film star and inventor or the modern-day entrepreneurial engineer changing the landscape of the world? Up next are two engineers who have represented two of the biggest companies in the world with very different backgrounds but still inspirational stories. Ann Kelleher Born in Macroom, Co. Cork who was one of 5 women in a class of 55 studying engineering in UCC. She continued her studies achieving a master’s in electrical engineering and became the first ever female to receive a PHD from the NMRC. She began her career as a process engineer in Intel Ireland later progressing to factory manager, eventually site managing Intel’s New Mexico plant. She became the first woman in Intel’s history to be named Vice President, later becoming senior vice-president. In 2018 she became one of 25 women to be recognised in “Ireland’s Most Powerful Women Award” and was even tipped by Forbes as a good candidate to replace Elon Musk at Tesla. She is a huge advocate for women working in engineering and has called for more girls to study engineering and that more women should be applying for senior management roles. Steve Wozniak Electronics engineer who co-founded Apple who is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the personal computer revolution. After a traumatic plane crash, he suffered from amnesia using Apple II computer games to regain his memory but later leaving apple to invent and patent a universal controller. He has a long line of philanthropic programs he works on, ranging form founding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sponsoring the Tech Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and provided the entirety of the budget for the technical program for his local school district in Los Gatos. In 2014 he was induced into the Manufacturing Wall of Fame while also acting as the Innovator in Residence at High Point University and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Museum of Natural History. As well as holding an electrical engineering degree from the University of California, he has 10 honorary degrees from American, English, Canadian and Spanish degrees. Is it the Cork native with her extremely impressive CV who comes out smiling or is it Woz with his contribution to Apple and personal computers? Overall this is not to split opinion or be divisive, it is an insight into the major engineering feat’s that have been achieved by men and women. Despite low female representation in the engineering sphere, female leaders such as Hey Lamarr and Ann Kelliher still emerged changing the world for the better. These female leaders went against the grain in spectacular fashion portraying that we can do more to further the conversation on diversity in engineering.

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3 Useful Ways to Organise Yourself & Get Things Done

3 Useful Ways to Organise Yourself & Get Things Done

Being organised is a very important skill and it’s one that anyone can learn. If you feel like you are overwhelmed in work, then you need to start being organised. Here are 3 useful ways you can start today. Start Your Day Right In work it can often happened that you are overrun with many different tasks and it can be difficult to know how to structure your day productively. Come in 15-30 minutes before you start work to organise yourself. Make sure your desk is tidy and you lay out all the tasks you need in a notebook or using an online tool such as Google Tasks or Google Calendar. Write a list of what you need to do today and a list of the deadlines you have for the week. Taking these 15 minutes to do this in the morning will make your day more productive and help you to get more done throughout the day. Prioritise Once you know what you want or need from your work day, the next step is to learn what tasks in your day are the most important. One of the key elements to being organised is being able to prioritise the important stuff and know what needs your time. A handy way to decide this is using the below table. For every task you need to complete, you should evaluate each one by placing it in the below table. You should never have more than two priorities that fall in the box of ‘urgent and important’. The rest fall under the other categories of ‘important and not urgent’, ‘urgent but not important’ and ‘not urgent and not important’. Always structure your time around the urgent and important things. Get inspired with this short film of a professor explaining to his class the importance of prioritising and using one's time wisely. Ask For Help Most days you will handle your workload just fine on your own but every now and again when you see your to-do list is particularly long sometimes the best (and only) way to get things done is to ask your boss or a colleague for help. If you have too many urgent and important items on your to-do list, you should go to your boss to look at delegating some of your workload or adjust deadlines. Missing a deadline is much worse than letting someone know in advance that you won’t be able to get something done.

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5 Ways to Handle Constructive Criticism at Work

5 Ways to Handle Constructive Criticism at Work

While many like to believe we are great at our jobs, the truth is no one is perfect. In order to grow and improve we all need (and should welcome) constructive criticism. If you find yourself in a situation where your work is being critiqued, here is some advice on how you should approach the situation. 1. Don’t React Firstly, when receiving constructive criticism, do not react! This might be difficult because you may have spent a lot of time on a particular piece of work and felt quite proud of it, so the last thing you expected was to be told it’s not good enough. Sit back and collect the information you are being given and allow yourself the time to react appropriately. It’s crucial to let your boss give you their feedback. 2. Remember the Importance of Feedback Constructive criticism should never be taken personally. Feedback is so important for your learning and development. The person giving you the feedback is not out to get you, they are simply explaining how you can do better. 3 Ask Questions This is probably the most important thing for you personally. You need to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand where you have gone wrong and how you can do better going forward. This is the best way to avoid making the same mistake again. Learning how you can improve your work is the whole point of being given the constructive criticism. 4 Say Thank You You should always thank your boss for giving you feedback that you can learn from. It also lets your boss know that you’re open minded and willing to learn. Being grateful will encourage your boss to give you more feedback which will help you progress in your role. 5 Follow Up You may have agreed and accepted a solution during this conversation with your boss, but if it was a larger issue, you may wish to request a follow up meeting. This will give you time to process the feedback, get some advice from others and think about solutions for going forward. Constructive criticism can be the best way to learn our weaknesses in the workplace. Even though you may feel a little disheartened, try to remember the benefits this feedback will have for your role.