Thoughts On The Market
The overall trend is an increase in opportunities across a number of core industries such as technology, construction and engineering sales. With almost every company recruiting in each of these sectors looking for the same profile as their competition, it creates a massive demand for candidates who fulfil these criteria. Those with 1-3 years’ consecutive sales experience are in constant demand and getting snapped up swiftly by hungry employers keen to add to their ranks.
The overall trend is for this to continue which will put pressure on salaries as companies seek to outbid each other for the hottest talent.
Salaries In 2019
Basic salaries are facing more and more scrutiny as living costs consistently increase. Whether the person is renting, looking for a mortgage or has a family, the priority is what they will consistently get in their fixed income. Base salaries have increased year on year in part due to the lucrative nature of the tech industry, but many companies simply cannot afford to match these salaries.
For companies limited in this regard, look at ways you can reduce the individual’s cost base – offering health insurance, TaxSaver for commuters and so on. Small benefits like this do add up and contribute to reducing a candidate’s net outgoings which in turn may lure talent your way.
Top Tip for 2019
Companies want to feel like you want to work for them. In a market where candidates have multiple options available to them, what can often be lost is demonstrating you have researched the company and actually want to work for them.
Show a prospective employer why you want to work for the company and what aspects of the role interest you. By doing this, you stand a much better chance of getting over the line!
Posted by Alan Murphy on 20 May 2019
How to be Considered for a Job you’re Underqualified for
How to be Considered for a Job you’re Underqualified for
You’ve found the job of your dreams at an incredible company. You scroll through the job description, nodding confidently as you realise that they must have written this position for you. There’s no other explanation as to why it suits you so perfectly. Until… You gulp. They want experience – two whole years of it. And certification in a bunch of fields you’ve never been an expert in. You’ve only just graduated, or you’re looking for a career change. How are you supposed to have all this professional experience? Despite this minor setback, you know you could ace this position, if only they’d give you a chance. But how do you convey your competence on paper, let alone in an interview? How do you convince the hiring manager that you are worthy of consideration for a job you seem underqualified for? Here are a few steps you can take to position your candidacy as competitive in a scenario where you might be the underdog. Step One: Is this role really for you? The first question you must ask yourself is if the role is really, truly appropriate for you. Concluding that it is not will save you a lot of time, energy and potential disappointment in the future. However, if you genuinely believe that you could succeed in this position and will not be satisfied unless you give the application process a shot, then absolutely go for it. It’s acceptable to take the years of experience companies require with a pinch of salt, although you should consider them to be a guide. If you’re looking for an entry-level position, ‘2+ years of experience’ is a more surmountable barrier than ‘10+ years of experience.’ We’ll get into this more later, but take some time to reflect on non-professional experiences you have that could feasibly count towards the 2+ years this company is looking for. If you have proven interest and experience at university or transferrable skills in a related area, you can definitely use these to strengthen the credibility of your application. Furthermore, a company looking for candidates with an MBA may consider a candidate with a Bachelors if they can demonstrate their exceptionalism in other ways. If the role requires a specific qualification that you do not have, this could also be a potential immediate disqualifier. If you’re repeatedly seeing jobs advertised that look right for you but all require a certification in Google Analytics, perhaps consider going on a course to fill your knowledge gap. Sites that offer great online learning and development opportunities for a range of prices include Coursera, Khan Academy and Codecademy. Step Two: Research, research, research So, you’ve taken the plunge and you’re going to apply to a job you think you’re underqualified for. Now you need to ensure you understand the job as well as anyone with years of experience in that role would. You can do this through reading online, but the most effective way to gain understanding of a profession is to speak to someone who works in that field. Mobilise your contact base and set up coffee or informational interviews with people who can help you understand the specifics of the job you’re pitching yourself as the perfect fit for. Networking could also be a great way to secure an introduction to the company before you even apply, flagging your name with them. You never know who has a connection at the company of your dreams, so be sure to reach out far and wide. It’s no secret that personal referrals make all the difference when applying for a job. Step Three: Put it all down on paper The only way you’re going to be able to compete against more experienced candidates is by doing significantly more homework than they do. You’ve already (hopefully) researched the company to within an inch of its life – now ensure that your passion for their brand/product/service shines through in your covering letter. Demonstrate your knowledge about the business by making specific references in your explanation as to why you want the role – this can definitely help assuage any doubts they have about your experience level. Employers will often take unpaid experiences as evidence of professional experience, such as internships, involvement in clubs and societies and volunteering. Be sure to examine all of your achievements through the lens of what they could bring to the role, as you may be pleasantly surprised to find you already possess proven experience in areas you thought you lacked, simply because these activities took place in your free time or holidays. Combine your transferrable skills with your qualifications to highlight your suitability for the role. Skills to highlight might be: Event planning People skills Leadership Marketing Fundraising Creativity Organisation You’ve spent time thinking about how great that role would be great for you – perhaps also consider why you would be great for the role. What interesting insight could you bring to the company? Do you have a unique perspective or angle that would add value to the team? Make your individuality shine throughout your CV and cover letter. Step Four: Nail the interview Congratulations! Your gorgeously tailored CV and rivetingly specific cover letter have landed you an interview with the hiring manager. They’re interested in you, despite the fact you may not be a conventional candidate for the position. They’re willing to take a chance on you…for now. So how do you continue to exude confidence and experience in a face-to-face interaction with a company representative? Firstly, and hopefully obviously, prepare. You’re entering the room with the disadvantage of not being able to rely on personal experience of the role to support your answers. Therefore, you’ll need to consolidate your knowledge of the company and job description, as well as how your own experiences tie into what they’re looking for. Practise answers to the guaranteed interview questions you’ll likely face and be ready to defend your lack of qualification for the role, if needed. Remember to never phrase a response as a negative – always focus on the positive. For example, never begin an answer with “I know I lack experience in X, but…” or “I know I don’t have Y qualification, but…”. Instead, you should highlight your abilities and apply them to the task in question. “My tenure as the chairperson of my college’s Business and Enterprise Society enabled me to practise my leadership and project management skills in a way which is applicable to Z task in these ways…” for instance. While it’s important to bend the truth to your advantage, you must never lie. The interviewer may then push you on it and you could slip up under pressure. No employer wants to hire a dishonest worker, and such a mistake may result in your name being blacklisted for future opportunities. Furthermore, if a lie got you into the job and then you found you were unable to complete the tasks assigned to you as a result, you could lose your job and evoke serious bad feeling from a company you may have to encounter again in the future. Honesty is the best policy – just be shrewd in how you phrase your answers. To conclude, you are likely more qualified than you think for the job of your dreams. All it takes is a little bit of research, tailoring and careful phrasing to upgrade your position from that of an outsider to a competitive candidate. Even if you don’t land the role using these steps, you will have learned a huge amount about an area you previously may not have been overly familiar with. Your research will certainly be applicable to future job applications and may even inspire you to pursue a line of work you had previously not considered. You’ve got nothing to lose – what are you waiting for?
How to Find the Career Path That’s Right for You
How to Find the Career Path That’s Right for You
In a workforce that, on average, changes jobs nearly every three years and career paths 5-7 times in a lifetime, less emphasis is being placed on choosing a job that you intend to stay in forever. Particularly at the beginning of their working lives, young people are moving from job to job on a regular basis, defying the age-old mantra that a career should be for life. In reality, a career is more like a long, winding river that will take you in directions you never thought you’d go, landing you at a destination that only becomes visible once you turn a corner and take a plunge. That is not to say, however, that you should not take those initial steps down your first career path lightly. The people you meet and skills you learn could end up significantly impacting your life in the long run, as well as your immediate feelings of happiness and fulfilment. To make this initial choice a little easier, here are seven steps you can take to help you find a career path that is right for you. Take a Career Test Career tests might seem a silly way to determine what job you should look for. After all, how could ticking a bunch of boxes on a computer program possibly demonstrate anything other than the most basic wants and needs? Who are they to say that you would make the perfect hairdresser or software engineer? If you’re completely stumped for inspiration about even what sector you would like to work in, however, online career tests can be a great way to get you thinking about the areas in which you could feasibly work while taking your personality, experience and values into account. The 123 Test has you make associations with various tasks and provides you with a list of suitable jobs at the end. The Redbull Wingfinder doesn’t give you specific career advice but breaks down core elements of your personality that could be invaluable when considering how suited you may be to certain careers. On the other hand, O*NET Interest Profiler provides a comprehensive overview of how your skills and interests can intersect with your aspirations. You can take or leave the results these quizzes give you, but sometimes having your strengths typed out in front of you can clarify your goals to yourself. Assess Your Options Whether you do this following a career test, or after a period of self-reflection, you need to take stock of your options. Write down every option available to you, and every path you would be interested in pursuing. Go through each of the options available to you, eliminating and highlighting those that you are instinctively averse to and are intrigued by respectively. By the end, you should have a manageable list of potential routes you could take, most of which should contain a combination of your interests, skills and values. It’s also important to research the jobs you put in your shortlist. The qualifications required by one may put you off, while the trajectory promised by another may inspire you. Read case studies pertaining to interesting fields to give you an idea as to where you could end up down the line. Having a long-term career goal may be more of a motivator for you than a short term one. Network You’ve researched careers that interest you, and now you have finally settled on one or two that excite you more than any others. Now, you need to look at this list and ask what connections you have to these different careers. Do you know someone who works in that sector? Someone who could perhaps make an introduction or give you further insight into a career that interests you? According to research compiled by Social Talent, although only 7% of applicants come via referrals, they account for over 40% of successful hires. Statistically speaking, you have a much greater chance of securing an entry level position in a field that interests you if you are introduced via someone with a connection to that employer. Networking isn’t only beneficial for getting your foot in the door, however. It’s important to speak to people currently working in, or with knowledge of, the field(s) you would like to enter. They may have insider information unavailable online, or give you guidance as to how you might approach getting a job. Whatever your goals, it’s worth going out and meeting people who can help you through this difficult decision with their own experiences, insight and network in that field. Get Experience One of the most useful outcomes from networking successfully would be the opportunity to gain practical experience in the area you want to work in. From the perspective of an employer, they would be more likely to hire someone with a proven interest and existing ability in their sector. From your side, you would be able to see first-hand what the day-to-day of such a job entails and decide whether or not it’s for you. Internships are a great way to gain experience in a hands-on working environment. Not only will you have the opportunity to complete tasks similar to those you might be set as an employee, but you will make some invaluable contacts who could potentially help you secure employment later down the line. There are lots of great internship opportunities out there, but make sure you are not being exploited. Some companies take advantage of the passion and inexperience of interns and have them work with little to no compensation, and no guarantee of a job at the end of the programme. Another way to gain experience would be to ask someone if you could shadow them at work for a couple of days, so you can see what they are tackling on a daily basis, as well as meet their co-workers and convey your enthusiasm and initiative to a potential employer. Find a Mentor Mentors are an invaluable way to gain insider knowledge of an industry, as well as a potential fountain of tailored advice to help you succeed in whichever career you end up choosing. For more information on how to find a mentor, you can have a look at this Forbes article that breaks down the steps of finding and securing the right mentor for you. Make a Career Path Plan You’ve identified an area that interests you, researched it thoroughly, spoken about it with contacts and perhaps even secured some practical experience in that field. The next step is to create an actionable plan that lays out all the steps you need to take to achieve your professional goals. Whether this involves changing careers later in life, taking risks or going back to education to secure further qualifications, create an actionable plan that will allow you to step from one to the other. Here’s a great guide on how to structure a solid career path plan. No one’s career path unfolds in an uncomplicated straight line. In fact, there will be jobs that exist in the future that we couldn’t even imagine in today’s society. The best approach is to have an open mind, strong initiative and the willingness to be flexible as you work towards your goals. Expect the unexpected, and never be afraid to deviate from your plan if it feels right. As they say, ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’
Guaranteed Interview Questions to Prepare and Ace
Guaranteed Interview Questions to Prepare and Ace
“What do you think of garden gnomes?” This was apparently asked of one Trader Joe’s candidate in an interview . A silly, irrelevant question for a job in grocery stores, you might say. However, questions like these that seem, on the surface, ridiculous, often provide more insight into a candidate’s aptitude for the role than you might initially think. No one ever knows exactly what questions are going to be asked in an interview. However, there are trends that show up in every list of most common interview questions, which we have divided into five categories. We’ll provide examples for each, as well as an overview of how you should consider approaching them to showcase yourself in the best possible light. Informational Questions “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” “Why are you leaving your current job?” “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” These tend to be the questions that open up an interview, giving you an opportunity to provide a brief bit of background information about yourself, as well as an overview of your aspirations, providing the interviewer context about you and where this role fits in with your career plans. This is not to say, however, that you should approach these questions with any less preparation or panache than others. You should phrase your answers as a pitch of your career; linear, like a story, and this job as the next step that slots perfectly between the past and the future. It wouldn’t hurt, of course, to slip in a few specific achievements that you want the employer to know about, opening up the floor for further questions on those later. While you should phrase your answers in a way that presents this job as an ideal opportunity, you should also be honest – you don’t want anything you said in a moment of panic to come back to haunt you if you are hired! Company-Specific Questions “How did you hear about the position?” “What do you know about the company?” “What do you think we could do better or differently?” To separate the wheat from the chaff, employers will frequently ask interviewees to demonstrate their knowledge about the company they are applying to. Stumbling at this hurdle will almost certainly mark the end of your candidacy for the position! If you don’t know much about the company you’re interviewing for, they will question your passion for what they do and your ability to do the most basic of research. Interviewers want to see that not only are you passionate about their company’s brand, but that you are able to assess their current infrastructure critically and constructively present feedback using your prior knowledge and experience. Small start-ups in particular look for creativity in their employees, and definitely would like to see how you could contribute to company development from the outset. Behavioural Questions “Tell me about a challenge or a conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.” “Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?” “Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?” To get an idea of how you handle conflict, your interviewer may ask a similar question to one of these. Often, they will start with ‘give me an example…’ or ‘describe…’. The idea is to get a sense of what your personal strengths are in pressurised situations, as well as how you structure your response to problems. There is a technique to handling such questions, named the STAR Method. As set out by Al Dea, the founder of CareSchooled and a learning and development coach, STAR is “helpful because it provides a simple framework for helping a candidate tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience,” i.e. giving your response a clear structure and minimising the opportunity to ramble. S – Set the scene. What details do you need to share to ensure your example is clear? T – Task. What was your responsibility and/or goal in this situation? A – Action. What did you do to resolve the issue and complete your aim? What steps did you take? R – Result. What was the direct result of your actions? What did you accomplish? You can read more about the STAR Method here. These questions could also expand to more personal ones, such as the personality types you tend to clash with, as well as your own strengths and weaknesses. Your answers to these questions can provide insight into how you might gel with the existing team, and whether the company culture is necessarily a suitable fit for you. Puzzle Questions “How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?” “How many pennies could you fit in this room?” “Why are manholes round?” These are questions of the same breed as “what do you think of garden gnomes?”. Questions that appear completely unrelated to the job at hand, and that there could be a million ways to answer, none of which jump out as being the ‘correct’ one. That’s because the hiring manager is not looking for a correct answer, but one that is reached in a logical, methodical manner. If you articulate your thought process out loud, the interviewer can see how you are approaching the problem using existing mathematical abilities, as well as common sense and general knowledge. They also reveal a substantial amount about the personality of a candidate. Your approach to the questions and ability to think on your feet speaks volumes about your character and may be a crucial insight to the employer as to whether you’d be up for the day-to-day challenges that are part of the role. A calm-headed, logical candidate may handle the tennis ball question by demonstrating awareness of the measurements needed to perform the calculation, such as the volume of a tennis ball and the length, width and height of the limousine. An even more impressive candidate may turn questions back on the interviewer, asking as to whether there are any people inside the limousine at the time and how big the seats are. However you choose to approach the puzzle at hand, maintain a cool demeanour, showcase your understanding of maths and problem-solving and use rational logic to show you could come up with a rough methodology to reach a correct solution, even if you do not. Pressuring Questions “Are you under/overqualified for this job?” “Why should we hire you over someone else?” While these questions may appear a little forthright, and definitely intimidating, they actually present a brilliant opportunity to sell yourself to the employer in a brazen way that thus far you may have had to tiptoe around. Use questions such as these to summarise your core strengths and the value that you would bring to the company, emphasising that you truly are the perfect fit for this job. Be careful not to overly criticise your imaginary rivals, as that’ll present you as petty – rely on your own positives in your pitch to convince the interviewer that you should get the position. BONUS – Ask Questions Back! It’s no secret that the key to finishing an interview well is to walk in with a few pre-prepared questions to ask the hiring manager when prompted. These should demonstrate your curiosity, prior research and genuine desire to know more about the company and the role. Perhaps more importantly, this interview is an opportunity for you to gauge whether this position in this company would be the right fit for you. Therefore, be sure to maximise this opportunity to answer any questions you still have by the end of your time with the interviewer. Here are some examples of questions that could provoke interesting, informative answers from the employer: “What’s your favourite part about working here?” “What can you tell me about the company’s plans for growth in the future?” “How would you describe the company culture?” So, there you have it – an overview of the most common questions that could arise in an interview. If the specific question is not listed above, it is guaranteed to fit into one of those five categories. Prepare to handle questions from each of those angles, be aware of what exactly they want to see from each answer, and you’ll knock it out the park.
How to Look After Your Mental Health in the Workplace
How to Look After Your Mental Health in the Workplace
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increase the burden: It is easier to say "My tooth is aching" than to say "My heart is broken".” – C.S. Lewis The month of May marks Mental Health Awareness Month around the world – a time for highlighting the key battles we have yet to fight in the war against the stigmatisation of mental health issues. A recent study by VHI revealed that almost 70% of Irish corporate employees admit to needing to look after their mental wellness more effectively, and 1 in 5 have missed work due to anxiety, depression or stress in the past year. It is always advisable to seek the advice of a professional if you have concerns about your mental health. However, there are small, yet effective, measures you can take to improve your wellbeing in the workplace that can spread into your personal life in a positive, affirming way. Work/Life Balance Sir Ken Robinson noted in his keynote speech at Sigmar’s Talent Summit 2018 that, although the invention of emails was promised to save us time, we have since found that, if anything, we are less and less able to leave work behind in the workplace. It is now part of most people’s routines to check their phones first thing in the morning and reply to work-related emails before leaving home, always thinking about what needs to be done that day. It’s important that you ‘work smart, not long.’ This means actively leaving work behind in the office, working efficiently during the day so you don’t feel compelled to continue with it after hours. If the quantity of work you are being expected to complete within working hours is too much to do so successfully, be sure to speak up and discuss the manageability of your workload with your supervisor. Communication is key – they’re going to keep piling on the work as long you stay quiet about how overwhelmed you are, so make sure you speak up and be heard before it becomes too much to handle. Employers won’t know where the pressure lies unless you tell them. If you’re unsure of how much your work life spills over into your personal life, why don’t you try keeping a log for a month? Jot down in a diary how many hours you work every day – not just when you’re sitting at your desk, but when you’re thinking about work at home, composing emails and returning calls out of hours. It may build a more objectively troubling picture than you can see currently from the inside. Make The Most Of Your Breaks Don’t be afraid to make the most of the breaks you are allotted at work. Once you’re on a roll, it’s tempting to power through lunchtime and eat at your desk, one eye always on your computer screen. Try and avoid doing this when you can. Take a walk, practise mindfulness or meditation, experience new places to eat, socialise with co-workers or friends who work nearby. “But I don’t have time to meditate!” I hear you exclaim. Yes, you do! ‘Meditation’ is not always synonymous with pulling on yoga pants, lighting up a stick of incense and adopting the lotus position. You can meditate absolutely anywhere – in a local park, at a café…even sitting at your desk! If you’re not confident leading your own meditation, you can find five-minute guided sessions free online, like this one here. There are also some great customisable apps you can get on your phone, such as Timer and Headspace. It is impossible to overvalue the importance of taking time to relax, clear your head and focus on your own wellbeing. You’ll find this re-energises you for the day ahead, as well as provide an invaluable opportunity to assess your current state of mind and mentally address any emotional concerns or anxieties. You may also be pleasantly surprised at how easily solutions pop into your head when you take just a few minutes to collect your thoughts. Communication This one works both ways for employers as well as employees. Communication is the key to destigmatising conversations about mental health. In his TEDx talk on workplace mental health, Tom Oxley says ‘you don’t make people unwell by talking about mental health – you give them the opportunity to speak out sooner’. There’s a flawed unspoken terror that speaking out about mental illness will somehow worsen the problem, as if it’s contagious or something you can conjure up into existence within your own mind. The reality is that many sufferers don’t feel able to speak up due to the prejudice surrounding their condition, and the fear that their workplace would not be supportive of them if they did so. The best way an employer can foster an atmosphere of positivity, health and wellbeing is to ensure that their workers know that they are free to talk openly about any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and won’t face indirect penalisation for doing so. The first reaction of many employers is to offer a struggling staff member limited time off to recover, then expect them to return to work and continue as usual. While time off may be a solution for some employees, bosses should also consider the advantages of offering flexible working hours to affected workers. Tom Oxley strongly advocates for good communication practices between employers and employees to ensure that no one ever feels alienated from their place of work, and that anxieties don’t build up over time into uncontrollable crises. In turn, employees should communicate to their employers about their feelings on mental health in the workplace, as far as they feel comfortable to do so. Being transparent about how you’re feeling and what you need from your job to help you recover will give your boss the tools to help you in the way that’s most beneficial for you. If you are worried that taking time off would only serve to isolate you from the company, voice that concern. Your employer should want to get the very best out of you – they hired you for a reason. It’s in their interest to give you the support you need. Create a healthy routine Studies have consistently proven a strong link between mental health and physical health, and specialists are adamant that one of the best ways to maintain good mental wellbeing is to look after your physical welfare. Your job may be intellectually demanding, with long hours and difficult tasks you have to tackle each day, taking a toll on your mental health. This also likely means your job is sedentary. Indeed, scientists have connected the rise in global obesity to the increasing number of jobs that don’t require any form of physical activity. You may be hard pressed to find the time to exercise during a busy work week, but it’s important you look after your body – it will only beneficially impact your mental wellbeing. Take a stroll during your lunchbreak, do 30 mins of yoga before work, or even try training for a half marathon over the course of a few months. Be sure to stock up your desk drawer with nutritious snacks rather than sugary ones, such as nuts, fruit and protein bars. Snacknation has published an extensive list of delicious office snack ideas if you’re dry on inspiration. These are just a few ways you can work to ensure your mental wellbeing in the workplace, which will in turn hopefully boost your productivity, energy and, ultimately, happiness. While mental health is something we can’t always necessarily control, we can impact the way in which we talk about it, breaking down the harmful social barriers that currently thwart constructive discussions on preventative measures.