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Guaranteed Interview Questions to Prepare and Ace

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“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.

Posted by Susannah Hunt on 6 June 2019

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Guide to Irish Immigration Stamps and Permissions

Guide to Irish Immigration Stamps and Permissions

This content is copied from The Department of Justice and Equality. ​ There are several types of stamp with different names, eg Stamp 0, Stamp 1, etc. Each one indicates a type of permission, including the activities you can and cannot do in Ireland and the time period you are allowed to stay. You must be familiar with your stamp and the conditions that apply to it. If you break these conditions, you may have to leave the country. The time you accumulate on certain stamps may be used to calculate your 'reckonable residence' (subject to conditions) if you apply for citizenship by naturalisation. Stamp 0 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a temporary period, subject to conditions. Summary of conditions You must be of independent means, ie fully financially self-sufficient. Alternatively, your sponsor in Ireland must be of independent means and can support you fully. You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, eg be treated at a public hospital. You must have private medical insurance. You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 0 if you have permission to: Retire to or live in Ireland as a person of independent means Be a visiting academic at an Irish university or college Live in Ireland as the elderly, dependent relative of a non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen Extend a short term visit here due to exceptional humanitarian circumstances Work here for an overseas company to carry out a specific task for a limited time Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 0 Stamp 1 indicates permission to work or operate a business in Ireland, subject to conditions. Stamp 1 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You must not start a job or enter employment unless you or your employer has obtained an employment permit for you. If you do not have an employment permit you must not engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 1 if you have permission to: Work here based on an employment permit Operate a business here Work here based on a Working Holiday Authorisation Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 1 The Immigration Rules for non-EEA Stamp 1A Trainee Accountants of 1 June 2017 are currently under review. Until this review is completed the following conditions apply in order to qualify for a Stamp 1A. Stamp 1A description Stamp 1A indicates permission in full time, paid accountancy training (with a named organisation such as CPA Ireland, ICAI or regulated by the IAASA and with a training contract with a company based in Ireland) for a specified period, subject to conditions. Summary of conditions You must not engage in any other business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 1A if you have permission to: Study accountancy as a trainee & be employed as a trainee accountant Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 1A 1) Graduate Student who currently holds a Stamp 2 or 2A permission Stamp 1G indicates you have finished your studies in Ireland and have permission to look for employment here under the Third Level Graduate Programme, subject to conditions. Summary of employment conditions for graduates You can work for a maximum of 40 hours per week. If you wish to continue working after Stamp 1G expires, you must find a job that requires an employment permit and then follow the usual application process. While on a Stamp 1G, your other permissions and conditions remain the same as for Stamp 2/2A. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 1G if you have permission to: Look for work as part of the Third Level Graduate Programme 2) Spouse/de facto partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder or a Spouse/de facto partner of Researchers in the State on Hosting Agreements From the 6 March 2019 the Stamp 1G will also provide for the change in policy to both visa and non-visa required non-EEA nationals, who are Spouses and de facto partners of persons who are currently resident in this State, on Stamp 3 conditions, as the family member of a person resident in the State on the basis of a Critical Skills Employment Permit or a Researcher in the State on a Hosting Agreement. The requirement to obtain a DPSEP has been removed for this group by DBEI. INIS will grant eligible de facto partners of CSEP holders and researchers on a Hosting Agreement permission, to reside in this State on Stamp 1G Conditions without the need to obtain a DPSEP from DBEI. This will allow access to the labour market without an Employment Permit. Summary of employment conditions for spouses and de facto partners of CSEP holders and researchers on a Hosting Agreement permission Permitted to work in the State without the requirement to obtain a work permit Not permitted to establish or operate a Business Not permitted to be Self- Employed Renewal of the Stamp 1G registration should be applied for annually, and after 5years on a Stamp 1G, you may apply for a Stamp 4 Periods spent on Stamp 1G are considered as reckonable residence for the purpose of making an application for Citizenship/Naturalisation Stamp 2 indicates permission to study a full time course on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP) for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 2 is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services (e.g. public hospitals) unless you have an entitlement via other means. You can work in casual employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during school term and 40 hours per week during holidays. You must not engage in any other business or trade. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 2 if you have permission to study the following: English language Higher national diploma Degree (undergraduate) Master's degree (postgraduate) PhD Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 2 Stamp 2A indicates permission for full time study in Ireland for a course that is not on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP), for a specified period. Stamp 2A is not reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services, eg public hospitals. You must have private medical insurance. You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 2A in the following circumstances: Semester abroad (ie at an Irish university/college) Study at a private secondary school in Ireland Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 2A Stamp 3 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 3 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions Recently revised to: http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages/revised-immigration-arrangements-for-the-spouses-and-de-facto-partners-of-critical-skills-employment-permit-holders If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 3 if you have permission to: Volunteer, eg with a charity or non-profit Be a minister of religion Join your non-EEA/EU/Swiss spouse/civil partner or family member who is here based on a work permit Other Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 3 Stamp 4 indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a specified period, subject to conditions. Stamp 4 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. Summary of conditions You can take up employment and are not required to hold an Employment Permit. You can work in a profession, subject to conditions of the relevant professional or other bodies. You can establish and operate a business. You may access state funds and services as determined by Government departments or agencies. If you wish to stay in Ireland past the expiry date of your immigration permission, you must apply to renew your permission and registration before they expire. Examples when used You may be given Stamp 4 if you have had permission to work in Ireland: With a valid Critical Skills employment permit for 2 years With a valid employment permit for 5 years As a researcher (ie with a valid Hosting Agreement) for 2 years You may be given Stamp 4 if you are granted permission: To join your Irish spouse, civil partner or de-facto partner To join your EU/EEA or Swiss family member based on EU Treaty Rights To join a family member who has immigration permission based on Stamp 4EUFAM (ie EU Treaty Rights) To join your family member who is a recognised refugee or has been granted subsidiary protection To remain with your child who is an Irish citizen Under the Investor and Entrepreneur Programme (including spouse/partner & family) For Long Term Residence As a convention or programme refugee, or based on subsidiary protection Register or renew Register for the first time or renew based on Stamp 4 Stamp 5 indicates permission to stay in Ireland without limits on the time you can remain here, subject to other conditions. Stamp 5 is reckonable as residence when applying for citizenship by naturalisation. The stamp will be valid up to the expiry date on your passport. You may be given Stamp 5 if you have permission to: Remain in Ireland 'Without condition as to time' (WCATT) Stamp 6 indicates you are an Irish citizen with dual-citizenship. You may be given Stamp 6 in your non-Irish passport if you have applied for permission to: Remain in Ireland 'Without condition'

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Our Staff Share Their Experience & Give Advice To Anyone Disappointed With Their Leaving Cert Results

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Future Jobs For Irish Youths

Future Jobs For Irish Youths

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The industry employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually. With Ireland being the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. With a highly creative and talented workforce, an open economy and a competitive corporate tax environment, Ireland has successfully attracted eight of the top 10 global information technology companies to establish a significant presence here. Some facts about the ICT sector: Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. Global leaders such as Intel, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Apple have long-established operations in Ireland. They have been joined by newer leading-edge giants such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay and Twitter. Dublin is Europe's leading hub of innovative games companies with Big Fish, EA, Havok, DemonWare, PopCap, Zynga, Riot Games and Jolt all having a significant presence here. 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Famous People Who Failed Before Succeeding

Famous People Who Failed Before Succeeding

Not happy with your leaving cert results? Don’t worry, have a look at these famous people who received some painful rejections before they accomplished some amazing things. Walt Disney The man whose cartoon characters have given so much to generations of students and are still a huge part of peoples’ lives today. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star in 1919 because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”, according to his editor. And his bad luck didn’t end there, when he finally managed to get his own production company he had to file for bankruptcy because he couldn’t manage his money correctly. Luckily, he didn’t give up, moved to Hollywood and went on to become one of the greatest animators in the world. His creations have gone on to touch the lives of many and as well as being a successful production company, Disney also operates theme parks, a streaming service and stores worldwide. JK Rowling People know JK Rowling as one of the most successful female authors in the world. What people aren’t aware of, is the tremendous struggles she faced before Harry Potter was published. In 1990, Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter but that same year her mother passed away and writing was put on hold. In 1992 she moved to Portugal to teach English where she met her husband and had a daughter. Sadly, in 1993 her marriage ended and she moved to Scotland to be close to her sister. At this time Rowling saw herself as a failure, she was divorced, jobless and broke. Rowling then began to focus her attention on Harry Potter. When her manuscript was completed, she sent it to 12 publishers and was rejected by all 12 before it was accepted by a small publishing company, Bloomsbury and the rest as they say is history. Photo: Daniel Ogren Flickr Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey had an extremely difficult start in life, she was raised in rough conditions and was the victim of sexual abuse from the age of 9. When she was 14 however, she was given the opportunity to live with her father who encouraged her to pursue her education and later she went on to university to study communications. Her difficulty didn’t stop there, as after gaining a job as an evening news reporter, she was fired because she couldn’t sever her emotions from her stories. Her boss told her she was “unfit for television news”. Oprah laughs about this now and even admits she wasn’t cut out for news reporting because she became too emotionally invested in the people and the stories. She was then given a talk show slot on the same television network and the rest is history. Photo: Ian Evenstar Flickr Katy Perry Most people know the name Katy Perry but few know of the struggle she went through to be the success she is today. In 2001, Katy Perry who was then Katy Hudson released an unsuccessful Christian album that only sold 200 copies and was subsequently dropped from her label. She then went on to sign with Island Def Jam in 2003 where she was also dropped. Then she was set to be the front woman of a band called The Matrix and that contract was also terminated before they released any music. It wasn’t until she signed with Capitol Music Group and released, I Kissed a Girl that her music career really took off. Photo: Joella Marano Stephen King One of the world’s most famous authors, Stephen King has written over 50 novels and has had many of his novels produced as films. However, King didn’t always have it easy. In fact, before his first novel Carrie was published, he threw it in the bin. It had been rejected 30 times and King decided he’d had enough. It was his wife that retrieved it from the trash and told him to keep trying, which is a good thing considering how successful that book became and his other books to follow. Photo: Rogelio A. Galaviz C.​