There has been a significant recovery in the construction sector since 2012. According to the Irish Construction Industry “the building and construction industry increased its volume of output by 4.1% in the second quarter of 2014 when compared to the previous year”. In residential construction the ESRI predict that between 10,000 and 12,000 new houses will be needed between now and 2015. Further predictions project that this requirement will double to between 20,000 and 25,000 homes to accommodate ongoing demographic change. A further report carried out by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland entitled the “Construction Sector Outlook 2014” has forecasted the creation of about 30,000 new jobs over the next few years. Workers Abroad Many of our skilled construction workers have left Ireland to seek opportunities abroad. A construction boom and tax free salaries have attracted many Irish construction workers to the Middle East. According to the Irish Times in the United Arab Emirates the Irish population has increased by about 30 per cent to an estimated 6,000 people. In Riyadh the Irish Embassy has reported an increase in the number of families now living in Saudi Arabia to an estimated 3,000 people and a further 1,000 Irish people residing in Qatar. Canada has also been an attractive destination for many of our engineering specialists due to its current scarcity of workers. It is estimated that 3,000 skilled Irish construction workers will be working in Canada as engineering specialists by the end of 2014. In addition to skilled construction workers leaving our shores many Irish construction companies have also set up new ventures overseas. Some of these companies’ strengths include English as the established business language and high innovation and design standards. In 2010 Irish construction firms P Elliot & Company Limited and Wills Bros Ltd set up a new joint venture in Saudi Arabia. In 2011 Sligo based company Jennings O’ Donovan & Partner followed suit and announced that it had secured a contract of 2.8m as the Primary Infrastructure Development for a large development in Bahrain. Irish construction companies such as Kentz, Laing O’Rourke and Kentech have also won significant projects with some offering attractive overseas packages for the construction professionals and their families. Talent Shortages in the Irish Market As the Irish construction housing market has seen a bounce-back in job opportunities, there are now not enough suitably qualified graduates to fill them. The downturn in the building sector five years ago triggered a dramatic fall in secondary school leavers interest in third level study in courses linked to this area. According to Career and Education News between 2008 and 2013, CAO first preferences for construction related courses plunged from 552 to 195. Engineers Ireland also recently highlighted that there will be a shortage of engineering graduates in the years ahead and that during the 2013/2014 academic year only 62 construction engineers graduated. An additional problem of having a percentage of our skilled construction workers overseas on high tax free salaries poses further problems for engineering companies in relation to the recruitment of staff. Future Outlook The ongoing recovery of the construction industry along with the issue of many of our skilled engineering professionals overseas poses questions for companies, educators and the government in how we ensure we have sufficient talent available for the opportunities which will emerge. The government recently announced a stimulus package for the construction industry titled “Construction 2020”. One of the points outlined within this package was a tax incentive scheme to increase supply for residential housing developments and to increase job numbers within the construction sector. While it is unwise to look for a situation where any sector is too popular a choice (demand for architecture and civil engineering during the boom was out of sync with future opportunities), there is certainly a case that more interest can be promoted in relevant construction courses. Many of our mechanical and electrical construction companies have reported difficulty in finding strong candidates for junior and intermediate roles – while there has simultaneously not been a large demand from school-leavers for building services courses. Along with this, experienced managers in the construction sector have commented that educators need to provide more “real world” exposure to future engineers towards the end of their third level education – eg. better Excel and planning software skills (MS Project, Primavera etc.) as these will enable them to bring greater value and “hit the ground running” with companies in the marketplace. It looks likely that Irish companies will try hard to attract many of our overseas engineers back home in the near future – they will also be interested to see if an increased number of skilled graduates can emerge through the education system. The answer to tackling the current deficit of qualified construction professionals should come from multiple sources including government incentives, upskilling current workers and promoting careers in construction to those entering third level education. As the Irish construction sector continues to show strong improvement we look forward to continuous growth in the year ahead.
Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to see if it would be better to use the services of a recruitment agency or look after the hiring yourself. 1) How much does it cost not to use an agency? Firstly you must consider how much does recruitment cost your department/organisation. You need to ask how much does your organisation spend on advertising? Is this advertising reaching its primary target audience? Is this advertising effective- are you attracting the right candidates for the roles? 2) What resources are involved? You need to ask how much people resources go into organising, screening and responding to the advertisements before there is ever a shortlist drawn-up of who would be suitable to interview? When you have a shortlist for interview, how many further resources does it require to organise the interviews, test the candidates etc? 3) What is the time commitment? You must ask how much time overall does this process demand. 4) What is the opportunity cost? Finally, you must question could this time and the majority of these resources be deployed effectively elsewhere in your department and whilst your recruitment needs are taken care of? The answer is invariably ‘yes’ and the path to this successful management of limited resources whilst providing an effective function is to utilise the services of a recommended recruitment agency.
In the fourth and final part of our interview tips series on what to do after you have interviewed all the potential candidates. The post-interview process should consist of five elements: 1. Record your observations Immediately after each interview, take time to summarize the observations made during the course of the interview. Note your observations right away, so you can assess each candidate more objectively against the requirements of the job and not subjectively against the preceding or succeeding candidates. 2. Narrow the field After you have interviewed all the scheduled candidates and before you make your final hiring decision, narrow the field to those you would consider hiring for the position. Don’t centre all consideration around one person and exclude all others from contention, because if your first choice turns down the position, you may have trouble remembering the merits of the other candidates. 3. Make the hiring decision Review all the information you have obtained on the candidates. Consider the following factors in arriving at your final decision: Ability to do the work. Interest in doing the job. Potential for growth. Ability to adjust to the job environment. After careful thought, make the decision to hire or not to hire. A valid selection occurs when the “merit and fitness” of the candidate are the primary determining factors in the decision. Inform HR of your choice. 4. Notify the selected candidate 5. Notify unsuccessful candidates Good HR practice and common courtesy require that you inform candidates not selected of your decision and thank them for their interest.
Ireland has a thriving indigenous IT sector and is home to the second highest concentration of ICT multinationals in the world, outside of Silicon Valley. Forty per cent of Ireland’s GDP – some €72bn per annum – comes from its technology sector, which employs more than 105,000 people. Since 2011, more than 15,000 jobs have been announced in the sector, making Ireland the go-to place to locate international Tech headquarters. According to the Government’s ICT Skills Action Plan 2014, Ireland is likely to face an average increase in demand for high-level ICT skills of around 5% a year out to 2018, with the employment of ICT professionals anticipated to rise to just over 91,000. Ireland’s skilled, educated workforce and competitive corporation tax continues to attract foreign investment, with 9 out of the top 10 global ICT companies maintaining a presence in Ireland, and all of the top 5 software companies. This is accompanied by strong performances from our indigenous SMEs and an increasing number of innovative, well-funded Irish start-ups who are gaining recognition on a global level. The Irish government are dedicated supporters of the Irish ICT sector. They have created a number of initiatives to encourage and support new start-up activity such as schemes to relax visa requirements for non-EU citizens with in demand IT skills and have increased investment in research. The Technology Centre in Data Analytics is a collaboration between DIT, UCD and UCC, and is part of the sustained effort to make Ireland top of the market. IT employers in Ireland can recruit from a domestic talent pool of highly skilled, flexible candidates, with experience in leading global companies, and also, from a large number of mobile professionals from across the EU. These candidates are actively looking to relocate, attracted by Ireland’s ‘IT Hub’ reputation. Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia’s entry to the EU has expanded the skilled talent pools accessible to Irish employers.
During an interview you are attempting to gain knowledge about the candidate’s career growth, stability, achievements, interpersonal skills and interest in the position. In this article we look at what topics to cover and the questions you need to ask. Topics to Cover: Work Experience Compare the duties and responsibilities, supervision and the candidate’s likes and dislikes of past and present positions with the position you are seeking to fill. Question the candidate on his or her progress and salary increases. Also find out the candidate’s reasons for leaving their past or current job. Relevance of Education A person’s educational choices can reveal important aspects of his or her personality, motivation, character and interests. Key areas include: subjects studied, academic performance, positions held (e.g. class captain) and work experience while in school/college. Outside Interests When relevant to the job, outside interests, such as organisation and association memberships, and volunteer work, may be revealing. Sample Interview Questions General What do you know about our company? Why do you want to move to our company? What role are your applying for? What will you be doing on a day to day basis in this role? Influencing or Persuading Others Tell me about a time when you were able to change someone’s viewpoint significantly. Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something that you disagreed with. Interpersonal and Team Skills What skills and personal qualities have you contributed to the teams you have been part of? What qualities do you admire most in others? Communication Skills Tell me about a time when someone misunderstood what you were attempting to communicate to them. Tell me about a time when you worked with people from a culture unlike your own. What did you do to overcome any perceived barriers to communication? Have you ever dealt with customers that are in the wrong? Give me a specific example and the outcome? What do you think that the company’s customers want? Personal Adaptability, Energy and Resilience Tell me about a time when your work or an idea was criticised. Tell me about a time when you felt frustrated by your work. Describe something creative that you’ve done. What has been your most satisfying/ disappointing experience? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Tell me about a time when things were particularly hectic? How did you feel? What steps did you take to deal with the pressure? Self-management, Self-motivation and Self-knowledge What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work? What are the two most significant accomplishments in your career so far? What do you expect to be earning in 5 years? In the past year, what have you been dissatisfied about in your performance? What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort? Administrative Skills Tell me how you organise your work and schedule your time. Problem Solving and Decision Making Tell me about a difficult decision that you have made. Tell me about a time when you had conflicting priorities and what you did to resolve them. Conflict Management and Ethics Tell me about a difficult customer or a customer complaint that you have dealt with. How do you resolve conflict in the groups or teams that you have membership of? Personal and Career Objectives What are your short and long-term goals? When and why did you establish these goals and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them? What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now? Knowledge of the Organisation and Role What skills and personal qualities are essential for success in this role? Why did you apply for this position? What do you know about our industry? What do you know about our organisation? Ability, Competence and Achievement What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction? Why? Tell us about a time when you had more to do than you could complete in the time allocated: tell us what you did about it and what the outcome was. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Stress Questions Describe a time you failed. How do you react to stress? Ending What is your notice period and salary expectations? Are you looking at other roles at present? What questions do you have for us?
From dealing with candidates on a daily basis, a consistent theme is candidate confusion as to how an agency actually works. To help address this, I’ve outlined the recruitment agency process below. Stage 1: Candidate attraction Once a recruitment consultant is requested by a client to recruit for a vacancy in their organisation, the consultant will begin candidate attraction. Candidate attraction comes in many forms, advertising the vacancy on the agency’s website, various national and international jobs boards along with an assortment of social networks. At the same time, the recruitment consultant will activate a search within the agency’s database to try and match live candidates to the position. The recruitment consultant will then compile a shortlist of candidates to contact and inform them of the position, location, salary, benefits, potential start dates etc. If the candidate is interested in the position, the recruitment consultant will conduct an in-depth phone/face to face interview on the candidate to see if they fit the job description as set out by the client. As a candidate, we advise you to always meet your recruitment consultant in person. It is easier to convey your experience, ambitions and motivations in person than over the phone. Also it is the starting point to building a relationship with your recruitment consultant. Stage 2: Candidate Submission Once the recruitment consultant is satisfied that the candidate is a good match for the role, the candidate will be submitted to the client. Stage 3: Interview Process & Feedback Once the consultant receives responses from the client, they will inform their candidate as to whether they were successful in reaching the next stage or not. Unsuccessful candidates will return to the consultant’s active pipeline and will be provided with feedback. Candidates successfully called for interview will be informed by the consultant of the interview details (Location, Time, and Interviewer). At this point the consultant will also prepare the candidate for interview covering potential questions, dress code etc. From CV submission to first round interview it usually takes one week to hear back from the client. Once the interview is complete feedback will be provided and second round interviews will be conducted on successful candidates. An important point to note is that depending on the client, the time taken to give feedback on candidates may vary from client to client due to clients internal procedures. Stage 4: Offer & Acceptance Once final round interviews are complete an offer will be made. Offers are always dependant on the successful completion of references checks which will be conducted by the recruitment consultant. Once the reference check is complete and successful the candidate is formally offered the position. The recruitment process duration will vary from client to client but the most important thing for candidates to remember is if you are interested in a role advertised by an agency fully commit to it and be sure to dedicate time to the process as it will lead to progression in your career. Candidates going though an agency are at a clear advantage as they are better prepared for interview for the following reasons They are pre screened by a recruitment consultant They are advised on CV layout and presentation They are prepared by recruitment consultants before interview