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Interview Tips for Beginners

You may not have done many job interviews if you are in an early stage in your career. For this reason we will look at some fundamental elements of the job interview for you to prepare for and give some simple advice that will help you avoid making some basic but common mistakes!

 

 

Know your CV

You might think you know your CV perfectly well, after all, you did write it. And it took a while to draft, edit and re-edit until you got it perfect. If you’ve scanned through it tons of times looking for errors and areas to improve, you probably think you know your CV like the back of your hand! But you have to understand more than the words on your CV. In an interview, the story of your CV is important to know. The strengths, weaknesses that your CV reveals and the overall story of you as a potential employee is something you have to be aware of. If you know this you can preempt questions that will be asked in the job interview so you need to prepare how you speak about important areas like your work experience, education and achievements.

 

Prepare answers on common questions

This brings us to the next point – prepare answers to common interview questions. If you are relatively inexperienced in job interviews or haven’t had an interview in the career you are applying for, you will have to do some research to identify these questions. Thinking up answers on the spot will not look good. Interviewers will undoubtedly prefer if you have prepared and can communicate your best answer to their questions. One thing you can depend on in a job interview is interviewers will always want you to show evidence of certain traits such as the ability to work under pressure, when you’ve had to manage multiple tasks or how you dealt with a problem. You can look up how to answer competency based questions here: https://www.jobs.ie/job-talk/its-time-to-love-competency-based-interviews/

 

Research the company so that you can tailor answers to company

Remember, in the job interview, you are selling you and your skills to the company. In sales, it is essential that you know what your customer’s needs are. Doing some research into the company and the industry will help you tremendously towards understanding what they want their new hire to do.

 

Ask questions

If you spent a few hours prior to your job interview doing research on the company and industry, you will have naturally come across things that have peaked your interest that you can ask about. Asking questions in the job interview is extremely important as it shows that you are interested in learning more, you have studied the company and you are willing to ask more questions as an employee.

 

You’ll have done a great job interview, if you can discuss your CV strongly, prepare answers to common questions, tailor your answers to the company’s needs and ask specific questions.

 

Three Q’s commitment to Helping Job Seekers

Our recruiters volunteer their time and expertise to job seekers every month by conducting mock interviews and follow up calls with our CSR Partner Jobcare. Have a look at our CSR strategy which puts focus on donating our skills and time to helping unemployed people find work: http://www.3qrecruitment.ie/csr_corporate_social_responsibility/

 

Also in our Starting Out In Your Career series, we discussed how to write a CV when you have very little work experience, getting experience when you don’t have enough and what employers want in an employee.  You can read these here:

What Employers Want in an Employee: http://www.3qrecruitment.ie/what-employers-want-in-an-employee-and-why/

CV Writing When You Don’t Have Experience: http://www.3qrecruitment.ie/cv-writing-when-you-dont-have-work-experience/

How To Get Work Experience When You Don’t Have Enough: http://www.3qrecruitment.ie/how-to-get-work-experience/

What Employers Want in An Employee and Why

What Do Employers Ask for in An Employee and Why?

This is an important question to ask yourself when you are writing your CV, your Cover Letter and preparing for an interview. Knowing what is desired will guide you to writing your best CV and communicating your most important traits and activities well.

 

Are You a Problem Solver?

This will be asked in a number of indirect ways in the interview and it’s a question in the employer’s mind when they screen your CV. Of course, many different problems will come up in work so it’s essential they hire an employee that finds solutions. Make sure your CV communicates the problems that arose, the actions you took and the results of your actions. Furthermore, practice articulating stories of problems you’ve solved in work for the interview when you’ll invariably be prompted to speak on problem solving.

 

Can You Deal with Managing Many Tasks?

You are very likely to be asked to show evidence of how you prioritise work in an interview, and for good reason – the position you are applying for most likely will leave the successful applicant in situations with a lot of tasks assigned to them with different deadlines. Many of us aren’t particularly good at this so I recommend reading the article below on how to prioritise tasks in work. This information is quite intuitive, so you’ll have shown good management of work already. The Eisenhower box below will reinforce what you already knew about prioritising and allow you to discuss clearly how you conceptualise prioritising workload and how you have done it in the past.

https://www.icaew.com/archive/library/subject-gateways/business-management/strategy-and-planning/small-business-update/10-ways-to-prioritise-your-workload

 

 

Do You Have a Willingness to Ask Questions?

Why do employers like to see you asking questions in an interview? Wanting to know more about what the job entails or more about information gained doing research on the company. They want someone that’s going to proactively learn on the job by asking questions. An employee that seeks out information is preferred to an employee that just takes in what is taught. Asking questions shows you are actively learning, thinking about what is being taught and voicing any problems you might have which all leads to you producing a higher quality of work.

 

 

This blog is about learning what the employer wants in an employee so that you can work on the attributes that pleases employers so that you can show evidence of these characteristics in future interviews and get that position you are searching for. If you research and practice your ability to prioritise and manage work, increase your propensity to ask questions and to work on providing solutions to problems, you will be in a great position to perform your next job as well as you can!

 

If you haven’t read our last blog on how to gain experience when you have none, you can read that here: http://www.3qrecruitment.ie/how-to-get-work-experience/

 

CV Checklist with Three Q

Here at Three Q, we know a thing or two about CVs, so we’ve put together our ultimate CV checklist.  You may be interested in a job but does your CV have what it takes to get you through the application stage? Most recruiters won’t spend long looking at your CV, and research shows us that there is only a 16% chance of them reading your cover letter.

Employers receive hundreds of CVs for some positions. However, getting through to the interview stage is not quite as tough as you think. If you have your CV in order, you’re a step ahead- most CVs will be disregarded almost immediately if they’re not up to scratch. With just a small amount of time and commitment you can elevate your CV above the average. So with no further a-do, here is Three Q’s ultimate C.V. Checklist.

cv checklist with three q recruitment

Layout

  • A CV should never be longer than two A4 pages. The exception to this of course is if you are a senior executive with decades of experience. In this instance, you are allowed to stretch to three A4 pages. However, even though we want to keep our CV short and sweet, make sure there isn’t a lot of white space at the end of the second page- this makes it look as if you don’t have much to say about yourself.
  • When you’re working with Word Documents, go to the Page Layout menu and make the Page Margins are 1cm all around. This makes your CV look neater and easier to read.
  • Does it pass the ‘arm’s length’ test? This means it should be aesthetically pleasing and professional when you hold it at arm’s length in front of you.
  • Keep paragraphs are condensed to a few lines each. 5-6 lines are usually enough, this will help to keep you focused while writing too.
  • Instead of adding blocks of text, try using bullet points to list your attributes.
  • Keep the most relevant information on page one of the CV so that the recruiter glancing over it will add it to the interview pile.
  • Ensure all information about any particular topic is kept together and not spread out over the two pages- this just keeps the reader clear and focused.

 

Structure & Style

  • Begin your CV with a Personal Profile then talk about Key Skills, Employment History, Education and Hobbies and Interests in that order. It may be a good idea to swap Employment and Education around if your academic career is more impressive than your employment history to date or if you’ve just recently graduated.
  • It seems trivial, but there are certain fonts that look best on a CV. Arial and Times New Roman are generally considered best. Size 12 is recommended and size 14 and 16 is advisable for headings. Don’t use more than two fonts and stick to one if possible- your CV is supposed to be formal, not artistic.
  • Always boldunderline or italicise important information that you wish to be highlighted.
  • When listing information, use bullet points. This is especially useful under Key Skills.
  • Use positive, proactive language throughout your CV. For example, “Created a database to analyse and interpret the subject matter” instead of “Used a database to track the collected data.”- make the most of all your experiences.

 

Spelling & Grammar

  • It is recommended to not rely solely on Spell Check. If recruiters spot any mistakes in your CV it will be rejected. While Spell Check helps you find actual spelling mistakes, it doesn’t help find mistakes in context; i.e. ‘What is over their?” Some recruiters may see poor grammar as a sign of a sloppy worker which ruins your chances of being offered an interview. As well as reading through it yourself, ask someone else to cast their eyes over it. They will probably see things you’ve missed and might remember something about yourself that you forgot to include.
  • Be careful when using capitalisation. A common mistake people make on CVs is to write ‘Bsc’ instead of BSc when adding their Bachelor of Science degree. Also, remember that the names of roads, streets, places and companies should have the first letter capitalised.

 

Personal Details

  • Make sure that your name is at the top of the page in bold.
  • Make sure that you have your postal address and your email address clearly on the page. Use an email that looks professional that doesn’t include slang.
  • Add your mobile number. We recommend to only include your house telephone if you have added a proper answer machine message or else you have a housemate you can trust to take a message.
  • Social media information should also be added; particularly your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to ‘clean up’ your Facebook and Twitter accounts if necessary, make sure that you haven’t got posts including offensive or unprofessional behaviour or language.

Personal Profile

  • This should be placed beneath your Personal Details. A Personal Profile is used to prove you are qualified for the role and that you are the best candidate for the job.
  • Keep the profile short; 3-5 lines should be enough.
  • Get to the point but also showcase your experience and special skills in what is essentially a marketing pitch to the employer- you need to sell your skills.

Key Skills

  • Use this section to point out your main strengths.
  • All skills included MUST be related to the job opening in some way.
  • Stick to skills which are job-related and transferrable.
  • Some employers tend to focus on candidates with soft skills such as Teamwork, Communication, Leadership, Friendliness and Problem Solving. Try to add a brief sentence demonstrating your skill after each one has been listed.
  • If you have specialist knowledge in a field related to the job or if you speak a foreign language then include the details- extra skills could be the difference between you and the next candidate.

 

Employment History

  • List your past jobs chronologically with the latest role first- it is probably the most relevant to the one to the job that you are applying for now.
  • Include job title, name of company and the dates you started and finished.
  • While it is best if your dates include the months you began and ended the jobs,  just include the years if there are gaps of a couple of months between roles.
  • Given difficulty in the job market at the past few years, most employers understand that there may be small gaps between jobs.
  • Include the key responsibilities you had in each role.
  • Always look to be specific when adding in the achievements and outcomes of any job; quantify the results if you can. Instead of saying you helped the company make a profit; specify the level of profit: “Implemented cost cutting procedures that reduced the company’s stationery bill by 22% per annum.”- hard facts show that you can get the job done and know how to do it.
  • Include the new skills you learned in each job.
  • List your 3-4 most recent jobs only.

Education

  • List your qualifications/certificates/professional awards.
  •  Name the educational institution, full name of the course and the start & end dates of where you studied
  • Add the grade/degree classification where applicable.
  • Recent graduates should include the modules on their latest degree along with the name of their dissertation project- this will show your interest in the field where you can’t back it up with work experience.

 Hobbies & Interests

  • It is a good idea to include a wide range of interests as this suggests you are a well-rounded individual with the ability to relate to different people.
  • Do NOT stick to one or two interests as recruiters often see this as a sign of someone unable to mix in different circles; this is a problem as most Irish workplace consists of diverse cultures.
  • Make sure you include some active, group and social interests; it is important that you give the impression you’re able to get along with others. Too many ‘solo’ interests mark you out as an introvert, which isn’t overly helpful as an employer when you need a candidate to work as part of the team.
  • Show that you have a serious interest in at least one hobby as this suggests you have determination, concentration and willpower.
  • Try and include anything which shows the ability to lead others. If you want to climb the ladder, you need to be willing to take responsibility. An example of this is stating if you were were ever a team captain of a sports team, or a leader in a volunteering role.

References

  • You don’t need to add references unless they are specified on the job opening. ‘References added upon request’ is usually sufficient. If you are asked for them , keep them on a seperate sheet.
  • Always ask referees first to seek their permission- you don’t want to surprise them with a phone call from a stranger. Include their name, job title, address and phone number.

cv checklist with three q recruitment

Always include a cover letter with your CV, this provides insight into your personality and enables you to add details that are not on your CV. Make sure that you personalise it to each job opportunity which will also show the employer that you are really interested in working for them. Ensure there are no gaps in your employment history. If there are significant gaps, you can address them in your cover letter. Try to be positive about the gap; perhaps you were studying a course, travelling or else you needed to take a break to focus on a career change. You don’t need to be too specific at this stage; that can wait for the interview. Assuming you are sending your CV by email to an online recruiter, make sure that all the hyperlinks work.

If you go through the above checklist carefully, you should have all the information you need to create a standout CV. Once you have it written up, take a look at our listings to check out all of the job posts that we update daily.

Job Interview Tips For Chefs

Job interview tips for Chefs is something that is regularly asked by candidates coming to Three Q.  Because there is generally a skills test along with the formal interview that candidates have to go through, it can be daunting to Chefs.  However, Three Q have been helping to match job-seeking Chefs with Employers for years so we know a thing or two about job interviews. Any job interview can be a nervous time for candidates so we’ve put together our list of top tips in preparing for that Chefing job interview in confidence.

 

Before the interview

Preparation is key for a great interview. If you know that you’ve got everything ready to go before you have to go to the interview itself you will feel much more confident and it will come across to the interviewer.

chef interview preperation tips 3 q recruitment

  1. Visit the company website and social media pages to get a feel for the business and think of some questions. This will also help you for  when the interviewer asks what you can bring to the business as a chef. Maybe you’ve noticed that you could do a better job at the presentation of the dish or even maybe they don’t have a great social media account that you could offer to help with.

 

  1. Plan your route to the interview. It may seem like a simple task to get to the location of the interview but don’t forget that you may get stuck in traffic in a certain area, or if you’re walking to the interview it may start to rain. Check bus times, cycle routes, book train tickets in advance, you don’t want to be stressed for the journey or turn up late to your interview.

 

  1. Prepare your clothes the night before. Chefs should look neat and tidy so check and double check that your clothes are clean and neatly iorned.

 

  1. Look at the existing menus. This is an important one. Have a look at the current menu belonging to the restaurant. Look at what you like and don’t like about it, think about new dishes that you would add if you worked there.

 

  1. Have the interviewers phone number saved. In such a digital era we tend not to save numbers that we can find on the internet. However have a number saved incase you get lost on the way or something happens which means you’ll be late or unable to make it to the interview. It’s always when we need to make an important call that you run out of data or can’t get internet signal.

 

  1.  Aim to be there 10 minutes early. This will ensure that even if you are running a few minutes late or get lost, you should still make it on time.

 

chef interview tips 3 q recruitment

During the interview:

  1. When the interviewer enters the room stand up and shake their hand. It may seem trivial but shaking someone is a great way to show that you are polite and professional.
  2. Have your mobile off and put away. Turn off your phone and place it in your handbag or pocket. You don’t want to distract yourself or the interview with a flashing or vibrating phone while you’re trying to have a conversation.
  3. Listen to everything the interviewer says and never interrupt them. Be polite and don’t interupt the interviewer. Remember to listen closely. Sometimes when we are nervous we might hear something slightly different to what the interviewer asks and you don’t want to go off on a tangent about something you weren’t asked about.
  4. Always say please and thank you if you are offered something like a class of water. It’s polite!
  5. If you are given a tour of the kitchen, walk alongside the interviewer, not on front and not behind. This will show them that you think of yourself as equal, not above or below them. It will also show them that you are listening to them while they talk.
  6. Don’t be too informal. Keep slang and abbreviations for more casual conversation- you’re not a CDP you’re a chef de partie, unless they use the former.

Questions:

You don’t get away with not having to answer questions about your career in a chef interview so we suggest you think about the following questions and how you would answer them for the formal part of the interview.

  • Why do you want the job?
  • What has been your biggest achievement in cheffing?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How do you manage time during busy periods?
  • What do you think you could add to our kitchen?

working interviews tips for chefs with three q

Working interviews:

Some chef interviews require the potential candidate to showcase some of their skills in a “working interview”.  They are usually in one of the following formats.

Ready Steady Cook: Sometimes an interviewer will give you some ingredients and ask you to cook something within a certain amount of time. Don’t panic! This is just a test of your creativity and skills and to see how well you can work under pressure with limited resources.

 

Trial: Some businesses will ask you to work a shift (or maybe half a one). Ask the staff questions if you are unsure of something and make sure that you become part of the team. The interviewer will often ask the other staff how you got on. Look interested and ask for jobs or to help out if you run out of things to do.

 

Menu: Some businesses will ask you to prepare a menu prior to the interview and cook it there. Ensure that the dishes on your menu fit into the theme of the restaurant- don’t cook enchiladas if you are interviewing for an Italian restaurant.

 

Trade test: This one is favoured by a lot of places. You might get asked to cook a classic or basic dish with your own twist. The purpose of this is test out your knowledge of how different foods work together and how they can be amended for modern tastes.

 

After the interview:

When you leave make sure you thank the people who have interviewed for their time and for asking to meet with you. They are giving you an opportunity to work so you should be polite and mannerly.

 

Follow these tips, and you’re sure to have a great interview. Remember to do lots of preparation before your interview and stay calm and mannerly towards the interviewer at all times. If you are currently looking for a job as a chef keep an eye on our listings that we are constantly updating with new job opportunities in the industry. If you are an employer and are wishing to advertise your job in our listings, please email sales@3reqruitment.ie or phone +353 1878 3335.   

 

3 Tips To Nail Your Next Job Interview

 

3 Tips to nail your job interview

Many of us can probably re-call with a shudder, the memory of a job interview not going as you planned. In my case, it came in the form of an unexpected ‘sell me this pair of gloves’ demand in an interview for a retail outlet in my earlier years on the job hunt scene. I was not expecting this question and immediately began unravelling at the prospect of this role play situation.

This leads into my first point, let nothing be unexpected.

 

Do Your Research

This eliminates any chance for unwanted ‘surprises’ in an interview.

Glass Door is an amazing site that gives insight and reviews of companies from employees or others. It also has reviews from people who have done interviews for that company and can detail the process.

 

Listen To What Is Asked

It can be quite easy to miss a question in a job interview. Your nerves distract you, you’re constantly thinking of your next answer and this can prevent you from hearing a question. If you are not quite sure how to answer a question, ask them to rephrase or repeat it for you. Equally, If you need more time to think about the answer you wish to give, just request a moment to gather your thoughts, this is perfectly fine. Do not start a tangent just to fill the time.

 

Ask A Killer Question

This can leave a great impression with your interviewer If you get it right. Ask a question that makes them think, and infers that you have researched the company. I like to ask about a particular statistic they have quoted for CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives. This shows that you have done your research and that you’re interested in the companies extra-curricular’s.

 

So next time you go into that job interview, nail that gloves scene! Listen and respond effectively and wow them with a question that stands out.

6 tips for a Skype Interview for Medical Roles (Pre-interview)

Skype interview tips

Preparing for your Skype Interview

Moving overseas for work is a big decision and while there are many steps that medical personnel have to take before securing a job, such as registering with Irish medical bodies, doing the IELTS and other exams; things really begin to hit home when you get your first interview. If you are overseas, it’s very likely that your interview will take place over Skype.

Here are 6 tips to help you with your Skype interview:

Check the tech 

Depending on where you are, you may either have a great internet connection or your connection may be choppy. A day prior to your interview, contact one of your friends via Skype and sort any connection or hardware issues you might have. Nothing is worse than receiving a call from a prospective employer to find that your head phones don’t work or your speakers don’t function. Interviewing consultants usually have a fixed amount of time to interview and too many glitches may result in them moving on to the next candidate on the list. Remember that your interview will very likely take place over a video call so you’ll need a stable internet connection.

Clean up your profile

In face-to-face interviews, an interviewers’ first impression of you influences how you are assessed. In the same way, what your interviewer first sees when they add you on Skype will inform their impression of you. Check your profile picture and status to make sure that they convey professionalism.

Stand Out

Look yourself up on Skype. You may have other users with similar names or multiple IDs. To make it easier for the interviewer to find you and to avoid further delays, choose the ID you are going to use and ensure that it is different from the other ones so that you can let the interviewer know which ID you’ll be available on. You can do this by adding an initial to your name or by describing the profile picture on the ID you will be using.

Dress the Part

While the interview is not face-to-face, treat it as one. Dress as you would for a regular interview because interviews tend to be conducted over video calls and the interviewers will be able to see you.

Set the Scene

As interviewers tend to use the video call function, how you present yourself and your environment is important. Find a quiet, well-lit space and ensure that you are not disturbed. Often times interviews are scheduled one after another and can sometimes run into each other or be delayed so make sure that you have access to this place for at least half an hour before and an hour after your scheduled interview time.

Don’t Forget Your Documents

Keep your passport or other identification documents with you as you may be asked to present them. Keeping your CV with you is handy as you can refer to it when talking through your experience.

While many of these tips may seem obvious, we have had occasions where candidates have tried interviewing while commuting, on vacation at the beach and in the corner of a busy ward. Have you interviewed over Skype before? Have you got any advice? Share your tips with us! Tweet us @ThreeQ