Why this country?
Ireland has charmed visitors with its dramatic western coastline, the vitality of its capital, Dublin, and a musical and literary culture that punches well above its weight. It has modernised rapidly in recent years, but it retains its legendary welcome and a unique, local charm that seems to defy the influence of globalisation.
Ireland was hit hard by the economic crisis which began in 2007, with significant jobs losses in construction, manufacturing and the service industries. There was growth, however, in the accommodation and food, and ICT sectors. Other major industries are biotech and pharmaceuticals, medical devices, green energy and financial services. The EURES portal details the specific skills shortages in Irish firms in science, engineering, IT, financial, sales and marketing.
Looking for work?Most vacancies ask candidates either to submit a CV and covering letter, or to complete an application form.
Tips for job applications?Your CV and covering letter are the employer’s first impression of you and need to provide evidence that you have the qualities to do the job well. If you are applying to the Irish market, you are expected to identify relevant skills for a job vacancy and provide examples of how you are developing those skills.
Always type your CV on good quality paper. Print it in black ink on white paper. Use the same template/style/materials for your covering letter. Always look at your CV as a marketing tool, which will help convince the employer to notice you.
Is it standard to include a photo on the CV?No, not unless specifically requested.
Is there a preference for handwritten applications?
No, there is no preference in Ireland for hand-written covering letters.
Is the Europass format CV widely used and accepted?The Europass format CV is not widely used in Ireland. Irish employers generally prefer a general format, although the Europass CV would be accepted too. Remember that your CV has to attract an employer’s attention. Keep it specific, keeping in mind that the purpose of the CV is to sell your skills set to your potential employer.
Making contact by phoneIt is not customary to telephone an employer other than to ask for an application form or for details of how to apply.
Do I need to send diplomas with my application?If the application process involves sending a CV and covering letter, you should send photocopies of relevant qualifications along with the CV. For electronic application forms, state all your qualifications clearly and indicate that the certificates will be available on request. The applicant may be asked to bring originals of diplomas to the interview.
Should I supply references, letters of recommendation or proof of good conduct?In Ireland, it is very common to use references - usually two - one of which will be a personal reference about your character, etc. and the second from your previous employer about your work. Employers will not contact referees unless they are going to make you a job offer. Candidates should have cleared the inclusion of a referee with the person in question prior to including them in their application. A previous employer, priest, vicar or member of the Garda (police) could be good references. They are expected to complete a written or telephone reference with the employer on behalf of the applicant.
While all jobs require that the applicant is of good moral standing, there are nevertheless certain jobs which will require greater proof of character, e.g. childcare, care assistant - some of which may require Garda references.
Usual length of time between publication of the vacancy and start of the jobUp to 6 weeks, on average, although some jobs may be advertised one day and filled the next.
Preparing for the interviewPreparation is the key to any interview and this is when your job actually begins. It is important to find out as much as you can about the company before you go to the interview. This will help you prepare to answer questions as well as to prepare questions of your own to ask the interviewer. An important part of the preparation is to take time to analyse the job description and highlight what the company is seeking in a candidate. Make a list of the skills, knowledge, professional and personal qualities that are required by the employer and are critical for success in the job. Prepare a list of questions and answers referring to your own career goals, long-term plans, past successes, and work strengths and weaknesses. Don’t forget to take your CV and names of people who could provide references with you.
Dress-code tipsDressing neatly and tidily is the rule of thumb; face and body piercings are not desirable.
Who will be there?Normally two or three people will conduct the interviews. One or more people may con¬duct tests. Interviews normally last about 40 minutes.
Do we shake hands?Interviews almost always begin with a greeting and a handshake, so if the interviewer stretches out a hand, be prepared to shake their hand.
Is there a typical interview structure?Usually an interview will be held in a private office. One of the interviewers will take the role of chairperson and introduce themselves, the panel and the interview procedure. Normally you can expect a very formal atmosphere, and the applicant is expected to treat the process formally and with respect. The vast majority of the interview will concentrate on professional items, with perhaps 10 % of the time being spent on non-professional issues. Candidates should be able to show their reasons and motivation for applying for the job. They should be clear and concise in their answers, and should avoid using jargon or acronyms.
You will be offered the opportunity to ask questions, but if there is a second interview in the process you should wait until this interview to ask any relevant questions.
When is a question out of bounds?There are very strict anti-discrimination laws in Ireland - these laws form the basis of the process. You cannot be asked a question that would be considered discriminatory and you can refuse to answer such a question - e.g. What age are you? Most personal matters, such as your age, religion, sexual orientation, etc. are considered to be absolutely private.
Negotiating your pay and benefitsNormally the remuneration package is stated before the process takes place. For this reason, there is not a lot of room for financial or other negotiations.
Remuneration can be expressed in hourly, weekly, monthly or yearly terms. Usually professional and clerical jobs are expressed as a yearly salary, while jobs in building, retail, hotel and catering are expressed in hourly terms.
Holiday, benefits and other non-pay issues are included in the pay listed. In general, the personnel officer/manager negotiates pay and any extra benefits.
Is a trial period likely?You may be asked to work for a trial period of 3 to 6 months.
How long is the standard probationary period?An alternative to a work trial, a probationary period may be anything up to 1 year. The process will continue up to the time you receive notification of success or failure.
Will the employer cover my costs for attending an interview?It’s reasonable to ask the employer to cover the costs for attending an interview, however these days you need to be prepared to hear that it’s not in the budget. In that case, you’ll need to decide whether you’re willing to cover the costs yourself.
When will I hear the result?
The employer will explain the follow-up procedure at the first interview.
Getting feedback and further follow-upEmployers will offer feedback to unsuccessful candidates on request.
How early should I arrive for the interview?
Plan your journey well in advance and arrive at your job interview at least 10 minutes before it is due to begin. Employers will not tolerate candidates who are not punctual for their interview, as it may indicate that there is a problem with their pattern of work.