interviewblog

Interview prep

Interviews can be nerve-wrecking. It is always a good idea to do an interview if you are offered one, even if you aren’t that excited about the possibility of working there or had other plans. I would say practice makes perfect, but there is no such thing as a perfect interview. The more practice you get however, the more confident you will become. It is not usual to be sat in an office with a stranger asking you questions about yourself, your education history and where you see yourself in five years time. Getting comfortable in this situation will develop your confidence and help you to develop skills. Some companies and organisations provide feedback after an interview. Some places do not follow-up after an interview. Don’t be disappointed if you do not get offered a job after an interview. It probably means there was something better for you in store. Starting off in your career field can be difficult, and it is good to get experience as early as possible. Even if you volunteer for a couple of days, this can look good on your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and show that you have a strong initiative. Many people look you up on social media before an interview or during the decision-making process, so that is good to keep in mind.

There are lots of possible questions an interviewer might ask you.

1. Tell me about yourself. No, they do not want to know what your favourite restaurant is or who your favourite spotify artist is. This question gives you a chance to talk about your education history and where you have worked in the past. You may want to discuss some hobbies and interests if it relates to the job you are going for. Tell the interviewer your goals and ambitions, what you would like to achieve in the future and what you liked about your course or previous work experience.

2. What do you know about this company and why would you like to work here?
This is definitely something you should prepare for in advance. It doesn’t take too much preparation and shows you are interested in the company and are aware of the services they provide or products they produce. Saying you would like to work there because of the salary is a big turnoff. Show some interest in what they actually do. Research their competitors in advance too so you will notice what makes this company stands out.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years time? This isn’t asking you necessarily what company you will be working for. What country do you see yourself living in? What position at work? Do you see yourself being happy at work?

4. What is important to you in a career? Relationships with colleagues? Location? Work benefits? Salary? Potential to be promoted? Working hours? Facilities? Workload? The interviewer may not necessarily ask this but it is something you could be prepared for or mention.

5. What skills could you bring to this position that nobody else could? If any of your previous work placements stand out from the crowd, mention this. To prepare in advance, you could write a list of all the places you have worked for before and write down what skills are gained at each. (communication skills, teamwork skills, leadership skills, IT skills, reliability, time management skills..). Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. The interviewer may also ask you what are your strengths and weaknesses? (Everybody has both strengths and weaknesses, whether they like to admit it or not)

6. What is a challenge you were faced with in the past and how did you deal with it? This may require some thought. People may face many challenges at work on a weekly basis and this question may be easy for them. It doesn’t have to be too complicated an answer. Something like that you were having difficulty setting up a powerpoint to present for a group and how you overcame this issue. Or that you were not able to access the printer using your card and had to seek assistance. Asking help at any time is not a bad thing, I might add. Nobody knows everything (especially starting off in a new job).

Notice your voice when you are speaking. You do not want to sound like a robot but want to sound natural and as if the conversation is effortless. You should not sound rehearsed, scripted or as if you have been brainwashed. You should naturally know your own strengths and weaknesses, work experience and so on without having to think ( too long) about them.

Comment below if you enjoyed this blogpost or if you have other tips and subscribe!✨💭


Jo

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Weekend in London 🇬🇧

Friends from my M.Sc course and I were lucky enough to go to London before the lockdown. We stayed in London for three nights. We were really excited the weeks leading up to it and would not stop talking about it and planning what we were going to do. A month beforehand, we went for brunch in Java’s Creperie, Galway and made an itinerary. We booked a hostel for a good price and found some good deals on Ryanair too.

Friday 6th March

We arrived at Shannon airport bright and early. After going through security, we did not have long before boarding the plane. I was sitting at a window seat and bought a coffee on the plane. When we arrived, we got Stansted express to the city which we had booked before arriving. Firstly, we headed for our hostel and left our bags in the luggage room. My first impression of Rest Up hostel was that it seemed close to the city and had a good student atmosphere. It was a bright, sunny day which was good. After leaving our bags in the lockers, we walked towards the London Eye. We didn’t have to queue for long as we already had tickets booked. There were stunning views of the city from the top. I had been on it before with my family when I was younger, but it was worth going on again. After the London Eye, we went for food. I had a nice grilled chicken and rice salad. Then, we did a river cruise. We boarded the boat with the London Eye river cruise company. The boat trip was approximately an hour long. I enjoy river cruises in new cities as you learn a lot of history and facts. I recommend doing a river cruise on the first or second day in a new city, so you have an idea of your surroundings. In the afternoon, we headed back to the hostel and checked in. The 5 of us had our own room, which was quite small. We did not mind though as we were only there to sleep. The bathroom was down the hall and not very clean, but we were playing a small price so could not complain.

Saturday, 7th March

We got up and went downstairs for breakfast. Unfortunately, there was no kettle, fridge or sink facilities. There was a café in the hostel however and a breakfast if you wanted to pay. There was a large seating area which we could use so we went to Tesco express across the road and bought some breakfast supplies. I bought porridge oats, peanut butter, bananas and a Costa coffee (good choice Jo). We enjoyed our breakfast, went back to the room for a couple of minutes and were on our way. First, we went to the Tower of London and Historic Royal palaces. We got a guided tour which was very good. The tour took about an hour and the tourguide was dressed as a beefeater. The crown jewels were amazing but we could not take pictures. It was nice to walk around the grounds and learn about the history. In the afternoon we got a light lunch at a nearby café. I had tomato soup. Then, we did the Tower bridge expedition. We didn’t have to queue for long. We were able to walk across the tower and look down at the river and cars underneath. I had never been there before. There were great views of the whole city from the top. Afterwards, we went to a small food market located nearby that was full of foods from all over the world. In the evening, Christina and I had a lovely salad at a Covent Garden cafe. It was a cute, dainty and aesthetically pleasing. The others had eaten earlier so went wandering about. Afterwards, we went to see the spectacular Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. We bought tickets earlier in the day at a ticket booth in Leicester square. The show was 10/10. The location was a huge, stunning, fancy theatre. It was an unforgettable night. Christina and I bought sharing packs of Cadburys chocolate buttons beforehand, snacks are key. The show was definitely a highlight of the weekend. Afterwards we walked to Piccadilly Circus. It would almost remind you of Times Square, lots of bright lights, advertisements and stores. At around 11pm we went back to the hostel.

Sunday, 8th March.

In the morning, we went to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards which was due to start at 11am. We were a little early so walked to St James’ Park, saw 10 Downing street and Parliament Square beforehand. The changing of the guards was worth seeing and it was a lovely sunny day. The marching band was fantastic and well-rehearsed. After that, we walked through Green Park and Buckingham Palace Garden to EL&N Café where we had yummy croissants and coffee. When we left the café, it had started to rain so we decided to get the bus to One New Change Shopping Centre. This is located near St. Pauls Cathedral and there are good views from the top of the shopping centre. We got snacks and lunch in M&S and sat down for a while. In the evening, we had dinner in an Indian restaurant called Saravanaa Bhavan, located near Trafalgar Square. We all ordered a dish called Dosa, which was served with coconut chutney, mint and sambar. It was the first time I had this Indian dish and it was very spicy, but tasty. We walked along the River Thames at night and the views of the city lit up at night were amazing.

Monday, 9th March

After our breakfast we got the bus to Camden Market. This was around 20 minutes away from the hostel and was worth going to. It was a marked packed of wonderful food stalls, jewellery and homeware items. Everywhere was so colourful and the town was very busy. We had lunch here in the afternoon, I got a falafel wrap. We went to Covent Garden on the same day. I preferred the ambience of Covent Garden although it was also mainly food stalls and people selling jewellery and bits and bobs. Covent Garden is a lovely part of London city that I would recommend seeing. At around 4pm we began to make our way to the airport. We had our bags with us so did not have to go back to the hostel. Several undergrounds and trains later, we got the Bus Eireann bus departing Shannon airport at 10pm to Galway.

It was a great weekend with great people 💞

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Jo

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