NCI Blog

How To Prepare For An Interview: Pre-Interview Tips and Techniques

Posted by Emma Henderson on 16 November 2015
It can be a source of great frustration for interview panels that many candidates fail to do even the most basic advance preparation for an interview. Give yourself an advantage by doing your homework and your research: the better prepared you are, the more in control you will feel and the less likely you are to succumb to your nerves. We caught up with Caroline Kennedy, Careers Officer at National College of Ireland (above), to find out how to prep for an interview like a pro. 1) Dissect the job spec and anticipate likely questions: Take the job and person specification apart - know how your qualifications, skills and experience can benefit the employer, and match them to the job description. Caroline says: “Use online resources like Glassdoor and gradireland’s Inside buzz - they give interviewees a great insight into the likely questions and style of questions from others who have been through the process.” 2) Use LinkedIn to help you with your research: Find out who is going to be interviewing you and research them on LinkedIn; you can view their professional history, their education, background and skills. You can also use LinkedIn to discover who else is working in this role and area: this will give you an insight into the career trajectories within the organisation, and highlight any missing qualifications or skills gaps you may have, so you are prepared to address these at interview. Caroline's top tip? “Use the LinkedIn alumni tool to see if there are other graduates from NCI working there. They could be very happy to assist with any a questions you might have.” 3) Know your product (that’s you!): Know why they should pick you. Analyse your strengths, weaknesses, academic performance, career interests, career plans, work experiences, skills and competencies. Own your story and be confident about why you should be picked over and above the other candidates interviewing. 4) Research the Company: You'd be amazed at how many people fall at this hurdle. Don’t just give a standard answer about how they are a big company with a good reputation and a strong training and development package… Use your networks - family, friends, lecturers, careers staff - together with their company website, news articles and social media channels to prepare strong, genuine and engaging reasons for why you want to work for them: a. What is unique about the employer, what is their positioning in market in relation to key competitors b. Company growth/success c. Awards won d. Particular products or services you admire e. Particular company initiatives you admire - marketing campaign, community involvement, training programs f. Reputation of key leaders in the business g. Is there something about their values that attracts you? h. Something specific about the training and development or career prospects i. Attend careers fairs or presentations on campus, speak to the representatives and get an insight into the company, culture, quality of work, progression opportunities and use this information in the interview. Caroline’s advice? “Follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and see what they have been posting about recently; this gives you an insight into what the company views as current or important.” 5) Have some small talk prepared for the walk to the interview: first impressions are so important and having been collected at reception the trip to the interview room can last for 3 or 4 minutes. Be ready to engage in small talk during this time – it is very awkward to be in a lift or walking somewhere with your interviewer with absolutely no idea what to say, and it is very hard to recreate this first impression once the official interview starts. Caroline stresses: “Everything you say should make you look friendly, intelligent and employable – and that goes for the small talk, too! Prepare a few comments about the building, the weather, a sporting event or the news of the day.”
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Web Summit Careers Night: Overview and Insights!

Posted by Emma Henderson on 06 November 2015
The Web Summit’s Careers Night promised a free evening of inspiration to help people plan and progress their careers. NCI’s Orla O'Sullivan from the Careers & Employability team was there and taking notes!
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Practical Tips for Creating a Career Strategy

Posted by Emily Ferns on 09 June 2015
Getting caught up in the daily tasks of the 9-to-5 grind can be a great distraction from developing a strategic career goal. While focusing on the here and now it’s hard to take a step back and consider the bigger picture.
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Will a masters degree give you that competitive edge?

Posted by Emma Henderson on 29 May 2015
In a competitive jobs market, it’s important to give yourself that extra edge over other applicants. And one of the best ways to achieve this is so straightforward: do a masters.
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Six Super Reasons to Love Mondays!

Posted by Emma Henderson on 27 April 2015
Got a bad case of the Monday blues? Well, who could blame you? A quick scroll through our social media feeds on the first day of the working week will reveal enough sad gifs and grumpy felines to wipe the smile off even the happiest of faces. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re lacking motivation on a Monday morning, here are six reasons to turn that frown upside down. 1. Monday means a fresh start. Last week might not have been the most positive or productive…but who cares? It’s all in the past! Start over with a fresh attitude and a new found determination to get things done.
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Top Tips for How To Get Ahead in Marketing

Posted by Emma Henderson on 20 April 2015
Working in the world of marketing is an exciting career prospect. There are many varied opportunities across this fast-paced and exciting industry. But it’s also a challenging and competitive field, so if you’re an aspiring marketing professional, how can you stand out from the crowd?
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Five Things To Do Before Finishing Work On A Friday

Posted by Emma Henderson on 06 March 2015
Fridays don't have to be unproductive. Follow our top career tips for getting the most out of the day.
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Pitching A Masters Course To Your Employer

Posted by Robert Ward on 04 February 2015
  To progress in your career you may decide the time is right to look at part-time Masters courses.
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Top 5 Reasons to do a Professional Development Course

Posted by Emily Ferns on 22 December 2014
In many industries these days, things are changing constantly and, to keep yourself up-to-date on the latest practices, professional development courses may be a necessary step. For a lot of people the thought of going back to college might seem like too big a time commitment and some probably think it’s just too costly to consider. But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.
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Careers: The 10 CV Commandments That Will Get You To That Interview

Posted by Emma Henderson on 14 October 2014
National College of Ireland is, once again, ranked best for jobs in the Sunday Times annual league tables, The Good University Guide. The college’s award-winning Careers Development and Employability Serviceis second-to-none, with CV advice being a much utilised facility.  Caroline Kennedy, Careers Officer with National College of Ireland (pictured centre, above, with the rest of the Careers Team) has the following advice for creating a CV: “Your CV is your personal sales brochure and should be tailored to the requirements of the position you are applying for. It is one of the most important documents you will write in your professional life and has only one purpose – to get you an interview.”
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