Over the past number of weeks there has been a noticeable shift in the number of people looking to take up new job opportunities and many more looking at a complete change in career. For some the recent ‘lockdown’ has given them a new perspective on life and they are looking for less time travelling and more time doings things they enjoy. For many others there job is simply no longer secure or indeed redundant but the good news is, there are great career opportunities in the Irish Midlands in a wide range of sectors.
“There are currently some fantastic local jobs with great local employers based right here in the Midlands” says Tom Griffith of Midlandjobs.ie. We are seeing vacancies in Mullingar based companies Steripack, PEM, Mergon, D&N Group and Athlone based, Almac – all of which offer great opportunities for job seekers to avail of local employment. “This has been like a best kept local secret, ever since the Covid pandemic hit back in March”. “While the mainstream media is obsessing endlessly about negative Covid news and now Brexit, local businesses are getting on with their lives and hiring new staff. There are so many distractions out there. But working life has been carrying on for those of us involved in local business in certain sectors such as Engineering, IT, Construction and Food and many employers have a strong positive message to be pushed out there on local newsfeeds. That is that there are still loads of jobs available locally – regardless of Covid.
We are not (yet) overly worried about the effects of either the pandemic, or Brexit on the overall jobs scene. The simple reason for that is that we consider the fundamentals in the Midlands to still be quite positive. Some great work has been done by some very committed local business people in the Midlands, such as the Chambers of Commerce in the four main towns of Mullingar, Athlone Tullamore and Longford. As well as the efforts of the Local Enterprise Offices of Westmeath, Offaly, Longford and Laois and indeed the efforts of the Midlands Action Plan for Jobs group. All of this foresight, hard work and dedication by local Business leaders and the Local Authorities (and some politicians) over the past few years is paying off now at the time when it is really needed. That’s why we’re seeing some fantastic jobs advertised even despite all of the economic uncertainty.
And never before has the “local” job been so much appreciated. As we have always said in the 15 years since Midlandjobs.ie was established, it was never a sustainable model for people to be travelling to the capital for up to 2 hours commuting morning and evening. The Midlandjobs platform, in partnership with Topic Newspapers is the perfect local model for local employers to push their message out there about live job opportunities they have to offer in the Midlands. We use push notifications to reach local job seekers such as our Jobs by Email service as well as our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages to get the message out that the Midlands Employment sector is alive and well and geared up and ready for what’s in store. The real indicator of just how busy the jobs market is, is when you go out there looking for suitably qualified people to get specialised work done – it’s literally as hard as ever to get the right people. And therein lies the opportunity for job seekers to find their perfect local job”. You can view a list of locally based jobs by clicking here or register with Midlands Jobs to be notified on new opportunities in your area here.
An Apprenticeship – is this a good option?
If you have just received your Leaving Cert results and are unsure what your next step is or feel that third level is not for you, then an apprenticeship programme is a great option. Apprenticeships offer you the benefit of learning a skill or trade to equip you for a future more suited to your liking.
Learning a trade through college is one thing but as an apprentice you receive on the job training meaning any queries you have or problems that arise can be dealt with in person – real world experiences. With an assigned supervisor and helpful co-workers, you have regular reviews to ensure that you are well supported and that you are progressing at the right pace. All of this while earning on the job too. Throughout the duration of an apprenticeship programme, you receive payment from your employer and receive many of the benefits of employment, the same as your co-workers, such as holiday entitlement and pension contributions.
Most apprenticeship programmes are structured to have both on the job and college training so you can still get to experience student life but without accumulating some of the debt that can be associated with third level education! Many apprentices climb through the ranks in their chosen field and along with comprehensive training, you will also gain a qualification with an accredited awarding body, many of which hold world-wide recognition.
Locally based companies now offering apprenticeship opportunities are PEM Automoation, Mergon International, while D&N Group are recruiting 3rd & 4th year apprentices in a number of areas. Get in touch with them to see how you could embark on one of their apprenticeship programmes.
The Job Interview
More and more companies are interviewing their candidates remotely before conducting an on-site interview. Some firms conduct telephone interviews for their initial candidates and then follow up with video interviews for the finalists.
Being offered a video interview is a good thing, since it means you have already made it through several layers of the selection process. A video conference can also be nerve-wracking, however, and harder to prepare for than an in-person meeting. In some ways a video interview is similar to an in-person one, but the video element introduces a number of complications. Being ready for those differences can help you ace the interview and land the job.
The same advice that governs in-person interviews is applicable to video interviews as well. Map out your route to the office or video conference centre ahead of time so you know exactly how long it should take to get there. Leave plenty of time and arrive at least five to ten minutes early. If you want to be on time for the video conference, you will need the extra time to get to the conference room and find an appropriate seat. Arriving early also gives you time to relax so you will do your best when the interview starts.
Dress as you would for an In-Person Interview
You should dress professionally, just as you would if you were interviewing in person. You do not need to add extra makeup or dress in bright colours. The muted shades will come through just fine on the video screen. Also keep in mind that you will be meeting people onsite and you want your appearance to convey a good impression with them as well.
Do take a few minutes to adjust your clothing and make sure everything looks good before the interview begins. You might not have a lot of time before the interviewer arrives, but use that time as wisely as possible.
Check the video angles
Every videoconferencing setup is different, and it is important to check the angles to see how you will look from the interviewer’s point of view. If the videoconferencing system has a split screen, check your appearance and adjust your seating location accordingly.
Be conscious of your position as the interview goes on. Shifting around in your seat could take you out of camera range or at least throw the angles off. Do not wait for the interviewer to say you have dropped off the screen; glance at the split screen once in a while to make sure everything still looks great.
Pre Interview – A quick check
Have notes ready to hand to ensure you discuss the most important points. A good tip is to post sticky notes behind your screen with key-words to remind you of the most important points you what to say. Remember, don’t check your smartphone notifications or texts, emails and most certainly, don’t chew gum! It might be a good idea to have a glass (rather than a bottle) of water at hand to take sips of, in case constant talking gives you a dry throat.
Begin your virtual interview in the same manner you would if you were interviewing on-site: with a greeting and a smile. Give a smile and a slight nod to your webcam as you introduce yourself and it might be no harm to mention that you’re glad to meet them. When answering the interview questions, take your time when responding. It’s perfectly acceptable to take 15-30 seconds to gather your thoughts and another 2-3 minutes to answer each question. You can expand further on certain points. A simple statement like “If it would help, I can provide additional details.” Be sure that you demonstrate and reiterate why you should be hired for this position. Above all, be honest with your experience and replies as the majority of employers do check references.
It is always good to send a thank you email, and make sure that you follow up in a week or two to see if they have an update, providing the advertisement for the vacancy does not state no lobbying or emailing. If you are unsuccessful, try to get some feedback as this will help you learn from any potential mistakes so the next time, you will most definitely ace it!
Contribution by Alison Conroy, Recruitment Expert with Pharmaforce, contract outsourcing and recruitment specialists (part of the Pharmed Group) based in Mullingar.