Interviewing

Today I had an interview for a permanent position in the organisation I am currently temping in (potentially my own role). Being a temp already in the position you might think that I would be a shoe-in for the position, but it is public service position within the human rights sector and probably one of the harder fields to get a foot in the door for even the most educated and experienced of people, so really there are no guarantees. So with all this in hand I knew I had to treat this like any interview I went for, I had to prepare, I had to make sure I was professional and that I communicated why I would be the right person for the position.

28a961dI knew this was a competency based interview which meant that the interviewee’s would be looking for answers using the STAR method. Situation, Task, Action, Result. It had become a very popular model used to access interviewees across the board, but knowing this and signing it in practice are two completely different things. I went through all of the different area’s that I knew the questions would be based around, people management, skills and expertise, communication, commitment and drive, etc. and wrote up standard dot point answers using the STAR method for each of these potential areas of questioning.

But in the end I don’t think it matters how much preparation you do, when you really want the position and you know the competition is stiff the nerves are always going to be there. I walked into the interview and put everything I had on the table, in some cases I used the examples I had prepared, in other cases the questions where put in such a way that my pre-planned answers were not going to suffice and I had to think on the spot.

Overall I was satisfied with how the interview went, there was one question in which I believe I truly choked and it should have been the one I did best in – communicating with difficult, complex, different clients. Really I should have had this one in the bag, but I choose a bad example, lost my train of thought half way through, and then had someone knock on the door and interrupt the interview. In the end I turned around and said ‘let me give you another example, it does not quite fit the question you are answering but I think would give you better insight’ and proceeded to give a different example. I am not sure if it worked but the visual response from the interview panel was encouraging.

So now all there is left to do is to wait. I was told by the recruitment agent that it could be a few weeks before I receive a response, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the successful applicants will know by mid next week at the latest. So fingers and toes are crossed that there will be a very drunk Charmaine celebrating a new job in the coming days.

Finding the right job

I arrived in Dublin 18 days ago, excited and ready to have new opportunities thrown at me left right and center. I knew, and had spent the last 6 months telling myself that it was going to take time to find a job that I would fall passionately in love with – but I still expected or at least hoped I would find it in the first week I was here. But my first week came and went with no job offers… On my second week, I was made an offer for a more advanced role then the position I held in Australia. A really good job, with a very well-known not-for-profit in Ireland… I turned the job down and decided to temp instead.

People think I am nuts, this country is still coming out of a recession and I am turning down a full time, permanent position?!? But before you go judging me, hear me out. I didn’t enjoy my old job, it was never something that I woke up to in the morning and went ‘yes, I can’t wait to get to work’ and if I am going to move to a new country and start a new life, this is the perfect time to work on a career change as well.

first day
All dressed and ready to job hunt on my first day in Dublin!

Temping has offered me that opportunity to explore new careers; I get an income, I get to work for various organisations, meet new people, establish new contacts, get an idea of what is available in Ireland and new opportunities I may not have thought of before, and it also allows me to build up a professional reputation here with numerous employers within a short period of time.

I have had to take a bit of a pay cut, and in some instances I am doing very basic jobs but it’s an in, and if you are a hard worker and you are willing to engage with your colleagues, offer them assistance and learn about other roles. You never know when another permanent job opportunity in the organisation may come up and if you are already there and your managers are happy with your performance and how well you already fit in with the organisation they may just ask you to apply instead of having to externally advertise the position.

My only quam with temping is the recruitment agencies, I have found many do not want to put you in organisations outside of your industry e.g. although I have a lot of marking, PR and event management experience the recruitment agencies only consider positions within the property management sectors of not-for-profit or government organisations because the last organisation I worked with was a not-for-profit. Always remember the recruitment agent is there to make money by placing you into a position, they’re not interested in progressing your career aspirations. So if you want to expand and work outside of your previous industry you have to be prepared to push your case with the agent, I have even offered to do reception work in commercial organisations just to vary my portfolio and get rid of my reputation as only a not-for-profit employee.

Overall I am happy with my decision to temp, it may not be in the long run how I find my final permanent position that I love, but for the short term it has provided a lot of opportunities.

Either way I will keep you posted on how finding my dream job goes….

Cheers

Charmaine

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