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.

Irish Banking – Welcome to the 18th Century

Today marks 29 days since I arrived in Ireland and finally I have all the paper work I need to open a bank account. Navigating the Irish bank system has been an experience to say the least, in the 8 years since I last opened a bank account in Ireland the country has tightened its rules on proof of identity and proof of address for new accounts. No longer does a letter from your employer (or the manager of the hostel you are living in as was my case the first time round!) count as proof of address. This can make proving your address especially difficult for someone new to the country who is currently living with friends/family or in shared accommodation.

Finally after being employed for over a fortnight I have the letter from Revenue (the Irish tax department) providing the proof of my address I need to open my bank account. I have made an appointment at a local bank and fingers crossed I will have my account open in another two weeks… yes that’s right two more weeks! Why? Because it can take up to a week to get an appointment with a bank and then a further 7 days to “process” your information and set up the account. But then I shall only have an account, it will be up to another 7 days before I have a debit card in which to allow me to access my money without having to go into a bank. It really is not a quick process…

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So what have I been doing in the meantime to access my money?

So far I have been living off my Australian savings but that is not ideal. For every cash withdrawal I make it cost me $5 in bank fees and for every transaction 2.5%, I am also limited by the Irish ATM’s to a maximum 600€ withdrawal a day. This can make things difficult if you are wanting to provide a cash deposit and/or one month’s bond to someone for a share house to secure your accommodation.

As I have been working for the last fortnight in Ireland and I don’t have a bank account, I am paid by cheque. I received my first cheque last week and having been told that cheque’s could only be cashed by the bank who drafted the cheque I headed off to my nearest Bank of Ireland branch. On arriving at the bank and spending half an hour in line (it was lunch time so there was only one teller on) I was finally served. I was quickly disappointed again as the cashier advised me that not only did a cheque have to be banked within the same bank but also within the same branch in which it was drafted. In this case a branch about 40min walk from my workplace and nowhere near my home.

I was astonished and infuriated. I couldn’t understand – it was the same bank! I asked the cashier to explain why this was to me, but they could not say more than it was bank policy. My past experience with cheques has been limited to the annual Christmas/birthday cheque from the grandparents living on the other side of the country. Never have I had to fly across the country to bank my $50 cheque, so why could the bank that issued the cheque not also cash it? – the answer I may never know. So my cheque continues to sit in my dresser until next week when I go to pick up my next cheque and I will then proceed to walk the 40 min to the bank and cash both cheques at once.

Maybe it’s my “first-world problem” but I feel as we continue to storm through the 21st century the Irish banking system is providing us with a little taste of 18th century life.

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.

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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

Xx

My first blog… 2016

Hi my name’s Charmaine, and this blog is about me. That may sound a bit narcissistic but the first piece of advice that seems to be given about writing a blog is write what you know, and I know me.

I know that I am: a woman in her late 20’s who has just moved to Dublin on her own from Australia and am hoping to achieve a complete career as well as life change all at the same time.  This isn’t the first time I have done this, at 19 I moved to Germany then Dublin before giving into family pressure and returning to Australia; and at 22 I was an exchange student in Canada.

So this blog will hopefully not only allow me to share with you my experiences  and adventures but will also offer advice to other women (and maybe men) wanting to take the huge leap and move overseas to a new country and ultimately begin a new life.  What else this blog may offer I don’t know yet, I am in the midst’s of trying new things and learning more about myself… Maybe this blog will include my own fashion views… guides to hiking the Wicklow Mountains… the top 20 pubs to pick up in, in Dublin… who knows but that is all in the adventure of discovering yourself.

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