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Review: Welcome to IBM® Kenexa® Prove It!® on Cloud

I was looking at the Welcome to IBM® Kenexa® Prove It!® on Cloud tests today. I took the Excel 2013 one. And it was fun!

I took a test on the latest Dell XPS laptop. For those who know little about Dell ranges, those are the fancy fast ones. So here is how it went:

Kenexa needs Java

You remember those annoying popups we used to get, Java this, Java that, Java Update and something? Well Kenexa sends to to Oracle site to Install THAT old Java. Great! So I am installing Java. Accepting any rubbish that comes along to get Java. I am seeing how Yahoo is becoming my default search engine… Fabulous!

Reboot PC to get Java running, opening online the site in the browser, nothing is happening, I am getting the same error message: You need Java. Java, that I just got?!

I remembered that Google Chrome was not really supportive of Java, so  I try with another browser (that Win 10 “thing”). That didn’t run Java either but suggested to “Open a link in Internet Explorer”. Old buggy one, I am thinking but let’s risk it! #YOLO

Internet Explorer opens Kenexa site and is running Java! Bingo! We are in business!

I am signing up to the Excel 2013 test and really looking forward to it. Now remember I have a quite new laptop, one that comes with the 4K resolution. Here is how my screen looks. Can you read it? Neither could I!

kenexa - excel test

All the zooming in or font increases or anything that is within my knowledge doesn’t help me get the test to a state where I can actually read what’s on the screen.

I just decided, Kenexa, you know what, that is really a wonderful customer experience. And CTRL+ALT+DEL – into Task Manager to kill the application.

So if you are using Kenexa for assessing your candidates… you might want to try to use it yourself before you push it on your applicants.

In Recruitment: candidate experience matters!!!





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Is Phone interview enough? LinkedIn poll suggests…

The responses to the recent poll on LinkedIn:

When presented with a good IT candidate not available locally, would you do the phone interview?

Show that the phone interview is the way to start the interviewing process. Still, the majority of the recruiters would fly the top candidate in for the last round of the interview before the job offer is made.

You can see the results and put your vote here:

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INTERVIEW with Robert McGonnell, founder of the new Irish video recruitment web site:

How did you come to the idea of starting the site (tell us about yourself here a bit)?
My background is primarily recruitment orientated having managed a busy Sales & Marketing desk in a Dublin based agency and having dealt with some major market leading FMCG companies. I also worked as a Grade IV Office in St. James’ Hospital in Dublin where I was responsible for the wage processing and recruitment administration of over 400 Nurses, Attendants and Clinical Nurse Managers. But my work history has also included employment in the high end equine breeding industry, motor vehicle sales and tourism so I guess I like the challenges that a bit of variety can throw at you. This experience coupled with an academic business grounding from the Michael Smurfit Business School in Blackrock had the cogs turning in my brain about how to deconstruct and re-approach the online recruitment business model.

What was the gap that you found out in the crowded market of job sites in Ireland?
Basically I found that many of the mainstream recruitment websites in Ireland offered very little differentiation and I wanted to launch a recruitment site that had a “help-centric” focus. I decided to focus on presenting an alternative website that offered a benefit for both job seekers and employers.
Granted the mainstream recruitment websites in Ireland are well established and have thousands of registered users, high traffic volumes, brand recognition etc but in many ways they’re just a talent swamp. The main problems I identified; if I as a candidate upload my CV on one of these websites it’s tricky to stand out from the crowd and get noticed which ultimately translates to a reduced likelihood of securing an interview/job. A CV can’t effectively demonstrate how a candidate may present, give an indication of their personality, communication skills etc. offers candidates the opportunity to upload a 60 second Introductory Video Profile to accompany their standard CV application. A Video Profile gives a candidate an opportunity to bring their CV to life and give a personal touch to their job application.
The main benefit of a Video Profile as an employer is this. If a recruiter posts a job they’re likely to receive dozens if not hundreds of applications with limited tools to rank or select according to suitability. It can sometimes be a gamble when inviting candidates to interview based on their CV/cover letter alone which can often lead to disappointment and time waste. A 60 second Video Profile is in no way meant to replace a face to face interview but is intended to be a useful stepping stone by providing a recruiter with an immediate online first impression prior to interview stage.

Unique selling proposition?
The Video Profile feature coupled with’s help-centric focus could save could save time, cost and effort for everyone involved in the recruitment process.

What is the intended route to market?
Mostly online advertising with planned radio advertising, “grabvertising” and guerrilla marketing campaigns planned for the New Year 2012.

Monetisation strategy?
The website’s build has been self-funded with a zero debt policy. It’s meant having to live like a bit of a hermit over the past year but I’m confident this sacrifice will pay off in the long run. I plan to introduce an online payment system on the site where recruiters/employers can choose an advertising package that matches their requirements. For the time being though I’d like to invite all first time advertisers to a FREE trial of the site. Simply register on and we’ll help you find new staff for the Christmas rush or New Year 2012… no fee, no charge, no catch or tie-in, 100% FREE. Contact me at for info.

How are you finding it so far?
It’s been a big learning curve as is my first venture but the experience I’ve gained is amazing and will stand to me in the long term. Right now I’m looking forward to earning a reputation as a mainstream recruitment website in Ireland.

What do recruiters say?
The feedback I’ve receive has been very positive however there’s always going to be some reluctance and hence persuasion involved as it’s a brand new website. Recruiters are especially interested in the potential time save that Video Profiles could result in as they would reduce the reliance on having to conduct preliminary screening interviews.

What do job seekers say?
Ok, to put this question another way…’Why would a job seeker be bothered creating a Video Profile?’ I think this would’ve been a tricky question to answer a couple of years ago but essentially now job seekers really should be prepared to try any means possible to get their application noticed. The instance of the ‘Jobless Paddy’ during the summer highlights the extreme lengths some candidates are willing to go too just to get noticed. Couple this reality with the spread of tech savvy knowledge regarding online social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Twitter, MySpace etc and I think it’s reasonable to say that a large section of job seekers should be perfectly capable to record a 60 second video profile on a webcam and follow the instructions for uploading it on!
The candidate will find helpful tips and guidelines on creating a Video Profile on the homepage. The merits of a Video Profile basically allow a candidate to back up any claims made in a CV, for instance if they say they have effective communication skills or fluent French the video permits them with an outlet to validate those claims. The jobseeker can also select the level of privacy for their Video Profile/CV on their private account.
A Video Profile is generally new territory for job seekers in Ireland. However recruitment is going to move more and more in this direction in the future and the feedback that I’ve receive so far has been very positive.

What re the next steps?’s focus is to offer a help-centric approach to online recruitment in Ireland. The Video Profile is the first step. plans to introduce innovative new features and solutions on an incrementally basis as the site goes from strength to strength so stay tuned.

What are the next milestones?’s mission is to become a mainstream online recruitment solution in Ireland. However there’s no sense in having an unrealistic expectation that that sort of milestone is going to be achieved without a lot of hard work. So for the time being it’s going to be baby steps, the 1000th registered candidate isn’t far off now so that would be a mini triumph.

Where do you see it in a year?
I see a well-recognised brand within recruitment circles and a cost effective online recruitment solution for employers.
I also see Video Profile’s as a more accepted standard of job application method for job seekers.

How do you see the online recruitment market evolving in Ireland?
10 years ago the majority of CV’s/job applications were sent in the post, that’s pretty much unheard of today as job applications are mostly done online now. So I think recruitment in Ireland is sure to move further into the realm of online technology and social media platforms in the future. Taking this into account I think virtual interviews and ready to view Video Profiles will become standard practice.

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How to do Social Recruitment on Networking Events

Social recruitment is not just searching the LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for your perfect candidates. Social (aspect of) recruitment is using those to find people and reach efficiently to most of them via the social media. There are people that you will have to meet, since not all of us are comfortable tweeting and communication with recruiters in public forum. The best way to reach to those candidates are the trade shows and networking events related to them. Dublin Web Summit was a great sample of such an event. Today there is another –with slightly different audience expected. It is the Dublin Beta :: Launch Event. What is it? Here it is from themselves:

About Dublin Beta

Dublin Beta is the newest chapter of Silicon Valley’s largest and longest-running startup mixer, SF Beta. Join us for a stimulating evening of stimulating conversation, classy libations, and live exhibits from ten startups, coming from Dublin’s early-stage startup and technology community.

So who is likely to show up? Entrepreneurs! Will you hire them? No. So why bother?

Not every entrepreneur is successful in running the business and making profit. In fact, a fairly small p-percentage are. Can you find them some challenge in the roles you have open? If you ‘sell’ or ‘package’ your opportunities really well – you will attract the entrepreneurs as well.

So although non corporate heads on their shoulders, the Dublin Beta :: Launch Event is likely to attract the crème de la crème of the Irish IT entrepreneurs. You just need to find the way how to talk to them. In fact the best you can do is to turn it around. How about if they would want to talk to you on the event? How? Why?

Techies tweet. Like mad. The event has a hashtag that you can follow in twitter: #Dublinbeta. The event did not even start and there is a long list of people tweeting how they will come. Find your candidates between them. Follow, retweet and mention whatever is suitable in each case. Search for their LinkedIn profiles. Invite them to connect, and do mention you would like their opinion on something (that is relevant to each of them!). Ask for a few minutes on the event tonight. Make sure they have a lot to say about it. The result – you get a room full of people who can’t wait to talk to you!

Final tip: Make sure your profile photo is recent! If not make one right now and stick it online. The more recent the photo, the easier it is for people to recognize and find you on the crowded event. For best results – our make a photo of on the day of the event – in the same clothes your will appear on the event.

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The Unforgettable Candidate – You’re Hired

The Unforgettable Candidate – You’re Hired a presentaton and photos of by Peter Cosgrove, Director of Cpl alongside Professor Ian Robertson, neuroscientist from Trinity College Dublin in Paccar theatre in the Science GalleryDublin.


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Interview with Cameron Worth

Cameron is the organiser of the International Recruitment Conference that is taking place this Friday in Dublin. He is really passionate about organising it and really a pleasure to deal with. Here is a short ‘Interview’ we had a few days ago with the upcoming International Recruitment Conference as a topic.

Q. Tell us about yourself and your company

A. My main background is in organising Recruitment Fairs and also heading up the business development team for a network of Multilingual Job Boards. Having organised Conferences in previous companies I am now offering the International Recruitment market something different.

Q. Explain to me what the IRC is about in 20 words

A Conference for International Corporate Recruiters to connect, learn and respond to industry changes. 2011 is focused on Social Media Recruiting.

Q. What is the speakers line-up looking like?

A. Fantastic if I may say so myself. As well as yourself speaking we have the likes of Bill Boorman, who is just an absolute fountain of Social Media knowledge. We also have Data Protection expert Rob Corbet from Arthur Cox, Niamh Hall as well who is a Trademark attorney and is going to be looking at how brands can be protected on-line. LinkedIn are doing a 30 minute Q&A with the audience and to finish off we have the EMEA Recruitment Director from Oracle, a man by the name of Kevin Blair who is an excellent speaker.

Q. What are the intentions of the IRC?

A. A complete Monopoly on Social Media! Every tweet, status update, LinkedIn group, friend request will have to be approved by us. Only joking, we really just want to promote Social Media properly in the context of recruitment. A lot is being done but not a lot of it is done properly (one such exception is Peter Cosgrove’s training sessions which really seem to be very well-received).

Q. What do you want people to go away with?

A. A more informed opinion on Social Media Recruiting, new contacts in the industry, a deeper understanding of the potential issues with Social Media….Also the pen and conference guide as they look great!

Q. Is there plans for the future with your conferences?

There is and there isn’t. There is in terms of ‘Yes we will be doing these conferences in 2012 and beyond’ but there isn’t in terms of Subject Matter for these type of events. What is most important with these conferences, and what really infuriates me sometimes with other conferences, is that relevance is key. 1 year ago the market wouldn’t have been right for a conference like the one we have on Friday, so what is to stop this subject matter being dated and irrelevant in a further 12 months.

What is sure is that the conferences will always be based around the corporate recruitment industry and the current hot topics in the market at the time of the conferences.

When – Friday March 11th
Where – Guinness Storehouse, Dublin 8

More information on the International Recruiters Conference can be found at
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Interview Job Site Jobs Recruitment – Interview with Derek O’Neill

Derek O'Neill from Text a Job ( I had a chance to talk to Derek O’Neill about his new recruitment web site launched recently It is a first Irish site to offer a free jobs advertising to employers, and charges job hunters for receiving the job advertisements via the SMS messages. Here is what Derek has to say:

1. is a first mobile recruitment application in Ireland. The BETA was released a few months ago. How is Ireland embracing it? Is Ireland ready for Mobile Recruitment?

Job seekers and employers alike seem to be embracing the idea without question. This is evident in the 1800 job postings to date, with about 1200 active at the moment. Hundreds of job seekers have signed up before we have even started advertising. We are certain that Ireland is ready for mobile recruitment, especially given where mobile technology is. With WiFi access and large screens the new norm for mobile phones, we are perched to be the first to grab the recruitment market via a mobile platform.

2. The benefits from Employers are obvious – your service is free! What is the take-up like and what are the general trends?
In short it has been fantastic! It has exceeded our expectations by a mile really. What is even more important is that the subscription rate is actually accelerating. We get the same amount of job hunters subscribed in a day now, that it took us a week to get when we started.

3. Jobseekers get the unique service from You simply subscribe and get your offers on your mobile. What was the initial feedback during the BETA period?
We took on board literally tons of constructive feedback and suggestions. The category listing is perhaps the best example – where the job hunters and the employers actually defined it for us in those first few months. The service we provide now is already miles better that what we could achieve on the first day when we launched.

4. How does the competition react? In fact are the traditional Irish jobs sites a competition at all? Is there any competition?
The competition has yet to say anything about us, that we know of! Although we are providing a different kind of way to search for employment and our service is free to employers, our competition is still the likes of,, and your regular job boards such as We are however providing something unique to the Job Seeker, while providing a more organised, cost effective medium for the employers. We are job seeking on the go, getting the information to the candidates for the employer as soon as the job is available.

5. How do you see the economy in Ireland today? Are there sectors clearly out or still deeply affected by the recession?

We feel positive about the economy and like to believe things are on the upswing. We have noticed a bit of a downward trend of using recruitment agencies, while companies are searching direct. In saying that, the recruitment agencies we have contacted seem as busy as ever. We have noticed lack of jobs in the Banking, Tourism & Travel and aviation industries. There is plenty of work in Web development & design, driving, cleaning, and general trades. Then again maybe its just the companies and recruiters we have yet to speak to, only time will tell!

6. What sectors of the industry do you serve the best so far? What sector embraced the new technology and the business model fastest? What sectors are lagging behind?
It is hard to say, it is still early days. We haven’t seen any specific sector pick it up faster than another. All employers are keen to get free advertising of their job postings for free via the website. While professional work is being put up through the website, general work (a days painting or plumbing) is being posted mainly via our quick texting system by texting the word Ad + Job description (160 characters) to 51000 (standard text rates).

7. What’s next for
The launch of our own mobile phone application with 92% mobile phone compatibility across Ireland is what certainly excites us the most. While we are not the market leader in job advertisements, we are the first and only business to provide the service on a mobile platform. We believe mobile phones and all of their technology is the way of the future, and we are successfully leading the recruitment industry in Ireland that way. We want to make sure that if there is a job in Ireland, we send it to the interested job seekers mobiles instantly. Our mobile application will make it easier than ever to receive and apply for relevant jobs instantly without having to use a computer. You will even be able to type a quick cover letter and send your CV which is uploaded to the system when you register.
Personal branding is certainly the next step for us, look out for our radio ads on FM104 and Newstalk.

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Connecting with Customers

Me in the press again. This time in the InBusiness magazine by Chambers Ireland. Here are a few snippets:


Conventional advertising and marketing strategies are typically one-way communications with the product or service provider addressing customers. However, social media and social networking sites offer businesses the opportunity to engage with their customers or clients. Blogs, forums and profile pages can reach a large potential market, are free, and will allow a company to conduct market research and respond to the needs of their customers. It’s important to remember that your aim is to encourage customers to visit your website where they can get more information andenquire about making a purchase. “Facebook itself will not sell your products or services directly,” says Ivan Stojanovic. “However, if used correctly, it will bring visitors who should then be encouraged to leave comments about your offering. Your company blog will also drive relevant interested visitors to your company page where they can purchase your products or services.”

Ivan Stojanovic InBusiness

Building visibility and brand awareness on social networking sites is relatively easy. Building credibility, on the other hand, takes time and effort. However, once that is achieved, third-party recommendations can be a major boost for your business. Stojanovic agrees: “People will be comfortable buying from a company that has thousands of people recommending them, and not a single unhappy customer. eBay pioneered the introduction of social media on their existing merchant site. When you buy something, you can rate a supplier. This brought trust into online shopping and made eBay the largest online shopping site.”

Marketing to the masses InBusiness Autumn 09 2009 / 31

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Bill Fischer, Co-Founder of

bill fischerBill Fischer is having a speech in Dublin on the Microsoft’s Future of Recruitment conference later this week. His company in Bill’s own words:, is a global search engine for Twitter that uses natural language processing to identify and index offers of employment.

I asked Bill what will he be talking about in the recruitment conference in Dublin. Here is from Bill in his own words:

Bill Fischer: Hi Ivan, Yes, I’ll be discussing some of the challenges and opportunities that the real-time web brings to the recruitment space. There will be some analysis of the current social media landscape, some thoughts on search/cpc approaches to recruitment, and an introduction of some of our new products that sit in the social media/search space.

Bill is the expert in the field, and his latest Twitter Job Search gig raised a lot of dust in the online recruitment world. In the Ireland lagging in Social Media adoption article only a few days ago, I wrote about the Twitter Job Search penetration in Ireland. It will be interesting to see how will Bill’s presentation affect the number of jobs in Ireland in the Twitter Job Search and in the social media in general.

About Bill Fischer
Co-Founder and Director of Workdigital Ltd, the vertical search solutions development company that built and Co-Founder of DVD Station, Inc., a world-class media/entertainment internet retail systems company. Former VP of marketing for a massively multiplayer online gaming company with over 2.4mm customers in 50+ companies, and builder of marketing systems for a user generated content site acquired by Electronic Arts. Previous marketing and general management experience at, and A frequent speaker, interviewee, and panelist for entertainment trade and classified search and was acknowledged in the editor-in-chief of Wired’s book, The Long Tail, as an expert on collaborative filtering and internet search engines. Twitter: @williamfischer LinkedIn:

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Martin Cerullo

martin_cerullo1Martin Cerullo, Director, Resourcing Communications, Alexander Mann Solutions is presenting in two events later this week in Dublin. First is the event organised by Microsoft Ireland: The Future of Recruitment conference on the 7th of October in Westbury Hotel, Grafton Street. The second is the Bringing Consumer Marketing Techniques into the World of HR in The Penthouse Suite at the Morgan Hotel, 7-12 Fleet Street, Dublin and will run from 8.30am to 10.30am.

I asked Martin what he is going to talk about in Dublin:

Martin Cerullo: On The Future of Recruitment conference I’m going to be talking about how we are embracing the world of technology to improve financial and quality performance throughout the whole recruitment lifecycle. I’ll be covering everything from employer brand to attraction as well as assessment and onboarding. As the recently voted Global Leader in RPO (HRO Today Magazine), I think we come at this from a unique perspective due to the different types of organisations we work with, the geographies we cover and the technology neutral position we occupy.

Martin Cerullo: On Bringing Consumer Marketing Techniques into the World of HR breakfast event: In a tough financial climate, many organisations struggle to gain investment for employer branding activities. Come along to this event where we will explore the business case for building a strong employer brand and the return on investment it delivers.

About Martin Cerullo
Martin has worked for Alexander Mann Solutions since 2006, and is the Director responsible for the global resourcing communications practice, which manages all employer branding, sourcing and recruitment innovation across AMS clients. Martin has 12 years experience of working in the recruitment sector, with a major focus on employer brand management and development, recruitment advertising, website development and sourcing strategies. Martin has also built and managed solutions in outsourcing of graduate recruitment attraction and selection. Before Martin joined AMS, he spent the previous 6 years working for Euro RSCG Worldwide, one of the world’s largest global advertising groups. As a board director of the Riley division, Martin had responsibility for 2 advertising agencies as well as the development of strategic services such as employer branding, diversity and digital recruitment and managing relationships with clients including Morgan Stanley, British Airways, BP, Airbus and B&Q. Twitter: @martincerullo; LinkedIn

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How to prepare an electronic CV

While many jobs can still be applied for in the traditional way, by sending a printed CV and covering letter by post to the organisation that is offering the position, an increasing number of employers now accept and even encourage the practice of sending of CVs via e-mail. There are a number of advantages to this approach – it’s almost instantaneous, it works out a lot cheaper, especially if you are applying for jobs abroad, and it reduces paper waste. In addition, some websites offer you the chance to post your CV online where it can be seen by thousands of potential employers without you having to lift a finger. An electronic CV is generally similar to a printed CV, however there are several key differences between the two forms that are important to bear in mind when producing the document.

Perhaps most importantly, you have to ensure that your CV can be easily read on any computer, regardless of software and hardware differences. For this reason it is best to save your CV in ASCII or plain text format, as the recipient may not have the same word-processing software, or even the same version of a particular program, as you have typed the CV into. Keep the formatting as simple as possible, as indents, columns, page breaks and bullet points can all be interpreted differently by different computers and leave your CV looking like a mess on arrival.
Although most paper CVs are lucky to receive anything other than a quick perusal, if anything an electronic CV will receive even less detailed attention. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that you keep it short and crisp. Summarise what you feel to be your strong points and avoid unnecessary detail. The primary function of an electronic CV is to grab the attention of the employer. If what they see intrigues them, then they will get in touch with you for more details.
For the same reason it is important to make appropriate use of keywords to draw attention to the important things in your CV, especially if it’s posted on a jobs site. Given that the great majority of internet searches are keyword-based, it is important to use words and phrases that are likely to be searched for by potential employers. Use keywords that are specifically related to the industry and the type of job you wish to work in. Try to incorporate positive, descriptive terms into descriptions of your skills and experiences that you feel employers will be likely to search for. For example, an employer looking for clerical staff might search for terms such as ‘fast and accurate typist’ or ‘strong IT skills’.
Finally, be sure to include your name, contact details and website, if you have one that you feel is worth showing to employers, along with a short profile of your career and achievements to date in reverse chronological order. If an employer is interested in your CV but finds it anything other than easy to find your contact details, chances are they won’t contact you at all.

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How to: Impress at the interview stage

Applying for jobs can be a difficult business at the best of times, but for many people the most nerve-wracking and difficult part of the recruitment process is getting past the interview stage. After sifting through the various applications, the interview process offers a chance for employers to meet some of the more promising candidates for a particular job in person to try to form a more complete picture of their strengths and weaknesses. A candidate’s performance in a job interview can often be the decisive factor in the success or otherwise of their application, and as such it is important to prepare well.

Before you attend the interview, make sure that you done your research and know something about the history and guiding philosophies of the organisation, as well as their current activities. Find out what the job entails so that you can present your qualifications, experiences, previous jobs, and personal attributes in such a way that you appear to be an ideal candidate for the position. Be sure to brush up on your descriptions and knowledge of all of these things, as an inconsistency between the facts as presented in your CV and your interview could make you seem dishonest. You also need to be prepared to answer stock interview questions such as ‘why do you want this job?’ or ‘what would you say were your strengths and weaknesses?’. It can be both beneficial and reassuring to rehearse an interview situation with a friend or relative, especially if they have any experience in hiring people themselves.

When you turn up to the interview, it’s important that you appear clean, neat and tidy, in attire appropriate to the tone of the organisation, and that you do not smoke or chew gum. It’s better to be a bit early than a bit late, so make sure to set for the interview in plenty of time and plan your route well in advance.
During the interview itself, learn your interviewers name and shake their hand firmly (within reason!) upon meeting them. Be well mannered and polite with everyone you meet, and speak clearly without the use of slang words. Don’t slouch or avoid eye contact, as this can be interpreted as a lack of confidence, or even worse, a lack of interest! Make sure to use body language to demonstrate your interest in what the interviewer is saying, and try to appear confident and enthusiastic without being overbearing. Ask questions of the interviewer about the job and the organisation, but avoid questions that could be answered by looking on the company website as this will smack of a lack of preparation and thoroughness. At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer and be sure to shake hands with them again before you leave.

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How to gloss over gaps in your CV

If you have a large gap in your job history, an employer may well ask you to explain what you were doing during this time. Gaps left unexplained in your CV can show you in a less than positive light, as they can lead the employer to draw their own, quite possibly unfavourable, conclusions about your character and work ethic. Writing your employment history in yearly, rather than monthly, instalments can easily erase a gap of only a few months and help to keep your CV short and concise. Longer gaps are harder to gloss over, but that’s not to say that it’s impossible to do so.

If you left a job to pursue further or higher education, especially if it is relevant to the job you are applying for, be sure to let the employer know, as this will most likely be seen as a positive step. Likewise, if you had to leave your job to have or care for a child, be sure to make this clear. However, if you were just plain old out-of-work during this period, try to think of positive projects you were involved with. Perhaps you helped a friend or family member to set up their business during this time, or you were involved with a local charity of some description. You have to be prepared to back up these stories with details, so be sure to prepare thoroughly for the interview, so that you don’t have to make anything up on the spot, making you seem disorganised, dishonest, or both! If you kept yourself afloat during this period by doing odd jobs unconnected with your chosen career, list these jobs in your CV and be prepared to talk about them if questioned.

If you were fired from a previous job, it would be a good idea to avoid mentioning this in your CV or interview if at all possible. However, if you are unable to provide a believable reason for leaving the job, or it is likely that your story will be contradicted by a reference, it is possible to say that you were fired without losing too much credibility. If you were fired as part of a downsizing or cost-cutting operation, then say so, as this does not reflect nearly as badly upon you as if you were fired for poor performance or a lack of discipline. If you have to say that you were fired for personal or performance reasons, explain the situation truthfully and without bitterness, and highlight what you have learned from the situation and how it has changed your awareness and, if necessary, your attitude, for the better.

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Interview: Peter Cosgrove

Peter Cosgrove of the NRF will hold a talk for job seekers on September 30th in the Grand Canal Hotel for up to 100 people. To register please email

This is a pilot test free jobseekers workshop by NRF. The presenter Peter Cosgrove agreed to meet me over a coffee and we had a short chat about the upcoming event.

Interview with Peter Cosgrove

What is Free Jobseekers Workshop?
The National Recruitment Federation (NRF) felt that it would be of great value to the members if we were able to help recruitment consultants in a very difficult period. Given the amount of candidates on the marketplace it is inevitable that recruiters are spending more time speaking with candidates but often therefore not getting enough time to talk with clients. This job seekers initiative is to help recruiters put candidates in touch with a free event that they will benefit, as well as giving recruiters more time to focus on speaking to clients to get new assignments for their candidates.

Why has the NRF decided to run this event now?
I think there is a lot of negative press out there and unfortunately recruitment consultants are getting some of this even though they are often just the messengers. This is something they can do for their candidates that they will hopefully appreciate and improve the overall brand of the NRF recruitment agencies.

What does the event cover?
The event is designed for all levels of candidates and is to highlight that the market is completely different and your cv and approach to finding a job has to be also. Specifically it will cover:

• Writing a world class cv
• Where to find the next job
• Advice on dealing with recruitment agencies
• Improving interview skills and techniques
• Networking skills
• Negotiating salaries

Where and when is it happening and how do you register?
The job seekers workshop will run on September 30th from 6PM to 7.30PM at the Grand Canal Hotel, Dublin 4 and will be presented by NRF Committee member, Peter Cosgrove. A cv clinic will follow the event so bring a cv. To register please email your name and contact details to but remember places are limited.

Give one good reason why candidates should attend?
Everyone will learn something from this event and if you are proactively looking for a job there will be tips in this presentation that I guarantee will help every job seeker get their next job!