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Jobseekers In Ireland Not Spending Enough Time On Interview Prep, Despite Massive Unemployment Rate

Almost a quarter of jobseekers in Ireland spend less than an hour preparing for job interviews, and more than half of those seeking new employment (53 per cent) say they spend two hours or less. This is according to new workplace research carried out by Hays Specialist Recruitment, one of the world’s leading specialist recruitment companies. 

39 per cent of employers believe a candidate should spend between two and five hours preparing for a job interview, although only 28 per cent of candidates said they spent this amount of time on preparation. A further 13 per cent of employers believe a whole day’s preparation is necessary. 

The month of May saw the jobless rate in Ireland pass the 400,000 mark and 11.8 per cent of Irish residents are now claiming some form of unemployment assistance, according to the Central Statistics Office Ireland. Yet, despite the rising unemployment, jobseekers are often poorly prepared for interviews, lack core skills and are in desperate need of advice. 

One in four candidates (27 per cent) surveyed admitted that they would go out socialising the night before an interview, as long as they were in bed at a reasonable time. 2 per cent said they would go out and not give it a second thought. 

But it’s not all bad news. Nearly three in five jobseekers (58 per cent) in Ireland claim they have increased the amount of effort they put into preparing for job interviews since the economic downturn. However, 35 per cent of respondents say they have not been offered any job interviews at all. 

This figure corresponds with one third of employers who say they have not interviewed anyone since the recession began. However, almost one in four employers (39 per cent) say they are seeing an improvement in the level of effort candidates put into preparing for interviews, while almost a quarter (23 per cent) say they have seen no real difference. 

Surprisingly, given the much tougher jobs environment currently in Ireland, only 39 per cent of people almost always tailor their CV to the individual job they are applying for. 22 per cent of employers feel that candidates rarely or never tailor their CVs – exactly the percentage of jobseekers who said the same. This would indicate that it is worth making the effort, as employers will notice and it could make all the difference to getting a job. 

“It's not surprising that jobseekers are spending more time preparing for interviews given that there are more people applying for fewer jobs" says Richard Eardley, Managing Director of Hays Specialist Recruitment. "However, it is clear from the survey that candidates are still failing to meet employer expectations when it comes to preparation and performance at interview.

“We would give candidates a few simple, golden rules to follow if they secure an interview,” continued Richard, “Firstly, preparation is key – investing half a day in what could turn out to be your future career doesn’t seem too much to ask. Secondly, know your CV, be able to demonstrate your key strengths, and, vitally, be able to make your skills relevant to the job. Finally demonstrate enthusiasm – it’s an old adage, but if you don’t make it abundantly clear that you want the job, you probably won’t get it. Often this is simply a case of preparing a range of questions showing your interest in the role and the employer.” 

When asked for the reasons why they reject candidates, 51 per cent of employers cited lack of experience, while lack of ‘fit with the company' was the second most common reason at 40 per cent. Worryingly, 42 per cent of employers had rejected jobseekers for lacking ‘core skills’ such as writing or problem solving. 

For further tips on CV and cover letter writing, interview tips and job offer negotiations; go to Hays Career Advice page.


For further press information or to request an interview, please contact: Deirdre Grant on 086 0484 279 

Note to editor:

About the survey:

The research was carried out in May 09 and a total of 1,565 jobseekers and 623 employers were surveyed in Ireland. 

About Hays:

Hays Ireland is part of Hays plc, the leading global specialist recruitment group. Established in Ireland since 1996, Hays has quickly developed into one of the country’s most successful specialist recruitment organisations with a network of 8 offices around the country. In Ireland, Hays comprises of the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance / Banking / Construction & Property / Human Resources / Information Technology / Insurance & Financial Services / Office Support / Pharmaceutical / Sales & Marketing  

Hays plc is the market leader in the UK and Australia, and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe. The Group employs 8,294 staff operating from 380 offices in 28 countries across 17 specialisms.

  • For the year ended 30 June 2008:  the Group had revenues of £2.5 billion, net fees of £786.8 million and operating profit before exceptional items of £253.8 million;
  • the Group placed around 80,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 300,000 people into temporary assignments;
  • the temporary placement business represented 49% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 51% of net fees.