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Modern Day Job Interviews & Application Processes

  • 28-05-2022 1:30pm
    Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭

    Good afternoon all, I'm just wondering what peoples outlook is on the process of getting a job in the current era as opposed to the 80's, 90's and early 00's. As someone who is in their 20's I'm wondering if I'm being biased in saying getting a job now is harder than ever. I have worked in ICT roles in the past (which I'm currently trying to get back to) but the competition for roles along with potentially long application and interview processes seem relentless. What are peoples thoughts. I'm particularly interested in what people who have a career of 15/20 years or more behind them think.



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,782 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Depends totally on the organisation.

    I've heard of some crazy ones eg a friend had five interviews (which he had to travel up from Limerick for, at his own cost) for a fairly low level support job. If it was me, I'd have told them where to go after the 3rd.

    Whereas for my current gig, I had 1 interview with the senior manager.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭mtb_sends

    @Mrs OBumble Hi, I know of someone who did six rounds(Software Dev), and still didn't get the job. Was the multi-interview process always a thing, or is that only in recent years and what does it achieve? I'm currently trying to get into the public sector/civil service for several reasons, but one of those reasons is they don't normally have multi interview stages. Also is the multi-interview prominent in other industries besides ICT?

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,525 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    All I can remember is trawling through job adverts (which were few and far between) and applying for perhaps five or six a month, of which I might get two acknowledgements. If you got any interviews you'd only hear back from less than half of them. The usual was aptitude tests followed by up to two rounds of interviews. I was applying for everything from merchant navy to civil service to accountancy firms, semi states and local factories. 18 months before getting a job I then spent 35 years at and loved every minute of it. But at one point it seems like a never ending hopeless cause. This was in the late 70s.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭mtb_sends

    @Jim_Hodge Thanks for that. It's really interesting to have that comparison. I have recently started applying for ICT roles again but found myself not even getting selected for interview at least half the time despite them all being junior roles which I find quite demoralising. Thats a serious level of dedication to staying going at the application process for that length of time. You were also incredibly fortunate to do a job that you enjoyed, I can only hope that I end up in a similar situation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,689 ✭✭✭The J Stands for Jay

    I was doing multi round interviews back in the early 2000s for finance Jobs. All sorts of aptitude tests, phone interviews, assessment centres, group presentations, all sorts of crap. Being told you got into the final 6 people out of 800 applications and still not getting a job.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭mtb_sends

    @The J Stands for Jay For some reason I assumed all of this multi stage interview/application process was a more recent phenomenon. Thanks for your input

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,941 ✭✭✭✭titan18

    3 is the most I've had, and 4 really should be the most. Like even for a larger organisation, it's generally been preliminary interview to get to know you, proper interview and aptitude test, and then a meeting a senior manager/head of in team you're joining. There's no real need for more than that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,453 ✭✭✭sam t smith

    Most rounds I’d be prepared to do would be 3.

    Funk that if that’s not enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭Beckett99

    In my own experience and locality, there were more jobs to apply for 15-20 years ago with a less arduous application process. Typically, I would've applied with a bare CV and a cover letter, usually from an ad in the local paper, got an interview with the manager and/or senior staff member and heard back pretty soon. Now it's all online, with a couple of rounds of interviews, use of the STAR method and placed on a panel from which I've rarely been called. I recently had two County Council interviews for separate roles. One of them was like speed dating with hypothetical "What would you do if...?" questions instead of asking about my experience. I've noticed that things have also changed in terms of work that would've been almost 'easy' to get years ago but not so much now. Years ago I walked in to my local pharmacy and asked for work which I got there and then. To get the same job now, I was told I'd need at least a pharmacy assistant certificate. Even a retail job in the local fruit and veg shop had a lot of applicants and was filled in a day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,992 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    I've noticed that the "start at the bottom and work your way up" way of job progression is gone, and a lot of entry level positions need qualifications, where maybe they wouldn't before.

    My mam walked into a bank job by virtue of having a leaving cert, which was rare.

    Not a chance of that today.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I know local authority jobs can have arduous selection processes, with an exam to get as far as first interview, followed by a second interview to get on a limited time panel, from which you may potentially be recruited if you’ve scored high enough in the final interview. And that might be just for the most basic grade. And of course there’s the Garda vetting process too.

    In very high-demand areas in the private sector it would seem if it appears on paper you have the requirements they will at least offer you a contract and you may last on the job or have your services dispensed with quickly depending on how you deliver.

    Look at the recruitment issues at Dublin Airport when it comes to security, so many obstacles in the way of getting recruited to a job with cr@p wages & conditions. On the other hand if you have niche skills you could be head-hunted merely from profile on LinkedIn. And not forgetting staff in companies are sometimes paid to get other staff on board. Public versus private is a very different type of process.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,760 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    I think it's much harder these days for no real reason.

    I think longest I had 20+ yrs ago was 2 or 3 interviews.

    Where I am now the application form is so long and detailed it takes about a solid week to complete. You'd need some training and practise with competency and Star interviews say 1-3 days worth. Then 1-2 interviews and perhaps a presentation. You'd also need to have read up on trends in the industry and all that is before any technical tests.

    We don't have any entry level jobs in IT. You're expected hit the ground running at 100% there's is no training or mentoring other than some BS onboarding by HR. Every job description is over specced.

    If I was trying to get into IT again (and do well) I'd expect to have to get a level 8 degree and then some industry certs in the technical area you are in. Also things like ITIL, Prince 2 and Scrum.

    Seems to be less focus on formal education in the UK. Feedback I hear is that working your way up from entry level is still very common there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus

    It's hard to give a like-for-like comparison. As said above, there was a time that you could approach a business looking for work and end up being told to stand behind the counter there and then for a half-day's trial. But the further you go back, the more it depended on who you were and who you knew. In the 1980s, a clean cut young man could say he was looking for work and after a short chat, he'd be invited in. A woman or a guy who sounded like he was from the flats would told a flat out "no thanks" and be sent on their way without an interview.

    There is a much greater level playing field these days, which has given rise to a much more sanitised and formal interview process. Which has its pros and cons.

    There is also a lot of variance in how companies do their interview processes, because it turns out that in spite of decades of research and analysis, we still have no real way of knowing how to select the best people from a panel of otherwise unproven/anonymous candidates. This is why you get "trends" in interview processes, like lateral thinking questions, 2-day onsite interviews, and whatnot. Because someone decides they've cracked the interview problem, implements a far-out solution, and then everyone else copies it.

    Microsoft championed the "lateral thinking" interview in the 1990s ("How could calculate how many elephants could fit in Croke Park"), abandoned it not long after, but companies still persisted with it for a decade after. Likewise, in the late 2000s a big song and dance was made about Google with their 20-step interview process, as well as flying candidates from everywhere in the world to San Francisco for an intensive on-site interview. And all of the other big tech companies followed suit, and kept doing so up well up to the end of the last decade, even though Google had abandoned it after 3-4 years because it wasn't any better at selecting candidates than a standard interview. Smaller companies without huge budgets still stuck with having an insane number of interviews, and some still do.

    The modern workflow now is a phone screen to make sure you're not a weirdo and not completely lying on your CV, if it's a technical position there may be a technical test or technical interview to validate your knowledge, followed by a final main interview to shake you down properly and see if you get on with the general culture of the company.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Decades ago likes of bank would have aptitude tests followed by an interview or two. Leaving cert was the qualification to apply. The ESB, which was considered a very desirable place to get a job, merely required the Intermediate (Junior) Cert to begin with, but the altitude test was quite arduous. If you got in there were real opportunities of career progression and even to work in Europe.

    I did my Leaving Cert aged 17, but had absolutely no focus, direction or maturity. I tried science at college but was bored as it felt like a repeat of leaving cert, I was offered a place at art college but didn’t see it ever being an earner and in spite of ability I felt my intellect (LOL, my immaturity!) might be “wasted”. I scored well most of these “aptitude tests” but interviewers always said I seemed “unenthusiastic” and they were right. I’m now retired from public service, where my job, with all its frustrations, at least offered quite a lot of variety and sometimes an outlet for my creative side.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,992 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    Thinking of my own company now and our process, there's a lot of focus on not hiring the wrong person, to the detriment of all the right people applying. I honestly think it's the right approach. It's difficult to remove people who are not a good fit, even with probation periods, and HR is so averse to any form of confrontation.

    We have:

    1. HR interview. Make sure you're some way sane and presentable.
    2. Manager/Tech interview: Make sure you're not lying on your CV and have some technical knowledge and would be a good fit with the team.
    3. Personality test: This is mandatory and company policy.
    4. Tech interview: Series of questions, half based on the candidates CV, half standard tech questions to see how deep their knowledge fo
    5. Team lead interview: You have the job if you get this far, it's just a meet and greet ahead of job offer.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    If people know a lot more of what the job & company is actually like to work for, people would better self-select to present for the selection process. Organisations ought to give a realistic overview to attract the most suitable candidates, and not just nebulous business-speak.

  • Posts: 4,727 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    It's very hard to get a new job while you have a job these days as the interview processes are so long winded.

    Most companies tend to do a screening, full interview/assessment/presentation and then a final round interview.

    That's 3 days.

    Also, in recent years more and more companies are starting to run comprehensive background checks were if anything you've said doesn't add up they can withdraw the offer.

    Lot of hoops to jump through

  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭Beckett99

    I once applied for a job as an Office Administrator in a factory. After doing a spelling and grammar test and an interview I got the job. However, I was totally unsuited to the actual job which dealt with logistics and numbers. I was floundering from day one and was let go/happily left after a short time. I often wonder about the recruitment processes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,175 ✭✭✭I am me123

    That's a very interesting point. I always thought it was said that it's always easier to get another job when you are already in employment.