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AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
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What to Expect at Building The Future

GetAHEAD’s Building The Future careers event is on the 26th May in Citi, 1 North Wall Quay, Dublin 1, if you haven’t registered yet, there is still time to do so by going to our event page – www.ahead.ie/buildingthefuture.

If you’ve never been to Building The Future before, think of it like a graduate fair, maybe you’ve been to one in your college or university or you attended one of the gradIreland fairs in the RDS. There will be companies hosting stands on the day with their HR staff, so it’s a great way to network and meet with the employers face to face and ask them questions about their opportunities or what it’s like to work in their company.

There is also an opportunity for you to give your CV a ‘health check’ at our CV Clinic by our employers. You can make a 20 minute appointment slot on arrival at Building The Future. Mock interviews will also be carried out by top employers, however these must be pre-booked in advance.

Throughout the day there will be workshops facilitated by company staff and organisations with topics such as setting your own business, the importance of your personal brand online and offline, disclosure and how to prepare for interview.

Continue reading the sections below to make sure you get the most out of the day.

 What to wear?

As this is a careers event, where you will be meeting with HR recruitment staff from some of biggest multinational companies in Ireland, dress to impress. This means you should look professional i.e. smart casual or as if you were going to work.

If you have a mock interview, then you should dress like you are going for interview. It also shows the employer that you are serious about looking for work and want to create the right impression.

 What happens on arrival?

When you arrive at Citi, you will need to go to the registration desk to sign in. You’ll be given a name badge and a goodie bag which contains a map, an agenda and some of our promotional material. This bag is also useful for collecting and storing any materials you get from the employer stands, especially all the free pens! Senator David Norris attended one year and he gathered as many pens as he could get, the proof is in the picture below!

Building The Future 2013

 

 What do I do or say to employers at the stands?

It can be a bit daunting approaching the employer first, however, don’t be nervous or afraid. The employers are there because they are genuinely interested in meeting potential candidates to work in their company and to offer information and advice for your career.

Research the companies who will be there hosting stands on the day, currently they are;

Citi, Accenture, Abbott Vascular,  Bank of Ireland,  cut-E, Dell, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, ESB, EY, KPMG,  Publc Appointments Service, HSE and Sigmar Recruitment.

Remember don’t assume that companies whose primary sector is in a certain area are only looking for graduates from those areas. For example, Citi, who are well known for being in the financial sector will only have finance roles; these types of companies are huge and are looking for graduates in all sorts of areas, legal, engineering, IT, analysts and finance and many more.

  • Start by introducing yourself and shake their hand.
  • Explain what your background is in or what area you are interested in working in.
  • Ask them some things that you have researched or what you know about the company.
  • Ask them questions like;
    • Do you have any opportunities for graduates with a similar background to mine?
    • What do your company look for in a CV or application?
    • How many stages of the interview process are there?
    • At what stage of the year do you advertise your vacancies?
    • What is the culture like in the company?
    • Are there any opportunities to get promoted or to advance in the company after you are hired?
    • Do you offer any training programmes?
    • What type of employer resource groups do you have here? For example, is there a disability resource group in your company?
    • What do you like about working for the company?
  • If the company is taking CVs at the Building The Future, make sure you hand them a copy.
  • Ask the person who you were speaking to if you can have their contact details or a contact email of a person to follow up with on further opportunities.
  • Ensure you thank them for their time.

 I want to get my CV checked out, how do I do it?  

If you want to get your CV checked out by an employer, make sure you bring a copy of your CV on the day which you don’t mind getting scribbled on. Go to the CV Clinic on arrival where you will be met with some of the Citi volunteers who will allocate a time to you.

All appointments are for 20 minutes and on a very strict time schedule, so please arrive 5 minutes prior to your appointment, there is a waiting area in the CV Clinic and you will be called to your station by one of our volunteers.

It is also very useful to also have a notepad and pen handy, where you can take notes throughout.

 What happens during the Mock Interview?

All mock interview places will have been booked in advance, if you registered with a mock interview, you will have received an email from me with your allocated time. However, there may be cancellations and free slots available on the day, so check at the Mock Interview area with the Citi volunteers if there are any.

Again, it may be a bit daunting having a mock interview, but remember all employers who are there at the event, including those carrying out your interview are there to give you advice on how you can improve on your skills. It's a safe space, there is no job to lose at the end of it, while we say treat it like a real interview, it is only a mock interview!

You should arrive for your mock interview 10 minutes before your allocated time and smartly dressed, as if you really were going for interview. Employers should have a copy of your CV if you have pre-booked, however, it is no harm to bring along several copies just in case!

Prepare your answers to questions you might be asked based around competency areas such as teamwork, communication, organisation and planning. Each employer will have their own interview style and may ask you specific questions.

There is a waiting area where you will be called and brought to your interview station to meet your interviewers. Approach them like you would with any interviewer, shake their hand and state your name. The interview will last approximately 20 minutes, then 5 minutes at the end where you will get feedback on how well you answered the questions at interview.

Take notes during their feedback and really listen to the advice that they are giving, if you are not sure what they mean, ask them to clarify.  Feel free to ask questions about whether they had an opportunities in their companies and who would be the best person to ask. And last but not least, thank them for their time!

I hope this has given you some food for thought and helps you to make the most of your day at Building The Future 2016!

I and all the team at AHEAD look forward to meeting and welcoming all of you on the 27th May! 

Caroline McGrotty
GetAHEAD Project Co-ordinator

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First published on 6th May 2015 and edited on 17th May 2017.