Bad CVs and poor interview skills are letting Irish job seekers down

30 May 2012

Irish job seekers’ CVs and interview skills just aren’t up to scratch, a recent survey of employers by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA) suggests.

The survey, designed to identify common pitfalls in the application process, reveals that the majority of CVs are ‘average’, while only 11pc received a ‘very good’ rating.

A huge 80pc of recruiters surveyed dismissed candidates entirely on the basis of a badly prepared CV, citing poor spelling (40pc), inferior formatting (26pc) and bad grammar (25pc) as the worst offenders.

“At a minimum, a CV needs to be clear, concise, accurate and well-written or the candidate simply won’t progress to the next stage in the application process,” said Ciara Murphy, marketing executive with CPA.

Poor interview skills

The survey also highlighted the dearth of interview skills among Irish candidates as a mere 1pc of respondents felt the overall quality of candidates’ interview skills was ‘excellent’. Good communication skills were identified as a vital skill to master for a successful interview, with 24pc of respondents saying this was a candidate’s most impressive attribute, followed by preparation, knowledge of the company and role and an ability to sell themselves.

“If a candidate secures an interview, it is essential that they can communicate well, and demonstrate a clear understanding of the role offered and an interest in the company,” said Murphy. “A candidate should also be able to articulate why they, with their unique experience and skill set, are the person for the job.”

Screening over the phone

Contrary to popular belief, the survey also found that less than a quarter of employers screen candidates through social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, preferring instead to conduct an initial phone interview (40pc) to gauge an applicant’s suitability.

“The job market today is very challenging. There are ever-increasing numbers of candidates pursuing fewer opportunities. It is essential that candidates concentrate on getting the basic elements of an application right, before thinking about how they can maximise their skill set and experience,” Murphy advised.

Interview image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com. She joined in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs news. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly persnickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen. When she hasn’t got her nose stuck in her laptop, you’ll find her in the kitchen, at the cinema, or on the dancefloor.

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