Introduction to Ireland
Ireland is considered one of the youngest Western countries. The country is situated in the Atlantic Ocean, and is divided into The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The capital of Ireland is Dublin. In total; this country has approximately five million people who have used the euro currency system since 1999. The number of religions practiced in Ireland is increasing due to a rise in immigration, however 90 per cent of Irish people are still Roman Catholic.
Ireland is one of the world’s biggest exporters of pharmaceuticals and software. The country is dependent on foreign direct investment from major high-tech manufacturers such as Intel, Google and Pfizer. It is the second most expensive country in Europe in which to do business. Although Irish, or Gaelic, is the official language, English is the more commonly spoken language.
Ireland’s business communication
Working with the Irish
The Irish are friendly and welcoming to visitors. The Irish tend to work in a modest, informal and social atmosphere. Personal relationships and trust are important in the Irish business culture. Irish managers, in general, are accessible, easy to talk to and willing to provide help with problems. Moreover, managers are willing to participate in the Irish tradition craic, which means seeing humour in everyday topics.
With regards to doing business in Ireland, Lisa Muza Grott, the Director of a San Francisco based consultancy firm says categorically: “It all comes down to ‘please,’ ‘May I?’ ‘I am sorry,’ ‘Excuse me,’ and ‘Thank you.' Each time you omit one of these terms you are hurting feelings and profits”.
Business professionals who visit Ireland find that the Irish equivalent in the foreign-funded area of the country is not necessarily different from somewhere else, indicating that Irish culture in general has taken on an international culture. The global influence on the workforce is remarkable. Irish employees are generally young, professional and well educated, especially in computer technology. “In other countries, work plays a bigger role in their overall life interest than in Ireland.”
When entering the business world of Ireland, the following aspects for making connections should be considered; the Irish greet business colleagues with a firm handshake, and usually shake hands again before leaving. If men and women are not related, they do not generally hug. It is common that the woman should extend her hand first.
Author Richard Lewis says: “Feedback they give will be sufficient but can be confusing at times and/or even devious”. When the Irish have a business meeting, the dress code is formal. It is also clever to be prepared to calculate more time for business meetings as they may last longer than one expects. Moreover, when departing, it is polite to say ‘goodbye’, ‘good luck’, or ‘God bless’.
Letter of application guidelines
The letter of application is called a cover letter or a motivational letter in Ireland. It is always sent together with a CV or résumé, as they are both equally important. The main goal of the cover letter is to inform the reader of the motivations for the specific application, as well as the reasons why the applicant is the most suitable for the job.
A tip for the applicants is to exclusively use A4 sized paper as this is the size that is mostly used for cover letters, and it is important to use high quality paper. The use of any other paper size or quality is considered unprofessional. Unless requested otherwise, cover letters are always required to be typed. It has to be written in a font that can be easily read, is considered professional and is an appropriate size (usually font size 10 or 11). The letter must contain only one page.
Furthermore, the address of the applicant should be placed in the right hand corner. The title and name of the recipient and the address to which it has to be sent to should be written below the data of the applicant. It is vital to start the letter by addressing the reader with the appropriate title and surname. (Never use his or her first name). In case it is unable to enquire the recipient’s name, refer to him or her by ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. ‘To whom it may concern’ may be used as well, but it is less appropriate.
It is important to write a different cover letter for every specific job. Non-specific letters tend to receive a less positive response compared to an individually personalised letter. The letter should consist of four paragraphs (or a minimum of three). The first paragraph is meant to inform the recipient of the position applied for (use a reference number if it is available). It also gives information about where and when the applicant found out about the open position.
To continue, paragraph number two is meant to inform the recipient of the reasons why the applicant chose to apply at this particular company. It is essential to mention something about the company. This shows that research of this company has been conducted, which demonstrates interest in the company. The letter should also include information that is uniquely associated with the person, department, or company in question.
The third paragraph is written to ‘sell’ yourself to the employer. One should start with listing the requirements that are necessary to perform tasks that the position being applied for demands. After this, it is necessary to give examples of how the skills are obtained.
Another tip is to write about successful previous jobs, skills obtained and how these will benefit the employer. It has to be clear how each skill reflects the requirements of the employer and the position. However, make sure that the motivational letter is indeed a motivational letter and not simply a letter version of a résumé. It is to convince the reader that the applicant knows exactly what the requirements for the job are and to demonstrate competency to fill this position because of the experience and the many skills involved.
In the last paragraph it is only important to write down the availability for a possible interview. The letter must end with something positive while expressing interest in an interview. If the name of the recipient is known, end by writing ‘Yours Sincerely’. If not, end by saying ‘Yours Faithfully’.
An Irish CV has a lot in common with the European Curriculum Vitae. The focus should be on information that is relevant to the job one is applying for. The maximum amount of pages for the CV is a total of two pages. The most important things to keep in mind are that job functions and studies can have different names in Ireland than in the home country of the applicant. It is crucial to translate this information, as well as a description, for example, when describing the main tasks of a previous job, give a short explanation. It is suggested to find a reliable source that can help with finding the right name, title or term for the job function or study. “Irish is only spoken by a minority in rural areas. It is very difficult to do business without knowing English.”
A lot of Irish employers prefer résumés. A résumé is a CV with an American layout. The personal outlines and experiences should be provided. It is always a positive point for the Irish employers to see that employees do activities besides their job, for instance, volunteer work. It is normal to include two references, which will be checked by the employer. It is also desirable to send copies of diplomas.
In the CV, the focus needs to be on the skills and studies needed for the job. To make things clearer and well ordered, it is wise to use bullet points. The word ‘I’ should not be in the CV. The résumé has to look neat and clear, so it is important to print it on a white paper. The following sections are important in the CV.
Name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Do not write down gender, marital status, race and date of birth, since the Irish employment legislation prohibits discrimination on these grounds.
All work experience, with titles in own language and in English, together with a short summary of the main tasks of the previous job. Dates should be listed to show the duration of work experience. Also placements, summer jobs or voluntary jobs are important unless this work experience is not relevant or important for the job. Write the employment and education in chronological order.
Name of studies in own language and in English, dates and whether a diploma has been received or not.
Note the most important ones and describe what the activity or interest consists of and how this is linked with the job application or what kinds of skills or qualities have developed from it.
Here, the hitherto unmentioned skills should be mentioned.
Name, address, phone numbers and email addresses of important references. It is necessary to ask permission from the references before providing their information
There is a certain Irish process for interviewing. The first important aspect is the pre-interview preparation. “The most significant aspect in Ireland when applying for a job is your network.” Before the job interview, it is vital to conduct research of the company. Several things have to be researched, including the social network of the company, its yearly report, the company brochures and literature. This information might help to better understand the job and the required experience and skills. “Compared to countries with rigid dress code, Ireland is a bit more relaxed but it’s not extremely relaxed. If we get caricatures like Google shows where people can be seen walking around in their T-shirts and socks. That would certainly not be normal in Ireland.”
After conducting this research comes the interview. Most of the employers who will interview you will agree to a handshake. However, this is not appropriate to all scenarios. Therefore, it is best to be prepared to return a handshake, but only if offered, rather than offering one first. Moreover, although Ireland has two languages, the interviews are mostly given in English. Coming late to an interview is not an option, so it is important that the candidate is early. The applicant may either be interviewed by a single interviewer or by a panel. It depends on the position and the organization. The applicant should always show his or her best working skills, as the interviewer will generally focus on this.
Online job websites
Despite the rise of unemployment in Ireland, the opportunities and need for skills continue to exist, and there will be work areas with better forecasts. There will always be a demand for recruits in international and national businesses that employ large numbers of people. To search for these jobs, one can use online job websites. Below is a list of the top five best websites:
- Best Jobs http://www.bestjobs.ie/
- Jobs Board http://www.employireland.com/
- Irish Jobs http://www.irishjobs.ie/
- Gradireland http://gradireland.com/
- Monster http://www.monster.ie/
The following five newspapers are the most interesting when it comes to job advertisements. On their websites you can find at the top of the page special tabs that say ‘Jobs’. Here you can find all the information and search for job vacancies. Via special forms, you can send your letter of application and CV. The Sunday Independent is the most popular newspaper; this paper is published six days a week with a special employment section every Thursday. The least popular of the five newspapers listed below is the Sunday Times (Irish version), which is exclusively for Ireland; you need to sign up to access this site.
- Sunday Independent http://www.independent.ie/
- Evening Herald http://www.herald.ie/
- Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/
- The Irish Examiner http://www.irishexaminer.com/
- The Irish Sun http://www.thesun.ie/
Irish recruitment consulting agencies are part of international networks and groups in which several are even global leaders. These consultancies are mainly divided based on the industry branch in which they operate. The following five recruiting consulting agencies are considered the best in the country:
- Irish Recruitment Consultants http://www.irishrecruitment.ie/
- KPMG Executive Search and Selection http://www.kpmg.ie/
- Prosperity Recruitment http://www.prosperity.ie/
- Noel Recruitment http://www.noel.ie/
- Hays http://www.hays.ie/
Conclusion interview research
If you have to compare Ireland to other countries, the following elements are of importance in the business culture: In other countries (like the U.S.A), work is a higher priority. Work plays a bigger role in the overall life these inhabitants, while in Ireland, this is not as much the case. The Americans bring their work home, whereas in Ireland, work and private life is separated. The dress code for meetings in Ireland is relaxed, compared to countries with a formal dress code.
It is also important to be on time at a meeting.The Irish are quite punctual, but not inflexible. In regards to linguistics, the English language is extremely important. It is very difficult to do business in Ireland without knowing English. Ireland wasn’t ethnically diverse until recent years, after a period of prosperity for the Irish economy, which caused an increase in different ethnicities within the population. The Irish language is spoken by only a minority in rural areas. More than one third of the population live in or around the Dublin area. For the people living in this area, there is a long commuting time. It is better to search for a job outside of the Dublin area. The job offers are better and it takes less time to commute. The Irish CV does not differ that much from other CV’s used in Europe. The final recommendation for a foreigner when applying for a job at an Irish company, is networking. Not knowing someone important may cause difficulties in finding a suitable job.
“Compared to countries with rigid dress code, Ireland is a bit more relaxed but it’s not extremely relaxed. If we get caricatures like Google shows where people can be seen walking around in their T-shirts and socks. That would certainly not be normal in Ireland.”