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By Liam Horan, Career Coach & Managing Director, Sli Nua Careers
Are you looking to carve out a career for yourself in An Garda Síochána? If you are, you’re one of thousands; so, as the boys’ scouts say, you have to ‘be prepared’ or ‘bi ullamh’.
An Garda Síochána
The service has started recruiting with renewed vigour in recent years, but the competition has been intense. We spoke to former Garda Superintendent Noel McLoughlin, who runs the specialist Garda interview preparation company, www.gardaip.com to tap into his specialist knowledge of the interview stage, in particular.
“You simply haves to impress at interview,” said Noel, “and to impress, you must prepare. The interview panel will put you through your paces and if you’re not ready, you will struggle. They have a huge number of candidates to pick from and you have got to give them reasons to select you.”
Here are eight tips that will help you to impress at interview, according to Noel.
- Know thyself! Just like any interview or application for any job, it is important to be thoroughly prepared and be able to convey the skills you have to offer in a compelling way.
- As a general rule, the interview will be predicated upon whatever you wrote in your application. The application form will ask for specific examples, and they must be succinct and well-structured so as to best demonstrate and prove your abilities.
- An Garda Síochána describe themselves as a police service, rather than a police force. This means that communication, teamwork, ability to deal with difficult situations in a calm manner and attention to detail are key skills. A Garda also needs to be excellent at engaging with local communities – an essential skill if they are to do their job well.
- Show community involvement – be it through a sports team, voluntary group or social club of another kind. It shows that you care about your community and are involved in it, which is what the Gardaí like to see. Candidates need to be talking about that involvement in the interview.
- Think about your present job/studies. Think carefully about how elements of your work will translate well to the Garda position you are applying for – people skills, interaction with the public, customer care, trouble shooting, and so on.
- Being a member of the Garda Reserve is a bonus as it shows that you have been passionate about working with them for some time. However this is not an automatic guarantee of success in the interview.
- Prove your competencies in the interview, just like you would in any job interview, by giving concrete examples of where you have shown similar skills with good outcomes. Every answer must be supported with a credible example that demonstrates the competency in action. Always reflect on what you have learned from your experiences to date, as the interview panel are also looking for maturity in candidates.
- Background checks are carried out, which is why your online profile is very important. Social media – e.g. Twitter Instagram, and Facebook – are part of the social fabric of life for a young person today. But a candidate must be aware of their own online brand. Spend some time reviewing your online profile to avoid any awkward questions on the day.
Garda IP conducts one-to-one courses nationwide. Learn more by visiting www.gardaip.com.