Tips for Final Round Interviews

Hiring Managers won’t schedule a final round interview without a genuine desire to have you in their company. You are legitimately in the running to procure the job in question. At Excel Recruitment, we prepare candidates week in week out, and have been fed back some of this information from the companies we recruit for. Final round interviews are always the trickiest. Candidates often feel they have exhausted themselves, having already identified and sold themselves and their attributes.

In most cases final round interviews will take place in-store/on site. You will have illustrated that you have the skills for the job, now is the time for them to gauge mannerisms and your cultural fit, two very important facets that determine your success in a new job.

Whilst we recruit for a variety of positions and industries, these were the areas of focus that appear pertinent to any job.


Confidence is incredibly important in most situations, but particularly in interviews and especially in the final round.

  • Going into the interview don’t show any self-doubt.
  • Know your CV upside down, know your numbers, (KPIs, targets, profits, turnover) and know your capabilities with regard to this job.
  • You have been impressed with your CV to be called for interview in the first place. You were invited back after meeting you; there is no reason why you shouldn’t be confident.

Know when to brag about your strong attributes, what positive and progressive changes and what you’ve achieved previous. Contrastingly, know when the right time to address your weak point is. Self-awareness isn’t arrogance, nor is it self-doubt. One thing to remember is to spin any weaknesses positively. An example that prevents you from sounding overconfident might be

  • Acknowledging any weakness and showing tangible steps you’ve taken to improve.


ALWAYS prepare beforehand. This is one thing that couldn’t be emphasised by clients and consultants enough. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. A phrase that typifies what will happen if you fail to do sufficient research.

Always have a back-up plan going in case something doesn’t go as planned. (One thing that is more popular over the last few months is a SWOT analysis by candidates.)

  • Practice your presentation/answers and get feedback from friends and family about the language you are using.
  • Don’t undervalue paper presentations. Be prepared for any glitches on the day, and back up such presentations to your email, drop box, google drive etc. so they are accessible on any device. Should all these fail, go old school with it printed out. It leaves you well prepared in terms of content and adequately prepared for every technical eventuality.

*One thing you need to be aware of at all times is that this is not your first interview. Unless you are meeting with totally different people, don’t bore the interviewees by talking about the same things you did in your first interview.

Your Talk

Companies want positivity. Speaking well of your past and current employers and showing excitement about the prospects of working with your new potential company, should be premise for all answer. Always focus on framing and presenting things positively. Potential employers expect you to really shine in a final round interview. Having said that, they also expect nervousness; you are human and they know that.

Other noteworthy things.

Ask Questions

More specifically, ask thoughtful questions. Often candidates can be consumed by nerves and appear too enthused at things that aren’t important in the interview. Things like being shown the office, or fire escape. Always keep the focus on the job in question and always use this focus to build thoughtful questions. An easy one that illustrates your team awareness and fit into the team would be

  • Have members of the team come from similar backgrounds to myself?

Focus on You

In final round interviews it is easy to run away with enthusiasm. Talk about potential projects you’ll be working on is naturally exciting. As is being shown all the office perks. Don’t let this be a distraction that takes away from you making your case for the position.


Put your personality across. Don’t let the severity of a final round interview deter you from building rapport. Hiring Managers appreciate a laugh (when relevant) too.

Takeaway point

If you are unsuccessful in getting the job DON’T let it shatter your confidence. You have the skills, experience and determination to have got to final round. There are likely to be various factors that led to the decision to hire someone else; it doesn’t necessarily bear negatively on you as person or as a professional.



SuperValu regain top spot in supermarket ranking

SuperValu has regained their top spot in the supermarket rankings, pitching Tesco by .5%. SuperValu comprise a market share of 24.6% with Tesco ranking second with 24.1%. The results are based on the 12 weeks till November 8th, with Kantar Worldpanel detailing the figures.

SuperValu had previously held the top spot in the 12 weeks leading up till March 29th 2015. Director of Kantar Worldwide David Berry noted that SuperValu are ‘encouraging more repeat shopping trips. The average consumer has visited the retailer on two additional occasions and spent an extra €16 over the past quarter when compared with last year’.

Lidl outperformed all competitors with sales growth of 11.2% and were the only supermarket to boast double digit growth, resulting in an overall market share of 8.7%.

Berry furthered ‘The grocery market is arguably the most competitive retail sector and the latest figures emphasise this, with the three biggest retailers each within one percentage point of each other’.

Supermarket Table



Five Irish Shopping Centres sold for €175million

The record for the biggest sale of retail space in Ireland has been set at €175 million, after the sale of five retail parks. Investment firm Davidson Kemper have bought 1.1 million sq ft across five different counties. Estate agents Savills who handled the sale said that there was domestic and international interest.

The five properties were:

Nutgrove Retail Park - Image via Irish Times

Nutgrove Retail Park – Image via The Irish Times.

Tullamore Retail park

Tullamore Retail Park, Offaly – Image via The Irish Times


Deerpark Retail Park, Killarney, Kerry – Image via The Irish Times


Sligo Retail Park – Image via The Independent



Letterkenny Retail Park Donegal – Image via The Irish Times


Urban Outfitters buy Italian restaurant chain

Urban Outfitters, best known for their clothing and homewares have bought an Italian restaurant chain. The retailer also known as UO, have made a bold move in diversifying their portfolio by purchasing the Vetri Family group of restaurants.

UO, which is based in Philadelphia has 2 Irish stores in Dundrum Town Centre and Temple Bar, Dublin 2. The price has not been released, but the sale was confirmed yesterday. Certain UO stores already have an in-store food offering with cafes, but the acquisition of a restaurant chain is an unusual move for the fashioned focussed retailer.

It is believed that Urban Outfitters will help expand the restaurants to a wider audience while the Vetri family focuses on the food.


Aislinn Lea, Head of Fashion & Non-Food, Excel Recruitment

My Journey Into Recruitment – Aislinn Lea

What titles did you hold while working in Retail?

Retail Store Manager

Area Merchandising Manager

How does it compare going from working in Retail to a Recruitment environment?

Retail and Recruitment are very different industries. With Recruitment, you are confined to the one spot in an office, it is a very administrative business and you are only really measured on your sales which is driven through your relationships with your Clients and your Candidates

With Retail, you have a wide range of duties and accountabilities, it is far more creative and commercial where you are constantly looking to drive business through a variety of areas, People, Product, Merchandising, Standards and Costs. However once you have loved retail, recruitment taps in on this as you will thoroughly enjoy learning about a company, understanding their business requirements and passing this knowledge and understanding of a business to your candidate.

What was your favourite part about working in retail?

Visual Merchandising and Commercial success

What is your favourite aspect of working in Recruitment?

My favourite aspect of Recruitment is when I found myself really busy with a lot of live roles. I love filling roles and achieving that goal of finding the right candidate for the client.

Are you seeing any difference in applications over the last 12 months?

Yes, there is a lot more quality candidates however there is also a lot more jobs therefore I am finding that candidates are often out for 2/3 interviews at one time.

What do you favour most when a CV comes into your inbox? What must haves does a candidate need in order to be considered?

Not too many jumps on their c.v is the main thing I would be conscious off.


What has been your most favoured candidate placement and why?

I have had a few great placement that I would consider memorable for a variety of reasons.

Gary. I placed as a Territory Sales Manager with a relatively new client. Why, because he listened to all my feedback and took everything on board, he researched, practised and proved to our client that what he didn’t have in experience he had in enthusiasm, energy and ambition.

Fran. I placed Fran as Regional Manager with one of the largest mobile telecomm. operators in Ireland. I spent 6 months on this placement and was up against 3 other agencies. Fran was fantastic, she showed her enthusiasm and energy time and time again through each assignment asked of her throughout the interview process

Mari. I placed Mari as Department Manager with the a luxury Irish retail group. Mari has being trying so hard to get into the Retail Fashion Industry. She is an award winning grocery retailer however was finding it very difficult to get an interview with any Fashion house, that is until the our client group offered her an interview and ultimately loved her and offered her the position.

A young sales assistant aspires to be a Retail/Area Manager – Buyer/Senior Buyer. Describe what they should do in 4 sentences?

I think for a Young Sales Assistant looking to progress to Retail Area Management I would suggest you put in the work, studies, long hours and be as flexible as you can with regards to location when you are young and energetic therefore availing of all the opportunities and training afforded to you at the beginning of your career.

Listen and take on board any criticism, compliments and training offered and always be looking to improve yourself and let your employer know where you see yourself down the road.

My Journey Into Recruitment – Sarah Hurley

Sarah Hurley oversees Head office and Buying roles. Below, Sarah takes us through how she got into recruitment.

What titles did you hold while working in Retail?

Trainee Buyer, Assistant Buyer, Senior Assistant Buyer, Junior Buyer.


How does it compare going from working in Retail to a Recruitment environment?

Coming from a buying perspective it’s not as fast paced and probably more service focused.


What was your favourite part about working in retail?

Developing product and analysing sales performance were my favourite.


What is your favourite aspect of working in Recruitment?

Keeping candidates and clients mutually happy.


Are you seeing any difference in applications over the last 12 months?

Perhaps more Ecommerce candidates are applying and also more Ecommerce jobs are being registered with us.


What do you favour most when a CV comes into your inbox? What must haves does a candidate need in order to be considered?

Keep it simple/ My ideal CV has a short personal profile that sums the candidate up and describes main objective for their career, followed by career summary, education, IT skills (computer programs and systems you can use well) and then any relevant interests. CV’s on Word are preferred as PDF’s can often at time be difficult to format if we need to.

What has been your most favoured candidate placement and why?

One candidate we worked with wanted to get into a trainee merchandiser role. She had great experience but was struggling with nerves at interview and her relevant skills and knowledge weren’t getting across. We spent time with her going through her CV, practising interview questions and any potential difficulties she might come across. Long story short – she got the job and we’re all delighted for her!


A young sales assistant aspires to be a Retail/Area Manager – Buyer/Senior Buyer. Describe what they should do in 4 sentences?

If the company they work for has a head office here in Ireland then it would make sense to see if they offer any entry level buying or merchandising schemes depending on which function you wish to get into. For any head office roles, it is pretty imperative to gain some office experience so you can brush up on your IT skills and work in a fast paced environment.

130 Jobs saved at Best Menswear

Best Menswear will exit examinership on Friday, November 13th. 130 retail jobs have been saved after the approval of the examiners scheme in court. Best fell into examinership in July of this year as part of the fallout from the Clerys closure. Best are one of many concessions who are owed money by OCS Operations Ltd which ran the department store. The figure is approximated of being between €1.5 – €2million.

Best said that the closure of their Clerys concession placed an enormous strain on company cash flow. Almost all Best Menswear stores will continue to trade and no indications have been given about store closures. Best have stores in pinnacle retail centres including Dundrum Town Centre, Liffey Valley, Blanchardstown and Swords.

MD of Best, David Jones said ‘We are delighted to be set to successfully exit examinership on Friday. The process has facilitated Best Menswear reaching agreements with our creditors and, together with the adoption of a range of cost control measures, we now look forward to a bright future’.

Nikki Murran, Excel Recruitment's Director of Grocery Retail Recruitment

My Journey Into Recruitment – Nikki Murran

What titles did you hold while working in Retail?

I started my career working in our family Spar stores, so my first title was probably floor sweeper or shelf packer! I worked up to Junior Manager and Store Manager there and then moved to Lidl as a Trainee District Manager and then spent 5 years with Lidl as a Sales Operation Manager.


How does it compare going from working in Retail to a Recruitment environment?

It actually has so many similarities that I was very surprised when I made the move. Both are very customer focused, fast paced and target driven! Obviously the main difference for me was the move from being out on the road to being stationed in an office! But between client visits, head hunting trips and away recruitment days I’ve never felt too stagnant! I used to miss the buzz of a shop floor on a busy morning, getting the store prepared for opening but that has been replaced by the buzz of placing great candidates in great roles!!


What was your favourite part about working in retail?

I loved my staff. I loved developing them and recognising talent and growing it. Another one of my favourite things in retail was achieving KPIs across my stores and growing sales by focusing on trends, standards and displays. I also loved the customers!


What is your favourite aspect of working in Recruitment?

Well I love my team! I love seeing how much they have grown since joining us. I love dealing with clients and still getting those snapshots into the retail world and see how the market is moving and changing all the time. And obviously I really enjoying identifying talent and bringing that talent to our clients knowing they will make a real difference to their bottom line.


Are you seeing any difference in applications over the last 12 months?

I think the applications are pretty consistent this year versus last year. But I have noticed a lot more counter offers coming back to candidates – something that had been pretty non-existent in the last few years!


What do you favour most when a CV comes into your inbox? What must haves does a candidate need in order to be considered?

This is a difficult one as a CV really only tells half the tale. I do look for strong brands, progression and longevity in each role.

What has been your most favoured candidate placement and why?

My very first one of course! He was a Baker from New Zealand who had just arrived in Ireland. Some of the most rewarding ones have been where clients have asked me to garner them really top talent and I was able to do this but also being able to secure a role for a candidate who had been out of employment for a while.


A young sales assistant aspires to be a Retail Area Manager Describe what they should do in 4 sentences?

Ask questions – Lot and lots of questions! I never stop doing this. No matter how long in a role or company you can always learn more.

Educate yourself – if you’re not in a position to go get a degree or qualification, then read everything you can about the market and industry – keep yourself up to date – again this is something I always do!

Be the master of your own destiny! Don’t wait around for training, go get it, ask for it, do it in your own time, approach your managers, friends, neighbours, relatives in the industry and get as must knowledge as you can.

Be reliable and consistent. Even as you start out as a sales assistant it’s so important to start working on your professional reputation as a hardworking, reliable employee from the very beginning.

Use Excel Recruitment when it’s time for each move! We are the No. 1 Retail Recruitment agency in Ireland and are very good at what we do!

A little more advice than 4 sentences 🙂

Retail Jobs | Open Day | I BELIEVE Christmas Market Jobs

*Update. Excel Recruitment are the exclusive recruitment partners for the I BELIEVE Village and Event taking place this Christmas in CHQ Dublin. The event will run from November 26th to December 23rd. With the best of Irish Shopping, dining and entertainment in one location it is the place to be and the ‘go to’ event this Christmas.

As part of an extensive recruitment drive, Excel Recruitment are holding an open day in the CHQ Building on Tuesday November 17th. Anyone interested in these jobs are asked to attend, with 100+ jobs currently available, full and part time.

Applicants should bring with them a current CV, working visa (if applicable) and any Manual Handling / HACCP certs. The open day takes place between 1pm – 4pm in CHQ Building. Walk in applicants are also invited.

The I BELIEVE Recruitment Team at Excel.

CHQimage (6)

Selfridges have bought Arnotts department store

UK Group Selfridges have acquired Arnotts department store for an undisclosed fee. Founded in 1843, the iconic retail store that resides on Henry Street North Dublin, is now under the ownership of Canadian businessman Galen Weston and his wife Hilary.

Arnotts is Ireland’s largest department store and its sale has been under intense speculation for a number of months. Weston also boasts Brown Thomas amongst his retail portfolio, as well as a number of International department stores.

The sale is part of a wider agreement which saw an agreement Fitzwilliam Finance Partners between and Wittington Canada. The former was set up in 2011 by Irish lawyer and developer Noel Smyth, whose intention was to acquire the debts associated with Arnotts debt. Wittington Canada is the holding company for the Weston group. The purchase of these loans by Wittington Canada from Fitzwilliam Finance Partners was cleared by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in August, clearing the way for the acquisition.

Arnotts chief executive Ray Hernan will step down as chief executive to “pursue new opportunities” with Selfridges appointing Donald McDonald as managing director of the business. Mr Weston said of the sale “Our family has been a significant investor in Irish retailing and the wider economy since we acquired Brown Thomas in 1971.”