Tips for Senior Level Job Interviews

Job interviews can be nerve wracking at all levels, but interviews for senior management jobs can be particularly challenging, often requiring a deeper level of insight and preparation. Here at Excel Recruitment, our consultants interview candidates for senior positions right up to CEO every day and understand fully exactly what our clients are looking for. Below are some of our consultants’ top tips to succeed.

Don’t rest on your experience

When it comes to interviewing for senior positions, it won’t be enough to just take the interviewer through your experience and skills. You should leave the interviewer with no doubt about what you can add to the company you’re applying for. Outline your plan for yourself and the business when you get the job and the positive contribution you would make, whether that taking steps to fix a current problem, troubleshoot against a future one or simply improve on what the business is already doing well. Which leads us nicely to our next tip……

Do your research really, really well

‘Research the company’ is one of the most obvious, and important, interview tips around and for good reason. But the higher up the food chain you go, the more prep is required. Knowing the basics won’t land you a senior management job, you will have to delve further into the business’ goals, culture, strengths and weaknesses. Then when you’re in the interview, use this knowledge to your advantage by explaining how you and your skills will fit into and improve the business. You should also be aware of recent news stories, successful campaigns, annual reports and what their competitors are doing.


Chances are, if you’ve been invited to interview for a significant senior position the hiring manager has already deemed your experience suitable for the role. Often the purpose of the interview is not to discuss what you did, but how you did it. The personality fit is a crucial part of the success/failure of any new hire and one companies’ will but the time and effort into getting right. Get your personality across and build a rapport with your interviewer, getting across to them how well you get on with people and how this helps you manage people.

Know what you want

Before you even get to the interview stage, have it clear it your own head why you want the job. A job interviewer will want to know that you’re passionate about the company and their work and that you really want the job. Be prepared to discuss your ambitions and goals, along with your reasons for wanting a move. Think about why this company in particular would be a good fit for you, and you for them, and get these reasons across to your potential employer. Be clear on these before you go, and when you get there, be sure to ask questions as well as answer them.

Remember it’s an interview

Even if you’re a fantastic candidate with tonnes of experience, loads of awards and a stellar reputation in your field, this is still a job interview and you still need to sell yourself as the best candidate to the job. Rather than regurgitating broad, bland platitudes about your achievements, be prepared with a couple of real-life examples of your successes in previous roles e.g. “In my previous role, we had a problem with X, so I decided to do X and as a result X was improved and the issue was resolved.”

And finally, no matter how casual the interview setting or how senior a candidate you are remember the basics- dress well, be on time, and be nice to everyone you meet there. Follow all our above steps, and you’ll be one step closer to your dream job.

Grocery Retail Market Shares

Aldi plan major US investment as Lidl open first US stores this week

German discount retailer Aldi have announced plans to invest $3.4bn (€3bn) in their US operations. The announcement comes as rival retailer Lidl open their first US stores this week.

Lidl will open nine stores in three states, Virginia, North & South Carolina later this week. The discounter has plans to open as many as 100 stores within the US by the summer of 2018.Lidl currently has 10,000 stores in 27 European countries.

Aldi on the other hand first came to the US market in 1976 opening its first store in Iowa.The brand currently operates 1,600 stores in the US, across 35 states.

Aldi announced this week that the $3.4 billion capital investment in the brand’s US operations which is expected to create up to 25,000 new jobs. The company says it will have 2,500 stores nationwide by 2022, which according to some experts would make it the third-largest supermarket chain in the US. The supermarket company also said it plans to spend an additional $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 of its existing stores by 2020

According to Liz Ruggles, a company spokeswoman for Aldi, “We’re doing what we’ve been doing to ensure we’re the low-cost leader,” she said. “We’ll continue to maintain that.”

The expansion from the both discount retailers comes at an interesting time for the US grocery market. Food prices in the have seen significant deflation with prices dropping for 17 straight months, the longest pattern of deflation in more than 60 years.

Within the Irish Market, Lidl currently sits in fourth place with a grocery market share Lidl has of 11.4%. Aldi sit just 0.2 per cent behind this.

Lifting of Good Friday alcohol ban will extend to restaurants and hotels

The Good Friday ban on the sale of alcohol is to be lifted from all premises including hotels, restaurants and clubs, by 2018.

The Government is to ensure that the lifting of the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday will apply to all premises rather than be restricted to pubs and off licences.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has announced that the Government would not oppose a Private Member’s Bill submitted earlier this year by Independent Senator Billy Lawless. Mr Lawless’ bill sought to remove the 90-year-old ban for pubs and off-licences.

Ms Fitzgerald had pointed out, however, that it would lead to further legal anomalies, and she will today ask her Cabinet colleagues to consider amendments to ensure that the abolition will also apply to restaurants, clubs and hotels.

The Government’s initial intention had been to lift the ban with its own legislation that would aim to reform the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol. The Sale of Alcohol Bill is expected to come before the Dáil later this year, but the Government will remove the prohibition through amendments to Mr Lawless’s Bill, so that the proposals can pass through the Oireachtas well in advance of Good Friday 2018.

A Government source speaking to the Irish Times newspaper said: “While the Bill would, if enacted in its current form, permit the sale of intoxicating liquor on Good Friday in public houses and off-licences, it would not permit such sales in other categories of licensed premises, such as restaurants and hotels. Moreover, it would not apply in the case of registered clubs. It would therefore introduce further anomalies and unfair trading conditions in respect of the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.”

The changes that are to be considered by the Cabinet aim to “to remove these anomalies by allowing for the sale of alcohol in all categories of licensed premises on Good Friday”.

Urban Decay announce opening date for first Irish store

Global makeup brand Urban Decay have released the official opening date for their first Irish store.

The beauty brand, which has become a cult favourite due to the success of their ‘Naked’ eyeshadow palettes, have announced their new Dublin store will open for business on the 22nd June.

The brand new store will be located on Grafton Street and will be the first stand-alone Urban Decay store in Ireland. Urban Decay, owned by parent company L’Oréal, announced back in February it would be taking over premises on Dublin’s Grafton Street. The makeup store will take over two floors of the building next door to Londis on Grafton Street which the brand will sublet from Three.

The brand operates out of several concessions around Dublin, including within several Debenhams department stores already but this dedicated outlet is being described as a ‘beauty hangout.’

A spokesperson’s for the brand has said “a UD Lounge on the first floor, which houses a ring of light selfie wall. The interactive screens allow you to share photos in store and on your own phone. You can also upload photos of your new look online, and on an Instagram screen on the ground floor.”

What to Wear to a Job Interview

For many people, it can seem old fashioned or overly corporate to talk about ‘appropriate’ interview attire. Many workplaces have adopted casual dress codes and the lines between semi-casual/business casual/work-wear are continually being blurred. However, no matter what the dress code of the company you’re interviewing with, how you look in the job interview can have a huge impact on your success. At minimum you should be smart-casual and there are certain unwritten rules about dressing for job interviews. Below are Excel Recruitment’s tips on how to dress for success.

Show that you want to be there

Our consultants love when they’re sending candidates out for interview and the candidate asks what they should wear. It shows they are serious about wanting the job and are willing to put thought and effort into making the best first impression possible! Turning up looking scruffy, dishevelled or overly casual sends a message to the interviewer that you don’t care enough about the job or were just too lazy to put the effort in.

Often looking good is just a by-product of putting the effort in, appearance-wise. Ensuring you’re well-presented means that you, and the interviewer, can focus on what you have to say rather than what you look like.

Play it safe

A huge part of your interview preparation should be researching the company, looking up their website and social media, talking to people you know there or asking your recruitment consultant for info. From this, you should be able to get a decent understanding of the company’s culture and what you should be wearing. An interview outfit for an accountant job will be very different to one for a fashion retail job. If you’re in doubt, it’s always better to play it safe and go more dressy than casual. No matter what the company, at minimum you should be dressed smart-casual.

On the theme of playing it safe, be careful of your accessories. No loud or jangly jewellery or flashy or comedic ties. You should always aim to look professional and put together.

Keep it clean

For jobs like butchers, deli staff, chefs or any job where hygiene and cleanliness are paramount make sure you bring this same attention to hygiene to your interview day. Make sure hair is neatly styled and out of your face, nails are clean and trimmed and your general appearance is neat and well-groomed. On the reverse, avoid too much perfume or aftershave. As with the previous point, the aim is to ensure the interviewer is focusing on what you say, not what you look/ smell like.

Pay attention to the details

Doing the small things right will go a long way towards looking your best, and your potential employer will be impressed that you notice that you’re detail orientated. Things like shining your shoes, ensuring your clothes are clean, ironed and fit you well don’t have to take a lot of time but can make a huge difference to your overall presentation.

Finally, when it comes to job interviews, your experience and personality are the most important and are what will get you the job. However, it is important to start off on the right foot and do everything you can to leave a lasting, positive impression.

Ireland’s food service worth €7.5bn a year

Ireland’s food service industry has continued to grow at a rapid pace and is currently worth €7.5bn a year.

According to research carried out by Technomic, in conjunction with Bord Bia, the food service industry in Ireland is currently consists of over 33,000 individual outlets with the accommodation and foodservice industry employing over 200,000 people in 2016, an employment figure which is steadily rising.

The industry, which encompasses all food consumed outside of the home, is worth 7.5bn a year with quick service restaurants accounting for €2.6bn, hotels making up for €1.2bn and pubs stood at €1.3bn. The remainder of the sector was made up of coffee shops and institutional catering including industrial/place of business, education and healthcare.

The sector that saw the strongest growth was the café and coffee segment. The sector currently holds just 5% of consumer spend but according to the figures is growing at a rate of 9% year on year.

This growth is also reflected across the industry as a whole which has experienced steady growth over the past number of years and is expected to be worth €9.1bn by the end of 2020.

The research points to several factors such as better than expected economic growth and GDP along with increased consumer confidence and spending have all positively impacted the industry. Increased tourism numbers, particularly in major cities, has also had a significant impact on the foodservice industries within these areas.

The research also pointed to emerging food trends within commercial restaurants. The study shows consumers will be focused on value for money. Diners will be willing to spend more on high quality food and beverages and will be looking for the fairest price rather than the lowest price. Consumers will also be interested in seeing an emphasis on product origin, and ingredient transparency along with more healthy options on menus.

Grocery Market- SuperValu stay in top spot as Tesco reclaim second place from Dunnes

SuperValu have retained the top spot in the battle of the grocery giants with 22.5% of the market share, a full half a percent ahead of its next competitor Tesco.

The biggest shift during the 12 weeks ending 21 May, saw Tesco overtake Dunnes to reach second place. Dunnes now sit in third place with 21.9% of the market share. According to the data, published by Kantar Worldpanel, Tesco’s climb back to second place is down to more regular trips by its customers to its stores. While shoppers spent increasing amounts of money at Dunnes, they visited the stores less often.

Dunnes performance was still strong during the period with the retailer’s overall sales increasing by 4.9% compared to the same period last year. Shoppers are spending more instore, with the retailer managing to encourage an impressive 10% spending increase among remaining customers, €47 extra on average with the grocer during the latest quarter. However, while shoppers are spending more, they’re visiting the retailer less often. The retailer had 54,000 fewer shoppers during the past 12 weeks.

Lidl has remained steady, keeping its fourth position with a share of 11.4%, just 0.2 per cent ahead of its main rival Aldi. Both of the discounters have performed well with growth for Lidl has accelerated to 2.7% with Aldi boosting sales by 4%

According to Kantar, the recent fall in prices has been a positive for the grocery industry, encouraging shoppers to spend more. The grocery market continues to see growth, an increase of 2.2% in the last quarter.

The sector was worth €2.37 billion over the 12-week period, an increase of €50 million on last year.

“With the average price per pack falling slightly, growth has been driven by households buying extra items, with the average shopping basket increasing in size,” said director at Kantar Worldpanel David Berry in a press release.

This increased spend was the most beneficial to retailers own brand products which saw a 4% increase in sales within Irish supermarkets compared to this time next year. 54% of the products found in the average Irish supermarket shopper’s trolly carry own-brand labels compared with less than 10% a decade ago before the recession.