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20 Essential Interview Preparation Tips

You have been shortlisted and invited for a face to face interview. Well done! In order to be successful at interview stage and hopefully get hired, it is essential to prepare properly and put your best foot forward.


Before your job interview it is important to set aside time to prepare and do the following:

1. Start by researching the company/organisation and your interviewers.

Understanding key information about the company/organisation you’re interviewing with can help you go into your interview with confidence. Google the company’s website, Mission and Values Statement, social media posts and recent press releases. This will provide you with a solid understanding of the company’s goals and how your background makes you a suitable for the role you are applying for.

Research the people who will be interviewing you on Google and LinkedIn. The aim is to learn about your interviewers’ backgrounds and interests so that it will be easier to establish a rapport.

2. Review Your Social Media Postings.

Employers may review social media sites to get information and background on prospective employees. Ensure to review your online postings and pictures and delete any information that could cast you in a negative light with the prospective employer.

It’s also useful to Google yourself to see what your prospective employer would see if they did a search on you.

3. Write out and rehearse your answers to common interview questions.

Prepare your answer to the common question: “Tell me about yourself, and why are you interested in this role with our company?”. The idea is to quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the role. This is a unique opportunity to convey to the interview panel your personal strengths, skills and personal values as a prospective employee.

4. Re-read and know the job description.

It is a good idea to print out the job description and know exactly the responsibilities associated with the role. Begin underlining specific skills and competencies the employer is looking for. Think about examples from your past and current work life that align with these requirements.

5. Use the STAR method in answering questions.

Prepare to be asked about times in the past when you used a specific skill in your workplace and use the STAR method to tell stories with a clear Situation, Task, Action and Result.

6. Recruit a friend or a family member to do a Mock Interview and rehearse answering questions.

Practicing your answers out loud is an incredibly effective way to prepare. Say them to yourself or ask a friend to help run through questions and answers. By rehearsing and rehearsing you gain confidence as you get used to saying the words out loud.

7. Be prepared with examples from your work-life.

During the interview, you will very likely be asked about specific work you’ve completed in relation to the position. After reviewing the job description, think of work you’ve done in past jobs, clubs or volunteer positions that show you have experience and success doing the work they require.

8. Plan your interview attire the night before.

If you’re speaking to a recruiter before the interview, you can ask them about the dress code in the workplace and choose your outfit accordingly. Pay attention to the little things, shine your shoes, make sure your nails are clean and tidy, and check your clothes for holes, stains and loose threads.


On the day of the interview:

9. Bring copies of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and pen.

Take at least three copies of your printed CV in case of multiple interviewers. Highlight specific accomplishments on your copy that you can easily refer to and discuss. Prepare to take notes, but not on your smartphone or another electronic device.

10. Plan your schedule so that you can arrive 10–15 minutes early.

Map out your route to the interview location so you can be sure to arrive on time. Consider doing a practice run. If you’re taking public transportation, identify a backup plan if there are delays or closures.

11. Treat everyone with respect.

Treat everyone you encounter on arrival at the interview location with respect and courtesy. This includes people in the car park, Security staff and Reception staff. The interview panel may ask for their feedback


During the interview:

12. Practice good manners and body language.

Practice confident, accessible body language from the outset. Sit or stand tall with your shoulders back. Before the interview, take a deep breath and exhale slowly to manage feelings of anxiety and encourage self-confidence.

The interviewer should extend their hand first to initiate a handshake. Stand, look the person in the eye and smile. A good handshake should be firm but not crush the other person’s fingers.

13. Win the Interview Panel over with your authenticity and positivity.

Being genuine during interview conversations can help employers easily relate to you. Showing positivity with a smile and upbeat body language can help keep the interview light and constructive. Maintain eye contact as much as possible.

14. Respond truthfully to the questions asked.

While it can seem tempting to embellish on your skills and accomplishments, interviewers find honesty refreshing and respectable. Focus on your key strengths and why your background makes you uniquely qualified for the position.

15. Link your answers back to your skills, accomplishments and job requirements.

With any question you answer, it is important that you tie your background to the job by providing examples of solutions and results you’ve achieved. Use every opportunity to address the requirements listed in the job description.

16. Keep your answers concise and focused.

Your time with each interviewer is limited so be mindful of rambling. Practicing your answers beforehand can help keep you focused.

17. Do not speak negatively about your previous employers.

Companies want to hire problem solvers who overcome tough situations. If you’re feeling discouraged about your current job, focus on talking about what you’ve gained from that experience and what you want to do next.


At the conclusion of your interview:

18. Closing steps.

Once your interview has concluded, it is appropriate to ask either your interviewer about what you should expect next. This will likely be a follow-up email with results from your interview, additional requirements like an assignment or reference list or another interview.

19. Remain professional; remember the job is not yours until you have been offered the post.

Thank the interviewers for their time that they have afforded to you, say goodbye in a friendly manner and leave the room.


After your interview:

20. Reflect on your performance and learn from it.

Reflect on the interview a few days later to determine how you performed on the day. Ponder on what you did well, what you could have done better and how you can learn from this. Most importantly consider the strengths of your delivery during the interview and hopefully you will receive good news soon!




Tel: 087 981 5144


6 Essential Tips To Ensure A Successful Remote Interview

In today's global workplace many employers are opting to use remote interviewing through Skype, Zoom, etc. as a way to interview candidates from multiple locations. Remote interviewing cuts down on travel expenses and provides employers with an alternative way to quickly and easily find the perfect person.

There's a lot more to remote Interviews than meets the eye, and coming to the remote interview confused and unprepared will do little to convince your interviewers you're a worthy candidate. Just like a face-to-face conversation, there is certain etiquette to keep in mind when being remotely interviewed.


1. Practice With Technology

It is very important to have your technology ready to go for your remote interview. You will immediately have demonstrated professionalism to your prospective employer having set up the technology and knowing how it operates.

In the days before your remote identify which technology your remote interview is being conducted through. Then diligently practice as much as you can with this technology, be it Skype, Zoom, etc. Play with it. Learn how it works and what it can do. This way you will increase your familiarity with the technology and how to make it work best for you. Your job interview is the one time where you need to put the best ‘YOU’ forward


2. Keep Eye Contact With The Camera

It is especially important to remember you must look into your camera and not your screen. This is one of the most noticeable errors made. Practice maintaining eye contact much like you would with an actual person. Don’t sit as close to the computer as you normally would, sit a bit farther back so that your face and upper shoulders are in the shot. Additionally, place the computer slightly higher than you normally do, so that it's capturing you face-on and you're not looking down at it.

The camera will record your smiles and facial expressions so try to loosen up and relax as much as possible. Smiling makes you look positive, confident and enthusiastic about the job you are applying for. Remember to blink and try to keep from nervous gestures.

Practice makes perfect. Try to practice with a friend or family member by having them Skype, Zoom you for a mock interview.


3. Pay Attention To The Technology Details

It’s the little things that matter and in the case of Skype, Zoom, etc. the little things can really make a difference. Make sure you have a strong signal on your computer and that your wireless network doesn’t cut out on you with a slow connection. Be sure that your computer also has plenty of battery power too.

On a computer, your employer's first impression of you is your username and profile picture. It is advisable to keep your account name and photo professional.

If you don’t have good microphone, you may want to pair a Bluetooth headset with your computer for better audio. If in doubt, make a few test calls to see what the recipient thinks about your sound quality.

Practice speaking. Don't shout, but do speak loudly and clearly. Sometimes with video calls there may be a delay with the picture so a clear speaking voice is extremely important.


4. Choose Your Interview Environment

Don’t decide to host your remote interview at a noisy cafe or busy environment.

If you have decided to do your remote interview at home, ensure you will not be disturbed by family, housemates, etc. Inform everyone of your schedule and ask them not to disturb you. You might think about placing an ‘Interview in Progress, DO NOT DISTURB’ sign on the door.

Ensure your chosen interview space is well-lit, quiet, and neutral. Having the correct lighting will help your interviewer see you at your best. Overhead lights that are very bright or florescent tend to wash your face out or even darken your face. The best lighting is natural light from a nearby window. Look towards the natural light and/or use a table lamp so that it illuminates your face.

Close any windows to ensure your interview is not disturbed by external noise.


5. Clean Up The Background

The focus of the interview should be on you and not your home. An untidy background could give the wrong impression to your prospective employer. Alternatively, a tidy and neat background gives a very good impression of you as a candidate.

To ensure the space around you is neat and tidy, take a step back and make sure any pictures and art work is straight. Make sure curtains or blinds are in place. Straighten books and ornaments on shelves.


6. Dress To Impress

Just because you’re interviewing from home does not mean that you can throw a blazer over your pyjamas!

It is very important to dress professionally for your remote interview. You might feel silly sitting at home wearing a suit and talking to a computer, but it will make all the difference. Not only will the interviewer see you as professional and will already be picturing you in his/her workplace, it will also help YOU mentally prepare and get into a professional mode of thinking.

Be mindful that the interviewers will only see you from the waist up. But as you may have to get up during the interview, it is important that you dress appropriately from head to toe.

Before your remote interview commences make sure to silence your mobile phone and e-mail/text alerts as this will be a distraction you and your interviewers during the interview. If possible, leave your mobile in another room during your remote interview. Best of luck with your remote interview!




Tel: 087 981 5144


6 Essential Self-Care Tips for Executive Leaders

Highly productive driven leaders, often find that there is not enough time in their day to devote to their own self-care. Regularly prioritizing work commitments and family responsibilities, may not be focusing on taking time out to care for themselves and to ensure that they are always operating at their very best.

Busy leaders probably do recognize the need for self-care and many continue to put it off and believe that now is the time to work hard and they can rest later. It is fully understandable that leaders want to dedicate most of their time to their leadership responsibilities. However, the truth is that such dedication is unsustainable.

Leaders who do not prioritize their self-care can burn out quickly, feel overwhelmed and do not exhibit leadership to their colleagues, clients and family and friends. When leaders burn out, they aren’t motivated to do their best work. They lose the passion that they used to have, become stressed and struggle to get the basics done correctly. Eventually, their burnout is not only going to take a toll on them, but their team, their clients and business also.

Self-care is necessary for everyone and there are some basic aspects of self-care that can be adapted to any Leader or situation.
To begin with, a Leaders routine should involve a balanced approach that takes both their body and mind into account.
But the first, the one thing that stands between a leader and a healthy self-care routine is TIME.


Tip 1 – Focus on Time Management to Prioritize Self-Care

Leaders need to recognize TIME as their biggest resource and managing time well is in itself a self-care practice. When leaders don’t spend their time wisely, they can beat themselves up in it’s this never-ending cycle, that that they cannot seem to break themselves free of resulting in poor performance and overwhelm. Taking a ‘birds-eye’ view of their day, week or month is a great starting point for Leaders in establishing a time management review.

There are 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. Knowing this, leaders can dictate their top priorities and understand where their time will be best used. Although it may seem silly to take an hour to prioritize time every week, it pays off in the long-term.

Most job are typically 40-50 hours per week. How can leaders best spend these 40 hours? How can the commuting to work time be used to best advantage? How can the first working hours of the day be best spent?

Leaders need to examine these hours first and plan out which priorities, plan, goals, strategies, tasks, and projects need to be completed.

Outside of work leaders have other hours like sleeping, eating, spending time with family, personal relationships and working out. Add those up and review the hours that are left.

Once this is done leaders need to take time to consider the following:

• What makes them happy?
• What hobbies or interests do they have?
• What takes their mind off work?
• What is something they love to do but you feel like they never have time to do?

These questions might help leaders identify self-care practices that make them feel whole. This will impact on the Leaders self-confidence and well-being.


Tip 2 – Allocate Specific Time Daily to a Self-Care Routine

Leaders have the least amount of time available to devote to self-care and yet, they are often the people who require it most. It’s vitally important to make the most of the time that leaders do have. Leaders must take time for themselves, and they should not apologize or feel guilty for doing so.

The Key is to place as much value on self-care is as organizational goals, critical meetings or team initiatives in the workplace and should really strive protect it as such. Allocating a specific time each day to a self-care practice is essential.

Once leaders begin looking after themselves more consistently and integrate self-care practices it into their daily routine, they quickly improve on their overall ability to stay positive, fresh, rested and feeling good.


Tip 3 – Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine

For many leaders, a restful night of sleep is very difficult to find. That’s because most leaders and people in general do not prioritize it. Sleep is one of the major keys to overall well-being that many leaders simply overlook.

Leaders can improve their sleep patterns, and can experience proper sleep on a much more consistent basis by developing a regular bedtime routine. This means that habits such as staying up beyond midnight and getting up before dawn to be the first one at the office need to cease.

In creating a nightly bedtime routine, it’s important to decide on the time to go bed in order to get a good 7 to eight hours sleep per night. Make it a habit by going to bed at approximately the same time every night. Then schedule some wind-down time in the hours approaching that bedtime. Ensure wind-down time doesn’t include searching social media, finishing up last minute work tasks or eating late.

By following these steps on a consistent basis should lead to Leaders should being to sleep better and begin to see the benefits in themselves and their work lives quite quickly.


Tip 4 – Schedule Time for Exercise

Like sleep, exercise is another pillar of self-care and time tends to get in the way with this one too. Again, it’s critically important to create routines around exercise. Turning it into a habit means leaders are more likely to stick with it and more likely to see the benefits in their overall well-being.

To get the best chance of success, start small and take slow, deliberate steps to achieve ultimate fitness goals. Rather, it’s about making physical health a priority.

The additional benefit is that when leaders build exercise into their self-care routines, also make it easier to get a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis. Plus, it will provide a boost to overall energy levels.


Tip 5 – Eat Healthily

Having energy to make it through long workweeks and keeping an optimistic mood are crucial to being a successful leader. Healthy eating is linked to lower rates of depression, but it also affects our bodies and minds in more subtle ways to give us a boost.

For instance, eating well can work with body chemistry to keep energy levels up throughout the day. Eliminating junk food and consuming green leafy vegetables, unrefined carbohydrates and whole grains are great for maintaining energy levels over long periods of time, and they’ll help leaders avoid the dreaded midday energy crash caused by eating too much refined sugar and white starches.

Great leaders come in all shapes and sizes. However, leaders who keep healthy and have good eating habits can more easily pick up traits that will make them more successful, such as time management, enhanced positivity and increased energy levels.


Tip 6 – Express Gratitude

Leaders are often focused on what’s not working or what needs to be changed. This mindset can create a negative mental state that increases stress and strain while depleting energy which impacts on colleagues and business overall. Ungratefulness says performance and effort don’t matter.

Practicing gratitude can stop this negative process in its tracks. When leaders take time to be grateful for things, they can change their mindset to see the world in a more constructive, realistic and healthy manner, they begin to operate from a place of inspiration and positive energy.

For leaders to express gratitude could include the following examples:

• Creating a Gratitude List and leave in a prominent place. Add one new item a day for a month.
• Saying “Thank you,” for small things.
• Writing Thank You emails.
• Conducting gratitude walk-abouts.
• Before meetings, writing one thing they appreciate about each person attending.
• Before composing an email, thinking of one thing they appreciate about the recipient.

If leaders look for progress, they will find gratitude and their leadership.


Other self-care habits can include setting boundaries, practicing meditation, practicing kindness, delegation, reflection and celebration.

Leaders are encouraged to practice self-care strategies. The self-care habits encourage self-awareness awareness, give leaders the ability to cognitively reframe experiences and consider what they have learned about themselves. Therefore, they can adjust their behaviors to ensure growth in their own self-leadership and their continued elevation in their leadership role.





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"I had never done an interview before in my life when I went to Ann Marie before a very big interview for an important job. Ann Marie was so professional, answered every possible question I had and went through absolutely everything with me , she left no stone unturned and made sure I was as prepared as possible.

I felt so confident going into my interview and I passed with flying colours. I can honestly say I would not of passed this interview without Ann Marie. I couldn’t recommend her enough. Ann Marie was so accommodating and really put me at ease. I can’t thank her enough!"
- C. K., Laois.



Interview Coaching Testimonial

"I recently used Ann-Marie’s interview workshop and I have to say it was the best decision I have ever made. Ann-Marie was extremely helpful and provided wonderful guidance on how to prepare for an interview. She has vast experience and knowledge of the interview process as a whole and provided me with encouragement and reassurance from the outset and made me realise my true potential.

She did this by regular engagements with myself via email and phone and concluded with a mock skype interview the morning of my real interview. She goes above and beyond to ensure that you are fully prepared for an interview, she was very professional in everything she did. I would highly recommend Ann-Marie if you are doing an interview for an upcoming job or promotion. Thanks to Ann-Marie and the work she did with me I have now secured the job I wanted."
- E. O’S., Laois.



Career/Interview Coaching Testimonial

"I sought advice and guidance from Anne Marie with regards to a career path I was greatly interested in last year, 2019. I was determined to give the best account of myself in the interview stage but had limited knowledge in this field and reached out to Anne Marie. Right from the outset, Anne Marie was very open and friendly and made me feel at ease when I met with her which was essential in me being able to coherently and effectively convey why I wanted this position and why I was suited to it. Anne Marie is a great listener and was able to highlight points which I could use as major selling points in my interview which I would have otherwise barely mentioned or aluded to at all.

Evidently Anne Marie is very experienced in this area and knows what the employer in these situations is looking for in terms of one's character and personal achievements which was of huge benefit to me. What I found was the greatest takeaway from speaking with Anne Marie was that I had a newfound confidence in my approach to the interview and a belief in my character and abilities due to Anne Marie's guidance. I was effectively advised on what to focus on in the interview and what wasn't really relevant, all from giving an account of myself and my background to Anne Marie with respect to the position for which I was applying. My overall experience was very positive with lessons learned I will definitely use down the line in similar scenarios.

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Career/Interview Coaching Testimonial

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Anne Marie demonstrates a great level of knowledge, experience and passion for what she does. I continue to receive life coaching from Anne Marie and every session broadens my skill set.

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"I had found myself at a time in my life where I had committed fully to my current job and was now in a position to retire gracefully. However, I am still at a relatively young age, so I thought why not have a look and see could I take a different path in life and change my career. I had however convinced myself that I had no useful skills or experience that I could use until I discovered AMA Coaching Solutions website and booked the Career Transition coaching session. This was the most worthwhile step I have ever taken and I was truly surprised and proud when Anne Marie helped me realise and record all that I had done and the skills I had developed, all that could make an exceptionally sought after portfolio for any future endeavours. It has completely changed my outlook, prepared me and given me huge confidence to know that I actually still have alot to offer.

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"I contacted Anne Marie Allen of AMA Consulting in 2018 to help me gain clarity around a new project. I had never considered a project like this before and didn’t know where to begin. Anne Marie helped me decide the right approach and framework for the project, what the terms of reference should be and the outcomes and, importantly, what was in it for me. Our sessions were so impactful, and I found myself looking forward to them. I gained new insights and learned a great deal which has been invaluable to me in my work ever since.

The advice Anne Marie gave me changed my perceptions about projects, and the way I handle them regarding management style and leadership skills. I am so glad I turned to her for her expertise, and in future I will make a point of consulting her before I take on any other major projects or indeed before making any crucial executive decisions. Thank you Anne Marie! Xxx"
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