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Want to be a Garda? You need to impress as the competition is tough

A paid day course aimed at preparing Garda recruits for the lengthy interview process has been set up, giving an insight into what the interview process is like.

Garda graduates
Garda graduates
Image: Photocall Ireland

A COURSE THAT looks to prepare individuals who are considering applying to join An Garda Síochana or help those through the interview process has been established by the The Communications Clinic.

The first Garda recruitment drive since 2009 was launched before Christmas, with more than 20,000 people applying for the 300 positions available.

Hiring had been suspended for four years as part of the public sector hiring freeze, meaning there was a lot of people who have had their sights set on being a member of the Gardaí for many years.

The Garda Application Clinic

Eoghan McDermott from The Garda Application Clinic said the course, which costs €200, offers personal expertise in communications and policing, and has a former Garda working with the course to bring the best insight in to what is required to be a member of the Gardaí.

He said the one day seminar coaches candidates and helps them to optimise their application prospects, in what will be a highly competitive entrance competition, said McDermott. He added they established the course as over the years there had been people approaching them for advice on preparation, but there was no other course out there.

“Just like any interview or application for any job, it is important to be prepared and be able to convey the skills you have to offer,” he said.

Long process

“Applying to be in the Gardaí can be a long and quite detailed process. People have applied over Christmas and I think the hope is to have new recruits in Templemore by June,” he said, stating that there are stages to the application process. Giving an insight into the interview process, McDermott said:

The process is essentially the initial application, onto the psychometric testing and skills evaluation, and finally to the selection interview.Each stage of the application process is designed to be a fair method of selecting suitable candidates for An Garda Síochana, based on the specific competencies that will be required for the role.

We look to help candidates understand what these competencies are, and how to best demonstrate them at interview.

He added that much of the psychometric testing is taking place at the moment, which involves tests on your numerical and verbal reasoning.

“Psychometric testing is a fair and impartial way of assessing particular skills. The testing will start with an online assessment, followed by more detailed tests carried out in dedicated test centres. You can’t fake it, but just like anything else, practice is the best road to success, so that is what we can offer at the course,” he said.

McDermott explained that potential Garda recruits are also tested on their skills and evaluation, with a crime being shown to them by video. “This is where applicants are assessed on how they would handle a situation and how much attention they pay to detail – an important thing to convey that you have during the interview process.”

Many people that we see have wanted to be a member of the Gardaí for some time, but the opportunity wasn’t there to apply. We think there are some key pointers that people should try and convey.”

Community

He explained that An Garda Síochana describe themselves as a police service, rather than a police force. “This means that skills like communication, teamwork, ability to deal with difficult situations in a calm manner and attention to detail are key skills. Garda also need to be excellent at engaging with local communities – an essential skill if they are to do their job well,” McDermott said.

He said that if an applicant has been involved some way in the community be it through the GAA or volunteering of another kind, then this should be made known to the interviewer.

“It shows that you care about your community and are involved in it, which is what the Gardaí like to see. People need to be talking about that in the interview,” he said.

Reserves

Being a member of the Garda reserves is an added bonus, he said, as it shows that you have been passionate about working with them for some time.

When you are called to an interview he added that it was important to prove your competencies in the interview, just like you would for any job interview, by giving concrete examples of where you have shown similar skills, with good outcomes, he said.

Finally, medical tests and background checks are carried out, which is why McDermott says someone’s online profile is very important.

“You have to view your online presence on Twitter or Facebook as your online brand. It reflects who you are to the outside, be it accurate or not, he warned, stating that it would be unfortunate having applied for the Gardaí and gotten so far, only to be tripped up by a stupid comment you made on Twitter about something, that might not make you seem like the kind of person they want as a member of the Gardaí,” he said.

The next course date taking place in Dublin is today, but to keep up with future course dates, click here. The fee for the day long course is €200. This includes all notes and handouts as well as lunch and refreshments.

Read: 20,000 people apply for jobs in An Garda Síochana>

Read: First Garda recruitment drive since 2009 begins today>

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