The Difficulty of Finding Work

Ireland. (C)Two Queens Travel Blog

In the previous blog I wrote about getting registered as a nurse in Ireland and there was a bit of the relocation part. As there has been requests to know more about the relocation, I decided to share some of the experiences we had whilst waiting for the registration to be complete, when I tried to apply for other jobs as well to make the relocation as painless as possible.

I have been working as a practical nurse and as a nurse in Finland for over ten years. During that time I have had contracts with hospitals, and I have worked through an agency as well, being tossed to different hospital wards with a day’s notice. But all those times I have taken up a contract, it has been relatively easy so to do. Usually it’s started after doing a few temporary shifts at the ward and when you do your work well… they offer you a contract. Job done.

Having said that, as a Finnish job seeker, in Finland that is, I am very accustomed to the Finnish style of rapid firing your applications to different companies, and then sitting down and waiting for the following three months before receiving the “thank you for your interest in our company, however…” email from the place you have all but forgotten that you sent the application to. That is very, very common.

One of the more interesting cases happened several years ago, when I was applying for a summer job an Estonian-Finnish ferry company, Tallink Silja, in January and received the aforementioned thank you but no thank you email back in April. Having had customer service and nursing experience, I was a bit curious about the decision not to even call me for an interview, so I replied asking what kind of experience they were actually looking for, as I really would have wanted to work with them. Again time passed, and I contacted them again. This time I received a reply: Can you please send your CV, and we will book a job interview date for you. I didn’t, as I already had a job for the summer arranged.

At the St. Brigid’s Well In Co. Clare. (C)Two Queens Travel Blog


A Few Pointers For Job Applying

As a Finnish job seeker, looking for a job in Ireland after we decided to move… Well, let’s just say I thought it worked the same way as here in Finland. Well, turns out it didn’t. The experience, in hindsight, proved to be filled with twists and turns and not nearly as straightforward.

First pointer:
As a Staff Nurse / Registered Nurse, don’t even think of applying to a single job before registering with the NMBI (Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland), and actually having the paper of your accepted registration in your hand.

Without their PIN (which is your registration number) no hospital, hospice, or agency will not bother contacting you. Not even if you explain that you are an EU citizen with ongoing application, and that there will not be any hassle with the application. No. It is a waste of your time to contact them, and it would be a waste of their time to consider you, because if the local authorities pop by a random check, your employer would be immediately in a trouble. Ireland does have a system in place to publicly display the results of a check-up and the customers, in case of private nursing homes for instance, do check these results before agreeing to house their parent in there.

Second pointer:
Think carefully if you really need the job so badly that you would accept a job as a Care Assistant and you have trained as a Registered Nurse. For the Care Assistant jobs you don’t need to be registered, and in many cases the job doesn’t actually need any kind of special training. Many youngsters actually use the job of Care Assistant as a stepping stone to go and study nursing later on. It is fantastic thing to do, but stepping back from being a Nurse to being a Care Assistant I would advise against.

I am not saying that Care Assistants job would be beneath me, but knowing myself I know that I would end up doing much more, and that might lead to misunderstandings at work place on a longer run. And at the same time, I believe that my skills would be better put to use with a title that allows me to fully utilise the skills and knowledge I have. And of course there is the salary issue as well.

Third pointer:
I decided to apply for office jobs during the time I was still applying for my PIN with NMBI. I was surprised by the lengthiness of the whole process. In every case where I got called for an interview, the initial interview was done promptly without delay. I got the first interview done over a phone call, and after that got a response (in both two cases) that they were happy with me and would recommend me to be fully interviewed.

Smooth as silk, I thought.

Both companies did this phase within a week of the application, and I was sure that it would be plain sailing, as both of them informed me that there would be another interview on the way. Which… then… took… a… long… time.

After the second interview, there suddenly was a need for references, and of course getting the references in the company paper takes time. Also, when you come from a country where the level of English is good but no one dares to write it fearing typos and grammatical errors (a Finnish thing) it might become nigh impossible.

After you get the references, prepare for another waiting time as the companies will contact the referees before submitting the information to someone making the decision. And the decision cannot be made overnight.

Fourth pointer:
I ended up accepting the first job offer I got, instead of the one that might actually have interested me more. Why not wait? Because it took over a month for a company to reach a phase where they asked for reference, as a last step in the process. Prior to that, it took them over a week to reply to my email asking about the process.

Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the length that the companies go to hire the right people, but at the same time I question the need for it when applying for an entry level position. Had I applied to a managerial position, I would have gladly endured the wait and vetting, but for an entry level position with 6 months probation anyway, it seems quite a frustratingly slow process.

Summa Summarum:
Apply, apply, apply. That is my advise to you all. Apply to different companies, in different towns and cities, as each place in Ireland has a different charm to it. And whilst you have the luxury of time in your hands whilst you wait for the companies to get back to you, use it to your advantage.

  1. Do the ground work about the location you might be moving into. Check out the housing situation and rental prices of that location.
  2. Check the public transportation system in that area. In Ireland public transportation exists only in the bigger cities and their suburbs (like Dublin, Cork, and Galway). If you are looking for a smaller, rural community, prepare to get a car.
  3. Remember that the bigger the city is, the less square meters you are going to get with your hard-earned money. Whilst it might be media sexy to work for a brand that everyone knows (“Oh, you know, I work for Google now…”) they pay relatively little when you think that you might end up paying 2/3 of your net salary as rent in Dublin.
  4. Don’t compare your country to Ireland. If you drive, for instance, a 60 km distance in your home country on good roads in less than an hour, in the rural areas of Ireland the same distance might take you 1,5 hours – give or take. So when the Irish tell you “Oh, you live all the way there, how do you manage?” pay heed. If your work requires you to commute for 1 hour each way, every day, it is going to be a chore. Trust me, I know.
Connemara At Sunset. (C)Two Queens Travel Blog

All in all, the Two Queens Travel Blog does not want to deter you from reaching out for your dreams of living in Ireland. We have done it. We just want to make you think a bit outside the box as Ireland is quite different from other countries, apart from the UK, where we have lived and spent time at. Our biggest realisation was when we realised that as much as we wanted to live in the romantic, rural Ireland, it turned out to be exactly what we didn’t want after all – it was very, very quiet, there were no streetlights, heating costs were high, and the distances to even go to a nearest shop required a car.

So be sure of what you want and where you want it. Don’t rush into things just because. And remember to enjoy Ireland. It is a magical place!