Allie Lawson, Student Marketing Ambassador shares her experience of the recruitment process and some handy tips that could help you …
My life last term was chaotic, to say the least. Alongside finishing my degree, running a business, and working part time, I managed to beat the odds and get a place on a graduate scheme.
If an interesting company had a good marketing graduate scheme, then I probably applied for it. I spent months on autopilot, filling in application after application, answering numerical and verbal tests, preparing for and then carrying out telephone interviews, and then driving around the country to attend assessment centres. I did well though, getting through to the telephone interview stage of about 60% of applications, and then going to (or receiving invites for) assessment centres after 80% of my telephone interviews.
The hardest part for me was standing out enough to get a telephone interview, and while I knew that my CV included a lot of the skills that recruiters were looking for, there’s such a mass amount applying for each scheme and high benchmarks for the tests. My first challenge was getting past the numerical tests; I didn’t practice enough, so the first few tests I did (and didn’t hit the benchmark for) meant that I was immediately out of the game. I soon realized that they were my weakness, so I created a sheet of GCSE maths equations and re-learnt them.
I mastered the telephone interview quite quickly, keeping a useful bank of answers ready and waiting. I utilized the recruiters website and ensured I knew what kind of interview I was having (strengths based, competency based etc.) and googled answers to potentially difficult questions, which often covered topics of industry trends and examples of marketing campaigns. During my last few interviews I was confident that I could answer most questions thrown at me.
The assessment centres are probably the toughest stage, purely because they matter so much. It’s impossible to get that far and not dream about being told you’ve got the job. Assessment centres are also a great way to learn about the company though, and decide whether it’s right for you. I know you may not care when you’re applying, I thought many times that I just wanted the job, but when it came to deciding between two job offers, it was much easier to rank my ideal job much easier by the ambience and feel of the assessment centre.
Despite going to 5 assessment centres in the end (and declining offers of attending a further 8) I felt various stages of panic along the way. Would I miss out because I couldn’t master the numerical tests? Would I be the girl who went to all the assessment centres but never got the job? The best advice that I can give is to be confident and stay focused, and really, really research the companies you’re getting interviews at.
Good luck with your applications and Interviews.