The first step in getting an elite job is to start with an application. This is an important process in your career. You have to show that you have the skills, aspirations and experience that elite employers are looking for. Do not feel daunted. You have to ‘sell’ yourself in a constructive and reasonable manner. The process is what it is. It is not perfect, but you have to follow it rigorously to succeed. Elite employers may sound like they are looking for ‘superman’ or ‘superwoman’, but this is not the reality. Do not feel as if you are not ‘sophisticated’ enough to apply for these cream careers.
Most elite employers have the following steps, but there may be some variation. These steps are similar if you are first, second or third year. First-year candidates applying for insight programmes may skip some of these measures.
Stage 1: Online Application Form
The form is an opportunity to tell employers about your academic background and any work experience. This should take about twenty to forty minutes.
Once you submit it, you will be invited for several online tests. Typically, these are the Situational Judgment Test, the Online Numerical Test and the Verbal Reasoning Test.
Stage 2: The Situational Judgment Test (SJT)
Targets your problem-solving skills by asking you how you would deal with potential workplace issues with a choice of responses for each question.
Stage 3: The Online Numerical Reasoning Test
If you have passed your SJT, this test could be used to check your ability to analyse statistical data.
Stage 4: The Online Verbal Reasoning Test
Focuses on your ability to interpret statements and your grasp of the English language as a whole.
Stage 5: Online Logical/Critical Reasoning Test
Centres around your aptitude to examine patterns logically.
Stage 6: First Round Interview-either by phone or by video
After the battery of skills examinations, top candidates will be invited for an interview which could be in various forms – an in-person meeting, a video call, or a telephone conversation. Evaluations range from thirty minutes to an hour as executives aim to gauge a holistic perspective of you, your work behaviours, your personality, the extent to which your CV is accurate, your social skills, etc. Employers often ask questions about previous experiences and scenarios.
When you are giving them examples of your skills in action, please draw on specific situations from the last two or three years. Choose examples from all of your experiences: academic, work or extra-curricular activities. Note down examples before an interview and remember these cases (their premises) as they will come in handy.
You will be questioned about your commercial awareness about the dynamics of their industry, key trends and how they should build a competitive advantage.
All elite employers are committed to diversity and inclusion. To ensure that they recruit the best student talent regardless of background, they would usually operate a ‘CV blind’ recruitment policy at this telephone interview stage. The interviewer will have no prior knowledge of your educational timeline: just your name, graduate position and contact number.
Stage 7: Assessment Centre
Pass your interview, and you will be invited to an assessment day.
A typical assessment day involves several exercises such as:
- Email Virtual Office Exercise: A laptop-based activity that measures your organisation and time management skills, considering the amount of communication you would receive (emails, voicemail, missed calls, messages, etc.). You should be able to plan and schedule based on a hierarchy of importance of each task, all within a fixed period. Prove that you work under pressure.
- Analysis Exercise: Another laptop-based task, but it lasts about an hour. You will have to review complex information and present your recommendations in written form.
- Group Exercise: Upon being provided several pieces of information, some of which everyone receives and some of which are unique to you, you will have to work together in a project team to present your action plan.
- Presentation exercise: Stage a display based on a topic you are entrusted. This will test your demonstration competencies, as well as your efficiency based on time constraints: the subject might be given to you impromptu or in advance.
Stage 8: Final Interview
If you manage the previous battery round, you will be invited for a more in-depth interview with a senior executive of the firm. You could also be asked to prepare a presentation.
The process is tough and brutal as you will be eliminated unless you overcome each hurdle. Persevere and do not give up. It has flaws as it favours those who have fast reaction times and specific skills, especially in the online tests. However, you have no choice but to follow this process if you want to get an elite graduate job. On the bright side, the more applications you do, the better you will become at it.