This post was written by second year BSc Accounting and Finance student, Della.
Hi everyone, I hope your placement search is going well! I was recently lucky enough to be given an offer for a global investment bank – and it was my first placement application! I would like to share my experience with you, along with some tips I hope you will find useful.
Take time on your applications
As this was my first application, I had little experience of doing placement applications, and so spent a lot of time on it to make sure I showcased all the relevant skills for the job I was applying for. This helped me a lot. It is much better to spend a significant amount of time on each application, rather than sending off quick fire applications which tends to be a waste of time. I would say the most important thing is sending your application to your placement advisor as they can easily see any areas for improvement. The placement team have a huge amount of experience and are extremely friendly so please use their help!
Prepare well for the interview
As soon as I found out I got through to the assessment centre stage, I only had a week to prepare and of course was a little nervous. I contacted Rob, my placement advisor, and he devised a set of possible questions that would typically come up in the competency based interview. I then thought of a situation I could use to showcase each skill such as team working, leadership and problem solving, typed some answers out and practised saying them out loud to friends. Please note that the skills they ask about in your interview are highly based on the skills they are looking for in the job description, so read this carefully beforehand. Lastly, I definitely recommend having a mock interview with your placement advisor as it improves your confidence massively before the “real thing”.
Group task at assessment centre
As part of my assessment centre, I had a group task in which we had to read some documents individually, before having a group discussion/debate about the topics at hand, all whilst being observed. My advice for this session would be to make sure you write down the main points that you gathered from reading the articles, so you can remain engaged in the discussion and also build upon your teammate’s points. The key thing is to work with your teammates, not against them! Remember that a lot of interviews are done on a rolling basis, so if you all impress, you could all be successful. Although you want to stand out from the crowd, working with teammates shows that you can listen to other people’s contributions to create a well balanced argument, and that you are a ‘people person’.
Attitude at assessment centre
Your attitude at an assessment centre makes a huge difference, as you are not only trying to impress the interviewer with your skills but also trying to make them like you and want to work with you. It is a two sided thing. It goes without saying, but smiling will show interviewers your enthusiasm and willingness to learn/take initiative if you do get the job. You will inevitability be nervous in this kind of situation, but being yourself will show the interviewer your real personality and many companies really value honesty and integrity in their employees.
Thank you for reading my blog post and good luck with the rest of your placement search!
Shout out to Rob, my placement advisor, for helping me with my application, and the whole of the placement team as they are amazing and most of these tips were given by them. I really appreciate your help!