Graduate Job Hunting Story

I think sometimes it can be easy to be lost in the chaos that is finding graduate schemes and placements at the same time as all your friends, and especially if others around you start securing places before you.

The recruitment process can be tough. You will have to jump through so many hoops, from psychometric testing, to talking to yourself in virtual interviews or having to compete at assessment centres, and all the way along you have to act like you’re so thankfully for the opportunity the company is giving you that you’re willing to do whatever no matter the amount of time it takes. Although it can sound cheesy, you have to think of each step in the recruitment process as a chance to get better for the next steps and to learn how to really show the company the best of you.

My Journey

Over the last 8 months I have applied to countless graduate schemes, only to be rejected over and over again; whether it’s at the psychometric testing stage, the video interviews or even the last stages of assessment centres.

I made over 30 applications to an absolute variety of roles, from rotational programs to more specific positions. All of them came with what felt like was a 300-step process where you had to be the best of the best to make it through before you can even talk to someone from the company. As someone that struggles under a lot of pressure, I was completely out of my depth, especially as I knew my main assets in an interview process was my ability to build a rapport with people, but I just wasn’t getting the chance to do this.

I appreciate how students may be feeling because it just pushes you into a negative space where you feel like you’re never going to find a job and that you aren’t good enough. However, after 8 months of this continuous loop, I finally manage to secure a job! But let me stress that this was a full 8 months of continuously applying and completing recruitment processes. Over time it became more and more apparent to me that because I had done all the stages of the recruitment process numerous times, I was very effective in how I answered questions and in how I portrayed myself because I knew what companies were looking for and I was able to practice.

As cliché as it may sound the main thing I want you to take away from my story is do not give up. It took me 8 months to secure a job, after applying over 30 times, when it took my friend 2 months to secure a job, and I even still have other friends who are yet to secure anything. This just shows how unique each process can be, and that it is ok to be slow on the take up!

Another top tip I found when getting to the last stages of interviews is make sure your ending questions are memorable. As a candidate you need to stand out, so take the chance at the end to ask them questions about their working culture, why they work for the company, what the company is striving to achieve in the next 5 years and so on. It will demonstrate to the recruiters that you are enthusiastic about the company and the role and want to take the time to know more.

What To Do If You Are Getting Continuously Rejected?

  1. Firstly, stay confident! Let go of the bad experience and focus on what you did well on.
  2. Make sure you’re prepared, maybe you are falling short because the employers don’t think you have done enough research about the job or the company.
  3. Actively seek feedback because this is exactly how you are going to know how to improve. Practice makes perfect after all.
  4. Make a new plan. Identify new jobs you could apply for, or some webinars you could watch to give you more knowledge, so that when you get to the interview stage again you have more to talk about.
  5. You can also reach out to the careers team so they can help you hone in on your interview skills and even see if there are other areas you are weak on. Take a video or telephone mock interview, get help on assessment centres, application forms or even just have a discussion with them over areas you are anxious about. They’ll be able to help you and improve your self-confidence at the same time, so make sure you are taking full advantage of what the Henley Careers Team has to offer!