London Interviews: The good, bad and the ugly

Photograph by Lucy Hayball, 2016

Finding a placement year is a really weird concept to get your head around. You apply for jobs but in those early stages it seems so far away, not quite real, after all they don’t start until summer next year. It was only the other day that I took a step back and thought, this is actually happening. In a years time, I could be doing my dream job. Actually doing it.

The past few weeks, I have had the incredible opportunity of interviewing with two global giants and a high profile agency. Two of the biggest brands in the world. Two organisations at the forefront of our society and who we interact with on a daily basis, sometimes without realising. And a brilliant agency who do some incredible creative work for huge clients.

I was lucky enough to reach stage 3/4 for one and the final stage of the other. I missed out on the final stage of one but I only left with positive feedback. I recently took part in the final stage of another process. However, the point of this post is that they have both been incredible experiences that I feel so grateful to have had. It has really opened my eyes to the opportunities out there. It’s given me such a confidence boost and although I missed out on the final stage of one, I’ve learnt so much.

These interview processes have been the first the first since I got my first job at 16 (..!). Looking back over the past few weeks, there are five things that I wish I would have known / done. I have listed them below (and must remember these myself…!)

1. Be proud of what you have done and what you have achieved

I have a really bad habit of playing down what I have done to avoid sounding big headed. I came across like I viewed myself as an underdog. There is a fine line, don’t get me wrong, but don’t be ashamed to be proud and show off a little. You want to stand out.

2. Spend time thinking about the question

In one of my interviews, I wanted to seem confident and honest so badly that I tried to answer the question straight off. I didn’t give myself time to think over the question I was being asked. I could’ve given much better answers if I just stopped and thought about it!

3. Research common interview questions

We all think that we are prepared, but the harsh reality is that you can never be fully prepared for interviews. Many of my questions for all of my placement interviews have been competency based. Try where you can to plan and plan broadly so the random curveball questions don’t throw you off too much!

4. Don’t go off topic

This kind of leads on from the last point, but think about what the questions are asking. Try to focus your skills on those points and keep it concise. When nerves are added into the equation, it can be easy to go off topic but try to keep the question in mind!

5. Don’t get yourself down when you don’t get the job

It’s so easy to feel disheartened. You didn’t exactly go into that interview not bothered whether you wanted the job or not. But the main thing to think about is the feedback. How can you learn from the experience. Even though I didn’t get through to the final stage, it was my first interview process. My first proper interview since my first part time job at 16. I’ve learnt so much about myself and so many tips that I can use for the future. And the biggest thing is don’t forget why you applied in the first place. The love for the job you want to do.

It’s been a crazy semester with interviews and uni work but I wouldn’t change it (well maybe some of the workload..?). It’s been hard don’t get me wrong. London interviews are tough, really tough. Not only this but leaving my house at 3:10am for a 9am-3pm assessment day (and other ungodly hours for the rest) and not getting back until 10pm wasnt easy. But that’s what it is all about. I want these opportunities. I’ve learnt so much already and I cannot wait to see what my future holds.

Soooo it’s been incredible so far and I hope these tips help anyone else applying!

Luce xo

(P.S – sorry for another placement related post, I just don’t seem to be doing much else at the moment! Hopefully the next one will be something seasonal ??)


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