Life on placement- Part 1: the Application process

Hi everyone!

Back on the lockdown series…

I finally moved to Reading to begin my new life on placement!

There has been a lot of planning leading up to this, and I wanted to share with you the journey in chronological order. It looks something like this…

I currently study Economics and Mathematics (BSc), a four-year course if you consider the one year you take out between second and third year to go on placement. I began applying for placement in November – December of last year. This was towards the end of my first semester of the second year.

If you apply for a course with placement, a year leading up to your work experience, the placement service at the University of Surrey carries out special sessions and classes to prepare you for the application process. We had sessions to help us with our CV and cover letter writing, personal branding using LinkedIn, as well as the interview and assessment centre stages of our application all throughout the year. The Employability Services at the university also works with employers to hold events that are jam-packed with information to help you improve your employability. Many recruiters advised us that attending these events was crucial in the application process. Not only did they allow us to get networking with people already in the company and to show our interest, but also allowed us to get to learn even more about the company we wished to apply to and to see whether it was the right fit for us.

Our placement tutor once shared with us the statistics of the placement application process and I was intimidated and motivated to say the least.

His guidance was that typically; the finance and professional services application process has four stages. The first stage is when one sends in a written application and then does an online assessment of the form of a psychometric test. After this, if you are successful, you proceed to do a video interview or a telephone interview (or both). The final hurdle of the recruitment process is the assessment centre/day -when you go on-site to the company and have a day full of activities and tasks to assess your suitability for the job and the organisation itself. The average student applies to 50 different companies, half of them do not respond, and the other half will move them to the next stage. After that, half of the companies turn them down after the second stage, and the other half of the companies carry them to the next stage. The process repeats itself again, until finally, one has two or three final decisions to make between companies. It must be mentioned that this is not always the case, but is just an ‘on-average’ observation. The recruitment process might be easier… or harder for different individuals for different reasons.

With this information at hand, I found it important to start my application process really early. There are so many things I would have done differently on my first application if I had the information I have now, but I am grateful for the process because it brought me to where I am now. In the second part of this journey, I will speak in more depth about the recruitment stages.

Hoping and praying that everyone remains safe during this time.

That’s all for now folks,