Graduate Application Advice - From Applications to Assessment Centres

Holly Wade

University of Surrey – Mathematics with Statistics
Role – Associate Project Manager in Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS)

Application Advice

From applications to assessment centres.

Applying for Graduate Programmes can be a long process, and the prospects of attending Assessment days can be daunting, especially since no Assessment day is ever the same. Having gone through the process myself, I know exactly how challenging job applications and assessment centres can be. Take your time with applications, and ensure you are answering the question being asked. Make the most of the assessment days, and although it’s easier said than done, try to enjoy yourself. It is also a prime opportunity for you to understand more about the job and company you have applied to, so try to take it all in.

Before applying and attending an Assessment day, make the most of the resources you have, whether that be Career Centres at University, theMicrosoft UK Student Recruitmentwebsite or the Be Your Future Blog. The people who can help you the most are the people who will be assessing you, so take advantage of the advice available. Preparation is key. Research the company, its recent activities, what it actually does and its competitors. But if you don’t know, don’t pretend you do – you can’t blag your way through an interview!

Be aware of what you have done before, what relevant experience you have and how you could apply this to a working environment and the particular job you have applied to. In today’s climate, a degree is not enough –* experience is key.* Think about how you have improved your skill set, and review competency questions regularly – not only do they appear on applications, but you will also have a competency based interview too – being able to draw on your capabilities and where you have already applied them is essential. Sell yourself!

It’s easier said than done but the most important thing is to relax. Everyone at Microsoft is really friendly and will put you at ease during your assessment. Many employers and Microsoft especially, are most interested in your personality. Listen to instructions and questions and be responsive. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – they show that you are attentive, interested and not afraid to speak up. Be yourself, and be honest. Graduates are employed to inject a breath of fresh air in to Microsoft so use the opportunity to showcase innovation, energy and passion.

On Assessment day, be comfortable, be honest and be yourself!

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