#FindYourFuture with Careers & Enterprise

Did you know you can access one-to-one support for 2 years after graduation?

Check out our *brand new* video below to hear from QMUL students and graduates and find out how we’ve helped them.

Look out for our #FindYourFuture campaign around campus over the next few weeks!Final My QMUL

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Practice makes Perfect – MSc student Landysh’s ELBA Credit Suisse mock interview **More slots available**

IMG_9808(1)Masters student Landysh took part in the ELBA Credit Suisse Mock Interview event last term. More slots are available in early March – don’t miss this opportunity to refine your interview skills and receive valuable feedback on your interview technique with Credit Suisse employees from various fields.

Scroll down for full details, and read on for Landysh’s 5 reasons to get involved:

  • Credit Suisse is one of the world’s leading banks – This is a great opportunity to do a real-life interview without a possibility of failing. It is a good chance to practice how to prepare for an interview. And yes! Do your homework and find out more about Credit Suisse, their ongoing projects and most importantly – their corporate culture, values, and people.
  • Receive great advice on your CV – I was interviewed by a manager at Credit Suisse (!!!) and received the most valuable feedback and advice on how to improve it.
  • Get instant feedback – Though it all felt like a real interview, I received an instant feedback straight after on my performance. Normally you have to wait for the answer from your potential employer, and request for feedback which is not always given.
  • Practice how to deal with your nerves –  Even though I knew this is just a mock interview, there was no need to be nervous – it’s practice!

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The Multiple Mini Interview – a speed-dating type of interview!

A growing number of UK universities are now using the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) for their Medicine and Dentistry applications. St. George’s Medical School was the first UK institution to adopt this system in 2010 and it has spread quickly ever since.

The advantage that an MMI has for you is that if you have problems in one scenario or you feel that your answer has not been up to par, you can recover and give an excellent performance in a different situation, where you will be interacting with a different interviewer. It also gives you more opportunities to shine!

The test

When you go for an MMI, you move around an average of 10 interview stations.

handshake-2056023_960_720Each station lasts around 8-10 minutes and can include role-play activities, data analysis, traditional interview questions as well as questions on a given situation. You will be given time to prepare your answer and then you will interact with or be observed by an interviewer. The situations deal with a wide range of issues but they will normally focus on:

  • Ethical decision making
  • Critical Thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Contemporary healthcare issues

It is important to remember that you will NOT be assessed on your scientific knowledge.

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Introducing InterviewStream!

Got an upcoming video interview?

We’re pleased to announce we have just launched InterviewStream – our *brand new* video interview platform, where you can record and practise a number of ready made video interviews or create your own custom interview from a large bank of questions.

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  • Practise whenever, and wherever!

Take your mock interview using a Mac, PC, Android or iOS device.

  • Choose from 7000+ questions

Browse the library of interview questions, organised into themes and sectors, or select a ready made set of questions designed for you, including sector-specific interviews covering medicine, law, business and more.

  • See and hear yourself online

Review your own performance. Practise at your own pace and retry as many times as you need to. Why not try out the ‘umm, like, you know & I mean’ counter to tally how many filler words you’re using!

Sign up with your QMUL email address here to get started.

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How to research a company

gillGill Lambert, Careers Consultant

This blog focuses on how to research a company, an activity which is needed to make your cover letter stand out and also to answer the inevitable interview question “Why do you want to work for us?”  

I wrote this blog because my daughter recently asked me how to research a company. She graduated last summer and is looking for work through for graduate schemes.  I advised her to use the checklist below to organise the information and then I suggested a number of ways of gathering it. 

Information Checklist 

  • Basics: what the company does, who its customers are, who its competitors are 
  • Size & Reach: how many employees they have, where their offices are
  • History: origins and  defining moments 
  • Industry: trends, opportunities, threats
  • Financials & Operations: how, where and why it is growing (staying stable or shrinking), future plans
  • Reputation: what it offers that’s unique compared to its competitors, its market share, its reputation in the industry
  • News: press releases and articles 
  • Structure: the names of executives and advisers profiled on their employees page, how the company is organised, how the department that you are applying to impacts on the company’s business,  
  • Ethics: values, aims, personnel policies

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What is your greatest achievement?

winner-1019835_960_720As with many interview questions, ‘What is your greatest achievement?’ is not as straightforward as it first appears. That doesn’t mean it should be difficult to answer, but you have to know what the interviewer is looking for.

Let’s start with the basics. This does not have to be your greatest achievement in a literal sense, since that may be a personal matter (such as helping a family member). Rather, it should be a great achievement drawn from your professional experience. This includes work experience but also your education and extra-curricular activities.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of having to decide your ‘greatest’ achievement, try to think of an experience that shows you at your best. This, in turn, should provide an insight into your values and motivations.

The choice of achievement is important. The achievement you give should be something you’re genuinely proud of. However, a generic answer such as passing your driving test or getting good exam results says little about what makes you unique as a candidate.

Likewise, don’t give an answer that’s too general and/or can’t be backed up with evidence, such as ‘I’ve learned to be more confident around new people’. Not only is this unverifiable, it seriously lacks wow factor!

Examples of good answers include:

  • a challenge that you overcame
  • a time that you led a team to success
  • a difficult customer that you dealt with (and how)
  • an award that you won (and why)

The structure of your answer should be similar to that of other competency-based questions. As such, you should follow the STAR technique, with the exception that the ‘R’ (result) part comes first. But what the interviewer is most interested in is how you reached that achievement (the ‘action’ part of your answer).

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Answering the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question in an interview

20947593635_f0eae7d28c_zIt’s the opening question to many interviews, designed to get the ball rolling and give you the opportunity to provide an overview of yourself as a candidate, yet the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question provokes fear in even the most confident interviewees. How do you answer it? Here are some tips:

  1. It’s more specific than it seems. Candidates are sometimes bewildered by the seemingly limitless scope of this question. What shall I tell them about myself? Where do I start? But since this is an interview, the panel is going to want a structured response which gives some insight into your overall suitability for the position. So make your answer specific and relevant. Think about the person specification: what aspects of your work experience, academic experience, or overall life experience make you suited to the position and choose the most relevant examples.
  1. Think structure. The ‘Tell me about yourself’ question is just like any other interview question in the sense that it needs a clear structure, even if the need for this is less immediately obvious. You could start with what you’re currently studying and your academic experience, followed by some brief ‘highlights’ from your work experience, followed by what motivates you, your overall career goals and objectives, and perhaps even what caused you to apply for this position. This can be a balancing act, as you don’t want to veer too far into ‘what motivates you’ or ‘what are your career goals’, since these questions could also come up later in the interview. The best strategy is to have an idea of the answers you would give to all of these questions to ensure that they don’t overlap too much.
  1. Think length. Although the scope of this question is broader than other questions, the answer you give should not be longer (typically 90 seconds to 2 minutes). Avoid spending too long discussing your personal life (although this can be beneficial if you choose specific, relevant examples) or ‘zooming in’ too much on one experience or quality, as this answer should be about providing an overview and you will probably have to talk in depth about particular experiences later in the interview.

As with any interview question, the best method is to practice – so make some notes or a mindmap for how you would answer this question. Once you’ve run over the structure, you can ask the question to yourself or get a friend to ask you and practice giving your answer. Better still, you can book a practice interview (if you have an interview scheduled) for more in-depth practice. You can also find more interview resources, including our online interview simulator, on our QMPlus page.

Good luck!