Personality and games

Warning: this is going to be a long one and all views are my own.

It is prime application season for Graduate Programmes. Knee deep in reading lists, cover letters, CV’s and psychometric tests.

I would just like to share my experience with the Unilever Future Leaders Programme, more specifically for their Marketing stream. For those that don’t know, Unilever is the group that makes iconic brands like Dove, Marmite, Knorr amongst dozens of other household names so it is no surprise that their graduate schemes prove extremely popular to graduates and students alike.

This is not the first time that I have applied for Unilever or many of the countless grad schemes that I will be hitting the submit button for this winter.

Graduate schemes in the UK are like gold dust. Why? Working for a household name, getting a 30k salary, support, rotations between business units and sometimes international travel. The average application process for graduate schemes are pretty similar usually starting with online application – online tests – interview – assessment centre. I usually strike out right about the online tests because my numerical testing ability is almost non-existant. Therefore, this year I was happy to see that Unilever had uncovered a new and streamlined approach to their recruitment process (I seem to remember in the previous years, there was a lot of competency based questions i.e. tell me about a time you showed leadership etc.)

This year, the online application was super quick and you can even just import your LinkedIn details – no questions on why Unilever? What can you bring to the table? I think anyone that meets their 2:1 requirement in any discipline will be invited to the online tests.

So getting to the meaty part of this post – how were these online tests different this year. Well, throw your psychometric test practice books out of the window. This is a PERSONALITY test! The test or online games consist of 12 different mini games that are played on this website: http://www.pymetrics.com

Here is a screenshot of the required games:

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The games last from about 1-5 minutes and are actually surprisingly fun and are supposedly useful in determining your character traits such as “Attention Duration”, “Planning speed” and “memory span”.

Although, I think that it is a innovative and re-invigorating way to recruit, I don’t believe that the pace at which I can press my spacebar is an appropriate measure into whether or not I would make a good marketer.

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Here are the results: On the left is the official report for the account I used to apply for the Unilever Graduate scheme which shows my top traits

 

 

 

below is a report of another trial that I did as a practice which is pretty consistent so far:

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However, as we move down the report….

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It turns out that I am 100% distracted and slow downed by distractions! Thanks Pymetrics

The discrepancy is seen further in the suggestions of Career paths:

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Law? Front-end Engineer? I don’t know, I’ve always thought that we should really take personality tests with a pinch of salt. We can have bad days and good days – as in days where we can press the spacebar ferociously and days where we might just lag behind and become distracted…

Either way, the 12 games are very fun, don’t take to much time and is definitely a refreshing new experience to the numerical, verbal, logical tests that most companies are still relying on.

I’d say give it a go and please let me know what your career path will be and if you have been successful with Unilever, what did you score?

(21/01/18) FYI: For those who are asking about practicing – I’d suggest just signing up on pymetrics with a different email before doing the real test first if you really need to practice because the 12 games are always the same. Good luck

 

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A day in the life of a poor ESL teacher

8.00am I woke up in my freezing flat to sound of people pounding down the stairs. Yup my thin wall is adjacent to the staircase of an old Parisian building in the 11th arrondissement. I got up to make a cup of tea and saw that my flatmate’s cat had left its usual piss puddle in the middle of the floor so I proceeded to clean that up.

8.30am All dressed and ready to go after a quick tea and 2 sad little knacki sausages for breakfast. I headed to my metro “Charonne”. I headed on to line 9 in the direction of “Pont de Sevres”. I got on to the metro forcing my way in between all the other poor souls heading to work and crushed by the invasive piles of Spring tourists heading to Trocadero to see the “magnificent” Eiffel Tower.

9.15am I arrive at Franklin Roosevelt to pick up my day sheet and get the teacher’s manuel from the staffroom.

9.30am My first lesson was with a shy lady who I had never met before because this isn’t my usual school. The lesson did not get off to good start. She told me that she felt ill today and was not in a particularly good mood. I thought to myself me neither but let’s just get on with it. The topic of conversation today: The Environment. Absolute torture – an hour and half of

Student: “What does it mean “living things?”

Me: “Urghhh.. things that are living… to live… alive.. you.. me.. animals..”

Student: “What does it mean “heat”?

Me: “Urghhh.. Hot: the adjective, heat: the noun. You know the opposite of cold”

11.00am The bell rings, and I breathe a sign of relief.. First torture over, time to head to my next lesson. I sign the sheet and leave the Champs Elysées heading back on to line 9. BOOM.. I’ve gone on the wrong direction of course, I jump off and walk up the stairs and over to the opposite platform feeling like a complete idiot.

11.35am I arrive at my school in Porte de Saint Cloud. Pick up my day sheet. Ok I have 2 more lessons.

12.30pm My student arrives, I’m wondering why the hell do I always end up teaching at lunchtimes don’t these people eat. The topic: “Making new business contacts”. This student a little more happy to share than the last and we spend a pleasant hour and half speaking her job as an accountant at Canalplus.

2pm Finally.. lunchtime. Awkward time. I need to print off the exercises for my private student after my day at xxxx. One of the other teachers has already arrived at the school even though his shift begins at 5pm – I wonder to myself if I am really that hopeless and its not the job but me or he is just overly enthusiastic- who knows.

2.45pm My final student arrives – it is a 14 year old boy. I wonder to myself why I always end up being lumped with teaching the kids when I never signed up for this. We spend an hour and half practising the present perfect. It was almost mechanical.

3.30pm I’m done for the day, at least for my day job. Off I head on the metro again, this time I’m going to Guy Moquet in the north of Paris. I arrive at Moromesnil to change for the line 13 – my most despised line on the Paris metro system. I attempted to push onto the metro but it was impossible. I waited for 5 minutes and was finally allowed on. I got on and ended up squished against a man holding a pizza box and I thought to myself that pizza must be damn good if he is willing to go into paris just to buy one.

4.05pm I finally arrive at Guy Moquet and get up my student’s apartment. She looks stunning today but extremely bored as usual. A 20 year old business student from La Reunion that needs to pass the BULAT test to get to 3rd year in her course. We have a light banter about last week as it was the school holidays and then went straight on to the past paper. I realise that I didn’t actually print off the answers so I ended up doing the test with her. The 2hrs was surprisingly pleasant and I was pleased as I would finally have some cash.

7pm She pays me and I leave her flat thinking my god I haven’t had money since last week, I’m definitely going to treat myself to a kebab, a can of coke and a packet of marlboro lights. And that’s what I did.

All this to say that life in Paris truly is what the French say “Metro, Boulot, Dodo”

 

Interview #5

Yesterday I went to another interview in Buckinghamshire – I got my sister to drive me there and then hang around in the small town for 2 hours while I was interviewing. Haha. I am mean.

The position was for an Intellectual Property Services Coordinator – so basically an administrative assistant in a translation company. The job doesn’t sound terrible exciting but it is 9-5.30 with an hr for lunch, well paid and very close to London; all-in-all, a very cushy job. However, I hated the interview in itself, not because I was nervous. I never get nervous in interviews but because the interviewers had no idea what they were doing. I hate people who don’t have any interview technique whatsoever and just read of the sheet – it was terribly distracting seeing the woman read and check off her piece of paper.

The interview was basically split into 3 parts:

PART 1. 3 exercises

The first exercise was to test how well I could prioritize or manage my time so the personnel woman who was pretty old and spoke extremely quietly lead me to an empty office and spread out 10 documents with an instruction sheet and answer sheet. The instructions told me that I was the Operations Manager of ABC industries – my major clients are Grouchy Enterprises and something else that I can’t remember the name off. I have been off for a week and need to deal with all the emails, messages and voice mails left for me on the Monday morning of my return. So, the documents included – my assistant who has called in sick and has a project that needs to be finished and sent to a client by 11am. A staff meeting at 9.30 with the MD, a new supplier meeting at 11am, a report to deliver to Grouchy Entreprises by 10am and several other issues to do with invoices that were URGENT. I was also given a chart of the company with names of who I worked with so that I could rather – delegate the task and to who, and which order etc. All in all, the exercise took about 20 minutes, and was pretty fun.

The second exercise was a basic filing test matching letters to numbers, a spelling test and a visual accuracy test.

Lastly, I was given an email from a client that required a translation except in the body of the email, the client asked for a translation by the 5th May and into German but in the subject of her email it was a translation into French and the deadline stated 27th June so I was supposed to write a response to the email which took me quite a while because at first I hadn’t noticed the discrepancies between the subject and the body of the email but I figured it out in the end!

PART 2. Interview with Personnel officer – this interview was ridiculously boring. I hate boring interviews, she basically just asked me a couple of questions about my CV off a sheet – “What attracted you to this position?”, “What do you think about our company?”, “When’s the earliest you could start?”, “Where else are you having interviews?”

PART 3. Interview with the managers of the department, two really quite young girls, one of them was German. I think this interview went a little better than the first, it was a lot more relaxed and I had a laugh with the girls because I think they weren’t much older than me but again, they were reading off a sheet of paper and worse making notes of my answers. I don’t mind when people take notes during interviews but I find it so much more interesting when the interview just flows easily and the interviewer seems to know what he/she is doing. All that scribbling just distracted and the questions they asked were the same as the personnel woman except they wanted to know an example of “How I was organised?”  I just made up a load of crap because I didn’t know what to say and probably because I’m not a particularly organised person but I can do admin.

I think things are not looking too positive for this interview as some of more answers weren’t particularly engaging I was too distracted by their crappy interview technique and the manic scribbling. NEXT.

Why you shouldn’t answer a recruitment consultant’s call?

Number of CV’s sent: 0

Number of calls received from recruiters: 4

Job interviews arranged: 1

Today, I was woken up by a call from a private number. I purposely didn’t answer the call because I knew it would be from a recruiter. Having gone through the emails and ad response from the weekend – they immediately pick up the phone to talk to potential candidates.

However, as you can see from my unemployment stats, I have already sent more than 300 applications this month – there is no way that I can remember which position I applied for, let alone which agency was I applying to. So I’ve learnt the trick is to not to answer the call. If you answer, you will be caught off guard. The conversation usually goes something like:

Me: Hello..

Recruiter: Good morning, I’m calling from XO recruitment, you applied for my xxxx role. Do you have so time to talk now?

Me: (thinking who and which position?) Oh yes, of course.

Recruiter: Great, so I’d like to know what interested you about the role?

Me: urghhhhhh… (I’m pulling a blank here)

If you don’t answer the phone, the recruiter is obliged to leave a voicemail and to send you an email. This way, you have time to not only look up what position it was for but also you can also check out the caller on linkedin.

However, there is something that is very irritating about Recruitment Consultants. Sometimes they call and they say: “Hello, you applied for xxxxxx position, I think you’d be great for the role and I’m keen to discuss with you in further detail.” What they actually mean is: “Hello, you applied for xxxxxx position, I’m not going to put you forward for the role, but I want you to add you onto my candidate database anyway so could you give me a call back.”

I have registered with four different recruitment agencies and there was only two that were actually interested in putting me forward for roles, the other two, I receive mailshots, invitations to candidate lunches where they ask me to bring a fellow jobseeker to the lunch. I’m not saying that all recruitment agencies are like this, but there’s a reason why the recruitment industry has such a bad name.

Do you want to earn £50,000 OTE in your first year?

Unhappy employees outnumber the happy ones.

As most other graduates will notice, the job boards are over run with advertisements for Recruitment consultants with basic salary ranging from £18,000 – £23,000 plus benefits like gym membership, lunch clubs, iphones and laptops as well as company holidays to Vegas and New York.

What are these companies looking? Tenacious, money-motivated individuals who want to earn over 50k in their first year.

I have been to 4 different interviews to Recruitment agencies – I accepted 1 offer and subsequently left the position, then went to 2 more – rejected one and was rejected by the other and finally last week, I went to another interview and I am now awaiting feedback.

The recruitment industry has an extremely high turnover because it is an extremely target-driven atmosphere. I worked for exactly a month in an international recruitment agency but I left the position.

Why?

Because it was simply a tedious job – Recruitment consultants are expected to work “flexible” hours – this can range from 8am – 7pm.

Making 60-80 cold calls per day to unsuspecting companies that have no interest in hiring and have also received about 10 other recruitment calls.

Lastly, the biggest reason I left was because I didn’t like the people I worked with. To be honest, I can safely say that Recruitment is a safe bet for me – I’m money hungry and I don’t care about the long hours if it meant earning that extra commission I would probably stay at work until 9/10pm.

But want the juice on my old company?

The training was horrendous – most recruitment agencies claim to have the best training programmes with no experience needed in sales, but this is just not the case. In most cases, they will just drop a list of “potential” clients and expect the new recruit to somehow generate business and turn their desk into a “hot” desk.

I was promised an excellent training programme that was one of the best in Europe, what did I receive? Well, lets see, the first week constituted of me “getting used to using the phones” so candidate update calls, client research calls. And then it was CANVASS, CANVASS, CANVASS – my boss’ exact words: “Make 60-80 calls a day, this is your job now until you can get a company on board.” So, effectively, no sales coaching, no objection handling – JUST CALL.

Aside from the lack of training, the other consultants were not particularly friendly people and it seemed like they spent their lives at work with not much banter – lunch was eaten at desks while working. There was a certain element bitchiness, however, that was going on behind the scenes. Emails were sent when god forbid I was 3 minutes late because of the tube delay. Or if I made a slight joke – it was twisted out of context and turned into a crime against the company name.

The recruitment industry has a bad name because there are too many companies out there who are not interested in training up their new recruits and are only interested in generating new business as they know there will always be a fresh grad who will be eager and willing to take the latter’s place.

If you want to work in Recruitment, make sure to thoroughly research the agency through glassdoor, and other means of reviews as well as asking as many questions as humanly possible in the interview. Don’t be caught up in the interview with just trying to impress the employer – think about whether you truly want to work there or you might end up like me… With a nasty false start on an already bog standard CV and having to explain in interviews “why did you leave my last position?”