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:

Here is a screenshot of the required games:


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.


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:


However, as we move down the report….


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:



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?





Apologies for the lack of update this week.
I woke up yesterday and could no longer move my neck. I still can’t look down and have to sit in extremely upright position. It’s ridiculous! I think its to do with the way I lie down sometimes with my laptop and my head isn’t properly supported so it serves me right really.
Anyway, the point of this post – well, remember the internship that was making me jump through hoops to get for months; they finally decided to offer me the position except that I have already decided to go to Paris and even put down a deposit for a room – a pretty expensive deposit at that.
I’m confused at the moment because this could potentially be a really good opportunity at the same time I have always had my heart set out on going back to Paris and I’m sure I’m fond of putting that off for a year to do this internship.
The internship would be in Munich but it only pays 400euros per month and although accommodation is provided, I would have to share a room with someone – something that I have never done in my 25 years of living. I find that a bit weird to continue the student lifestyle. Although, the internship and living in Munich could make up for that.
I’m so confused! I’m 80% leaning towards Paris but is this an opportunity that I shouldn’t pass on?

Phone interview disaster

Oh dear.
I have been waiting for a final phone interview for an internship in Germany since 4th April and every week it has been pushed back. Finally, this morning, I was half asleep when I saw a German number ringing and I picked up.
It was the owner of the travel company! How embarrassing – total lack of preparation.
Usually I am totally at ease with telephone interviews and many recruiters have complemented me on my confident telephone manner but this was just the worst interview ever.
To be fair, they had pushed back the interview a month so I was starting to question if they even wanted to interview me or just wanted to politely say I’d had enough.
The first question he asked was the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” – pretty standard and I think I handle this one, I know myself pretty well.
And then it just begins to go down hill
“you have never worked in the travel industry, why do you want to work for us?”
“what are your experiences in Marketing?”
“what are you doing right now? Working? Studying? NOTHING?”
All in all a complete failure, I’m sure I will be receiving the rejection email fairly soon.
I couldn’t even think of any questions to ask him at the end – usually I have some really great ones up my sleeve.

25+ Part deux

Continuing on from my post about my experience with JSA and the 25+ cut off point.

Yesterday, was my usual sign on date and went in to sign on when I was informed that now that my claim was reaching it’s 6th week, the process for 25+ year olds is now slightly different and I have to go to an obligatory skills testing that will last 2 days from 9.30 – 3.30pm. The assessment day apparently consists of your basic numerical and verbal testing and then the organisers will then look at your CV and discuss any training possibilities needed or on offer. It seems to me that it is a pretty good idea for some people who need some help with their CV and its always to get a second opinion but I’m not sure why I will have to spend a total of 18hrs at this assessment thing.

I previously questioned the 25 year old cut off as the definition of being classed as an adult and found out something interesting whilst preparing for my return to Paris, I have been looking up various details and have found that over in France – it seems that their youth/adult cut off point is 26 years of age. Well… I’m still stumped..
Skills assessment days next Tuesday and Wednesday and then Paris the Tuesday after that. Bring it.

Lost emails

As some of you may be aware if you have read any of my previous post. I recently applied to the to study Chinese in Taiwan. To be honest, I had a pretty long shot of getting in due to my lack of formal education in Chinese and I speak a dialect at home so I wasn’t exactly expecting anything spectacular. However, being unemployed, I have a good amount of time on my hands and decided to look at some information on Taiwan anyway and fell upon a forum where some other applicants for the scholarship had been posting. Turns out that they were dishing out interviews for this thing already and the UK applicants apparently received an email from BACS (British Association of Chinese Studies) acknowledging receipt of their application and another from the actual Taiwan embassy informing them that they would be conducting the phone interviews in the following week. Well, this certainly came as a surprise to me since I never received any notification of BACS receiving my application or the other email from the Embassy so I sent an email to them both. A nice lady from the embassy replied to me pretty quickly informing me that she had only received the applications that had been forwarded on by BACS but she had found my name under the incomplete applications list – in addition to this, she informed me that my references had been received but they had not received my application. And there was nothing that she could do and I would have to see this with BACS.

Well, this was certainly a great surprise to me because I definitely sent the application and the email was sitting well in my sent items with no email of a bounce back or an unable to deliver report. Finally, a few weeks later I receive an email from BACS, a Dr Kan actually, informing me that he never received my application and there was no proof that I had sent my email even though I had forwarded the original email and sent a screenshot of my sent box. That in itself royally ticked me off, the way the guy put it was basically accusing me of lying that I had sent the email, no apology and told me to try again next year.

I am not exactly expecting him to miraculously give me a scholarship due to the fact that of the whole confuffle with my application and respected that the deadline had passed now for a couple of weeks and the woman at the embassy was already conducting her interviews but I expected at least an apology. So anyway, this guy is convinced he never received my application and he also said that this kind of situation had never happened before which is also utter bullshit because there was another person on the forum who was in the exact same situation except it was one of her references, not her application.

All this just got me wondering, where the hell are these apparent “lost emails”? Or is he just a royal douche.


Today is my 3 month anniversary as an unemployed person and 5 month anniversary since returning to life in the UK.

Granted, it’s not really something to be celebrated but looking back on how time has gone past; it has definitely got me thinking.

In these past 5 months, I have moved home to live with my parents, quit a job, done a temporary assignment, broken up with my boyfriend, sent over 400 CV’s and applications, attended 6 interviews, been to Germany, seen my sister get married and I am pretty much in the same place as I was 5 months ago.

Unfortunately, things are not looking to change any time soon. I still haven’t worked out where my life is headed, chances of me getting a job any time soon seems slim and I’m starting to lose momentum in even applying. Everyday, I’m just waiting for the phone to ring – anyone want to hire me? My job search is going south – the same agencies are advertising similar positions and I have already been to register with them and I haven’t received a single call about a job.

I feel like I’m stuck in this house with my parents with no friends who live nearby and nothing to do. I need a new hobby. I need new friends. Suggestions welcome.


So back in February I was starting to feel very desperate and just wanted to go back to Paris so I started applying like crazy to some internships and jobs over there and today I finally got a response from someone. I mean it took them more than a month to reply asking if I was still looking for an internship and when would I be available to start.

Is it just me or is a month a long time to wait for a reply from a job – I understand if it’s some sort of high level position but it seems bizarre to me that he’s coming back to me now. Anyway, I replied quite happily informing him that I would be available in 2 weeks so if all goes to plan I might be heading back to Paris after all.

Talking about Paris, I have been missing it lately so I was searching around for some blogs on WordPress and I have to say I am unimpressed with some of the Paris blogs out there. I don’t mean to offend anyone because I’m all for moving to Paris and following life long dreams and well what can I say.. it’s Paris. But Paris is not just taking photos in front of the Eiffel Tower and eating macaroons at La durée. Just saying.


I’m struggling with so many things right now. What I want to do with my life? What am I going to do if I go to Germany? What am I going to do if I get the scholarship to go to Germany? When am I ever going to finish my dissertation? Should I go to Paris while waiting for the job in Germany? What should I write about on my blog?

So many questions going on in my head. I feel like I’m going to explode or implode? Another question.

It is actually really hard work to keep up a blog and to keep writing so I’m kind of happy that I decided to do this because I’m a real procrastinator and I will do anything but commit to anything and this blog has pushed me to do something and the comments that I receive from kind strangers about my life is encouraging.

I have been doing a lot of things lately, and also doing a lot of nothing. But, I’m happy to report that I completed a certificate for Microsoft Excel 2010 and yesterday, I started the introduction on my dissertation so I’m finally pretty positive today. But, I think the highlight would really be speaking to my friends on skype last night. They were surprised to hear how “chipper” I was sounding, considering that I live in the middle of nowhere, have no friends, no job and no life, but, somehow, feeling content, which is unusual for me.

Also, for once, I had a pleasant experience at the job centre. Another sign on day, but not another horror story. I had the same woman as I had two weeks ago and this time she didn’t suggest that I go into Accountancy or Teaching so the visit was all-in-all quite painless as she saw that I had been applying for jobs and I had been to 2 interviews in the last 2 weeks.

After that, I decided to go to a recruitment agency that had called me up yesterday, and here lies my mistake. I should never have gone there, it was a sheer waste of time as usual. There were trying to push me into doing a night shift at a call centre catering for Canadian-French speakers. I’m all for work and doing things to get more experience but I’m really not interested in doing shift work anymore. I did a lot of that when I was a waitress – 55hrs a week finishing at 2am/4am. It’s not a life. So I kindly told the recruitment consultant that I wasn’t going to be interested and she made me register with her anyway – the registration consisted of filling in a form, a signing off a couple of agreements as well as an aptitude test which was ridiculously easy with a few simple calculations and matching up so stuff. She then had a quick chat about what I was looking for and I told her that I was only really looking for office work with normal office hours and she said that it was unlikely that she would be able to help me with my limited experience. It’s so annoying this whole “limited experience” thing. I have a year’s experience in a office and degree in French – but somehow I’m not qualified to do some filing and admin work and my job pool is limited to serving and call centre shift work. Where am I suppose to get more experience if I can’t even get temp work. Recruitment consultants are only interested in making money and will never be interested in helping me find a job, they just saw “French” and tried to push me into a call centre job. Well, no thanks.

Side note: a receptionist position that I applied to a month ago, now wants to interview me. How random.

Life issues

Yesterday, I found out that my interview in Germany was a success!

I’ve been avoiding calls for a few days now since I got back from Germany. I’m not really sure why, but everytime I saw the phone ring I just let it. I think it was the fact that if I answered the phone and it was a big fat no then it would have been back to the drawing board.

Anyway, the problem is that the training programme they have for the position actually begins on Monday and the HR woman felt that that was a little soon for me since my interview only took place on 6 days ago – the move to Germany, finding a place to live so they have basically put me on hold. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. My sister’s wedding is next Sunday anyway, so it would have been pretty annoying to start a training programme for a week and then fly back and sort of get around it or attempt to take one day off which would have been completely ridiculous. However, the company basically don’t know when they will actually have the next training programme, but they indicated that it might be in May since they need at least 5-10 people for the training programme etc, they are obviously not just going to do another one just for me. So, all in all, I got the job but I haven’t because I have to wait at the least another month or maybe even 2 months but they have indicated that they will get back to me as soon as they know when they will have the training and if I’m still interested in the position then we will go from there. So now, I’m evaluating what to do. I really want to go to Germany and I want this job but I’m bored of sitting around and filling in applications. Plus, if I was thinking about accepting this job in a month or two, then it would be stupid to start work and then stop again. I’ve been thinking about temping again but it seems like this kind of work isn’t readily available or they just don’t have that many temping jobs round where I live. I’ve decided that I might go back to Paris for a while, at least, while I’m waiting because I feel like staying in the UK is sucking the life out of me and I don’t want to work here so what’s the point in applying for a load of jobs I don’t want to do?

Finally, I am also applying for a scholarship to study in Taiwan for a year but I’m not really sure about this one, I would love to learn Chinese but I think I need to give studying a rest now and get some really solid work experience under my belt… Also, I am afraid of what my parents will think… Although, learning Chinese is important to them as it is a part of my history and our heritage, it seems that all they are interested in is getting me into a stable job, earning enough so I can buy a house and pay off a mortgage and basically begin my adult life. But I’m not interested in that, I want to live from country to country, learn new languages, travel, make new friends. I have absolutely no intention of putting a down payment on a house and then being stuck in the UK. I have had some talks with my sister about this as I guess my parents really don’t get it – they project too much hope or my mother has imagined a life for me that I don’t want but I’m still feeling guilty so…

Time will tell.

Stupid questions

Another visit to the job centre, another horror story.

I went in today to “sign on”, and I happened to get the woman I first met at the start of my JSA journey back in November. As I walked up to her desk when she called out my name I knew that the experience was going to be excruciating. I sat down and she said immediately to me

Tell me about your job search then, what have you done?

Sure, just have a look at my notes on Universal job match. She scrolls through my job search and comes across a note I made about receiving an email from a agency recruiter telling me that I was “unsuccessful” and that my CV wouldn’t be passed on to their client.

Did you ask for feedback?

Feedback from a recruiter about why they didn’t send my CV across, of course not. If I did that I’d be making a lot of calls.

She looked at me for a second and said I recognise you actually, we’ve met before. You’re the girl that spent a year in France or something. I said yes, I am indeed, I spent five years actually. She then asked me the most ridiculous question:

Is it really that hard to find a job?

Ha, do I have an answer to that question? Well, I’m still here claiming the dole aren’t I so yes it really is that hard. She then suggested to me that I should look into accounts or book-keeping. Why is becoming an accountant always the answer for getting a job? I am not in the slightest bit numerical and I dropped maths as soon as I hit A-levels. She then scrolled over my CV and said

Oh, well you have catering experience – you’ve worked in restaurants, why don’t you just do that?

Urgh… I don’t know, because I don’t really want to be a waitress for the rest of my life. It’s interesting how the job centre staff just want me to get any job – be it cleaner, waitress, factory worker. They don’t care and they wish to make me feel as uncomfortable as possible each visit. Yet, everyday, in the news, we are reading out a benefits lifestyle and benefits Britain. Why aren’t they chasing after those people who actually don’t have any intention of finding work?

Luckily, tomorrow, I have an interview for a translation company so I’m feeling pretty optimistic at the moment and I just spent a good half an hour chatting to the recruiter – so basically being spoon-fed some answers for the interview tomorrow. Apparently, it will last about two hours – a traditional interview and then three practical exercises – answering an email to one of the “clients”, e-tray exercise prioritizing tasks for a typical work day and a spelling test.

Then, next week, I’m going to Germany next week for another interview. I can’t wait to get out of this rut.