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?

(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



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.


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?”