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Employer Engagement Higher Level Apprenticeships Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week PwC Software With Digital Technology

HLA Employer Case Study: PWC

Joanne Corry, Student Recruitment Manager, PWC

“Our Higher Level Apprenticeship that we have with Queen’s University Belfast is a Software with Digital Technology. We have just recruited our fourth intake for 2021. It is a four-year degree programme, and you are an apprentice from Day One at Queen’s University. 

“For us as a firm, this partnership brings a lot of benefits. We have students that are quite focussed on what they want to do and the career path that they want to take.

They complete placements throughout their time at University with PWC – in first and second year, a 3-month placement from June to August, and then in third and final year they do nine-month placements, split over two placements. 

For us as a firm, it diversifies our workforce. So, we’re getting them straight from A level, they are learning up-to-date academic knowledge in that field and bringing those key skills into our workplace, which really benefits us as a firm.

We’ve had some amazing students in and we have already used some of their proposals of work they have done.

For the student, it is excellent. You are an employee of the firm from Day One. You get all your fees paid, you get a salary from PWC and alongside the salary and the University learning, you also have that support network in the firm as well. 

So, you will be able to be mentored by people that are specialist in the area that you wish to pursue your career in and support your academic learning also. 

We became involves in the HLA partnership because we felt it was necessary for our firm to look at other options and it’s been a real success to date.

It is important for PWC to have an influence on what’s covered within the programmme because that is what we need future employees of the firm to be aware of. Mixing that academic with industry experience gives the student a better overall experience of putting the theory in to practice, so it really important to have industry within that academic piece, to bring it all to life for the students and  see how it works in the real world.

There is a learning experience to come with it. There is a bit more pastoral care needed and a bit of upskilling in professionalism and how to conduct a conversation with clients etc, but what I would say is they take it up really quickly because they’re really engaged and really committed to what they’re doing.

We don’t really see them as apprentices but as graduates within the firm because they are doing the same level of work and they are coming back with that experience each placement.

There is probably a bit of structure needed in place to support them because it is a big learning experience for them, going betweenUniversity and the workplace. We have put a lot of time and effort into that to make sure we do give all the support that’s required.” 

Find out more about Higher Level Apprenticeships at Queen’s

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Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employers Study abroad volunteering Work abroad work experience WORK EXPERIENCE AND PLACEMENT FAIR

Over 60+ Amazing Companies You Can Meet at the Work Experience & Placement Fair

Whether you are looking for a summer job, a placement or an internship, you can meet a host of employers from every industry with opportunities for students just like you. Here is who is registered to exhibit at the Work Experience and Placement Fair on 24 Feb.

            EY (UK)

            Catholic Guides of Ireland Northern Region

            Le Pritchitt & Co Ltd

            Grant Thornton

            Civil Service Fast Stream

            National Trust

            Teach First

            FinTrU

            AquaQ Analytics

            Synopsys

            Think Pacific

            KPMG (NI & ROI)

            RNID

            Probation Board for N.Ireland

            SIG

            Cloudsmith

            PwC

            Arthur Cox

            Herbert Smith Freehills

            Specialisterne NI

            Version 1 Ltd

            Farrans

            Regional Medical Physics Service, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust

            Diaceutics

            CK International

            Rakuten Blockchain Lab

            IAESTE – British Council 

            Orchardville

            Christies Direct

            GCD Technologies

            SpotX

            Chartered Accountants Ireland

            RPS Ireland Ltd

            Coffey Construction (I) Ltd

            Alloyed Limited

            Childline

            First Derivatives

            Design ID Consulting Ltd

            Centre for Effective Services

            Citi

            TUSLA Child and Family Agency

            Civil Service Local – Cabinet Office

            ASM Chartered Accountants

            3EN Cloud Ltd

            McLaughlin & Harvey

            ReGen Waste

            For Purpose

            BBC Northern Ireland

            Inspire

            Celerion GB Ltd

            Foods Connected

            Spirit AeroSystems

            Allstate Northern Ireland

            Leonard Cheshire Disability

            Nitec Solutions Ltd

            EOS IT Management Solutions

            Glen Dimplex

            Henderson Group

            Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK), Ltd

            Symphony Talent

            Shelter Northern Ireland

            CavanaghKelly

            Eli Lilly and Company

NI Screen

Have you registered for the fair yet? If not, you can register here.

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Creative careers cultural careers Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employer Panels Employers Networking not for profit work experience WORK EXPERIENCE AND PLACEMENT FAIR

How to Network Ahead of the Work Experience and Placement Fair

The theme for the Work Experience and Placement Fair on 24 February is #ExperienceMore and we are giving you the opportunity to do just that with four amazing employer panels taking place in the run up to the fair. It’s a great networking opportunity and offers the chance to ask questions of some key players in your target industry. 

However, often the word ‘networking’ can fill you with dread. Don’t fret – it’s something you do every day. “Networking is something we do everyday, often without realising it!,” says Emma Lennox, Queen’s Careers Consultant. “It’s about reaching out to people, sometimes with an objective in mind (potentially employment-related) and sometimes not.

It’s about connecting online and in person. If online, be professional, join groups and post meaningful comments, expand your network and be curious!” she says.

Before the sessions

Emma suggests doing a bit of desktop research before attending an employer panel so you know who is going and what you might want to ask. While the guest speakers will be doing much of the talking, it doesn’t hurt to have a short bio prepared in case you are asked. According to Emma, this should answer three key questions: Who are you?

What do you do/study? What are you looking for?

At the sessions

Emma has prepared the following cheat sheet of questions you can ask our employers at our panel sessions and at the Work Experience and Placement Fair:

How did you start in this area of work?

Where do you see a person like me fitting into this field (industry, company)?

What professional associations should I join?

What professional publications should I read?

What are some of the problems and issues your organisation faces?

What are the most necessary skills for these types of jobs?

What are the trends affecting your business?

What’s a typical career path for someone coming in at my level?

Can I keep in touch with you and let you know my progress?

Register here for the Work Experience and Placement Fair

Register for our Employer Panels through our Careers Events page.

Read next:

Networking Opportunities Ahead of the Work Experience and Placement Fair

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Creative careers cultural careers Employer Engagement Employer Panels Employers international careers Networking not for profit WORK EXPERIENCE AND PLACEMENT FAIR

Networking Opportunities Ahead of the Work Experience and Placement Fair

The theme for the Work Experience and Placement Fair on 24 February is #ExperienceMore and we are giving you the opportunity to do just that with four amazing employer panels taking place in the run up to the fair. Designed to give you access to networking opportunities and to provide valuable introductions to key figures in your target industries, here is the who, what, where and when you need.

Want a career with international travel?

Join our expert panel to talk about their international career paths, their road to success and valuable lessons learned along the way. Hear from Michael Barton, Invest NI Regional Director for Canada, and Exchanges4Peace Jessica McClearn on working in NYC.

Date: 19 February 2021, 1-2pm 

Register here

Interested in conservation, heritage and museums?

Whether you want a career in environmental conservation, heritage organisations, archives, museums or galleries, our expert panel will feature Louise Smyth from NI Museums and Kim McMonagle from the National Trust. They’ll be talking about the skills and experience you need to move into the sector. 

Date: 22 February 2021, 1-2pm

Register here

Want to work in the Public or Not for Profit Sector?

Perhaps you want to work for a charity or an NGO, or forge a career as a public servant. Our panel features representatives from The Probation Board for Northern Ireland and the Community Foundation who’ll be discussing their own path to success and how you can move into the sector.

23 February 2021, 1-2pm 

Register here.

Interested in a Creative Career?

From arts & culture, music, publishing and film industries, you’ll need a portfolio.  Join our panellists and find out what skills and work experience are needed to build your body of evidence successfully to move into the sector. Featuring employers from ALT Animation, Hypixel Studios, film production company Retinize and writer and director Rebekah Davis, this session will be packed with top tips on breaking into the creative sector.

Date: 24 February, 2.30-3.30pm

PLEASE NOTE: THIS SESSION WILL BE SCREENED WITHIN THE WORK EXPERIENCE AND PLACEMENT FAIR ON 24 FEB. ONCE INSIDE THE FAIR, LOCATE THE CREATIVE CAREERS STALL.

REGISTER HERE

Read next:

How to network ahead of the Work Experience and Placement Fair

Categories
Discover EY Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employers EY internship Social Media Takeover TuesdayTakeover

How the Discover EY Insight Programme Helped Land me an Internship

Craig McAuley, Queen’s student

What was your highlight of the Discover EY Programme?

Having the opportunity to learn more about the opportunities available within the company as well as get a first-hand insight into the day-to-day workings of each service line was invaluable. Doing your research online is one thing, but finding out what people actually do on a day to day basis and the skills required for the roles they work in was a big plus for me and a key decider in my decision to select the service line I did for my internship.

How did the knowledge and insight you gained on the programme help you along your career journey?

Having the opportunity to interview for the summer 2021 position so early on certainly took the stress off applying for internships during the academic year, as well as helping me come much closer to deciding what I wanted to do as a career.

What did you learn about the industry and about yourself?

What struck me most at EY was the emphasis on technology and how it is applied to all industries in a bid to streamline processes and make companies more efficient. The multifaceted nature of each service line in terms of the work they did, and the range of individuals from different backgrounds who worked within them was also encouraging as someone who had come to university later than most.

How did the networking sessions differ from what you had imagined?

The opportunity to ask any questions I liked I found very valuable, and that they didn’t have to be directly related to that individual’s occupation. Each person I spoke too also came across just as approachable as the next, regardless of their role within the company. 

What doors did the EY programme open for you?

The ability to secure a summer internship for 2021.

At what stage did you decide you would like a career at EY?

Following the discover EY programme, and when I compared it to similar events with other firms.

In what ways did the people you meet at Discover EY inspire you?

The passion each person had for their role and how they seemingly, genuinely enjoyed what they did, was perhaps the most inspiring of all. This in turn gave me the confidence to apply knowing it was a place where I too would enjoy working and which provided a culture I could relate to.

Can you describe which workshops and networking sessions you found most engaging and why?

Surprisingly, found the assessment day the most engaging of all the sessions. Being left to our own devices, with some pressure, really brought the best out of the group and I felt what we produced in the time given was of a high standard.

What would you say to first years who thinks it’s too early to start researching employers and building up their professional network?

If you don’t, it’s too late! All internships and placements with big firms are so competitive now, and if you don’t start in first year, you are already on the back foot. Given the first years on such programmes have access to the internship and placement positions via fast tracked interviews and assessment centres before anyone else, if you leave it to second or final year, many of the places are already gone before you have even started.

In what ways did the insight programme help build your confidence, professional network and skills?

Given that at the time, a work from home environment was still quite unique for many, having the opportunity to interact, network and work as a team in a virtual environment I found invaluable. I certainly feel it set me up well for my years study this semester, and in other endeavours between then and now. I have also made contacts in the form of both fellow students, as well as employees at EY which I have no doubt will be invaluable at some stage in the future. 

Apply for the Discover EY programme here

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Discover EY Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Insight Employers EY First years Graduate recruitment Graduate success graduate training schemes placements Second years Social Media Takeover

Inside the Discover EY Insight Programme

I took part in the Discover EY programme in June 2018 and for me, the highlight was getting to meet and interact with different people across all the departments within EY. The Discover EY experience provided the opportunity to really understand the individual service lines within EY and what their main roles are. This was a huge insight to me as previously I wasn’t fully aware of the differences between each service line and what a typical day looks like working in each. 

Discovering options

The programme brought to my attention the scope of the work that EY carry out for big name clients and that there were so many more career paths and opportunities in varying departments, most of which I didn’t known EY even had. This was interesting to me as it showed how you can progress and try new things within your career at EY. The programme allowed me to see the differences between EY and its competitors through listening to some colleagues describing their career paths.

Discover EY Belfast

Finding mentors

Throughout Discover EY, each team had mentor leads, most of which were people completing their Graduate Training Programme. The networking and relaxed working environment made me feel at ease asking questions and getting to know the company better as I was speaking to people who were in my shoes a matter of years ago. We also had a BBQ one evening with some food and drinks which was very informal and allowed us to network with many different people within EY of all levels. The BBQ was enjoyable because it was outside of the office, and the new atmosphere made everyone feel relaxed and more confident to ask questions, as it can be intimidating asking questions in quiet room where there are a lot of people.

A Career launchpad

From the Discover EY programme, the talent team asked me to put forward service lines and choice of programme, i.e. summer internship or industrial placement, which I would be interested in. I interviewed for an Industrial Placement within Strategy and Transactions and was successful. I completed my Industrial Placement from July 2019 to September 2020 in the sub-service line Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy, from where I got an offer to complete my Graduate Training Programme from September 2021. Therefore, the Discover EY programme has made a huge impact on my career and has provided me with many opportunities and so I would advise anyone to give it a go.

Real challenges and skills development

From hearing of different career paths of those who worked in EY, I was inspired to learn more about Strategy and Transactions and work to secure a position within the service line. I had never understood or was aware of the different services provided in Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy and was interested in the tasks they carried out. 

Some of the tasks within the Discover EY programme included a case study of a hypothetical company. Each group had to interview some senior members of staff acting as the company directors, which helped develop skills that would be relevant if ever meeting clients. Reflecting real life situations showed what would be expected if I ever would work closely with clients in a career and provided me with application of client interview skills.

Start in first year

I was in first year when I applied for the Discover EY programme, and took part in it in the summer after first year. If I had completed it the year after I would not have had the opportunity to complete my placement with EY and then would not have been able to secure a Graduate role. It is important that in first year you seek information about companies that appeal to you and where you feel you would fit in well as it could open many doors for you.

The insight programme developed my network and made me feel more confident in what career path interested me most. It provided me with extent knowledge of the financial services industry and allowed me to develop skills in client scenarios which I could transfer to future interviews and further on in my career. 

About Discover EY

Find out more about EY Belfast by taking part in our Discover EY Insight Programme. 

Over the course of two and a half days you can expect to take part in:

  • Sessions that will help you understand what we do, our service lines and our client work
  • Interactive skills sessions and case study work
  • Networking events with EY staff and recent graduate joiners
  • Take part in assessed activities
  • Opportunity to hear from panels of EY staff 

You’ll learn lots about what we do – and about yourself. We want to help you understand how you can apply your strengths to your ideal career. If you show enthusiasm, make a positive impact and demonstrate strengths we look for in our teams, there is the possibility you will be fast tracked to a final interview for your chosen placement or internship with us. 

Discover EY is a learning experience aimed at first- year university students and those in their second year of a four year course. We welcome applications from students across all degree disciplines. 

A two-step application process includes filling in a basic application form followed by online assessments- including a numerical test. 

Apply now.

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Discover EY Employer Engagement Employer Insight Employers EY internship

“I enjoyed hearing about the focus on people and culture”

What was your highlight of the Discover EY Programme?

I really enjoyed hearing about the networks, including the international network, the family network, the women’s network and the mental health network as well as many more. My highlight was hearing from all these different sections and what EY is doing to focus on the people culture aspect of the firm. It was great to speak with Philip Hull and hear his experiences while learning that EY focuses on wellbeing and diversity. It was also great to get a little package of EY merch in the post!

How did the knowledge and insight you gained on the programme help you along your career journey?

I found the ‘Get to Know us’ section very beneficial as I was able to find out more about the firm and the four service lines. The assurance service line interested me the most hearing where they focus on the audit process and how they test and analyse data. As I gained knowledge on the four service lines, I discovered I would be interested in auditing with the opportunity to work with many clients. After hearing this I chose to apply for an internship.

What did you learn about the industry and about yourself?

More than anything I learnt that EY are very focused on the individuals that work for them. Instead of just academia they are focused on individuals that are strong communicators, team players, adaptable, analytical, number savvy and in the know. This helped me to understand that I need to concentrate not only on my university degree but also how I am as a person. The interactive side of Discover EY helped me to develop skills and the feedback on my online tests and interviews have allowed me to identify and work on my weaknesses.

How did the networking sessions differ from what you had imagined? (For example, were they more relaxed/fun/informative than you had envisaged?)

Originally, I expected Discover EY to be in person, but quickly realised with the restrictions and current state of COVID, it was to be moved online. The online aspect of it worked really well as it was very accessible. The sessions were interactive with many opportunities to ask questions and respond via speaking or answering in the chat section. I especially enjoyed their interactivity as I had a lot of questions for most of the sessions, but I also enjoyed being involved in the quiz that took place on a video call through ‘Kahoot!’ it was great fun. 

What doors did the EY programme open for you? (For example, knowledge/confidence to secure a placement and or graduate role)

Through the Discover EY programme, I have been able to secure a summer internship role which I am looking forward to. I am really hoping I will enjoy this and be able to further my career in EY. I have also been able to keep track with events that EY hold and I have already been able to get involved in some, for example their virtual event for ‘Wellbeing week’ which is taking place this week. So far ‘Wellbeing Week’ has been very insightful and relatable, with great guests including Dr Alex George, Anthony Joshua and Joe Wicks.

At what stage did you decide you would like a career at EY?

From the very start of the Discover EY virtual event I was sold. The friendliness of the facilitators made me feel very welcome. I love that they focus on the person they are employing rather than just qualifications. This shows me that they are very inclusive, flexible and are part of a culture I would like to be part of. 

In what ways did the people you meet at Discover EY inspire you?

The people who were involved were passionate about EY and clearly very knowledgeable, they were able to answer all of our questions. They were very professional but clearly had fun and enjoy their work.

Can you describe which workshops and networking sessions you found most engaging and why?

I really enjoyed a session in which we completed various tasks such as: dealing with incomplete data, leveraging different perspectives and ability to see the big picture (a riddle), these were an interactive set of challenges which were designed to assess us but despite being challenging, they were great fun.

What would you say to first years who thinks it’s too early to start researching employers and building up their professional network?

There is a lot more to employers and firms, than just their logo and what we think we know about them. It’s good to get involved early to be able to make the most of events organised and to allow you to discover more about their culture by interacting with their people. 

In what ways did the insight programme help build your confidence, professional network and skills?

It challenged me by having to think on my feet, interact with people who I had never met before and this has certainly helped my confidence. I have only had a few interviews for part time jobs, and it was the first interview for a professional job and this will help me in my future career. Since Discover EY I have made a conscious effort to create a LinkedIn account and connect with others.

Apply for Discover EY here

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Advent Calendar advice Employer Engagement Linkedin Networking Social Networks

Careers Advent Calendar: Managing Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is like marmite. Some people love it. Some people loathe it. I confess to being nearer to the second category myself. But here’s the catch – it is a useful and influential platform for kickstarting your career.

Why? 3 reasons…

  1. Networking – LinkedIn isn’t like other social media platforms. It has a career focused USP, meaning you can cultivate a specific professional network. You can follow what other people in your industry are talking about, share opportunities and ideas and, yes, even steal a few too!
  2. Career Path – One of LinkedIn most notable features is that users upload their career and educational history to their profile. This means you can check out what career path your professional role models took when you’re planning your own professional journey 
  3. Jobs – LinkedIn is no silver bullet to your unemployment woes. But it does boast an impressive jobs feature, allowing you keep track of who’s hiring in your area, what skills and experience they’re looking for and more details on how you might apply. 

Convinced yet? Well, let’s pretend you are.

So how can you make the most of your new LinkedIn account? Here 10 short, sharp, tip-top tips:

  1. Profile Picture – Something vaguely professional please, no snaps from ‘Malouf 2k18 Lads Holiday’
  2. Background Picture – Always more tricky I know, but popping in something, even just your top landscape shot, adds some personalization to your profile.
  3. Make Your Summary Sing – This is your first chance to show off, so pretend it’s a job interview and sell your unique story! 
  4. Specific Skills – Don’t sell yourself short. Have a think about what you can offer to an employer, and try not to lie! 
  5. Job History – Take a few minutes and do this right. Make sure you get your employment and educational history correct, you’d be surprised how many people will see it.
  6. Describe Your Work – Job titles aren’t enough, tell us what you did in the role.
  7. Network Building – Be careful here, you don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry spamming your timeline. Remember LinkedIn is career focused, so only connect with folks who are professionally relevant. Colleagues, role models and career influencers? Perfect! That Ex you never got over? Avoid!
  8. Endorsements – Not one of my favourite features but useful nonetheless. Give your connections some endorsements for their skills and, who knows, they might return the favour!
  9. Contact Information – The internet is a weird place, so don’t overshare, but a professional email address allows those interested in your work to drop you a line.
  10. Kill The Buzzwords – I know it’s tempting to fill your profile with all the latest, and still meaningless, industry jargon. But it makes for painful reading so cut the ‘synergies’, ‘passionate’ and ‘results-driven’ lines. When it comes to who you are – show, don’t tell!

Now you’re all set! 

One thing’s for sure, LinkedIn isn’t as fun as other social media platforms. So, don’t forget about it as the notifications pile up. LinkedIn is a platform that’s on the rise, make sure you make the most of its ascendency. 

Good Luck!

About the author: 

Thomas Copeland is a second year Politics, Philosophy and Economics student. He is Founder & Editor of Challenges NI and is the Head of News at Queen’s Radio.

WATCH: Using LinkedIn Effectively

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Employer Engagement Employer events Employer Panels Employers EY Graduate recruitment Interviews Skills Strengths-based interviews Uncategorised Virtual recruitment

How to Succeed in Strengths-Based Recruitment

Sarah McKeag, Associate Director for Talent Attraction and Acquisition at EY Belfast

Sarah McKeag, Associate Director for Talent Attraction and Acquisition at EY Belfast talks skills-based recruitment and how it differs from the traditional recruitment process.

About EY

EY are one of the big four professional services firms. We have about 550 staff in Belfast at present and 18,000 staff in 21 offices across the UK. We are traditionally known for bringing staff into their chartered accountancy-based exams, be that an audit business or tax business. We have a large consulting business in Belfast and we bring in students now down different routes, through data analytics, project management, contract and procurement management – so there is a wide opportunity for students at all levels within EY. We are a global organisation in 150 companies worldwide. So, the opportunity for students to move and to travel and gain that vast exposure is there, right on their doorstep in Belfast.

Strengths-based recruitment at EY

We have stepped away from traditional [recruitment] routes, we did this about 10 years ago and we work with an organisation called the Centre For Applied Psychology. They have helped us develop this strength-based recruitment process to assess potential in students. So that is the main difference in strength-based recruitment: we’re not looking for the students to have had work experience or experience in a range of things, we’re looking for the potential they have to become leaders in our business and to become successful in our business.

We review our process every couple of years. We review the strengths we use, the frameworks, to make sure that they are aligned to the people who are performing the highest in our business and then this helps assess this potential in the students coming in. So, if we think about what other employers use, they typically use a competency-based approach and the difference between a strength and a competency-based approach is around the energy and enthusiasm – competency can be learnt, whereas a strength is something where you have that natural enthusiasm and energy around doing. It is something you do well and you do often and you enjoy doing all that time. We use that across all our student recruitment, from the online assessment centre to the final interview. The majority of the strengths we use for EY are the core strengths from across all of our programmes we operate, but when you get to that final interview, we’ll have more focus strengths for the area you applied for. 

Strengths that EY recruit against 

These are the core strengths that we would measure:

Accountable

Agile

Adaptable 

Analytical 

Curious

In the know

Number Savvy

Resilient

Strong Communicator

Team Player

We are not looking for students to have done reams of work experience, we will give them a situation or a task and we will ask them how they would approach that, how they would feel about that, we may give them a number of tasks and ask them to choose their preferred 5 or we may give them a group activity and ask them to evaluate on how they have done in that activity and what they would do differently next time. We want them to have these strengths in their mind, when they are going through our process and think about how would I deal with the situation, what would I rely on to do that?

Curious

For example, if we look at the strength curious, we are looking for people that are always challenging and asking why they are doing something, they are looking for new ways to do something and challenge how something works or what’s driving a change in analytics they see so it is that curious, finding out what’s happening and what’s coming next. 

Adaptable and resilience

I think at the moment adaptable and resilience are particularly important. That’s been huge for the students we have brought on in the past 6 months. But equally for the students that are coming towards their last year in university or starting university in a different way than they had ever envisioned themselves. How can they make the most of the circumstances they are in at the moment? Things are frequently changing so there needs to be a level of resilience so they can manage that change process. So that they don’t get change fatigue, so they can have coping mechanisms for stress management, they know when they are stressed and how to deal with that. 

Number savvy

The number savvy one is not looking for someone that has done further maths or additional maths, however we are a number business and whether that be in data analytics or it be in our audit business, you will be given large volumes or data, sometimes numerical, and you will need to be comfortable working with that. People have to have a level of comfort around that, and understand what drives business or what drives our customers businesses as well. 

Team Player

The team player one, we will assess on our EY experience day in our new virtual assessment. This is a really good way at seeing everyone’s energy and how they interact withing a group. In our business you will work in teams and they can be small teams up to very large teams. So you need to have an understanding of how to integrate into a team, what roles you tend to take on, what your strengths are. You do not need to be the leader of that group, quite often you just need to be the person who focusses that group or remembers to bring the group back to a certain point or build on someone else’s idea. We are not looking for the person who talks the most or loudest, but the person who brings the most value to the group, this may be bringing in people who are more quiet in the group or bringing a focus back to the task at hand. We also need those people who start the group off, who get everyone focussed on the task.

Prepping for a virtual strengths-based interview

Make sure your technology works

Make sure you’re comfortable to come on camera

Don’t forget you can blur your background in video’s if it makes you feel more comfortable

We want to see your face and your interaction

Virtual interviews are different from face to face as that rapport takes a bit longer to build up, however our assessors are very comfortable coming on to the camera

Make sure your WIFI is as strong as it can be

Make sure you will not get interrupted

Make sure you do all your prep work before hand

Identify your strengths

For identifying their strengths, particularly before the final interview stage, and you’re thinking about the job that you are going in to, quite often it quite difficult to identify your own strengths but if you think about your energy level – something you do well, you do often and you enjoy doing. It might not be the first thing on your list as you know you can do it in 5 minutes, it could be the thing you treat yourself to or the thing you do first because you know you can do it in 5 minutes. It will be the thing your friends always ask you to do, it will be the role you always find yourself in in any camp or society – so if you’re really good with numbers, you’ll find yourself with the treasurer, if you’re very analytical, people will come to you with their problems to find a solution. The things your friends say you never shut up about as well or something you can talk about for ages.

We will give you a situation or tell you a bit about the area you applied to, a bit about the strengths that they look for and then we will ask you about the situation and what you would find yourself doing if you were in that situation.

In our final interview stages, there is a short presentation which we ask the candidates to do and that should be your opportunity to do a little bit of research around EY and that line of service you have applied for. The final thing would be around motivation. You will be interviewed by a partner or director, who is an owner of our business, and they will want to know why you wanted to apply to EY, why you have applied to that particular area, as that is the part they own. It is really your opportunity to show the research you have done into the business and into the pathway you have applied for. There is plenty of information on our website. 

What is a good question for a candidate to ask at the end of the interview?

I personally think you should always ask a question at the end of an interview. You should by that stage, have built up a rapport with the interviewer, the questions I would tell you to absolutely avoid would be around salary and benefits, as this information is all on our website. There is plenty of time to ask the recruitment team prior to the final interview. 

Our interviewers have typically been in the business for a number of years and have had a number of interesting career paths to that point. Questions I would focus on at the end of the interview would be around what is the best client they have worked on, what has been the most challenging client they have worked on, what has been their career path to date or what has been their most interesting role in the organisation. There’s lots of questions related to the company they can ask us. A lot of questions we are being asked at the moment are about the returns to the office and how we engaged with our teams remotely and what were the biggest challenges. The partners are really open to hear from new graduates about what would work and what they would need to see coming into the business and they are keen to know what they can do.

A question at the end of the interview is an opportunity for the candidate to get a view on if they see themself working for this person? Do they want to work on their team? Do they inspire them as a leader? That is what they should be thinking about shaping their questions around if I was coming in. 

I found that it was because of the people who interviewed me that made me join, we built a rapport, we had a good chat and we quite often get feed back that our interviews don’t feel very formal and they turn out as more of a chat. When I got the offer, I made the decision because I really enjoyed the people from the company. 

For students, you need to think about what you need to know to be on that team and what else you need to know about the leader of that team you will be joining. 

To find out more about careers at EY, apply for the Discover EY programme by Nov 30.

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Employer Engagement Employer events Employers Graduate recruitment Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair Graduate success graduateland Leadership

Highlights from Day Two of the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair

Leaders in industry gave some valuable advice to students and graduates during some inspiring presentations and workshops. Here are some of the takeaways from Day Two.

Neil Chief Economist on Island of Ireland at EY gave the keynote speech. 

Here is what he had to say:

“The most important message for students is to remain positive and upbeat despite what you read. You can very easily feel daunted or intimidating. At a time of change or disruption, there are plenty of opportunities. If you think of it this way, when there is lots of problems, the world needs problem-solvers.”

“Keep your sense of positivity, observe and learn but don’t be intimidated as if that will close down opportunities.”

“The world is always changing. The idea you can map out a career ten or 15 years is not true, you have to keep flexibility in your mind and approach.”

“The place you thought you would get a job, that may not be the case. Think what you enjoy and what you like doing. Think what competencies or skills you have. Be less predetermined in what those opportunities might be.”

“Be open mind and absorb what you can. Recruitment is a two-way thing. It’s not just what you have to do to get an opportunity, it’s asking yourself, can be at my best in that organisation?.”

Lessons from Leaders

Mark McCormack, Head of Technology at Aflac 

“Problem-solving is one of the most important skills you can develop for any career. It’s what separates us from the computers; that and empathy – and the craic.”

“I might work with computers but it’s the people that make the work interesting and fun.”

“You learn that the things that make you successful in one part of your career are not necessarily the things that make you successful later on. You have to learn and adapt. If you are not learning, then you are probably not enjoying yourself.”

“We look for three things: adaptability, resilience and reinvention.”

“Stay flexible, keep learning and find some good people to work with and you can’t go wrong.”

Lessons from Leaders

Mark Dougan, Director, Prince’s Trust NI

“Courageous leaders are stepping up every single day in NI: teachers, nurses, youth workers, business professionals and young people like yourselves… you are quite literally being made into a leader as a result of this crisis.”

“Lead with courage with a small l.”

“The only thing certain is uncertainty. We have to learn to co-exist with uncertainty.”

“You are courageous leaders in the making and at this moment you need to intentionally decide to get in the game.”

“Yes, it’s challenging and you will make mistakes but the more you do, the more rewarding it becomes as you develop your skills as an effective leader.”

“Everyone is struggling with different challenges and none of those challenges outrank others. Think intentionally how you enable others to lead with courage; set them goals and give them clarity that they need to be courageous leaders in their own right and they will bring their best selves to work every day.”

“Be curious. Ask questions, lots of questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question.” 

Missed a presentation or workshop?

You can re-watch on our past events page here:

https://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/careers/careers-events/pastevents/