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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.

Categories
Fairs Global Opportunities Go Global Go Global Fair Go Global Week Uncategorised

29 Amazing Companies To Meet at the Go Global Fair 2020

Who’s ready to shake off 2020? You can start planning the 2021 you deserve at Go Global Week from 12-15 October. Culminating in the virtual Go Global Fair on 14 October, this is your chance to chat to organisations that can offer you an experience of a lifetime to study, work or volunteer abroad during your degree. Here is just a snapshot of some of the organisations you can meet.

American Summers

Summer camp jobs Stateside

British Council – Study USA 

Spend a full academic year at an American college or university studying business or business and STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths).

British Council – IAESTE

Are you a science, engineering, technology or applied arts student? From electronics in Japan to earthquake detection technology in Colombia, an IAESTE placement is a guaranteed way to boost your career. 

BUNAC

Life-changing global work and travel

Camp America

Offering cultural exchange USA summer jobs in America.

Campus France UK

By studying in France, you will discover a diverse country with a rich and multi-cultural history.

CRCC Asia

Internships Abroad in China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, India. 

Erasmus Programme – Study and Work 

Exciting opportunities for UK participants to study, work, volunteer, teach and train abroad in Europe.

EcoSwell

The aim of EcoSwell’s volunteer internship program is to drive the creation and implementation of our sustainability projects, whilst transforming our volunteer-interns into agents of change.

First Derivatives

As recruiter Jordan Hendricks recently told us at an Employer Panel: “Our graduate recruits have gone to New York, London, Australia, Munich – you can go anywhere where we have clients. There is a big social aspect to it as well.”

Global Volunteering International (GVI)

Worldwide sustainable development programs.

Gotoco

Funded and free summer camps and TEFL in China.

Habitat for Humanity

Help families around the world build and improve places to call home.

Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET)

An official Japanese Government scheme aiming to improve foreign language teaching in schools and to promote international understanding.

Jameson International Graduate Programme

Kick-start your career in marketing on a global stage.

Opportunity China

A gateway to exciting and enriching teaching opportunities in China.

Meddeas

Teach English in Spain

Mountbatten Institute

Connecting top global businesses with the brightest young professionals.

Pagoda Projects

Internships in China, Vietnam and Mexico.

Politrip

Short-term volunteer placements on international political campaigns

Raleigh International

Work in remote, rural areas to improve access to safe water and sanitation.

Rian Immigrant Center 

Provides Irish students and graduates with the opportunity to gain professional skills and experience across the U.S.

The Student Language Bureau

Work placements abroad for UK modern language students.

University Exchange Programme to Australia and Canada

Spend a year or a semester studying in Canada or Australia.

USA Summer Camps

Your perfect summer job is waiting.

US-UK Fulbright Commission

Scholarships for postgraduate study in the US

University of Poitiers

Study in Poitiers, France

Work the World

Tailor-made electives and placements in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Washington Ireland Program

The Washington Ireland Program (WIP) inspires and develops promising leaders through a program of personal development, policy debate and community service.

Register for the Go Global Fair here:

Categories
Actober CVs elevator pitch Fairs Graduate recruitment Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair graduateland Uncategorised

Cheat Sheet: Stand Out at a Virtual Careers Fair

How to create an online profile that will stand out to employers at the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair on 21 and 22 October

The Graduate Recruitment & Placement Fair on 21 and 22 October is the biggest Careers Fair at Queen’s. The fair will be a little different this year as we hosting it virtually on a digital platform called Graduateland. We like to think of this as Tinder, for jobs. Just like an online dating site, you can browse prospective employers to find your perfect match. You can even watch videos and live chat with recruiters. And, just like an online dating site, the more information you put on your online profile, the more you’ll stand out. 

WATCH: 

Completing your profile

The platform indicates how complete your profile is by giving you a colour coded percentage. Make sure your profile displays as green and as close to 100% complete as possible (you can opt to leave the age and gender fields blank, if you prefer). 

Your profile will show amber after you’ve registered -the goal is to get it to green.
Green profile = good to go

Get the basics right

This above video covers the basics of what you will be asked to fill in at registration: degree information, skills etc. The good news is, once you have done this for one event, you don’t need to do it again. So, for example, if you attend Go Global on 14 October, you will already have a Graduateland profile However, for the Graduate Recruitment and Placement Fair there are a few trickier elements to fill in

Nailing the tricky questions

You can upload your CV, fill in your job history and details of any exchanges or work-related learning you have done. So far, so standard application. Where it gets tricky is an innocuous little box called:

‘Type in a captivating headline’ 

Don’t panic when you see this box.

This is followed by a small box asking you to ‘Add a brief description of yourself that presents your career goals, skills and experience to potential employers.’ 

We know it can be hard to articulate everything that is fabulous about you in 200 words, so we curated the best tips from across the internet. If you still need help, you can contact our careers team for expert advice on careers@qub.ac.uk.

How to sell yourself in 25 words or less

HOW TO SELL YOURSELF IN ONE SENTENCE

How to pitch yourself to anyone

HOW TO SELL YOURSELF IN 30 SECONDS AND LEAVE PEOPLE WANTING MORE

Ready to start building your stand-out profile?
Log on to Graduateland here.

Categories
Job Hunting Linkedin Networking Uncategorised

7 Tips for Building Your Professional Brand Online

LinkedIn
  1. Over 300 million people around the world use LinkedIn to maintain their professional network. There are other professional social networking sites which are popular in certain countries or for certain industries, but LinkedIn is currently the largest and most diverse. They have created some useful videos and help guides for students
  2. Think of your profile as your online CV. Remember that people are likely to skim-read it so focus on key strengths and experiences rather than listing everything you’ve done and all your duties and responsibilities. 
  3. Understand how to use privacy settings on your other social media accounts. When people search for you online, you want to be able to control what they find. 
  4. After creating your profile, start connecting to friends, family, classmates and work colleagues. Read this article on why you shouldn’t underestimate your personal network
  5. Join and contribute to LinkedIn groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn. Make sure you pick relevant ones that you can be active within. There are lots of groups for students studying specific subjects as well as for professionals. 
  6. Research information about companies and look for the profiles of people with whom you may be interested in making contact.  LinkedIn’s alumni tool (Topic 5 on the LinkedIn for students website is a good way to find out what graduates from your course are now doing. 
  7. Start to build your network by sending connection requests to relevant people. Alexandra Levit’s article “4 Steps for Effective Online Networking”  and Alyssa Walker’s article “How to Build a Professional Network Online” have some tips for how to do this effectively. Most people will ignore the standard request sent by LinkedIn “I would like to add you to my professional network” unless they know who it’s from, so make sure you tailor each connection request. You’re also more likely to get a positive response from people you have met.

More help with career planning