Katie McCormack graduated in 2012, then worked for a couple of years developing her professional experience before securing a place on a graduate scheme earlier this year. Here she shares her experiences and learning points as well as the experience of undertaking a video interview.
I have recently gained a place on a marketing graduate scheme at Morrisons. I graduated back in 2012 with a degree in Communication Studies and have worked for two years since, which shows you don’t always have to be a recent graduate to get accepted onto a graduate scheme.
Whilst studying I attempted to get as much work experience as possible within the marketing and communications industry, doing odd days throughout my second and final year at a PR agency, recruitment agency and at an in-house marketing team for a data protection company.
After graduating, I managed to get a full time job in the Marketing Department at Leeds University Union (LUU) as a Marketing Assistant. This role enabled me to learn about the Marketing industry in both the charity and education sector, whilst also enabling me to develop my skills as a marketer and build my confidence within a work/office environment.
During my second year working at LUU I decided to undertake a more specific marketing qualification and enrolled at Leeds Met to do a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Professional Certificate. This qualification meant that I had to balance working in an office all day and studying in the evening, which was challenging. The qualification allowed me to learn the theory behind marketing and also see it in action on a day to day basis at work.
Empowered by a year’s worth of work experience and a new qualification I decided to apply to the Marketing graduate scheme at Morrisons. After applying (unsuccessfully) to numerous grad schemes in my final year of University, I knew that the application process was a long and difficult one and the amount of applicants would be huge, so my hopes were not high.
After filling out the initial application and passing both situational and psychometric tests, I was asked to do a video interview. This was an extremely daunting part of the application which I hadn’t anticipated. The video interview involved you being filmed and answering quite generic interview questions that appeared on screen, which effectively meant you were talking to yourself! After spending around half an hour doing the practice interviews I finally got the nerve to do the real thing and actually found it ok. You are given about 30 seconds to think your answer through, which gives you time to jot a few ideas down first. I would always advise to do the practice rounds before the real interview!
After undertaking the video interview, I received an email asking me to come to an assessment centre at head office in Bradford. The assessment centre had six candidates and we had to work in teams to do a selection of exercises and finish with a presentation at the end. The day was extremely challenging but a great experience. After this I was then asked back to meet with a Marketing Director who had an informal half an hour chat with me, before letting me know that I had finally got the job!
The application process for all grad schemes are extremely challenging and competitive but also give you great experience, even if you don’t get the job in the end. I believe that my degree, work experience during University and after, combined with my additional marketing qualification really helped me to stand out and be successful in the process.
Check out our website for information and advice at all stages of the selection process. For more information on video interviews, see this blog post. Remember you can talk to us for help with applications, interviews, or with any other career-related queries.