07 May, 2006

The Edelman Interview

As you may or may not be aware, I was invited by Edelman to participate in the next round of interviews for a place on their graduate scheme.

Now before you worry - and I know you do - that we might descend into unpleasantness again I have received the thumbs up from the people at Edelman. I am allowed to reveal their graduation scheme selection as much as I please – thank you.

In a word, wow.

It is hard not to feel initially uninitiated when sat in a room with a group of undoubtedly talented people. There was Mel, a Masters student at Cambridge, Daniel, who had flown over from Washington DC where he is currently studying the legal system, and Mark who had flown from St Andrews. In total there were eight of us.

But I had to remain positive. Yes I’m sure that most of them have more A levels than you can shake a stick at, but I had made it this far and there must be a reason.

It is always difficult to know how to act at this point, should one sit back and assess the situation and risk being forgotten? Or perhaps one should speak up and risk everyone thinking you are a pompous pillock?

Well, I always reckon that it is important to stand out on these events and so was soon having a conversation with a girl who had come all the way from County Cork to be there, which soon spread and I am happy to say there didn’t seem to be anyone there who wasn’t very friendly.

We also met Stuart Smith and had the opportunity to ask him some questions. At this point I was thankful for Morgan McLintic’s tips!

We had individual presentations, from a choice of seven topics from which I picked five minutes on the last five days top news stories. I felt that this went OK. There were very very tough questions afterwards from a group of people that we hadn’t met before. We had been warned about this and I assume it was to test what we knew, our ability to think on our feet and to assess how we handle pressure.

Later we had group presentations where, with limited facts, we were to put together a pitch in an hour. This was really interesting as we were observed whilst we put our plans together and then questioned as to why we made those decisions, after we presented.

But these are all things that you can prepare for. You can read about what to say, how to prepare and top tips for how to act. So my favourite part of the day was the tests, for which, preparation was limited.

This seems a little masochistic but really I find these things fascinating. We had verbal and non verbal reasoning and spatial awareness. These were really tough and were time controlled. Finally we undertook a personality test which we were told would be able to show how we reacted under pressure and what position we tend to take in a team. There are always a bit difficult for someone like me. I always get bogged down on these things thinking 'well am I more X or Y, and what does this mean and how can it be construed?'

I am on the edge of my seat wanting to know what I got! I will most probably phone them even if I do not make it through to the next round, just to find out. There are just so interesting!

Well I will hear from Edelman's HR department either way some time in the coming weeks. As soon as I know, you will.


Stephen said...

Good luck with it all. Along with my laptop with all my uni work failing, I'm dealing with similar experiences.

Alex Pullin said...

That's really tough Stephen, I'd be lost without my computer (who as the second man in my life is called marvin).

Morgan McLintic said...

Good luck - sounds like a pretty rigorous selection process.

I'm dreadful at these. I once had one with a balloon debate in it - where you have to argue to stay in the balloon. I jumped out. The assessors were shocked. But that's what my character would have done.

I didn't get the job though. So don't recommend it.

Alex Pullin said...

That reminds me of some of the stranger stories I heard about an Oxbridge candidate who was made to do the interview with one assessor in front of him and one sitting directly behind. The candidate lost his temper and moved the chair so that he could see whom he was talking to. His was then offered a place for showing some courage – or something like that – but was so enraged by this that he refused it. I gather that this was some time ago, I don't know if many companies still have these role plaing games as part of their selection process.

This seems a shame because at any rate it certainly makes it more exciting for the interviewer!

Karel Mc Intosh said...

Sounds interesting and exciting. Thanks for giving me some insight into the process. As a foreigner, who'd like to get some international experience, it's good to learn some lessons from those who are currently going through the throes of job hunting. Hope you got through with the June 6th interview. That sounds like a great opportunity.