You’re Hired!

For those of you thinking about applying for TUI Travel’s Specialist and Activity Scheme 2011, Ali Randall gives a useful low-down on what to expect.

I am often asked by inquisitive, or polite, friends: “So Ali, what exactly is it that you do – what does a graduate scheme entail?”

So I thought I would try and give an insight into to this and how the interview process went as these are two of the things that I most often wanted to know when applying for a job.  It all started with a browse on one of the graduate recruitment websites, stumbling upon the application. Once this application was submitted I didn’t hear anything for quite a while actually. Eventually it was an enormous pleasure to receive the standard email of ‘we like you’ (type thing) rather than the ‘sorry but due to the high number of applications…’.

This took us through to the next round of psychometric online testing, which was incredibly difficult, but we didn’t find out the results at the end so I can only assume I did well… but it was very hard! This led onto a telephone interview, which often feels like a one way conversation actually as you try your best to get in as much info as possible whilst being aware the interviewer is scribbling down notes as fast as they can (and you just never really know how it has gone, do you, once you have put the phone down… should have said this, or that, oh well too late now I tried!).

It was very nice to get the phone call to be asked along to the group assessment, that is until you Google group assessments and see the horror videos from the training companies (check this out:– glad to say it wasn’t as scary or as awkward as the video shows, there are many worse examples if you look.

The assessment was a half day and my lasting memory of the day is in our group of 16 we had to put forward an idea for a product pitch and when it came to the vote it was 15 v 1, and I was the lonely 1 who didn’t agree with the decision. Well as you can imagine, afterwards my thoughts were drawn to whether that was the right thing to do or not – in the end I just had to go with what I thought was right and I presented it as positively as possible.

The final stage involved interviews with three board members individually and a presentation to them collectively – much like on the apprentice finals. It was certainly a nerve-racking situation, but actually once you have realised you have prepared the best you can and can only be yourself, there is not a lot to worry about – if you present yourself well and they like you great, if they don’t then you tried your best and it wasn’t the right job for you.

So, now I have a place on the scheme, what do I do?  Well for this placement based in Amsterdam my typical day would look like this; planning of the day and looking ahead to meetings and what prep needs to be done for these – ensuring that all emails are responded to or scheduled to work on. Meet with product managers to discuss the work that is ongoing and how we can progress. After the meeting I write up notes and ensure that everyone that is required to do work, as an outcome of the meeting, is clear on what work they have to do and by when. I spend a lot of time preparing for meetings and scheduling contact for and with the product managers. Also – write up of reports, making presentations. I guess it is all the things you would expect in a professional role. The beauty of this scheme- you have an end date to which you work towards and then you start again somewhere new. The challenge is constant and variety is ensured. For me, it’s all about developing skills to put myself in the best position possible for the future and in that respect I have learnt a lot already and hope that this continues… plus being in Amsterdam is pretty cool isn’t it?!

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