Let’s go round again

The graduate recruitment cycle explained

Some employers offering Graduate Schemes will accept applications all year round, however the majority of training schemes have application dates between early October and February for programmes starting the following September/October. Even when employers do have year-round recruitment, it makes sense to start early as schemes will close once vacancies are filled. Therefore you need to start applying for graduate schemes at the start of the autumn term in the final year of your degree.

Initial Application

This might include a CV and covering letter/personal statement as well as other questions about skills and experiences.

Psychometric tests

You may have to do these as part of your initial application or at some other point in the application process. These usually cover mathematical and verbal reasoning. You can find practice tests here


Interview can be carried out in person, on the phone or via Skype. You can book a mock interview with the Careers and Employability Service if you feel that you would benefit from some practice.

Assessment Centres

Test a variety of different skills including teamwork, communication, the ability to stay calm under pressure and how well you prioritise. These usually take place in early spring and you will probably find out the outcome in March/April. Look out for details of mock assessment centres on the Careers and Employability Service Events Calendar.

Remember that there are a high number of people applying for graduate schemes so you may have a wait of weeks or months between stages, so be patient.

How many schemes should you apply to?

You may have to apply for a number of schemes before securing a job. However you have to be careful to balance job search with university studies and it can be better to concentrate on doing fewer application well than too many applications poorly.

Very best of luck, remember that graduate schemes are competitive and you may experience some set backs along the way. Learn from your experiences and improve on what you are doing for next time. Remember that there are plenty of alternatives to graduate schemes out there too. Jobs in SMEs may be advertised throughout the year and recruitment processes may be less time consuming.


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