or… Forums: the best way to get tips for employer application schemes
It can be very tricky to know which graduate scheme is right for you. What’s it really like to work at that company? What’s the day-to-day experience like for graduates? And once you’ve selected a few schemes that sound interesting, how can you make yourself stand out with such tough competition?
Forums can be an incredibly useful resource in this regard – but many graduates don’t think to use them. Not only do you get the opportunity to hear about the employers from people with previous experience – you get to discuss matters with people in a similar position to you and, crucially, get an insight into how the assessment and selection processes work.
What are the key benefits of using forums?
Many successful candidates get the job because they have prepared thoroughly, and can do themselves justice in the psychometric tests, assessment centres and interviews. And forums are probably the best way to get details of each from people who have first-hand experience of them. Selection processes for top employers do tend to change each year, and getting up-to-the-minute insight is thus very valuable. What’s more, forums often include a greater level of detail about the assessment events than can be found on the employer’s website, or indeed anywhere else. While you may have been told by the employer that you will be undertaking a competency-based interview, imagine how much better prepared you could be if you knew which competencies, and even which questions, the employer might ask.
Forums also provide an opportunity to engage with others in a similar situation, share frustrations about administration or waiting times, and gain reassurance and support about anything of concern. What’s more, there’s often a chance to hear from previous graduates about what it’s like to work for an organisation, helping you understand their priorities and approach, or even providing a warning about companies you may not ultimately want to join.
Why are forums so popular?
As well as providing insight into assessment processes and employers, forums also provide an opportunity for people to participate in a community of like-minded individuals. Many people enjoy the professional, supportive and respectful tone these forums have and want to ‘give something back.’
The Wikijob forum is a particularly good example of this. By sharing their knowledge, contributors know that they may be supporting others in a similar situation, helping them calm their nerves, giving others the opportunity to perform at their best or avoid unpleasant situations.
Which forums are most useful?
There are three main forums which can be particularly useful for graduates, as mentioned below. While they all feature discussions about graduate schemes (to a greater or lesser degree) the look and feel of each is different, and by nature, the content tends to vary depending on who has chosen to contribute. It’s worth taking a look at all of them and seeing which has the most relevant information and approach for you:
Wikijob is very focused on employer application schemes for graduates. It contains a lot of detailed information about assessment centres and interview questions for most leading employers, and because of a high level of activity much of the content is very up-to-date. The search function is easy to use and information relating to each question/post is clearly displayed.
Student Room targets young people and students rather than graduates exclusively, and hosts a huge number of themed forums – the ‘Jobs’ section is the most useful one for graduates. Search results can look a little messy, though once you click into the detail there’s some great content.
Quora is one of the world’s largest and most active forums. While not focused on graduates or students, it’s easy to use and does have some good threads for graduates (just search for ‘Graduate Jobs’). A nice feature of Quora is that as well as posing your question, it will also provide links to similar questions that have been asked previously, and the responses they received.