It is one of the most important/stressful times for any graduate, especially within an industry as competitive as property. The Christmas and New Year festivities are over, but there is no time to feel sorry for yourself. January is the main month in which recruiters organise interviews and assessment days for graduates within our industry. The good news is that with the economy seeing steady progress, so have graduate opportunities. The bad news is that the industry is as competitive as ever with many of the large consultancies receiving over 1,000 applications for around 40 jobs. I should know, as I have just been through the process!
As the founder of this company, I believe our success has been our ability to connect with some of the strongest talent across the country. The fact that you are a member of this site and reading this article shows that you are proactive in looking for a career. This is something that all employers want to see, so don’t be afraid to put your membership to this site on your CV. We are also more than happy to publish articles about current industry news or issues. If you can say you are a member and contributor to an industry website, this is sure to make you stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to the interview advice I tend to find that most people say the same thing; firm handshake, enthusiastic, good eye contact and to build a rapport with your interviewer. This is all great advice and I would strongly encourage you to remember these points. Although, I also have some more practical tips, which might sound strange but surprisingly work. Everyone gets nervous before interviews and assessment days, if someone says they’re not then they are either lying or don’t want the job bad enough! Some essential tips to battle the nerves are to take a bottle of water and ensure you sip it regularly. This sounds weird, but sipping water will calm your nerves. Secondly, when your heart rate goes into overdrive; take deep breaths and think of a time you were calm. The mixture of psychology and breathing exercises will lower your heart rate and help calm nerves. Finally the technique that sounds most bizarre. Before you go into your interview or assessment etc. make yourself smile. It doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about, but the fact you have smiled will automatically put you in the best frame of mind. Smiling (like yawning) is actually contagious and if you go in with a positive attitude this will give a great impression to the employer.
As for numerical testing, I’m not going to lie and say there are any secrets to success. For now though my advice would be to sit down and dedicate an hour a day to practising them. It is mainly percentages and rations and you will improve. Also ask the employer if they use negative marking – this is where you will receive a negative mark for every incorrect answer. This should help you decide whether to guess or take your time.
Finally there is the group assessment, the part of the day that many have described like an episode of the apprentice. This is something people either dread or relish, but there are a few simple tricks that can help you stand out from the crowd. Like the apprentice there are three types of people in group assessments:
- “The Hiders” – These people stand very little chance. Hiding in the background hoping that by not saying anything stupid, you may sneak through will never work. Employers are looking for the future leaders of our industry, not passengers.
- “The Gobby Know It All’s” – These people will take the lead, (which is not a bad thing) but will abuse this position of power. You must remember this is a team exercise, not ‘The me exercise’. You are looking to get the best out of your team, not bombard them with purely your opinion. I was once told that there was a graduate that took control and seemed extremely well equipped for the task at hand. Despite this he separated the project into different parts for each member of the team and asked them to get on with it. The presentation began and he delivered an extremely well polished section, delivering facts and information he had not brought up during the preparation time. The rest of his team struggled, however overall the presentation seemed fairly satisfactory. The individual was not offered the job, because he had sacrificed his team’s success for his own personal glory. In these assessments the teams are essentially a metaphor for the company you are applying to, so don’t cross it!
- Finally is “The Middle-Man”. This is someone who shares his or her ideas with the team. Someone who works for the greater good of their team/company as opposed to self-glory. Someone who manages the team and encourages ideas from “the hiders”. Be this person! This is the person that will get the job! It is easy to get dragged into “the apprentice” atmosphere of backstabbing and talking over people, but this is the opposite of what they are looking for.
I hope you have found this article of use and if you have any advice from your own experiences, be sure to share them in the comments section below! I wish you all the best of luck in the up and coming months. Don’t worry if you get rejections, this happens to everyone and perseverance is key! Show tenacity and a hunger to succeed and companies will be lining up to employ you.