CEMS Magazine Careers Supplement
How to ace the interview process
Astra Zeneca, Canal+, Fidelity Investment Managers, Procter & Gamble, and Shell are here to advise CEMS students, graduates and alumni on
Composing a good motivation letter
Mastering CV writing techniques
Approaching assessment centres
Succeeding in competency-based interviews
Understanding corporate culture
04 CV writing techniques
06 Motivation letters
08 Telephone and competency-based interviews
09 Assessment centres
Dear CEMS Magazine readers, The careers supplement that you are holding is, we hope, the first in a series of focus publications from experts in the field designed to offer valuable insight for our readers. Produced with the kind participation of five Corporate Partners from five different sectors, we hope that this new addition to CEMS Magazine will offer tips to students about to take their first major professional step or recent graduates and alumni looking to make that next step up or even re-orientate a career that is already underway.
Denisa ZICHACKOVA CEMS Corporate Services Manager
We would like to offer thanks to our generous contributors and the best of luck to all CEMS students, graduates and alumni who are currently active on the job market.
Stefano Gnes, CEMS Corporate Relations Manager Denisa Zichackova, CEMS Corporate Services Manager
CEMS Corporate Relations Manager
CEMS Magazine Supplement WRITER: Cristina Istria Talent Supply Senior Manager DACH & BNL, Western Europe Employer Branding & Attraction (Procter & Gamble Europe SA)
We suggest the following “rules” of CV writing:
CV writing part 1: producing a CV with impact
1 Keep it SIMPLE Think through the structure Put the right information
(i.e. babysitting or lessons to younger students) in the right place (first the as this could also help most recent then the rest) a company to learn Avoid going beyond 1 page about you Highlight what is important Anything older than 5 yrs should be avoided
WRITER:Angelika Eberhardt Regional Channel Advisor Europe & Africa, Recruitment Shell
CV writing part 2: the platform for your attributes
2 Be SPECIFIC
Give examples of your 4 Ensure HIGH achievements QUALITY Be clear in your explanation Check formatting but concise Dates should “tie” Once you have finished let someone else have a 3 Be CHOICEFUL Do NOT throw your whole look at iT life into your CV, only select those experiences P&G wishes you all the that can really be relevant best in your upcoming application processes However, be sure to add and life challenges! also basic experiences
Cristina ISTRIA, Talent Supply Senior Manager DACH & BNL
Whether you are looking for an internship during your studies or permanent employment after graduation, writing a CV is an important step to correctly present yourself to potential employers. It should not be underestimated as it is often based on the CV that decisions are made of whether or not to meet an applicant. But let’s take a step back as it is important to put CV writing in the right context. Indeed, CV writing is one step of the overall application process, which is typically different from company to company.
who you are and you can do so by asking yourself the following questions: What am I interested in? What do I enjoy? What am I good at? At the same time, by exploring the kind of career available to you on the market on the basis of your studies, you can understand your options and opportunities. Once these steps are completed, you can balance what you are good at with what you want from a career.
Assess what the firm expects from you
Understand your career options
A good next step is to start looking for job opportunities on the market, via Before completing an application form, the usual channels (internet, company it is important to do some research to websites, paper etc) and to gain a deep understand your career options. We feel knowledge about the skills and attitudes it is important that you start by knowing the firm of your choice expects from you.
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At this point, you are ready to start writing your CV. Remember that your CV is your business card and the first time the company learns anything about you. Often a CV screener has only a few minutes to make a decision so help this process by having a well-written CV. When writing your CV, look for the common interest: what can you bring to the firm versus what the firm is expecting from you. Remember that Mr. “Everybody” is not interesting: stress your specific and unique talents and interests and point out how you are different from others.
“Document in your application experiences where you played a key role and ask yourself open questions: How? What? Why? You should be ready to answer those questions also in the interview.” Gianpaolo Gagliardi, Global Marcoms Deployment Manager
“The Recruiter would like to know if you aren’t only a technocrat but also can truly deliver in a team, in an environment with people.” Jitse Munten, Contracting & Procurement Analyst
“In the telephone interview, I already knew Shell would be looking for “CAR”. So I just answered all the questions just being myself and most important of all, I tried to think “out of the box” and show the reasoning behind my ideas.” Paula Tongue, Business Analyst - CRT Central Marketing Team
Whatever role you play within Shell, there are certain qualities and attributes we look for in our people. Selection criteria is to assess against the Shell Capacity, Achievement, Relationship (CAR) Programme.
Taking the time to ensure you effectively communicate evidence of the CAR qualities in your CV will not only help in your application being more successful but also help prepare you for the interview and subsequent stages in the assessment Your CV is a platform for you to demonstrate process. your key attributes and qualities and recognise your own achievements and key challenges you have overcome.
Capacity Are you able to provide evidence of identifying, gathering and analysing multiple sources of information? Do you have experience in understanding the strategic context in which an organisation operates and being able to reach informed conclusions through broad thinking? Have you produced solutions to a problem based on information from a variety of sources? Are you familiar with working with incomplete or conflicting data and taking well calculated risks?
Achievement Can you demonstrate a personal motivation to consistently achieve results by setting targets, monitoring progress and dealing with setbacks? Are you skilled in working by yourself as well as in a team environment – can you provide evidence of this? You should be practiced in identifying opportunities to learn and develop and demonstrating an awareness of personal strengths and development areas. Do you take on new and unfamiliar tasks?
Relationships Can you give examples of communicating honestly and interacting respectfully with a wide range of people? | 05 |
Have you been in situations where you have had to influence people through tailoring communication style appropriately? Treating others with respect and appreciating the value of involving people with different viewpoints and styles is essential within Shell. Exposure to different cultures and environments is also important – can you demonstrate knowledge in this area?
CV Checklist Find out what the organisation looks for in an employee and adapt your CV to mirror this Include your achievements – all experiences count, whether paid, voluntary or shadowing. Focus on your responsibilities and achievements in the role and remember to highlight what your contributions were, where skills were used or developed and the outcomes Don’t make general statements about your qualities. Make sure you can support your statements with evidence Try to link your skills and experience to the requirements of the job you are applying for Keep it short – preferably two sides Beware of exaggerating your achievements Do not have unexplained gaps in your work history
CEMS Magazine Supplement Interview with Magdalena Adamczyk (Finance FFwd Programme Financial Analyst) and Edward Godwin (GPT Finance Manager - Oncology) of AstraZeneca Plc
Q. Whilst completing your CEMS MIM
Motivation letters: WHY DO THEY MATTER SO MUCH?
qualification and applying for graduate positions yourself, what was your view on motivation letters? MA. The motivation letter was a very
important document together with my CV. Whilst the CV was short, the motivation letter allowed me to elaborate on my experience/ skills. You can actually present your enthusiasm in a motivation letter, which you cannot do in a CV. I saw this as my chance to differentiate from other candidates.
Q. How important can the motivation
letter be when a Corporate Partner is considering aN applicant? EG. In a word, critical. The motivation letter
Q. What qualifies you to comment
on motivation letters? EG. I have responsibility at AstraZeneca for
recruitment into our Finance Graduate Programme, including recruiting CEMS students and alumni. Therefore, I’ve read many motivation letters and know what attributes make a good one.
MA. I’m a CEMS Alumna (CEMS 06) so have had experience writing motivational letters and presenting myself to Corporate Partners at the Career Forum. I have worked for AstraZeneca now for four years (after joining on the Finance Graduate Programme) and have had involvement in several annual graduate recruitment processes in that time.
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gives you an opportunity to explain why the employer interests you and to demonstrate that you have researched the company before arriving at that conclusion. Candidates need to use the letter to differentiate themselves from other candidates. Assuming there are more applicants than available positions this is a competitive situation. The motivation letter is one of the main ways that you can gain a competitive advantage over other applicants.
MA. It is very important your motivation letter is not a generic one. You should not use one letter for all companies.
EG: Other no-nos are poor spelling and
grammar, particularly misspelling the company name. I have had examples of motivation letters from CEMS students with this error before.
Q. What advice would you both give
“correct”. People chose to work for their employers for a range of reasons. A motivation letter gives you an opportunity to demonstrate that you have considered it and can explain your motivations. Good candidates will seize this opportunity. Be careful not to oversell and remember whatever you say, you must be able to back up if questioned upon it.
MA. Your motivation letter should be well structured and not too long. Begin your letter by stating what position you are after and in which company. Then discuss the skills/ experience you have, for example from internships and university project teams you have worked in. Show that you have been an active individual that can work both in a team and independently. Finally, discuss your motivations and why you want to get this job and demonstrate knowledge about the company in question.
““The motivation question is one of the most important parts of our application foRm, as candidates can use it to really show us passion, focus and understanding of the industry, the company and the programme they’re applying to. A generic statement of skills or industry interest will not portray this, so thorough research is important in order to articulate where this passion stems from, but also to understand how skills can be applied into the requirements for the role. A company wants to feel that you really want to be a part of their business, so your answer must be written with them in mind, and fully answering the specific questions they ask.
EG. These last two points from Magda are critical
Q. Can you give any examples of
in my opinion. Show that you have researched the employer and present a reasoned argument based on this research as to why you want to work for them and why you are a suitable candidate.
MA. It’s a sell letter so you need to stand out from others. Whilst you are not aware who you are up against, CEMS students have similar experience and it is important to differentiate yourself. Get across elements of CEMS (semester abroad, internship, Block and Skill seminars, Business Projects) but also your own personality. You want to get interviewers thinking they want to know more about you so that they put you through to an interview.
turn off is a generic letter where one company name can be (and probably has been) substituted for another. This type of letter tells me nothing about why the candidate wants to work for my company.
to current CEMS students, when writing a motivational letter for employment?
occasions when a motivational letter has put recruiters off proceeding any further with a graduate? EG. From personal experience, the biggest
EG. There is no one motivation that is
“If you dig deep on a company’s website, you will often find hints and tips on the application process. These are given by the graduate recruitment departments themselves, so take advantage of this and listen to their advice”.
Author: Madeline Waller Graduate Recruitment Manager (Fidelity Investment Managers)
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CEMS Magazine Supplement Author: Madeline Waller Graduate Recruitment Manager Fidelity Investment Managers)
Author: Madeline Waller Graduate Recruitment Manager (Fidelity Investment Managers)
Assessment centres: making the best out of them
Telephone interviews: how do they really differ from face-toface ones? The main difference between a telephone interview and a face-toface interview is that neither party can read each other’s body language. This often puts more pressure on the candidates, as they cannot see if the interviewer is just pausing to write notes on their answer, or if the interviewer is expecting the candidate to expand on their answer. Or candidates may feel that they cannot pause for thought, in case of lengthy silences.
Communication and confidence The way to tackle this is by clear communication and confidence. Once you have finished answering your question and you feel there is a long silence, maybe ask the interviewer if they would like you to expand further. Or, say to the interviewer that you would like a couple of seconds to think of a suitable example before starting your answer. Telephone interviews can be shorter than face-to-face interviews so make sure you keep your answers as succinct as possible.
Preparation is paramount!
Author: David Westbury Operations Global Graduate Manager (AstraZeneca Plc)
Competency-based interviews: what are they and what are recruiters really looking for? Many employers are now using competency-based interviews (also referred to as situational, behavioural or capability-based interviews) as part of their graduate selection processes. What are they? And why are they considered to be so effective in making recruitment decisions?
What are competencies? A competency is an ability, described in terms of skills and behaviours, that is key to effective performance. Competencies are applicable across a range of jobs, unlike specialist technical skills that are more likely to be specific to one particular job. Because they’re more generic, competency-based assessments are likely to give an indication of a candidate’s wider performance.
is therefore aimed at obtaining evidence of past performance to support an assessment of likely future performance against the relevant competencies you’re likely to behave in similar situations in the future. The interview is therefore aimed at obtaining evidence of past performance to support an assessment of likely future performance against the relevant competencies.
Preparing for a competency-based interview
Refer to the job description - if you have been provided with one - to ensure you’re aware of which competencies will be assessed. If you haven’t been provided with a job description, refer back to the original source of your application and look for the kind of words they have used to describe the role they have Competency-based interviews are based advertised. Some employers publish on the premise that your past experiences their competency frameworks on their and performance is a predictor of recruitment websites or send information how you’re likely to behave in similar about their frameworks as part of the situations in the future. The interview pre-interview information.
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Make sure you are familiar with what you wrote on your application form, as it can be a number of months between when you wrote the application and the assessment centre. If you are asked about what you wrote, you need to be able to confidently expand on your answers. Being prepared will also help with your nerves. It is natural for candidates to be nervous, but knowing your subject will give you more confidence. Not only this, but it will also show your prospective employer that you really want to work for them by putting in the extra effort required to make you stand out. Read relevant news stories to show you have a wider interest in the industry but also show you are keeping track of recent developments impacting the company and provide a good discussion topic for interviews or presentations.
Use the break times as a good opportunity to get to know the company through its employees, and think about if it would be the type of environment that you think you would thrive in. This may sound obvious but be yourself. Don’t get distracted by trying to guess what we are looking for and how we want you to act. The best way for us to assess if you are right for the company is to understand if you would fit into our company culture.
Keep up to speed on the company and the industry You also need to ensure that you have researched the company and industry thoroughly, as you may be asked your views on recent initiatives that the company has undertaken, or recent industry issues, especially related to your chosen business area. If you are given something to prepare in advance, make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare, as it is likely that the assessors will ask around the subject to gauge your passion and understanding.
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CEMS Magazine Supplement INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE GUIEYSSE HR Group Vice President
DO YOU FIT THE BILL?: Getting to know your employer even before you’ve got the job.
to name but a few. For a company that employs 4300 people across the world there are 300 different professions within the whole workforce. We make this explicit to candidates very early on.
Q. How do you assess if applicants
Q. What corporate image does
CANAL+ currently enjoy that attracts applicants? A. CANAL+ Group is the leading premium
and theme channel broadcaster in France and leading distributor of pay television with 10.8 million subscriptions in France, 12.5 million worldwide. For its international pay TV operations, the Group is reaching tens of millions of households in over 40 countries across the five continents. It operates seven satellites covering Poland, Maghreb, subSaharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and Vietnam. For its film production and distribution operations, the Group is present through its STUDIOCANAL subsidiary (in France, the UK and Germany), which is the European leader in production, acquisition and distribution of motion pictures across all media: theatre, video, audiovisual and video on demand.
Q. Are applicants aware of all
the work that goes on behind the scenes? A. We obviously encourage applicants to get
some information concerning our operations in advance, but we also take a lot of time during the interview and selection process to explain the many different layers of expertise behind the television business. This ranges from the edition of content, CRM and engineering through to sales and finances
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will fit into so diverse an environment? A. From the outset we’re looking for people who
can combine business sense with creativity, who are curious and also able to adapt to different situations, even different careers. We are questioning the ability to be innovative and to learn as well as open-mindness. We apply an interview process that helps us to get to know applicants as well as possible and also gives them as much information and understanding of the CANAL+ culture before they begin their career with us.
Q. How does this work and how do
you see applicants responding? A. We call this process a collegial one in
that a number of people are involved, right through to the decision-making at the end. Applicants for an executive permanent contract will go through several interviews and meetings, including the HR Group Vice President and the top management. For some positions, the process starts with a group interview where candidates are evaluated on practical cases. The first interview is more like talent scouting whereas the next ones are where the selection steps up a level.
Q. What impact does this have on
new employees who have gone through the process? A. As I said earlier, we are looking for
personalities who are curious and who will bring ideas to the table. Smooth and rapid
integration is key to this, so that new arrivals don’t feel afraid to voice their opinion and ideas. We are also aware that we can learn a lot from them, hence why we request that they write a “newcomer report” after the first three months, so we can assess what should be improved in our way of working. Just as we push our employees to want to keep learning once within the company, so can the company also keep learning from them.
and different educational backgrounds, we are expecting intellectual curiosity, intercultural skills but also a blend of simplicity and modernity. Their ability to contribute new ideas, new ways of thinking, new methods… their ability to make our environment richer from their experiences, are what we are looking for. We expect them to give input and show their unique leadership!
Q. CANAL+ is participating
in the 2010 CEMS Career Forum. What do you hope to see in the people you meet and interview? A. CANAL+ will be delivering a skills seminar on
personal e-branding and the ways in which students and graduates brand themselves via new media. We’ll also be conducting pre-scheduled interviews, having selected eight applications out of 70 received. What we hope to see, apart from the qualities we mentioned earlier, are a real enthusiasm for the sector, their energy and their ability to evolve within our businesses. We are looking for people who are flexible and talented to pursue a career within CANAL+ for some time, but also with the open-mindedness and all-round skills to maybe change profession within the group later on. We’re also looking for talents with the creative, decision-making and managerial know-how and top-level operational dexterity as well.
Q. In what ways do CEMS students
and graduates therefore fit the profile you’re seeking? A. In addition to its global growth, CANAL+
has the ambition to develop international markets even further, which makes critical our project to recruit international talents. As students experienced with different cultures
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Author: Madeline Waller HR Manager (Fidelity International Graduate Recruitment)
ARE YOU RIGHT FOR THE COMPANY?: how can you assess whether you really fit into the company It is an obvious piece of advice, and one you will hear time and time again from all graduate recruiters regarding the entire application process – research, research, research!
Understand the company’s objectives and how you could contribute The best way to try and assess if you feel that you would thrive in an environment such as Fidelity Investment Managers is to do as much research in to the company’s culture, values and aspirations as possible. There is a vast amount of information on company websites, but also research via other avenues to broaden and deepen your understanding of the industry and the company. It is important that you understand our company’s objectives, and how you can add value to help us to achieve them.
Learn from first-hand experience Speaking to employees through attending careers fairs and other recruitment events is also a great way to find out more. There is only a certain amount of information we can add to a website or brochure, so taking the opportunity to find out more about our roles first hand
from our employees will give you a better understanding of what to expect from our graduate programmes. At Fidelity, throughout the entire application process, you will talk to and meet with our employees, which will give you great opportunities for you to decide if we’re the right company for you, as much as if you’re the right person for us.
Target the role for you If you can get an internship or work experience in the same industry or associated industry, this will give you the best insight and confirm what potential roles would suit you as a graduate. Relevant experience will help differentiate you against the other candidates, provide a convincing answer as to why you want to work in the industry and develop the required skill set. An internship in your company of choice is an even better way to decide if the company is right for you. There are also a number of other publications, such as the ‘Vault Career Guide to Investment Management’ (downloadable from our website), that can help you get a better understanding of the industry and roles within it.
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