We recently caught up with Alice about how she secured a graduate role with Ocado Group, how Bright Network helped her secure the role and her top tips for members going through the application process.
What stood out to you about Ocado Group?
I liked Ocado Group because of their performance and success during the pandemic and the importance of online retail post-COVID 19. I also loved the idea that Ocado Group's warehouses are almost fully run by robots and their new technology, which they are selling to international clients. Ocado was great with communication and making sure their applicants felt valued and part of the entire process. Their team were incredibly friendly, making sure I felt welcomed and that I understood the process, even before I got the role!
How did you build your commercial awareness before the interview?
I made sure I fully understood what the company does, including recent news articles about the company, successes and controversies, as well as understanding its unique selling point. I researched the company in detail, as well as checking out their social media, especially their LinkedIn. A great resource I used was YouTube, as many companies put out promotional videos about their USP, processes and values. I made sure I knew their current markets, the markets they hope to infiltrate (if applicable), their competition and future aims. I portrayed this knowledge by preparing my own ideas, for example, what market I would choose to focus on in the next five years. I could then easily use my knowledge and ideas if asked in the interview.
What would be your top tip to members going through the application process?
I think it's important to say you will get lots and lots of rejections. I applied for over 60 graduate schemes and jobs before I was offered the role. Don't give up. Every single rejection, failed interview, test or application is just more practice for when you land your dream role. I had around 15 video interviews, four assessment centres (I passed three of these) and over 25 tests (numerical, situational judgement and verbal). Every time I completed one of these steps, I gained more confidence and knowledge about the process. I also used LinkedIn as a great tool to meet other graduates who had recently completed their assessment centre or application. They gave great advice. Just connect and message them – they are always keen to help. I used The Student Room (chat-forum) to meet fellow applicants who were in the same process as me and could give advice. Oh, and prepare, prepare, prepare!
How did Bright Network help you secure this role?
Bright Network was one of the first websites I visited when deciding to apply for graduate schemes. This created a great basis for my applications. I created a great CV using their CV advice pages and I tailored each CV and cover letter to the company and role. As a complete beginner to graduate scheme applications, Bright Network's career advice pages were instrumental to my success. I also loved that there were so many different companies and roles to choose from- it opened my eyes to many roles I had never thought of.
What’s been the toughest interview question you've faced and how did you tackle it?
I think one of the toughest interview questions I have answered has definitely been along the lines of 'when have you received negative feedback and how have you responded to this?'. Of course, it is never ideal to highlight flaws or negativity, however, it isn't a great idea to state you have never been given negative feedback as this highlights an unawareness of surroundings or simply a large ego. Therefore, I tackled this question by firstly thinking prior to the interview how I would answer this question if it was asked, which it was! I thought of times whilst working in a group where things did not go to plan and thought of my own personal contribution and how I would change this if I were to re-do it. Therefore, if you don't specifically have a time when you received negative feedback you are basically critically analysing your own performance anyway and acting on this.
What top three tips would you give Bright Network members looking to follow in your footsteps?
- Prepare, prepare, prepare! Use Bright Network to create an amazing CV. Research the company and role. Practice psychometric tests and video interviews.
- Network on LinkedIn and The Student Room. Connect with fellow graduates from the same company or in the same scheme and ask for advice on the application process. Don't be afraid to ask how they succeeded. If all else fails, you end up with a great connection for future use anyway.
- Don't give up. You will get countless rejections and you may feel down about it. But I promise you, if you keep going, you will succeed. Be warned, it could take up to a year or longer. So, believe in yourself and know that, with each rejection, you are learning more and more. It will pay off eventually.