We recently caught up with Melissa who discusses securing her role at Teach First. She goes into depth about why she chose Teach First, how she built commercial awareness for the interview, and some top tips for members looking to follow in her footsteps.
Why a role with Teach First?
Teach First is a company that I admire, whose values align with my own and where I believe I can succeed. I knew that I wanted to work within Education, and I believe that Teach First will provide me with the training, support, and the personal-development I need in order to thrive within this industry. Additionally, after reading Brett Wigdortz, the founder’s book ‘Success Against the Odds’, I was inspired by his journey and his goal of creating a fairer education for all.
How did you build your commercial awareness before the interview?
I attended several workshops and spoke to a wide network of students who had gone through the same process as I had. It’s quite amusing as I have now become one of those students who are helping others tackle the same hurdles as I faced this time last year! However, it takes more than just hearing other people’s perspectives. I also took the time to research the company, understanding their goals, what kind of people they were looking for, and what qualities were needed for the job. I would also dedicate the time to read several articles a day surrounding the industry and the problems they are facing, questioning how I could potentially have input and positively influence their trajectory.
How did Bright Network help you secure this role?
Bright Network helped me secure this role as it was on their website where I first heard of Teach First. About a year and a half ago, I was recommended an Insight Week opportunity with Teach First, and after attending the one week of training, I knew that I wanted to apply to their Training Programme. From this point, I applied through Bright Network and I am now fully enrolled in their scheme. I was supported my entire time by Bright Network which made the process streamline and easy to navigate.
What top three tips would you give Bright Network members looking to follow in your footsteps?
- Always look out for opportunities.
- Try new things; you might discover that it’s your passion
- Network, network, network!
What’s been the toughest interview question you’ve faced?
I wouldn’t say that this was the toughest question I faced, but it’s certainly one that I had a lot of trouble coming up with an answer to. It was simple: Tell me your greatest weakness.
The typical answer is ‘I’m a perfectionist!’ but personally, I find this pretentious, disingenuous, and predictable. Instead, be honest (shocking, right?). I admitted that I procrastinated a lot. I then said that I had realised that this was an issue and one that I wanted to resolve. I told them of the steps I was taking in order to manage my time better, such as creating to-do lists, prioritising what was necessary and delegating certain tasks. This shows that you’re self-aware and able to identify issues that hinder your progress. It also shows initiative by taking action, which are qualities that any employer would be looking for.