Employers will use different recruitment processes depending on the company, the field, and sometimes the job role. It’s not always as simple as uploading a CV.
We’ve put together some guidance to help you know what to expect when applying and help you be as prepared as possible.
There are different stages of recruitment. Initially, the employer will want to see a written snapshot of why you’re interested in the job before inviting you to meet them. This can include:
A CV allows you to summarise your qualifications and experiences in one document. It’s a way for employers to get to know you and your experience.
If you’re considering an apprenticeship, you should always write a CV. Even if when you start going through recruitment processes they use a slightly different application process – having a good, up-to-date CV is a bank of your experience which you can then adapt.
Covering letters, or cover letters, are a chance to expand on what you’ve written in your CV and showcase why you want to work for that company in that specific role. Whereas a CV is a snapshot of your experience, your cover letter is a chance to demonstrate why you’re passionate and sell yourself.
Some companies choose not to use CVs and cover letters and instead will ask you specific questions to understand your experience. For example, they may give you a box with a character limit and ask you something along the lines of:
- Summarise why your skills are a good fit for this role?
- Why are you passionate about working for us?
Application questions are designed to be more bespoke to the company than a CV or cover letter. They’re trying to get you to answer specifically to something relevant to them. So, make sure you really understand the question and apply it to the company.
Psychometric tests are a way of assessing skills and personality. They’re commonly used in fields such as engineering or maths, particularly in larger employers where there are a lot of applications per role. You need a certain score to pass through to the next round.
There are two types of psychometric tests:
- personality tests which show employers how your personality would fit in the organisation
- aptitude tests which test your skill set
For example, numerical reasoning (how you work with numbers) and verbal reasoning (how well you understand certain texts). The only way to prepare for psychometric tests is to practise lots and get used to the style of the tests, as they will be different from anything you’ve done before.
If you pass the first stages of an application, you’ll be invited to meet the employer. This might be face-to-face, over the phone, or via a video interview. In some cases, it may be a combination of these. There are often multiple interviews for a role, particularly where there are a lot of applicants.
There are sometimes other variations of interviews, such as ‘one way interviews’ where you pre-record video answers within a time limit. This is more common with larger employers.
Interviews can seem scary, but they’re there to make sure you’ll be happy in the role and that you’re a good fit for the employer. The key is being prepared to show your skills and experiences.
Assessment centres are a way for employers to see how you work with other people. It allows them to assess lots of candidates at the same time and see how you approach specific tasks or activities.
An assessment centre is usually the last step in the recruitment process before you find out if you’ve been successful for the role. It also gives you a taste of what working there might be like and you can meet some of the people you’d be working with.