Tips and Hacks to Survive The Recruitment Process

Graduate jobs

June 23, 2020

Tips And Hacks To Survive The Recruitment Process: International Students Speak Up


As an international student in the UK, it is possible that you will find yourself a little lost at first. Finding a job in the UK after the completion of your studies is an arduous task and as an international student, the opportunities available are scarce. Specifically talking about the recruitment process, it can be unsettling and intimidating. 

Even so, there are many students who bag a full-time job in the UK after going through the postings on Student Circus, of companies that sponsor a Tier 2 Visa. 


Been there, done that

Finding jobs that will sponsor a Tier 2 Visa is just the beginning. There are many more surprises that await you in the entire recruitment process. We talked to international students who have successfully bagged a job or an internship or an interview. Here are the most important hacks and tips that had to offer. 

‘The process is very different from our home countries’ - Faryal Fatima, Pakistan

In most other countries the job application process involves two tools: a CV and a cover letter usually sent together in an email or in a form. You get called for an interview if shortlisted. The process in the UK, however, is much lengthier and elaborate. Faryal adds, ‘A large part of the application process is just sitting in front of the computer and filling lengthy applications. That is where most of the people get intimidated.’ In the UK, the initial application is followed by online tests, video interviews, audio assessments leading to the assessment centre and the final interview. Ana Farias, who bagged a job at Mott MacDonald seems to agree, ‘I think it was the most surprising part - that it is such a rigorous and lengthy process and it took about 6 months from the day applied to the day I got the offer.

‘I cannot stress this enough - start as early as possible.’ - Christy Simanjuntak, Indonesia

Since the application process is quite lengthy, it is imperative that you start as soon as possible. The graduate schemes start rolling out their applications in the month of October of the previous year. Take a note of the timelines and be swift in your applications.

‘Do not underestimate how competitive the process is’ - Maciko Audrey Chan, Indonesia

More of a caution, Maciko shares her experience so that others don’t harbour the same misconceptions, ‘I would definitely advise anyone coming here to research about the visa process because I was naive,  I did not know how competitive it is and how complicated it is. I  would also suggest students polish their writing and communication skills because that counts in their applications, CVs, and interviews. Juggling all the things - school work and applications is hard. On top of it, there's a pressure of sponsorship which aggravates it for international students.’ The gist is that you need to be on top of your game.

‘Take it one step at a time!’ - Jessica Pagel, South Africa

For the reasons mentioned above, it can get very overwhelming. It is advisable that you start early and just go through the motions. Looking at how many steps there are in the application process may make it daunting, but just take it one step at a time. 

‘Read about the company thoroughly.’ - Anooshka Pathak, India 

Perform beyond what’s asked of you in the recruitment process. Research about the company before you fill in the application or make a presentation or show up for an interview. Your knowledge of the company, tangible parts like customers, competitors, suppliers, products, projects as well as intangible parts like company vision and values can leave a lasting impression.

‘Practice and don’t give up’ - Hamna Waseem Cheema, Pakistan

Practice makes perfect. The online tests, video interviews and assessment centres are new to a lot of international students. If there are rejections, ask for feedback, learn from the mistakes and bounce back harder in the next opportunity. It will eventually pay off. 

‘You can learn skills on the job.’ - Athena Liu, Taiwan

Do not worry that you don’t know everything about the job - graduate trainee schemes and internships are designed in a way that you can learn and get trained while on the job. Do not beat yourself up about the lack of a particular skill. Let your strengths shine in your application.

‘Swear by a spreadsheet’ - everyone

In the job-hunting process, you will end up applying to more than just a handful of companies. Keep a spreadsheet to track all the companies that you apply to. Color-code and track your progress as you uncover the next steps in the hiring process. Candidates have had lists that stretched across more than 40 companies. 

Featured Image by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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