The questions you should be asking should probably all start with the word “who” not the word “what”

Hello, hello, hello.

So far I’ve been lucky enough not to have to puzzle over what to share with you. I suppose that a lot of that is down to the fact that at the early stages of creating something like this there is always A LOT going on.  

Part of the reason this week’s been as busy as it has is down to the fact that we ran two graduate assessment sessions this week. We tried really hard to do it ‘properly’, but what do I mean by properly? Well, I think that a brilliant graduate assessment session fulfils the following criteria:

1.       It provides the potential employer with the best possible chance to assess the graduates

2.       It provides the graduates the best possible chance to assess the potential employer

3.       It gives the graduates valuable content/learning/material regardless of whether they’re successful in the assessment or not.

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with the 2 groups of 16 grads that we had in, and I got a chance to talk to them about other assessment sessions they’d been to. The feedback in general was that they were all geared up to answer point one as best as possible, but that, in general points two and three were largely overlooked.

What I don’t want to do is get all high and mighty about how great our sessions are compared to blah blah blah…. That’s not what this is about. What this is about is how when you’re hiring, at any level it’s much more of a two way thing than, I think, the vast majority of businesses and candidates think it is.

Which is why I’d encourage any prospective graduate to go far beyond just thinking about how they’d “really like a job” or “What would I get paid?” you should really be assessing these employers, “What will I learn?” “What’s the team I’ll be working in like?” “am I going to be getting as much from them as they are from me?” “Is this scheme organised and explained in a way I understand?”

Every interview anyone ever does should certainly be a two way street and anyone who is half good at what they do should be asking themselves (and their future employers) these sorts of questions, or at least less blunt questions that still get you this information!

But what is specific to grads? Well, it occurs to me, that at the very (VERY) beginning of your career the absolute number one factor in deciding where to spend your time (more on this phrase in a later post) absolutely has to be on what you’re learning and who you’re learning it from. That should probably be the priority for everyone all the time, but it’s most acute when you’re just starting out and the first job is where a lot of your habits and mantras (I guess I mean “mental habits”) will be formed.

When you’re looking for your first job the questions you should be asking should probably all start with the word “who” not the word “what” because who you are: working with, learning from, being managed by, sitting next to, taking briefs from, sitting in meetings with, competing (healthily) with and (hopefully) being inspired by are all more important than where your office is, what the product is, how long the commute is, when you start/finish or how much you’ll earn in year one and two.

So, and this is especially easy to say as we happen to have some incredible clients with extraordinary people working in them, when you’re looking at what scheme to join, or job to do, I would be extra specially careful to make sure you ask them and you lots of questions that begin with ‘who’. 

see you all next week