How to answer BT's graduate interview questions

Get personally acquainted with BT’s products and services. If a friend has BT TV, invite yourself round to try it out.

There are usually two interviews in the BT application process: a video or telephone interview and one at the assessment centre. Traditionally, the assessment centre interview has been with a manager from the relevant business area, providing candidates with the opportunity to find out more about the job.

Below we advise on how to succeed in BT’s graduate scheme interviews and approaches you could take with past interview questions. However, treat these as a general flavour of what to expect, rather than assuming you’ll be asked the same questions this year. You need to be prepared for anything!

Prepare for your BT graduate interview – priorities

Not all preparation for BT interviews can be left till the night before. Get on with the following as soon as you know you have an interview:

  • Get personally acquainted with BT’s products and services. For example, if a friend has BT TV, invite yourself round to try it out. Is it user-friendly? Is there anything you would change or improve? Is your friend happy with the service, price and customer care?
  • Speak to those in the know about trends and developments in the telecoms industry, such as university tutors, alumni or family friends.
  • If you’re applying for one of BT’s technology programmes, revise or learn the basic skills and knowledge that BT mentions on its website in relation to the job you’ve applied to.

Other interview prep to fit in before the big day should include:

  • Following BT’s advice to ‘find out everything you can about BT’ and that it is ‘looking for real evidence of the things you’ve said about yourself in the application’. The latter hints that you may be asked for more detail about experiences that you have mentioned in your online application.
  • It’s also worth thinking of other good examples of times when you have used certain skills or tackled particular challenges (eg through extracurricular activities, voluntary work, part-time jobs or university projects).
  • Remind yourself of BT’s values: have a good look round its careers website and you'll see that BT places strong emphasis on putting its customers first, for example.
  • Look at company websites (both BT’s and its competitors’), general news providers and trade press to get an idea of what’s going on in the telecoms industry.

How to answer BT’s graduate interview questions about your motivation and interest

Past candidates have been asked questions such as:

  • Why have you applied to BT?
  • Why have you applied to this particular business area (eg marketing)?
  • Why do you think you are suitable for this role?
  • What BT product do you like most and why?

Make sure you answer the precise question you are asked. For example, ‘Why do you think you are suitable for this role?’ requires you to match your skills and interests to the job in question, not talk about why you want to do it. Answer it using your knowledge of the role, but also keep BT’s values at the back of your mind. If you’re applying for a sales role, it would be great to discuss your ability to increase revenues and back this up with an example of when you’ve done this (eg when fundraising or working as a retail sales assistant). But it would also be very relevant to talk about your customer focus and honesty, again backed up by evidence from your past.

Questions such as ‘What BT product do you like most and why?’ give you an opportunity to demonstrate your interest in and passion for BT and its products. Choose a product that you are both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about – it’s difficult to fake either of these! And be clear about why you like it: for example, you could discuss the cutting-edge fibre-optic technology used for BT’s Infinity super-fast broadband or the helpfulness of the user interface on BT TV.

How to answer BT’s graduate interview questions about technology

Past candidates have been asked questions such as:

  • What do you think is the most remarkable current trend in the technology industry?
  • Describe the software development life cycle
  • How would you explain a complex technology to a non-technical person?
  • Explain the difference between a switch and a router.
  • What’s the difference between a voice and a data network?
  • Tell me about a university project you have undertaken.
  • What programming languages do you know and how do you rate your proficiency on a scale of 1 to 10?

Any candidate could be asked a question such as the first one (trends in the technology industry); however, specific technical questions are likely to be reserved for candidates applying to the technology programme.

Where possible, include commercial and customer-focused considerations as well as technical ones. For example, if you’re asked a question about industry trends, your interviewer will want to see not only your interest in the technology industry, but also your commercial awareness and ability to analyse the impact that a particular product or service will have on the wider world. Or if you end up on the topic of software development life cycles, you could consider the difference to a client between an ‘agile’ and a traditional approach.

If you get stuck on a question, keep BT’s ‘honesty’ and ‘team’ values in mind, and remember that your interviewer is likely to be more knowledgeable about relevant technologies than you are. An interview is not an exam, in which bluffing your way through is worth a shot. Instead, try asking for further information or explaining that it’s not a topic you’re familiar with but talking through how you might attempt to tackle it if in the workplace.

How to answer BT’s graduate interview questions about your skills

Past candidates have been asked questions such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you were faced with a challenge. What did you do to solve it?
  • Tell me about a time when you have helped cut costs or generate new revenues.
  • Tell me about a time when you have successfully contributed towards a team objective.
  • Describe a situation when you have demonstrated good relationship skills.
  • Tell me about a time when you have carried out customer service skills beyond the usual level.
  • How would other people describe you?

This is where your prep time thinking about different situations you have encountered and the skills you used will pay dividends. The ‘STAR’ approach can help you structure your answers to competency questions – describe the situation, task, action taken and results, with the most time devoted to the last two.

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