How to answer BT's graduate interview questions
Once you’ve successfully submitted your online application form and completed the situational strengths test, the next steps in BT’s graduate recruitment process are a video interview and an assessment centre, which includes a final one-on-one interview.
Carly Walsh, a graduate recruitment adviser (and a recent graduate herself), talked to us to about the type of questions you should expect in BT’s graduate interviews and gives her advice on how you can answer these.
How to answer BT’s video interview questions
During BT’s video interview you will be presented with a number of questions and have to record your answer using a webcam. As such, you won’t have any direct interactions with recruiters during this interview. ‘It’s a strengths-based interview, so we will be looking for evidence of the strengths we have identified as key for success on our programmes. Some questions ask for an example and some present a scenario and ask how you will approach it,’ explains Carly. ‘Again there are no right or wrong answers and we want you to be yourself.’
Examples of possible interview questions include:
The following are examples of the types of questions that could come up, based on what TARGETjobs would expect to be asked. Please note that there's no guarantee that these exact questions or topics will be arise at interview.
- When have you worked in a team?
- Describe a time when you’ve demonstrated strong leadership skills.
- Give us an example of a time when you’ve dealt with a difficult situation.
The absence of another person in the room can make it hard to gauge your responses and it can be awkward speaking to a lens. It’s important that you concentrate on speaking clearly and at a good pace – don’t ramble or speak too fast.
Carly elaborates: ‘You’re given around 30 seconds or so to read the questions and think about what your answer is going to be. I’d advise to make sure you’re using that time really wisely – don’t get panicked.’
You will need to deliver your answers within a time limit (usually around 60 seconds), so it’s important that you don’t overrun and get cut off. Carly advises: ‘It’s good to try and use all the time, but if you’ve said what you need to say, it’s fine to stop. It’s important to stick with what the question is asking.’
Having a clear structure to your answers will help you to keep to time and ensure that you’ve covered all the information you need. Try to use evidence to explain your points where possible.
Don’t forget the practical considerations either. Make sure you find a quiet space with a solid internet connection and good lighting to record your answers. Carly advises: ‘Treat it as seriously you would a “real” face-to-face interview: try to look smart, and be in a quiet environment with no distractions.’
BT’s one-to-one interview
The final stage of the recruitment process is a one-to-one interview with one of BT’s assessors. Traditionally, this has been with a manger from a relevant business area and will also provide candidates to find out more about the job.
The questions during this final interview will incorporate the different types questions asked in the previous stages, this includes ‘give us an example of a time when…’ questions and hypothetical scenario questions (‘what would you do if…’). You may also be asked questions about your motivation for applying and your interest in BT and its graduate programmes.
Preparing for your BT graduate interview
Carly advises that candidates prepare by, ‘Researching BT, and be able to demonstrate the qualities we look for in graduates.’ Here are some things that you should be aiming to do while preparing for BT’s interview. Make sure to start preparations in good time, as you won’t be able to fit everything into an evening.
- Find out as much as you can about BT’s products and services. If you’re not personally acquainted, perhaps you can speak to friends or relatives who are customers – are they happy with the service, and is there anything that they’d change?
- Make sure you’re up to date with trends and developments in the telecoms industry. Look at company websites (both BT’s and its competitors’), news sites and the trade press to get an idea of the latest goings on.
- It’s also worth thinking of other good examples of times when you have used the skills that BT are looking for or tackled particular challenges that you’d be likely to face while working at BT (eg through extracurricular activities, voluntary work, part-time jobs or university projects).
- Remind yourself of BT’s values of ‘personal, simple and brilliant’. Additionally, have a good look round its careers website and you'll see that BT places strong emphasis on putting its customers first, for example.
Answering ‘give us an example…’ questions
Potential ‘give us an example…’ or ‘tell me about a time…’ questions include:
- 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?
Recruiters want to see evidence of your skills, so pick out an example of an instance where you personally demonstrated this. This is where your prep time thinking up examples will pay off. A tried-and-tested method for structuring your answers is the STAR structure: where you should outline the Situation, the Task, your Actions and the Results of your actions. The focus on your answer should on your own actions and they helped to achieve your goals and complete your tasks.
For example, if you were asked to describe a time when you were faced with a challenge you could talk about a time when you were a person down for a group presentation at university. Discuss the issue and how it disrupted your plans, and then go on to talk about how you overcame this challenge. Perhaps you contacted the absent member in order to retrieve their notes and then suggested that the rest of the work be split between the remaining members. Make sure to focus on your personal contributions and how this led to an overall positive result – was the presentation particularly well received, were you commended on how your group worked together? This is just one example of how you could break down an example in order to construct your interview answer.
Answering hypothetical situations questions
You will be likely asked question designed to see how you would behave in certain hypothetical situations (typically a situation or challenge that you might encounter in the workplace). Make sure you’re using your research into BT’s values and culture in order to inform your answer here.
- Learn more about how to showcase your skills and strengths in hypothetical situation questions here.
Keep in mind that BT’s recruiters want to see what you’re really like as a person. Carly reminds that BT’s assessors would, ‘Like you to be honest and show us the real you.’ Respond to the hypothetical situation questions in a truthful way, don’t try and overthink by stating what you think BT would want to hear.