Good answers to CGI's graduate scheme online application questions
The recruitment process at CGI is the same for both placement years and graduate jobs. It involves:
- Completing an online application form
- A short phone interview
- An assessment centre
- A final interview (if this isn’t part of the assessment centre)
The majority of the online form asks for easy-to-provide information such as contact details, qualifications, work experience, foreign language skills and location preferences, plus equal opportunities monitoring data.
However, there are some questions that require longer answers. These include:
- Please tell us why you want to join CGI
- Please provide a list of your key technical and business skills and explain where you have gained these skills/how they have been used
- Please use this section to add any further information you wish to support your application, eg personal interests, achievements, extenuating circumstances etc
How to answer: ‘Why do you want to work for CGI?’
This question is one of the most important on the CGI application form. Alexandra Hopkins, head of learning and development, explains: ‘We want people who can demonstrate a passion for CGI, the industry and IT and who have done their research. Say why you genuinely want to work for us. What is it we do that interests you?’
Alexandra's suggestions of good things to write about include:
- Particular projects that CGI is involved in that interest you
- An aspect of CGI’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) work
- A technology that you would use in the job you are applying for that interests you
- The nature of the role itself – eg if you want to be a cybersecurity expert
Whatever you choose, give some detail to show that you are ‘not just saying it’. For example, if you mention CGI’s CSR work, it would be good to give details of voluntary or fundraising work you have been involved with, to show that this is something you really do care about.
Alexandra continues that a particularly strong example might involve: ‘Someone who discovered that we provide the IT system behind something they use, such as the Boris bikes or the Oyster Card system. Perhaps that inspired them to go off and build something similar, perhaps as part of their degree, and they want to bring that to CGI and develop it further.’
Alexandra adds: ‘It’s also nice if candidates tell us what they are bringing to us. It’s good if they mention things that echo our values, eg if they can demonstrate that they are very collaborative and can come up with new ideas as part of a team. Or if they are someone who is interested in using technology to do good – we’ve been heavily involved with smart metering and are very proud of the energy saving results it can bring.’
Make sure that whatever you write you are prepared to talk about in more detail at a later stage. Alexandra explains: ‘Answers to this question can be a jumping-off point for conversations at interview. At interview, we will ask more about what you’ve done to develop that passion.’
It’s useful to know CGI’s values before you start. They are as follows. More detail on what each means can be found on the CGI corporate website.
- Partnership and quality (building strong, long-term relationships with clients)
- Objectivity and integrity (for example acting ethically and not accepting remuneration from suppliers)
- Intrapreneurship and sharing (including innovation, initiative and collaborative working)
- Respect (for colleagues, clients, partners and competitors)
- Financial strength (focusing on long-term growth and investment in the business)
- Corporate social responsibility (contributing to communities)
How to answer: '... Add any further information you wish to support your application, eg personal interests, achievements, etc'
This question is not a required field and Alexandra confirms that completing it is optional.
However, if you have something worth saying here, it will give your application a boost. Alexandra states that she is interested in reading about: ‘Something an applicant has done in their own time, rather than as part of their studies, and where they have shown initiative. Initiative is very important to us.’ She gives examples such as a personal project or performing well in a competition, for example the TARGETjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards.
Your interests or achievements don’t have to relate to technology or to the job you are applying for. Sporting or cultural achievements, for example, are worth mentioning, as are volunteering activities.
Again, your answer to this question could be used at interview as a conversation starter.
Alexandra's application form hints and tips
Alexandra has the following hints for applicants:
- 'Do your research – know who you are applying to, including why you are applying to a particular business unit.'
- 'Don’t try to bring humour into the application form. Often online it doesn’t really come across.'
- 'Be honest – if you’re not, you will get caught out at interview. We need to get our graduates government security clearance, so we need to be able to trust them 100%.'