Insider advice on how to succeed at CGI assessment centres and interviews
CGI assessment centres for graduate jobs typically consist of an interview, group exercise and written exercise; in rare cases, you may be invited to a second interview on another day.
The CGI writing exercise: how to succeed
The written exercise at CGI takes the form of a report and the brief will be given on the day, so there is nothing to prepare in advance for this. It allows recruiters to assess whether you have the writing skills to produce formal reports and other essential forms of business communication.
TARGETjobs asked a learning and development professional at CGI for tips on succeeding at the written exercise. She suggests keeping the following in mind:
- Spelling and grammar are important
- Have a clear, coherent structure
- Ensure that each sentence and each paragraph flows on from the previous one in a logical manner
- Be concise
- Elements such as headings, graphs and diagrams can help to add clarity
A previous candidate recommends maintaining a formal tone and using academic references when writing the report, but you may receive guidance on this from CGI.
CGI graduate interviews: what will happen?
You will have a one-to-one interview with a manager from the relevant area of the business. From what we have been told by CGI and by previous candidates, you can expect to be asked competency interview questions, questions about yourself and your motivations for applying, and technical questions.
According to the 2017 Inside Buzz survey of CGI graduate employees, previous interviews involved the following experiences:
- ‘We talked about my previous work experience and what I had learned from it. There were also questions around what I knew about CGI.’
- 'There were questions about my course, skills and hobbies listed [on my application].'
- ‘There were the normal competency questions about teamwork, leadership and my past projects and experience.’
- 'I was asked situational questions based around various desired qualities. An example would be: tell me about a time when you disagreed with a co-worker and how you went about resolving it.'
- 'There were mainly technical questions about the types of technologies I had used, the projects I had worked on and what they involved. There were also some general questions about my work experience outside of university and there was some general chat about me as a person.'
- 'I was asked about my previous employment and volunteering activities. I also had to provide examples of my experience in conflict resolution and meeting deadlines.'
Read the entire Inside Buzz survey to find out more about CGI and its recruitment processes.
If you are asked technical questions, they will be based around the area of the business you have applied to and the skills listed in the job description (eg Java). You will typically be asked these questions in a format such as ‘What do you know about X?’, rather than having to solve technical puzzles.
How to prepare for interview questions at CGI
- Read up on CGI’s core competencies on the application hints and tips section of its website. The best thing is to consider how you used or developed those competencies during your course, internships, employment history, gap years and extracurricular activities.
- Research CGI and make a note of your sources. Look outsise of the business, too, and see what other companies are doing. The learning and development professional we spoke to said that she would expect candidates to be able to name some of CGI’s competitors.
- Practise explaining your knowledge of programming languages.
- Read the article on past CGI graduate interview questions and its advice on how to answer them .
The group exercise at CGI’s assessment centre: top tips
The group exercise takes place in groups of up to ten people and normally lasts 30 minutes. In the past, it has been assessed by the HR team only, although interviewers (managers from relevant business areas) will sometimes sit in. You will usually be given a non-technical problem to solve. One past candidate has indicated that it could be along the lines of how you would survive on a desert island, but there is no guarantee that you would be given a similar exercise.
Expect to be assessed on elements such as:
- how you approach the problem
- how you manage group dynamics
- how you break up areas of responsibility within the team
The learning and development professional we spoke to gave the following tips:
- Avoid staying completely silent – this gives assessors nothing to mark
- It’s a timed exercise, so take control of the timing
- Think about dividing up the task
- Think about how you will solve the problem first (rather than immediately jumping in to try to solve it) in case you have an additional challenge thrown at you