Expert advice for your Knight Frank graduate interviews
If Knight Frank’s recruiters are impressed by your CV, you are invited to a 30-minute face-to-face interview. Next, if you continue to impress, you are invited to an assessment day, which includes two 30-minute interviews, among other tasks. Lauren Strangleman, graduate manager at Knight Frank, gives insight into what candidates can expect.
What type of graduate does Knight Frank look to hire?
Lauren gives TARGETjobs the big picture of what her firm is looking for: ‘We like to recruit a range of different types of personalities, but those who are successful are always diligent and enthusiastic and make the most of every opportunity they are given.’
Demonstrate your diligence by approaching all the tasks you are set conscientiously, leaving nothing uncompleted or, worse, unattempted. You might also do this by focusing on details, ensuring that you’ve interpreted any information you’re given correctly and that your presentation slides (if used) contain no spelling errors. If you’re asked a perplexing interview question, diligence can be shown through determination: ask for clarification, and then when you give your answer, explain how you arrived at it.
Show enthusiasm by having a positive attitude – don’t grumble with the other candidates about how difficult it is, for instance.
Show you make the most of every opportunity by weaving examples of when you’ve done this into your interview answers. Examples could include anything you did voluntarily to improve your own learning, such as going on a work shadowing day that you arranged off the back of a conversation with a surveyor. At the assessment centre, make the most of the opportunity to talk to a range of people – Knight Frank assessors and other candidates.
How to approach Knight Frank’s first interview
Lauren tells us that this is a CV-based interview conducted by a partner and designed to ‘see whether the candidate’s motivations and ethics fit the culture of the firm’.
‘We are impressed by people who have really thought about why they want to work for us and who have developed a clear understanding of how the graduate programme works at Knight Frank, as this shows a genuine interest in working for us,’ says Lauren.
According to Inside Buzz, past candidates were asked…
- ‘Why did you choose Knight Frank?’
- 'Describe yourself in three words.’
Don’t be surprised if you are also asked…
- About specific things on your CV
- What you know about Knight Frank’s graduate scheme
- Why you want to be a residential/commercial surveying graduate, and why you especially want to do this at [eg] the Bristol office at Knight Frank
- What you learned during your work experience
- Your reasons for choosing to study your property course
When talking about why you want to work for Knight Frank, link your answer to the firm’s values and your career ambitions. For example, are you someone who is driven to go the extra mile, and if so, why do you like to do this? Or perhaps you would like to pursue a career in property development but would like to experience other specialisms before making a decision. Or you want to work in the property market abroad once you’ve qualified and gained experience in the UK, and Knight Frank has global mobility opportunities.
To answer the question ‘describe yourself in three words’, choose from your strongest traits the ones that you think make you most appealing to Knight Frank recruiters.
Before the interview, here are some things to make sure you know well:
- What’s on your CV (the version that you submitted to Knight Frank)
- Knight Frank’s company values
- Key facts about Knight Frank, such as who the senior partner is
- Your career ambitions and how you think Knight Frank can help you achieve them
- Ways in which your personal attributes and career ambitions match the firm’s values and what it offers graduates
You should also prepare some questions for the partner interviewing you. For example, you could ask them questions about their career (look them up on LinkedIn if you know who your interviewer will be), such as why did they decide to go into property – but make sure you don’t ask anything you could find out from your own research. Your questions could also focus on their opinions on developments in the industry, a news report on Knight Frank, or how new graduates can impress them on the job.
How to approach Knight Frank’s assessment day interviews
Knight Frank’s half-day assessment centre includes:
- a 30-minute competence-based interview
- a 30-minute technical interview that involves candidates giving a presentation on a property-related matter of their choice
- a group exercise
- a networking lunch
Lauren says that the technical interview is the part that many candidates find hardest, but mainly because they over-think it. ‘We are looking at potential and so aren’t expecting candidates to be experts. We just want to see that they have a grasp of the basics, and we also look for good commercial awareness, teamwork, communication and networking skills.’
According to Inside Buzz, past candidates were asked…
- Give an example of a time when you have shown you are a team player.
- Give an example of a time when you have shown leadership skills.
- Calculate the yield of this property.
Having a grasp of the basics (as Lauren stipulates above) means demonstrating a solid understanding of the technical elements covered on your degree or conversion course. Aim to show you’re a hardworking student with the grounding and aptitude for learning the skills of a surveyor, rather than trying to portray yourself as an expert already.
Keeping your commercial awareness up to scratch will also help with these interviews. Awareness of recent events in the property industry and business world is good, but it’s wise to be particularly knowledgeable about current developments relevant to Knight Frank and its clients. For example, if you are going into residential, you should know that a recent revival in the northern residential property market is thought to have contributed to Knight Frank’s record annual profits for 2015, and be able to comment on the reasons for that and how Knight Frank has taken advantage of changing market conditions.
Giving the presentation
Knight Frank will give you all the details you need on this nearer the time but, when preparing, remember what recruiters are trying to assess. Keep to the brief and see what links you can make to the technical knowledge you’ve gained on your course and current issues in property and surrounding industries.