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The key sections of the Sky application form and how to approach them

If you’re applying for a finance scheme, explain why you’ve chosen Sky over a bank or a more typical finance employer.

Before you start writing your application for Sky, it's a good idea to have done some thorough research into Sky, the graduate programme you've applied to and its graduate competencies. This will help you when it comes to the 'Qualifying questions' section of the Sky application form. This section includes open questions about why you have applied for the scheme and how your skills fit the bill.

Answering the ‘Qualifying questions’ on Sky’s graduate application form

Each scheme will have at least one scheme-specific question; some have up to three scheme-specific questions. For example, technology applicants may be asked why they think innovation is so important and which innovative Sky products are good examples of this, while finance applicants could be asked about who Sky's competitors are and which two pose the biggest threat. However, there are some questions that all applicants need to answer. All of these questions have a word limit of 250 words.

What attracted you to working for Sky and why does this appeal to you?

Here are some things that you could consider to help tailor your answer:

  • One of the key things Sky looks for in candidates is passion and enthusiasm for the company and its products, so a vague and generic response won’t cut it: you need to show that you’ve done your research. What is it about the company that most interests you? Is it the fact that it’s the fastest-growing provider of home communications in the UK? Is it the customer-focused nature of its business model? Or is it its £2bn annual investment in content? Think along the same lines for its products and services too – which of its programmes couldn’t you live without?
  • How will joining Sky help you achieve your career aspirations? Think about the training options and the future career paths that will be available to you. The length of the programme you’re applying to could also have an impact: are you looking to start a permanent role as soon as possible, or do you want a number of placements first?
  • What does the programme you’re applying to offer that you couldn’t get elsewhere? For example, maybe it’s the thought of honing your technical skills in a marketing environment that attracts you to the technical programme. Or maybe you’re keen to combine your love of numbers and sport as a betting and gaming sports trader. If you’re applying for a finance scheme, explain why you’ve chosen Sky over a bank or a more typical finance employer – remember, if you’re explaining why you want to work in this particular area you need to be clear about why you want to do it. Sky say that marketing is by far their most popular graduate programme for applications, but they do ask that candidates research the role thoroughly, and not just focus on brand advertising.
  • Consider what kinds of projects you might get involved with. Want to work on Sky’s smartphone apps? Got ideas for new customer service programmes? Explain what you think you can bring to the business.
  • DON’T just reel off a list of compliments about Sky – explain why its success appeals to you and how it would benefit your career.

What do you think are the key priorities for the [business area] department at Sky?

Here are some things you could consider to help tailor your answer:

  • Do some research. It’s a cliché, but knowing about the company and its industry really is vital. For example, you could read up on Sky’s annual reports from previous years to see how the business and its strategy has changed, or look into what a key competitor, such as Virgin Media, has done recently.
  • Think logically. You may not know the ins and outs of your chosen area if you haven’t already studied it – after all, most of Sky’s programmes accept any degree subject, so try to think through the kinds of work the department might do. You might not include all of this in your answer, but thinking about all of the different tasks will help you to work out which sorts of projects will be a priority.
  • Look at Sky as a whole. Some of the company’s priorities over the coming years are to expand its range of offerings and to continue its ‘Bigger Picture’ sustainability drive. How will these initiatives affect individual departments? What will the finance department, for example, have to do to support these plans?
  • DON’T list absolutely everything you can think of to do with that department – the question is looking for key priorities.

At Sky we offer a range of programmes and opportunities for graduates. What aspects of the [programme] appealed to you and why did you choose to apply for this specific programme?

Here are some things you could consider to help tailor your answer:

  • This question is similar in some ways to the previous one, as it tests your knowledge of the role you’re applying to. Consider using similar techniques to identify what kinds of tasks you would be doing in the post and then think about the kinds of soft skills you’d need to complete them effectively.
  • Refer back to the job description to get an idea of the sorts of attributes that might be useful. For example, the project management role involves a lot of strategic thinking as well as a strong customer focus, while the marketing programme requires a great deal of creativity. Try not to just copy the person specification – the question is asking for your opinion.
  • You could use this as an opportunity to highlight how well you’re suited to the role by including an explanation of how you have demonstrated these skills in your past work experience or extracurricular activities.

Please give an example of a time when you have had multiple deadlines and explain what you did to meet your targets. Please also include details of what you would do differently next time.

Here are some things you could consider to help tailor your answer:

  • Examples from outside your academic work would be particularly useful here, as coursework deadlines are common to all students and many other applicants will use this example. Try to choose an example that also highlights some of your skills and experience – for example, meeting a financial deadline as treasurer of a student society.
  • Broadcasting is a highly deadline-driven industry and getting things right is particularly important for a pay-TV provider: if work isn’t completed on time and viewers don’t get the service they expect, the company loses business. Be sure to show that you understood the potential consequences of missing your deadline, as well as giving details of what you did to ensure that you met it.
  • Remember that this question deals both with working to deadlines and with the prioritisation of tasks. Explain how you went about organising your time to ensure that all of the different deadlines were met.

Multiple-choice questions

In these questions, candidates are asked to choose the option which best represents their own attitude. The best way to approach these is to use common sense: which of the options best reflects the nature of the role you’ve applied to?

Examples:

Technology – software engineering academy

How would you describe your view of technology?

  • a) It’s my life.
  • b) I’m passionate about it but I also do other things.
  • c) I like it but I’m not too fussed.
  • d) What’s technology?

Tip: Clearly answers c) and d) are not appropriate for this programme; the job description states that candidates should have ‘a real passion for cutting-edge technology’, which these options do not demonstrate. It’s up to you to judge whether the first or second option is most suited to you.

Customer operations programme

How would you describe your approach to customers?

  • a) I do my utmost but you can't please everybody, you can only do your best.
  • b) I do everything possible to empathise with customers and go the extra mile for them.
  • c) I do my best to give good customer service, although there are times when other business needs will be more of a priority.

Tip: This is slightly tricky, as all of the answers have some positive points. Look back over the competencies for the role, and think carefully about which option you feel aligns most closely with a strong customer focus.

Various programmes

Which of the following statements best describes the approach you would take to sharing an idea with your team/colleagues?

  • a) I’ll share it with my fellow grads and get their feedback, but I don’t think it’s always appropriate to do this with more senior people within the business.
  • b) I will proactively share it with everyone relevant, my peers as well as more senior colleagues.
  • c) I will think about sharing it depending on the situation. If it’s too different from everyone else’s views it could cause distractions.
  • d) I will wait and consider.

Tip: Again, the options all have potential plus points. However, since Sky values confidence and collaboration, being afraid to share an idea could be viewed negatively. Likewise, concerns about the disruption caused by a new idea don’t fit with Sky’s culture of embracing change and improvement. Think carefully about these potential pitfalls before answering.

Our 'How to get hired' articles are written by TARGETjobs editors and writers with job candidates in mind, helping you research and understand employers. Copyright of all material written by TARGETjobs lies solely with GTI Media.
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