For its 2018–2019 graduate intake, BT has a total of 18 different graduate programmes that you can apply for. However, whichever programme you choose, the core of the application process remains the same. The stages for BT’s graduate recruitment process are:
- submitting an initial online application
- completing a situational strengths tests
- an online video interview
- attending a final assessment centre.
We spoke to a graduate recruitment advisor at BT (and herself a recent graduate), Carly Walsh, to learn a bit more about this process and to get her first-hand advice on how best you can prepare and what you can expect from BT’s online application and situational strengths tests.
Answering BT’s application form questions
The initial application form for BT is remarkably simple compared to many other employers. ‘It comprises of basic information such as your work experience and your grades. It’s fairly short and straightforward,’ states Carly.
The purpose of this initial application, then, is to see whether applicants meet the requirements for the programme. As such, be sure to read the job description very carefully and think of examples of when you have demonstrated each of the essential and desired skills and qualities. Make sure that all of these examples are reflected in the work experience section of your application. You may also be asked to expand on what you included in your application form at interview.
Do I need to submit a CV?
You’ll have the option to upload a CV, which you can use to automatically fill-in the work experience and education section of the application. Carly explains: ‘We don’t screen any CVs, except in cases where we’re looking for a specific degree type.’ In this case, it may be worth also including information about your modules and exam results, to give more information about your specific degree.
We’d always advise, however, to take up this extra opportunity to show off your skills and experiences in a bit more detail – it could be your way to get ahead of the crowd. You should tailor your CV to BT by highlighting skills and experiences that are asked for in the job listing, as this is how you’ll show that you’re the candidate that BT are looking for.
For example, one of the required skills for BT’s software graduate programme is the ability to ‘innovate and drive improvements’. You could demonstrate this by including an example of time when you showed entrepreneurship and initiative in a part-time job or extracurricular activity – perhaps you found a new source of funding as part of a university society committee, or you streamlined a cumbersome process while working in a shop.
Generally, we advise against including personal statements on CVs. However, as you are not required to submit a covering letter, including a brief statement about your ambitions, your passion for technology and your interest in BT could be beneficial. Remember to keep it short, under 100 words. You can read more advice on the benefits of including personal statements on your CV here.
Make sure your CV is as clearly presented and easy to read as possible. Keep your CV to one or two sides of A4, and make use of headings and bullet points in order to separate out sections and highlight specific bits of information.
What is BT’s situational strengths test?
If your initial application is successful and you meet the requirements for your graduate programme of choice you’ll be invited to complete BT’s situational strengths tests. This test features around twenty questions and you’re free to complete the test in your own time.
Each question poses a specific scenario and you’re asked to answer with how you would respond. Carly explains, ‘there are no right or wrong answers, the questions are to see whether your strengths match with what we’re looking for and what the candidate would need to succeed on the programme.’
These questions are looking at how you would fit into BT as a whole as an organisation, rather than solely the role that you are applying for. Carly specifies, ‘We’re looking to match the BT values, which are: personal, simple and brilliant.’ Think about how you would respond if you working for BT, which response would best convey these values and BT’s methods of working.
- Your best source for information on BT’s values (as well as its strategy, vision and goal) is BT’s corporate website. In advance of the test, consider how these might be applied in the graduate programme and try to convey this in your answers.
While you should keep BT’s values and cultures in mind, Carly is keen to stress that there isn’t a ‘trick’ to answering these questions, ‘we’re looking for your natural reaction, so my advice is to not overthink your response and to answer honestly with how you would naturally react.’ As such, the best way to prepare is to do practice tests, so you’re familiar with the format of the test and know what to expect.