While JLL's graduate recruitment process involves many of the same stages as the application processes for other property firms, JLL recently updated their process to focus almost entirely on candidates' strengths rather than candidates' previous experience. We spoke to Luke Lavery, emerging talent acquisition manager at JLL, to find out more about what you can expect from the graduate application process.
What stages does JLL’s application process include?
The application process for JLL’s graduate schemed now includes the following elements:
- an application form
- a situational judgement test
- a video interview
- an immersive assessment centre (which includes a written exercise, a presentation/interview, a group exercise and networking opportunities)
The process is the same for JLL’s commercial, residential, planning, building surveying, quantity surveying and project management graduate schemes. However, for the corporate finance analyst scheme, the assessment centre has previously involved an Excel cash flow test.
‘The whole point of the process is to really look at “What would you do?” as opposed to “What have you done?”,’ says Luke. As such, JLL are placing less focus on whether you have done property-relevant work experience.
JLL's application question: what will be asked?
On the initial application form, you will just have to submit your contact details, details of your degree course (JLL encourage applications from non-cognates) and answer a number of equal opportunities questions. Some of these questions are optional or can be skipped. It's important that you answer these sections honestly
After submitting the above information you will be invited to complete the situational judgement test. If you are successful in this test, you will be able to complete the rest of the application form. Here you will need to answer four questions in writing. You will be presented with a series of workplace scenarios and asked how you would react. This is similar in format to the situational judgement test, Luke explains how the two may differ: ‘There’s an opportunity here for candidates to impart their own knowledge and experiences in order to supplement their answers.’
What to expect from JLL’s situational judgement test
‘The situational judgement test is 12 online questions that are based around a number of scenarios. The scenarios can be to do with communication, teamwork, handling a difficult client or needing guidance in a completely alien situation,’ explains Luke.
The scenarios are designed to not require any technical knowledge or knowledge of a specific discipline. For each question you will be given a choice of four responses and will be asked to select both the most effective and the least effective response, based on your initial reaction.
What type of questions will be asked during JLL's video interview?
This year candidate’s first interview with JLL will be using an online video interview service where you will be recording your responses to pre-set questions.
‘The questions are, again, about what you would do in certain scenarios: how would you go about handling a scenario and how you would get to a desired result,’ says Luke. You will have a time limit of three minutes in which to record your response to each question.
You should support your responses to these situations with evidence, Luke elaborates: ‘Make sure you’re able to convey your own experiences and have relevant things to talk about from university, your personal life and professional experiences.’
What is the immersive assessment centre?
Luke says: ‘The aim of the assessment centre this year is to put the attendees into “a day in the life” of a JLL graduate. Candidates will be partaking in work similar to what they will be doing and allowing them to really get a feel of the office and the day-to-day interactions that take place.’
The assessment centre also gives candidates the chance to evaluate JLL and its culture for themselves and see whether the work of a graduate surveyor would suit them.
There are five elements to the assessment centre:
1. Written exercise
Candidates will be asked to complete a written report exercise based on a current JLL initiative or news topic. Luke explains: ‘Report writing is a key part of all graduate jobs. So we’re looking to see whether they have the professional skills set they need if we were to ask them to submit a report to a client tomorrow.’
Candidates will have to prepare a presentation for one of JLL’s directors. This is your opportunity to convey:
- your interest in property and JLL
- your strengths
- your ambitions
- why you think you would be a good fit for JLL
The interview will follow on directly from the presentation. Luke advises: ‘The interview follows a similar pattern as to how JLL handle internal promotions. The director will pick up on and ask questions based on what you said in the presentation.’
Candidates can expect a mixture of follow up questions to the presentation, questions about your skills and the responsibilities of a graduate surveyor and questions about your past experiences.
Luke provides the following example: ‘You may talk about how the team culture at JLL appeals to you. The follow up question would be “How would you handle a situation when two managers have asked you to complete two different pieces of work at the same time?” The interviewer would then follow up by asking “Can you give me an example of a time when you have to balance your time and your workload?”’
4. Group exercise
Candidates will then complete a group exercise. In a group of around five people, candidates will be tasked to work together to decide which of a number of new commercial initiatives would be the best fit for JLL.
There will also be a speed-networking opportunity where candidates will have the chance to talk to senior executives at the firm. Luke says: ‘We have a lot of collaborative, open-plan working spaces where there is a lot of interactions with the directors or the board. Here we’re assessing whether candidates will be able to collaborate with people from across JLL.’
How can you impress JLL's recruiters?
While some elements of the process rely on your initial reactions and cannot be prepared for, you should still do research into JLL and understand what JLL’s recruiters are looking for.
Align yourself with JLL's corporate values
‘JLL prides itself on its ethics and its values – know what your ethics and values are, and be able to articulate how they align with JLL’s,’ advises Luke. Think about what values you are conveying through your responses to the workplace scenario questions and situational judgment test.
JLL have previously asked candidates to give examples of times when they had demonstrated courage, trust and agility, and Luke has confirmed that these values are still assessed in the new process.
- Courage: JLL want to see that you are capable of being courageous and stepping out of your comfort zone. Show that you are capable of remaining composed and professional in front of clients, large audiences or more senior colleagues. Demonstrating courage may involve standing up for your values or for others in pressured situations.
- Trust: It is vital that JLL’s employees can be trusted to give ethical advice to clients. Your responses to situation questions should show that you can remain ethical in all your actions that you are reliable and are willing to take on positions of trust, such as by volunteering to take on extra responsibility.
- Agility: Recruiters want to see you can think on your feet and adapt to new information and situations. Throughout the application process, exemplify the value of adaptability by responding decisively and swiftly to scenario. Your responses to these scenarios should indicate that you are capable of weathering unexpected circumstances and can take on board new information.
Make sure your responses have structure, content and delivery
Luke advises: ‘What we look for at all times is: structure, content and delivery.’ JLL’s recruiters will be looking at how you answer interview questions and how you present yourself to see whether you would be able to behave professionally and engagingly if hired as a graduate surveyor.
- Structure: ‘Is your answer logical, is it precise and is it on point? If we were to put you in front of a client tomorrow, could you speak succinctly and professionally?’ says Luke. You could structure your interview answers around the STAR model; establishing the Situation and Task before describing the Action you took and how it affected the Result. This model is especially suited for giving answers to ‘give us an example of a time…’ questions. During the presentation, make sure you keep to time and that you don’t overload your audience with too much information at once.
- Content: ‘Are you engaging? Is it the correct content and is it right for us?’ asks Luke. Make sure that you are answer the questions that are being asked and that you answers convey the above values, as well as crucial skills such as problem solving, decision making and leadership.
- Delivery: ‘We’re looking for someone who can answer succinctly, stay on point and deliver answers in an engaging manner,’ says Luke. During the interview and presentations make eye contact with your interviewers and audience, vary the tone of your voice and be aware of the message your body language is conveying. At the presentation stage, remember to welcome and thank your audience and ask the audience for any questions.
Know your unique selling points
Luke advises that: ‘The biggest thing for JLL is differentiation, and that candidates are able to communicate that differentiation. This individuality really shines through.’ You need to know what your unique selling points (USPs) are – what it is about you that sets you apart from other candidates – and your USP needs to be substantiated.
Having evidenced, developed and well prepared answers shows that you are motivated and have a passion for the role. ‘Really understand what makes you you – know your strengths, the areas you could develop and your goals. Be prepared with tangible examples and rehearsed answers so you are able to communicate these as well as possible,’ advises Luke.
You've got more than one chance
Even if you are unsuccessful at the assessment centre stage, there is still hope. ‘For candidates who are unsuccessful we run workshops over the course of January to March. Candidates can come, find out where they went wrong and work on their employability skills with our team and external trading providers,’ explains Luke.
These workshops can even lead to a place on the graduate schemes. Luke says: ‘From these sessions this year we actually hired a further six graduates!’ Even if you are not so lucky, the support from JLL will ensure that you are in a better position when it comes to applying again the next year round.