Why I employ Loughborough students and graduates
Civil Engineering alumnus Lian Guan Pek (1989) has employed several Loughborough graduates. Alumna Catherine Favret (International Business, 2015) works as a Graduate Recruitment Account Manager. Here they share insights into their experiences of graduate recruitment as well as some top tips for employers and employees.
Graduate Recruitment Account Manager: GlaxoSmithKline
“We want people to come in and challenge current ways of working, think about how we can be using technology more effectively, who can make an impact quickly, and who really align to our values.
“Loughborough’s focus on balancing studies with extra-curricular activities, work experience and opportunities to try new things, certainly helps to set their students up for success when looking for roles after graduation.”
What are the key things you look for in applications and what are your top tips for our students and graduates?
Motivation; at a graduate level, you should be applying for roles you have a genuine interest in, and think will help kick start your career. For lots of programmes they are 2-3 years with rotations in one business area, so you need to have a good understanding of if that is something you’ll want to do in the short-term future. Ultimately - it’s a larger commitment of time and energy vs a placement year / short work experience so it should be right for you. Therefore, your applications should be specific to the company (we can tell as employers when you’ve changed our name out for another company) and show a genuine interest in the business area your hoping to join.
Research the role and the company to show your understanding and therefore help to build a story of why you want to work in the area. However, don’t worry, we don’t expect you to know all the answers or about a whole department yet! A, you’ll never know everything and B, you will learn almost 70% of the role on the job, we just want to see your potential.
Knowing your strengths; we have a strengths-based interview (at GSK), which is something many more companies are moving towards. They are very different to competency-based interviews, as they don’t ask ‘tell me about a time when’, and therefore don’t need the STAR technique! Strength-based assessments are naturally harder to prepare for, and they’re meant to be so that your responses are as natural as possible, rather than planned and rehearsed. The best way to prepare is to really know your strengths – what are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? There are several websites that can help you to identify strengths.
Think of some good questions for your interviewer! Finding a job is a two-way process, and an interview is the perfect opportunity for you to find out more about the role, the company and anything else that’s important to you. Get your thinking cap on for questions that will help you make a decision on whether the role is right for you.
Be natural, honest and you! There is no cookie cutter mould for any role, so highlight all the pieces that make you, you!
Try it out. Do a placement year, summer placement, or work experience if you can. It’s the best way to try out a role or an industry before you commit longer term. It will open your eyes to other areas of the business and it’s a great way to learn technical skills from experts in their field.
Don’t underestimate your current experience; part time work, volunteering or society involvement. You will have gained a lot of relevant skills from this that you should mention in your CV and any applications.
I am lucky enough to be part of an advisory board working with Loughborough’s Careers Network. It means I get to be part of the conversation when new initiatives come out to support the students around employability and help the make sure they make maximum impact.
Lian Guan Pek
CEO: Tiong Seng Holdings Ltd
"Graduates from Loughborough receive a thorough technical education, and are well-equipped to face complex engineering problems of today. We’ve had a good experience with Loughborough graduates, who have shown resourcefulness and resilience in their work attitude."
Students and graduates respond well to new challenges and bring new ideas to the team.
Beyond the grades accumulated in their courses, we try to assess candidates on their attitude towards change and change management. Engineers today will need a greater appreciation for adjacent fields of knowledge to harness potential ideas to bring into the civil engineering field.
Be confident and prepared. It pays to spend time understanding the culture of the company that you are seeking employment with, as well as to understand what you have to offer as an individual.
Understanding the digital world and how data impacts processes is a valuable skill in today’s landscape. Employers now value a wider variety of co-curricular activities and focus more on the content of the activity, such as the things you’ve learned or worked on during a gap year.