Archive | June, 2014

The graduate’s quandary

9 Jun

It’s that time again. The time for job applications, numerical and verbal tests, presentations, assessment days and interviews. I hate it.

It’s not that I don’t understand the need to demonstrate your capability for the position you’re applying for; it’s more the never-ending hoops you have to jump through to show you’re the right fit for a company, or perhaps the malleable sort so you can eventually become the right fit. It seems determination and resilience are qualities that are valued far more highly than your skillset and whether you would work well in the company you’re applying to.

I’ve come out of assessment days and job interviews feeling like I’ve literally undergone a physical and mental endurance test. I remember an assessment day for a PR job where the organisers had clearly watched far too much of The Apprentice as halfway through the day, they decided it would be a good idea to name those that weren’t quite up to scratch in front of everyone and send them home. I still cringe at the memory.

In my experience, I feel this has spawned two extremes of graduates. Those arrogant, look-at-me types with CVs as long as your arm and an air of self-assurance (or perhaps self-obsession) that follows them like a bad smell. Then you have the disillusioned types, the graduates that have come out of university realising that it’s not entirely feasible to change the world by getting that amazingly cool job working in the Philippines – maybe it’s better to be an accountant instead. After all, there are definite perks – a ‘stable’, professional job… and spreadsheets aren’t that bad.

I think it’s a result of growing up and thinking you can be anything you want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be encouraged to follow your dreams and believe in your abilities but I think a lot of my generation expect it to be handed on a plate and I’m probably no exception. And when it turns out that you might just need to work a little bit to fulfil your dream to become an astronaut, some people get furious, then depressed, and then just try and apply for a graduate scheme.

Which is harder than you might anticipate…