Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Winning the Arts and Humanities Award, Marie Notermans is back with her second blog

Sometime in early February, I was sat in bitterly cold Geneva cafe when I received a call from a withheld number – it turned out to be Barclays Graduate Recruitment team, looking to arrange a phone interview. I was flattered, assumed my application had missed the pile entitled “bin” by a few centimetres, but was excited nonetheless. I rang up the Careers Service at the University of Exeter when I was back in Spain, and asked for some tips on phone interviews.

When the day of the phone call came, I ummed and ahhed over the questions, hung up, and never expected to hear from them again.  A couple of weeks later on a Monday evening, I was at work, when I got an email – inviting me to an assessment centre later that week.

I was really flattered – clearly the phone interview had gone better than I thought – now for my next challenge…what was I going to wear at the interview! A mad dash around a few Spanish department stores, a train, plane, tube and taxi ride later, and I was in Canary Wharf ironing my suit for my interview the next morning. I had never been through an assessment centre before, I didn’t really know what to expect, but oddly enough I did enjoy it. There were a group of around 5 of us, and a variety of tasks to complete, followed by an interview.

It was a much longer wait than your average job interview to find out the result – around 2 months.  This is because each company taking part in the awards invites their 10 finalists to an award ceremony in London where the winner of each award is announced. So in April, I made the trip back to the UK to meet up with the team from Barclays and the other finalists.  The awards ceremony was great as I got to meet all the other finalists who were very interesting and some people from Barclays over a relaxed lunch.  Sir Trevor McDonald hosted the awards ceremony, so hearing from him was also fascinating. When it came to the Arts and Humanities award I was looking around the table, wondering which one of the finalists would be announced as the winner, when suddenly my face appeared on the screen at the front.

It took a good few seconds to work out I had actually won, and that I was supposed to go up on stage to collect my award. I can only think that I must have looked terrified, because Sir Trevor said to me “you can look happy about it, you know”!

Find out how Marie got on in her interview next week on Monday 16 September 

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