Charles Donnell

HR Placement

  • English Language & Psychology
  • Aston University
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • IBM

What made you apply to IBM?

IBM is a global and renowned company not only for their work in the world but also for their student and graduate schemes. After speaking to an IBMer at the Aston Placement Fair I found them incredibly personable and evidently very passionate about their company. I then did some further research online and found out that IBM do not look for particular degrees, they’re looking for competencies and business acumen which was really attractive to me not studying a business degree.

How was the application process?

Honestly the application process was difficult, but worth it! It starts with an online application form which assesses the IBM competencies, from ‘teamwork’ to ‘creativity’ - almost like a ‘pre- interview’.

From there you are invited to take an online psychometric test to assess your numerical reasoning skills. If you are successful at both these stages you are then invited to an assessment centre which involves group assessments and interviews - and this is the time to show what you can do.

“In my role I got involved and took part in all aspects of the recruitment process from solely managing career fairs to presenting at university events to large groups of students and graduates”

Describe a normal day in the office

At IBM, there is never really a ‘normal day’ in the office, every day is different. The great thing about working at IBM on your placement year is that you are a full and valued member of your team. In my role I got involved and took part in all aspects of the recruitment process from solely managing career fairs to presenting at university events to large groups of students and graduates. I also ran assessment centres and used social media to engage with applicants - attraction and delivery.

How has this placement affected your career prospects?

After this year, I genuinely feel incredibly confident entering the graduate job market. I have also been nominated for a summer internship within IBM, working on a global HR project, working with other interns from all over the globe.

In August 2012 we all get the opportunity to visit IBM in New York and present to the Vice President of IBM HR. And whilst we are in the US, we’ll also get interviewed for places on the HR Leadership Development Programme upon graduation

HR Placement

What advice would you give to someone planning their placement?

I think the one thing I would say, without sounding too cliché is: be yourself! It’s very easy during the application process to put on a façade and act like an ‘Apprentice candidate’ (which is not a good thing).

Also, make sure you do your research on the company you are applying for - not only will it affect you in the application process if you do not show a passion for the company, but at the same time it’s your chance to find out if the company is right for you - both equally important.

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