Chuwei Lui

August 24, 2022, by Jackie Thompson

How I Prepared for My Placement Interview

Chuwei Liu, Risk Management student, Nottingham Business School

We asked Chuwei to share his recent interview experience when applying for a role with Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN).  A placement appealed to Chuwei because he wanted to experience the UK working environment and culture. He also wanted to practise his English skills and strengthen his communication skills with colleagues and leaders.

What company and job role did you apply for?

I applied to a Postgraduate Placements Nottingham vacancy to work as a part-time Impact Report Co-ordinator for When You Wish Upon a Star, a UK-based charity. What attracted me to this charity is that it aims to fulfil the wishes of children with terminal illnesses, which is a very worthwhile cause. I could see that the role would allow me to apply the analytical skills I learned in the classroom to the real world and use those skills to support the company and contribute to the achievement of its goals.

Tell us more about your PPN job

I worked as an Impact Report Co-ordinator, and as the name suggests I was asked to produce a report by extracting useful data for future planning. My work project was divided into two specific parts, designing a satisfaction survey and analysing the results of the survey.

In the first stage, I designed the survey using a market analysis model to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the charity and the market environment and to summarise the data and content we needed to collect. In the second stage, I coded all the data collected and analysed it using quantitative methods and quantitative models to summarise what the company had done well up to that point and what needed to be improved, culminating in a final report.

How did you prepare for the interview?

I was very nervous when I received the invitation to interview as it was my first interview in English. Luckily, the Careers team hold weekly drop-in sessions in the Business School, which made it very easy for me to find the help I needed quickly.

During the drop-in session, the Careers Consultant looked at the job advert and quickly analysed the types of questions I was likely to be asked in the interview. She then helped me to think about my own examples and experiences to answer these questions, which greatly increased my confidence in this. To make the interview even better, my Careers Consultant offered to book a longer one-to-one interview practice and feedback session a few days later. This helped me to work on putting together the examples of my skills and experience and then gave me a chance to try out my interview skills and gain feedback on the validity of my examples.

In preparation, my Careers Consultant also reminded me that I could use the STAR interview framework which I had learned during a career development workshop the previous week. This really helped me to structure the answer to the communication skills questions in the interview. My Careers Consultant not only gave me invaluable feedback, but also complimented me greatly on my performance in the interview practice and gave me great confidence. In the end, I passed the interview with flying colours. I was offered the job.

What questions were you asked at the interview?

In line with my Careers Consultant’s advice, the questions I was asked were based on the skills required in the recruitment details. For example:

1. Can you demonstrate your data analysis skills?
2. Please tell us about a time when you have used your communication skills
3. Do you have any previous experience in survey design and creation?
4. What do you think would be the biggest challenge for you in this job?

How did the Careers team help you?

Through the Accelerated Career Leaders Programme (ACLP is a career development programme that forms part of Business School MSc courses) during the semester, I learned a great deal about CV writing methods and formats.

I also learned the STAR framework for answering skill-based questions in interviews, which greatly helped me prepare for interviews. During the one-to-one interview practice with a Careers Consultant, she listened carefully to each of my prepared answers and suggested changes where she felt they were not appropriate, or clear, which made my answers sound more professional.

For international students, she also corrected my English grammar mistakes, and I can say that I could not have succeeded in my interview without their help. The Careers team also provided me with graduate job application support, giving me detailed advice on how to plan my graduation application schedule.

I was also introduced to an international student-friendly graduate job board called Student Circus, which the university subscribes to and is free for students, and online psychometric practice tests called Graduates First. 

What advice would you give students who have an interview coming up?

Ask for help from the university’s Careers and Employability Service, they have so many resources that can help you. Put your best foot forward and trust the Careers team to give you the most professional feedback.

The university’s Postgraduate Placement Nottingham scheme allows current postgraduates to undertake part-time work with businesses and allows students to utilise their skills in a real working environment. The work is paid and flexible around your studies. Start your preparation for your next interview whether that’s for a part-time job, internship, or graduate role with our help.

Posted in Applying For JobsInternational StudentsInterviewsPostgraduate Taught Students