Clearin’ Hurdles pt. 1

I have about 30 minutes left until I can leave work (well sort of haha).

The weather is terrible today, the rain has been hitting hard all day. The morning -> afternoon all looks the same; gray and gloom.

Warnings of flash floods – hopefully I won’t get trapped on the way home.

I suppose this entry will be about the last few months with regards to perhaps the biggest hurdle so far in my life; finding a job.

I’m in my final year of University now, within a few weeks I’ll only have one semester left (knock on wood). February (sort of), March, and April were critical months for me and generally my colleagues in B.I.T. – graduate position application time.

As I went through my degree, I often heard that people in this course get a lot of job offers by the end of third year; this was never the case for me. I remember how one of the biggest selling point of this Co-op program was the industry experience, subsequently enabling us to be more employable.

I suppose we went through four years knowing that we will be employed by the end of it.

There’s normally a few things that happen during this time; students either get an offer from their past sponsor companies, or they go through the application processes for other companies and land a job there.

Problem for me is that all three of the sponsor companies I worked at were not hiring (or was hiring late/not interested). So that means straight up, my option was to apply.

First up was Westpac (fast track – Co-op only), in all honesty, I didn’t know much about the company, and I only put an application through to see what it’s like. So needless to say, I didn’t get through the first application stage; probably the psychometric testing.

Next, a few applications were sent out to Accenture, IBM, Deloitte (really wanted this one), American Express, and Macquarie Group.

I was initially rejected from IBM as I didn’t do the application correctly, so that was crossed out of the picture pretty quickly. I managed to land my first ever job interview at Accenture followed by Macquarie Group a few hours afterwards.

The Accenture interview, I felt, went alright. Better than expected anyway. I grew up with this perception that interviewing was hardcore, intense and daunting (well it is I guess). But in most cases they seemed to be more of a chat.

  • Result: Rejected – examples did not demonstrate enough leadership.

The Macquarie Group interview went well; I was invited to the 3 hour assessment on the same day afterwards. Oh golly.. 3 hours of psychometric tests including 52 personality questions.

  • Results: Rejected – probably failed the psychometric.

During this time, I submitted my online application to QBE, CBA, and PwC. Next up was Deloitte. Deloitte’s application process was a bit different; a group assessment then interview. Just a note, I really wanted this job (although I was aiming for a Business Analyst role, this data analysis work just interested me). So I put a lot of effort into this, bugged a lot a few friends about it.. and prepared as much as I could for the group assessment.

  • Results: Rejected – was not pro-active enough during the discussions.

At the same time, QBE got back to me; invited to do their 19 question personality test.

  • Results: Rejected – guess my personality was no good? Not too sure haha.

Checkpoint – OK.. at this point I was hit hard, the job that I really wanted slipped out of my grasp. When I was applying for this job, I knew that they were only taking 1 or 2 students, but I was still devastated. I think mum started to see the stress and pressure build up.

When you get a job offer, we’ll all go out and have a celebratory lunch.

A lot of times during these months, mum would keep asking me “Why are you so rushed to get a job? Don’t worry so much.” Personally, I wanted to be financially independent, I wanted mum to rest assure that by the end of 2010 if she wishes to go back to Taiwan, she can do so.

So I expanded my search and kept going at it.. I lost count of all the applications I threw out; Reserve Bank of Australia, Department of Health Services, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Thales, Sydney Water, Web Marketing, Oracle, Cisco.. the list went on (18+ all up).

But during this stage (around April), I was thrown a bone, a wild card.. but perhaps my way out. IBM emailed us all again, asking if anyone was still interested. I immediately put another application through – properly this time. Within an hour I received a call and was asked to come in for an interview, which subsequently led to the Fast Track day – assessments + 4 interviews.

I prepared so much for this day, I did a lot of research, I revised a lot of technical (java) knowledge, I went through all the feedback I’ve received and I just did as much as I could. This was it.. well that’s what I thought.

  • Result: Rejected – not technical enough.

That was painful; at this point in time I focused on the last two private sector companies who have come back to me – PwC and CBA. [Whups – took longer than expected; now I’m home]..

So anyway, I completed the online assessments for CBA and PwC, CBA was having their last assessment centre on the 7th, by the 5th I still haven’t gotten any form of contact, so I pretty much assumed I failed the assessment; and I was right.

  • Results: Rejected – failed the online assessment.

It was at this point where I started searching the internet again for almost anything because I just.. well.. wanted a job offer for next year.

Tuesday 4th of May, I was advised to send a follow up email to American Express. I did, and I got an interview on the 7th of May – Friday. They said they’ll get back to me in a week.

It was perhaps the most anxious week of my life. I remember waiting “48 hours” (ended up being 4+ days) for Deloitte, 24 hours for IBM.. but this week, this was everything, I poured everything I had left into it.. Yes I did the applications for other places, but this was it.. American Express had the work I wanted, had the role I wanted, I just never followed up earlier because they were only going to interview a handful, majority being students who have worked there before.

I will never forget 5:42pm on the 14th of May, 2010.. at Moore Park basketball courts. The biggest monkey was off my back.

So far anyway. I’m sure there will be more hurdles to clear in the upcoming future, but at least for now, I don’t have to worry so much!

Preparation!! - Yes, I was/am playing Splinter Cell - Conviction.

A big, big thank you to everyone for the support and wishes throughout this period.. And for putting up with all my ranting and emotional rollercoasters.

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3 thoughts on “Clearin’ Hurdles pt. 1

  1. yihong says:

    you owe us big time =)
    did I hear free lunch? hahahahahha =P
    Congrats (altho I really want that job too LOLOL, damit LOL)

  2. Fred says:

    Congratulations yet again. You deserve it mate! I think we should organise a proper celebratory event after the exams (one that is slightly more extravagant than frozen coke).

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