Here at LEWIS we have a new graduate training scheme, LEDA, that we’re very excited about. For the first time, we will be taking graduates from across Europe and training them at our London HQ, alongside two graduates from the UK.
We opened recruitment a couple of weeks ago and so far, I’ve been really impressed with the calibre of the candidates. Not only have they got great academic records, scoring a 2.1 or higher / 3.5 GDP+ in their degrees and often having masters degrees to their name, but they have also secured excellent work experience placements both during and after university.
As someone who herself began life at LEWIS as a graduate, I remember all too clearly the scramble to have a CV strong enough to get that first ‘proper’ job. And now it’s even harder to impress: internships themselves are highly competitive, and most likely to be unpaid, meaning that many of the candidates have had to work two jobs since leaving university last summer: a PR / journalism role to acquire the right skills and a bar job in the evenings or weekends to be able to support themselves. And not only that, but we also expect them to maintain an active social life, be successful in their sporting endeavours or other hobbies, and to be active social media users, blogging and tweeting regularly.
The impressive truth is that there are plenty of candidates who have done all this, and more – so anyone without a suitably glowing CV won’t even make it to the screening calls, let along the assessment day. I have had to become a harsh critic (which doesn’t really suit me!), but I am determined to only employ the best of the best.
What has intrigued me, though, is that not everyone who I’ve invited to have a phone interview has responded to me, and not everyone who has made it to the stage of being invited to the assessment day has accepted the invitation. We are constantly being told how tough the jobs market is: UK unemployment hit 2.51 million this week, up 80,000 in the last quarter, and the situation is even worse in mainland Europe. In this climate, how can candidates afford to be slow to reply to an invitation to an interview?
The rewards for the successful six will definitely make it worth their while to have jumped through our hoops: a six-month training contract on a competitive starting salary, three months of which will be spent in our London office learning from some of the PR industry’s brightest stars on a course that covers media relations excellence, social media savvy, the ins and outs of the technology industry and consumer goods marketplace and expert team and client management. This is followed by three months of learning ‘on the job’ in their home markets, where they will learn everything there is to know about the local media and client landscape. We are hoping that all the trainees will complete the course successfully and be taken on as fully-fledged account executives.
Applications have now closed for UK candidates, but we are still looking for exceptional talent from Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands. If that’s you, you now know what to do to impress! Best of luck to you all.