Ashley O'Neill

Ashley O'Neill

How did you find out about the role?

I found the vacancy on the stars at Leeds careers STAR website and applied via the Hilton Worldwide website.

How was the application process?

About a fortnight after applying I found out I had been successful for the next stage. This included an automated online video interview, an Excel test, numerical, verbal and logical reasoning tests and a personality questionnaire, which I had about a week to complete. Following that, I soon found that I had passed through to the next stage - a face-to-face interview at the Hilton Worldwide Head Office the following week. The interview was with 3 members of the Energy and Environment Team and lasted approximately 45 mins, covering some competency questions but mainly testing my technical knowledge of the energy industry. The following day I received an invite for a final interview with the Vice President and Senior Energy Manager of Engineering Operations (my future line manager), scheduled a week later at the same offices. I felt that I was more prepared for the technical questions in this final interview, due to the modules I studied in Leeds. Two days later I was delighted to be offered the position and was excited to start my new role at Hilton Worldwide. Overall the recruitment process was quite short and intense but allowed me to remain focused.

Where did you go for to support?

I used a lot of the support and tips I had been given from the employability team during my time at Leeds as preparation. This included various interview techniques such as the STAR competency response, methods for researching the company, and how to prepare a question to ask the interviewers. My role as a student employability ambassador definitely helped me to feel adequately prepared and confident throughout the whole recruitment process.

Did you take part in a Year in Industry?

Yes. I completed a Year in Industry at The Department of Energy and Climate Change within the Energy Price Statistics team.

Do you think that applying for a placement in your second year helped you when applying for graduate jobs? If so, how?

Having a Year in Industry helped me massively when applying for and securing a graduate job. Most employers do require relevant experience when recruiting for a role, and even if it is not an outlined requirement the work experience definitely helps you to stand out from the crowd. I had also undertaken a summer internship on finishing university at Mott Macdonald Consultancy as a carbon intern. This experience also helped to further my application for my current role. Both of these internships allowed me to perfect my application and interview technique so that when it came to applying for my dream job I was confident throughout the whole process. Finally, like any work experience, I developed the essential transferable skills and competencies that employers look for in a candidate.

What advice would you give a final year student looking for a job upon graduation?

My main piece of advice would be to get involved in every opportunity you can and really make the most of your time at Leeds University. When it came to applying for my current role, my CV boasted two great examples of relevant work experience as well as involvement in my department community through roles as employability ambassador, open day ambassador and course rep. I had also participated in societies such as Leeds Student Radio and had a strong academic background with a passion for my degree and the career path that I wanted to follow. All of these things are extremely important and help to set you aside from the rest when applying for a graduate role. When it comes to applying for roles, always tailor your CV and cover letter to suit the job description, allow sufficient time to prepare for interviews and ensure you research the company and have prepared a question to ask them that cannot be found anywhere on their website!

What key skills have you developed during your degree that you feel are the most important to your career to date?

The top three skills I've developed during my degree and work experience are communication, teamwork and time management, helping to create a healthy work-life balance.