As the end of my placement draws near, and I get to reflect over how I found the job and the work environment, I get to have a much better idea of what kind of graduate role I have in mind.
With the choice of doing a masters now sealed in, I will have another year before applying, but come September I will definitely be applying for summer internships which could hopefully turn into graduate roles the following year. The main things I now know to look for and ask about in interviews from before are;
1) Will this role be fully desk-based or is there opportunities for practical/lab work or travel?
2) How would you best describe the social life of the office? Are there company activities to help balance work and life?
3) If it is a role relating to the area of work you find interesting, ask; Are the chances to focus on [desired role] on certain projects, or is it more generally incorporated in the overall role?
This is to ask yourself when getting towards the interview stage;
1) Always show up early. If your interview is in the afternoon, take the morning to walk around the area. What is the area like? Good shops, parks, how bad a walk from public transport points to the office?
2) Talk to the HR people as much as possible (without distracting from their busy day!) Ask more social questions of them. Why do you like your job/the company? How did you end up choosing this particular area after school? This gives a more general feel of the environment.
Hopefully these questions will get you all thinking a bit more about you consider important for work. These obviously aren’t the only questions that should be asked, but they are definitely ones I have decided would help make or break a potential job offer if I’m lucky enough to have choices.
Remember that the first role after graduate is likely to not be the job you have for life, but be sure you’ll be able to get as much experience and enjoyment out of it while it lasts!