The Airbus grad scheme is quite competitive. I’m fond of you guys as you’ve helped me a lot in the past. So, I thought it’d be good for me to write up my experience in going through their application process, just so you can have a better idea at knowing what you’re in for. Remember, of course, that this is just my experience – don’t send me angry messages if it’s slightly different for you!
Where any application process will start. Super simple stuff – just fill in your details and history. At the end, there were a few questions to answer in a longer form, such as ‘why do you want to work at Airbus?’ and ‘what difference do you think you could make at the company?’
If your application is accepted, the next step is to complete four online tests: situational judgement, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and logical reasoning. These are pretty similar to the kinds encountered on all sorts of applications to big companies. Specifically, I believe Airbus’ are provided by cut-e, so that’d be a good place to start looking for practice.
The situational judgement test gives you scenarios you might find in the work place, and you must choose from a set of options how you want to react. The best way to prepare for this is to make sure you know the company’s core values. These are a commitment to: our people, our company, building trust, conducting ethical business, corporate citizenship, and to be responsive.
The numerical reasoning test is a tough one. The basics are the same as always: given charts and data, answer questions that require you to analyse those data. But the test is comprised of 37 questions in 12 minutes, and marks are deducted for incorrect answers. You’ll need to be fast – an average of just over three questions every minute – and accurate. And, of course, don’t guess an answer as it’s negatively marked.
The verbal reasoning test is another 12 minutes, but to answer 49 questions. Given written information, you must discern whether a given statement is true, false, or not enough information. At just over four questions a minute, you’ll need to be super speedy at reading, analysing and answering, so get plenty of practice.
Finally, the logical reasoning test might be something you’re not used to, so loads of practice is particularly needed here. It’s much more abstract – essentially, you’re trying to spot patterns and rules in visual representations and tables. Again, this test is 12 minutes long, though there are only 12 questions to answer this time.
Airbus run a standard assessment centre for those who pass the online assessments. No trickery here, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There are three main stages to the assessment centre.
The first part of the day is more psychometric testing. Yay! For me, these were different versions of the same tests before. Essentially used to verify your results and make sure you didn’t cheat them or have someone else do them for you. But I heard some other people get new tests. In any case, don’t let your practice slip in the meantime – keep at it.
Then you’ll be split into groups for a group exercise. Again, nothing much new here if you’re been to assessment centres before. It’s a role play of a team meeting in which you’re given a case study which you all have to analyse, lay out the pros and cons, and come up with a conclusion. All of this is to be presented afterwards. The key is to be a good team player here. That means not interrupting people or thinking your opinion is the best, but it also means not letting your views get walked over.
Finally, you do a similar exercise but on your own this time. Given a case study, come up with your recommendations on how to proceed and deliver a 10 minute presentation on it, with a short Q&A after. You’ll need to be more thorough here as you can’t rely on anyone else to answer questions or fill in details for you. But you also won’t need to cater for anyone else’s opinions!
The last stage (hooray!) is the interviews. Or maybe just interview – it depends on your role as technical roles will have both a competency-based interview and a technical one, while some roles will only have the former.
The competency-based interview is like most interviews. And the people who interviewed me at Airbus did their best to make me feel relaxed rather than pressured. Essentially, you’ll be asked about your CV, your strengths and weaknesses, your motivations and career aspirations. All of that kind of stuff. You’re also likely to be asked about the company, current affairs, and how the news affects Airbus at the moment, so brush up.
The technical interview is exactly as you’d expect – and expert will grill you on the nitty gritty of your technical knowledge of your field. They won’t expect you to know everything, but you’ll need to make a good impression. They want to see that you’ve got good foundations for your knowledge, but that you’re also very able and willing to learn. To that end, be ready to admit when you can’t answer a question and explain why. They’ll appreciate the honesty. Though, of course, if you do that too many times you might just not know your stuff…
And that’s it! I got a response two weeks after my final interview, though some got an answer sooner I believe. Anyway, overall it was one of the shorter and more ‘standard’ processes I’d been through. No major curveballs, just straight down the line, and the company did a good job and being friendly and approachable, and not making us all too stressed out.
If you have any questions or have an experience of your own to share, please do so below!