Considering how useful this site was when applying for jobs, I thought I could share some details about the TW assessment centre, as there is so little about the company on here. I applied for the Customer Services programme and the AC was shared with people who were going for the Finance scheme.
The first odd thing is that TW don’t reimburse your travel expenses. They tell you this in advance and it wasn’t a massive issue for me (going from London to Reading), but I wonder if I’d have come down from anywhere further afield. They were the only company I applied for that would not cover your travel.
The whole recruitment process, including the AC, is run by two outsourced HR firms. Again, a first for me as every other company I dealt with took over once you actually went to meet them. There was a number of assessors from the external companies which I found plain strange.
Now on to the day itself. In the morning, the head of Customer Services gave a pretty good presentation and showed a fairly cheesy video about TW.
Then we had a group exercise (4-5 people, I think) where we had to come up with plans for a charity fundraiser and then present it back to the assessors. I believe we were given 30-45mins for the preparation and then had to present for a few minutes. We suggested a large-scale event and the assessors seemed surprised at our idea and were quite hostile during the subsequent questioning. I was particularly amused when one of them pointed out we couldn’t expect people who work in the service industry to leave work early on a Friday and attend our event, as we had suggested. Interesting, considering most people I know in the industry do. And we were also told a manager at TW can expect to work 50-60 hours/week. For £24k a year, really?
Then came the re-testing, which consists of seven numerical, seven verbal and seven reasoning questions. Not SHL or Kenexa, but some other company. The questions were not particularly hard, but the time is very tight, so make sure you write down the time when you started and keep a watch in front of you. I am not particularly good at these, but got them all right, so they can’t be too difficult.
Third came a business case study about a company that makes household appliances for caravans called WashBox – search for it online. Loads of material to read (all laminated, so you can’t make notes!) and you have to write up a report about the 3 main problems the company faces and possible solutions (I think!). There is a lot of information, so make sure you go through as much as possible and make quick notes, then decide what is most important and write the report.
Then there is a one-to-one interview with a manager. The lady I got was the highlight of the day – incredibly welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable and down-to-earth. I would have loved to work with her, but she was pretty much the only such person there. Standard questions similar to those in the telephone interview described above: why TW, why customer services, etc and competencies. She also asked about some things related to the SHL personality test you do online beforehand. Thus it may be useful to do it again for free on the SHL website, get the results and then you’ll know what your personality is and will be able to explain ‘why it is you don’t seem to care too much about other people’s motivations.’
Is that it, you ask? No… They also ask you to prepare a presentation (‘What constitutes good customer service’) at home and then you have to deliver it (10mins or so). The good thing is that they let you use PowerPoint. The questions at the end were completely random (e.g. tell me about a time when you got good customer service) and the quality of the other presentations (you go in with two other people) varied massively.
At the end you come together with a different group of people (four in total) and use the information from the business case study. You discuss which issues are most pressing, then the solutions and once you agree, put them on a flipchart and present this to the company’s “board of directors.” The people in my group seemed to struggle with the whole concept and the presentation was painful to listen to. The subsequent grilling is to be expected at an AC, but the other candidates froze and couldn’t answer any questions. Hint: remember your facts from the case study, don’t be afraid to make things up to prove a point, argue with the assessors. If they ask you a random question, give them a believable answer and don’t panic! This is a role-play and they are there to test you, not to give you an easy ride. I ended up fielding about 90% of the questions, which I found hilarious…
At some point during the day there was a very poor ‘lunch’ consisting of sandwiches. There were no current graduates at the AC – once more, a first and not a very good sign.
They got back to me about two weeks later to offer me the job, which I declined as I had several other, better, offers. On a personal note, I found the company really strange. By not refunding travel expenses they were suggesting they are incredibly cheap and it got me wondering if they treat employees the same way. The pay is on the lower end of the grad scheme spectrum and I can only hope the comment about the number of hours was a joke or didn’t relate to graduates. By outsourcing the whole process I felt like TW didn’t particularly care about graduates, especially as they didn’t have any of their current ones there. These are my subjective views – hopefully others will have a more positive picture of the company, which they will post here.