We have worked with Leslie for the past six months and he has transformed from a shy footballer to an interviewing superstar.
Leslie is currently waiting for results from a number of assessment centres in the banking and financial services industries and will return to the UK on a Tier 5 visa to continue his job-hunting journey.
Listen to his advice and experience of the whole job-hunting process.
A conversation with Leslie
So, first of all, can you just tell us how you ended up in the UK and what you’re doing here?
Yes, I first came to the UK to do my master’s courses and degree at the University of Sheffield. I got my Accounting and Finance MSc last year. Yes, this was the first thing I finished in the UK.
Well done. So, how has it been looking for a job here?
I want to find a job in the UK because I like the culture and studying here, and I like the work environment in the UK. I like this country and I think maybe I can find a job and study in the UK for several years to get some experience, communicate with people, and travel in the UK and Europe.
How did we meet?
The first time that we met was in June last year and you told me how to find a job, where to find a job, and what I should do during this process, like online tests and the online interview and assessment centre. And these were the first things I heard about how to find a job in the UK.
How do you feel you’ve improved based on the work that we’ve done together since last year?
At first, I didn’t even know what the online test was. What are online interview questions? What are basic questions or competency questions? What is the format?
After our sessions we’ve done a lot. I learned a lot about the process and how to use the experience I have from studying and working. I can use this experience to answer the questions and to reflect my personality and my knowledge. I also practiced a lot and now a test is not a problem for me to pass.
This is big progress, I think.
I’ve really seen you improve in terms of your English and your interviews. Also, your confidence. You’re still hunting for a result, but it’s been a really challenging time.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve gone through looking for jobs over the past six months? What have you found difficult?
The first difficult thing is the English language. In the past, I usually stayed and spoke with other Chinese people; 90% of my friends are Chinese so is difficult to make progress in English. We have a lot of Chinese translator apps that can help for writing or speaking, so maybe our generation’s English is not so bad, but it is worse than the last generation’s. So, the first thing I need to improve is my English. I need to listen more to the local people and their style. This is important. I need to use more opportunities to practice English.
And the second one, maybe it’s because of culture, but there are big differences between the UK and Chinese. So, I need to try to learn a new way of doing things. When I attended the IBM assessment centre the rest of the candidates were all local people and, when you talk to them, you need to see how they talk about things. It’s not just about language, but about their style and the way they speak.
The last one is mental health. During this time you might feel lonely because most of your classmates and friends will go back to their countries after graduation. You might be the only one who stays in the UK to look for a job. So, you need to be confident and find something you can do. My friend told me you can join some activities from MeetUps or there might be some speech activities around the university. This is an opportunity to improve your emotions during this time.
I think these three things have been the biggest challenges for me during my time in the UK.
Thank you for that. And I think that you’re not alone in what you said. That’s certainly been my experience.
You have completed a lot of applications and passed a lot of interviews and I know you’re waiting to hear from lots of lots of companies. But what’s next for you? What’s coming up?
I need to go back to China to get a new visa and then come back to the UK. This is a new journey and may be a new challenge. So, what I need to do is still be confident and be happy and content that I can find a job here. There are a lot of opportunities so keep going to find a job. There are a lot out there to be honest. There are a lot of opportunities you can apply for. So this is what I think I need.
That’s brilliant. Thanks, Leslie. And we’ll keep going.