5 lessons Bake Off teaches us about getting a grad job
The Great British Bake Off is back, and here at BrighterBox, we couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the bakers’ experience on the show and the various stages grads go through during a job search. Granted, you’d be pretty unlucky to have your job interview broadcast to the nation every Tuesday evening but, much like Bake Off, with the right amount of skill, commitment and personality, you could be rewarded with the career of your dreams at the end of the process...
Use the right utensils
They say a good craftsman never blames his tools, but any good baker knows that using the right utensils makes the process far more efficient. Similarly, having the right recruiter by your side throughout the application process will not only save you time, but also make the process far more enjoyable.
Think of it this way, you could either whisk your egg whites by hand (boring, tedious and time consuming), or you could use an electric whisk, giving you the edge over your competitors and allowing you to get ahead of the game.
Now I’m not saying recruiters and electric whisks have a whole lot in common, but if you’re after a hassle-free experience, you’d be foolish to not use one...
Ace the technical
Much like the dreaded technical challenge on Bake Off, second round interviews will often consist of a task or assessment requiring you to think on the spot and work to a tight deadline. Whilst the surprise technical can bring stress, tears and occasionally scandal (who remembers the baked Alaska fiasco...), it’s also an opportunity to show off your skills and ability to handle pressure.
Just as bread week is a bit of a Bake Off classic, preparing a presentation is one of the most common interview tasks that grads are set. By testing a range of skills and attributes (communication, creativity, time management, confidence), presentations give employers a true insight into your suitability for the role. You might not need to worry about proving dough, but this is your chance to prove to the employer that you have what it takes to excel in the role (or roll if we’re talking in Bake Off terms).
Practice makes perfect
The Bake Off tent is an unpredictable place, full of bizarre innuendos, soggy bottoms and sinking souffles. However, the bakers are fortunate in that they can prepare for certain elements of the show. Failing to prepare for the signature and showstopper rounds can be the difference between being awarded star baker and being kicked out the tent for good. The same goes for graduate interviews; without a few prepared answers up your sleeve, you’re hugely jeopardising your chances of progressing any further in the process.
Yes, you’d be hard pressed to find an employer willing to share exactly what they plan to ask you in an interview, but there are certain questions that crop up time and time again. Luckily for you, we’ve broken down the top ten graduate interview questions so you don’t have to. Have a read, prep some answers and smash that interview. Piece of cake.
Whilst it’s unlikely that you’ll need to decorate 12 identical fondant fancies in order to secure yourself a grad job, putting some effort into your presentation goes a long way. Of course, exactly what you wear will depend on the company you are interviewing at, but there are a couple of pointers to bear in mind for any job interview.
Watching a baker try out an untested recipe makes for extremely stressful viewing, similarly wearing a brand-new outfit is unlikely to put you at ease. Comfort is key. I’m not suggesting you turn up in trackies and flip flops, but wearing something familiar and comfortable can certainly help you relax, ensuring you come across calm and confident.
A bit of research into the company culture can go a long way when it comes to your outfit choice. A quick LinkedIn or Insta review of the company should help give you an idea of how employees dress for the office. Turning up in jeans and a t shirt when suit and tie is standard dress is equivalent to presenting an Eton Mess amongst a sea of perfectly decorated macarons.
Still stuck for inspiration? Check out our top tips on how to dress to impress.
Don't give up
Sadly, not every bake ends with the prestigious Hollywood handshake. Likewise, not every interview will go exactly how you hoped.
Even the most successful Bake Off contestants have had disasters in the tent. Series 7 baker Candice Brown was reduced to tears after presenting raw dough to the judges during bread week, but went on to write two cookbooks and now owns her own pub. Bouncing back after a setback isn’t easy, but resilience and perseverance are essential – both in Bake Off and when going through a job application process.
If you’re struggling to stay optimistic during your job search, here's a few things you can do to keep a positive mindset.