Atkins Graduate Recruitment Process: Tips For Success

Atkins is a multinational engineering, design, planning, project management and consulting services company. Given the breadth of its sectors and services, the application process with Atkins can vary slightly, depending on which business area you have applied to. That said, the application process usually involves:


Application Form

Once you have found the vacancy you wish to apply for, you will be taken to the company's online application system. The application form will ask you about your academic studies and achievements, along with your work experience, personal details, competencies and skills.

Wherever possible, try to tailor your answers to the vacancy you are applying for. Each application will be carefully assessed by the recruitment team and the departmental manager of the area you are hoping to join.


Interview/Briefing

The application form is followed by an initial interview with the hiring manager or recruitment team. This is usually conducted over the telephone, but in some circumstances may be through Skype or by video conference.

The telephone interview has recently been replaced with what recruiters at Atkins refer to as a telephone briefing, which is usually about 20-25 minutes long. The briefing still takes the form of an interview, and you should treat it as such. This is your opportunity to make a good impression. You will be asked questions about your achievements and technical capabilities as well as your experience and personal qualities.

Briefing questions typically relate to:

  • Your reasons for applying to Atkins
  • Your reasons for choosing the specific business area
  • Your degree subject and your reasons for choosing that particular area of study
  • The skills that you can bring to Atkins

After this discussion your responses will be reviewed and, if the recruitment team are happy with them, you will be asked to complete a set of online aptitude tests.


Aptitude Tests

There are two types of aptitude test that all applicants are expected to complete as part of the selection process: numerical and verbal reasoning assessments.


Verbal Reasoning Assessment

This test is 20 minutes in duration and contains a total of 24 questions aimed at assessing your ability to read and evaluate written information. The test will provide you with a paragraph of text, followed by a question and four statements. It is your task to review the information and provide the correct answer.

Each of the paragraphs will be related to Atkins in some way: perhaps a scenario or routine which corresponds to the role you are applying for. The verbal reasoning test at Atkins is challenging and quite different from the regular tests that you may be used to. Practice completing these tests online beforehand so you can progress through the questions quickly and accurately.


Numerical Reasoning Assessment

Numerical reasoning tests will determine how well you work with numerical information. As with the verbal reasoning test, this will last 20 minutes with a total of 24 questions. The information you are provided with includes charts, tables or graphs or even a sentence along with a question. Underneath this question will be four options, from which you have to use your reasoning skills to select the correct answer.

These tests are designed to be completed quickly, with less than one minute assigned to each question. Again, refining your technique and completing practice tests before the real test is strongly recommended. If you need to practise versions based on the real thing, try JobTestPrep.


Assessment Centre

Attendance at the assessment centre will often require you to complete a full day of activities, lasting between the hours of 9am and 5pm, and will include two interviews. Typically, the first interview will be a technical interview and the second a competency based interview.

Aside from the interviews, Atkins assessment days usually involve:


Written Exercise

The first task you will be asked to complete is a written exercise. A question will be provided and you will be asked to prepare a detailed response in the form of a proposal. Along with the question, you will be provided with a wealth of information to use when forming your answer.

You will only have a short period of time to prepare your answer, usually around half an hour to collate the data and formulate the content. This preparatory work will be used later in the day for the presentation exercise, so this activity serves a dual purpose.


Technical Interview

Many candidates worry about the Atkins technical interview, but it is just an opportunity for the recruiters to learn about the technical skills you acquired during your degree. Any topics it covers will be generally discussed, rather than focused on in detail.

The interview is typically an hour in duration: first, interviewers will ask you to provide reasoning for the answers you gave in the written exercise, before progressing on to talk about your skills and academic studies. Candidates should be able to illustrate that they have a good understanding of their subject area, while showing that they can link what they have learned to Atkins operations and processes.


Competency Interview

The questions in the competency interview will focus on experiences and achievements from your CV, and how these relate to the role you have applied for. The competency interview is very similar in content to your telephone briefing. Sometimes you may even be asked the same questions, so ensure that your answers are consistent and well thought out.

Use the knowledge that you have gained so far to convey what you know about the company and work this information into your answers, ensuring that you answer each question as fully and succinctly as possible.


Group Exercise

After being split into small groups, you will be presented with a case study, scenario or problem commonly encountered in the business, and you will have to work as a group to formulate a suitable plan of action and strategy. The recruiters will be watching carefully to see how you interact in a group situation, how well you collaborate and the role that you take in the activity. Candidates have 10 minutes to read through the scenario, then 30 minutes to devise the solution as a group.


Presentation

The final stage in the recruitment process is the completion of a presentation based on the written exercise you completed earlier in the day. The presentation should last around 10 minutes, and should advance a compelling answer to the question posed. This will be followed by a further 10 minutes of questions by the interview panel, who will be assessing your presentation.


The activities that you are asked to complete may vary depending on the role or programme you are applying to, but sufficient preparation will ensure that you can perform strongly in all assessment day activities and indeed throughout the entire recruitment process.

If you want to find out more and talk to others about the Atkins recruitment process, check out our forum.