Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Graduate Assessment Day

I traveled to Windsor for my very first assessment day for a graduate scheme on Tuesday. I was rather nervous about the event, mainly through watching 'The Apprentice' and having this image that everyone was going to be over competitive and aggressive. It was nothing of the sort.

I was welcomed by the company as soon as I got to the head office, and straight away the people attending the assessment were incredibly friendly and we all clicked instantly. I was expecting between 20 and 40 people at the assessment day, but there was a total of 7 of us. I was surprised to hear that 5000 people had applied to the scheme, and 7 of us were here for the first day of assessments.

The company broke the ice by getting us all to introduce ourselves, and this followed by a presentation of the company and the scheme itself. The day was led by last years graduates who had begun the scheme; it was refreshing to see how excited they were with the scheme and the company itself.

After the presentation, we were given a written test, where I was required to read a complaint from a customer and write a letter of response to the customer, write an action plan to implement so the problems don't occur again and to write a memo to my manager explaining why the plan would be effective.

I was called to my interview where I was readily prepared after researching all about the company; however there were no questions on the organisation, and was all competence based questions, and as it was a Human Resources role, a question on why I wanted to work in that department and why I would be effective within this role.

I returned to the assessment room where we were broken into groups, and were observed as we put together and presented a presentation. Thankfully no one was over-competitive within the group and we all got on perfectly, and everyone got their input and say.

After lunch, I had the final part of the assessment which was an individual presentation. I had one hour to research the strategic plans for the organisation and assess how the role I was going into would be affected by it. The fire alarm went off during my presentation (typical), and was put on hold for 15 minutes while we stood in the car park waiting to be told to go back inside.

The other graduates talked about other assessment days and said they had seen varied ones. They explained that some of the assessment days were quite competitive with more people, but pointed out that it is often dependent on the type of role your going for.

We finished the day by traveling to London together as we were all getting similar timed trains home. We had dinner together in London and a final drink, wished each other luck and returned home.

It was a refreshing day, and really got me excited about the organisation and the role. Of course I can't say how it went until I hear so I'll just have to wait and see. But whether I get the job or not, it was certainly an experience, one which I will be able to take to another assessment day and be able to be more prepared as to what type of assessments I'll be expecting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Taking the X out of the Xfactor

It was expected to be Katie Waissel's last weekend in the Xfactor after weeks of abuse from the press and the public, however she managed to slip through to another week of performances, much to many people's anger.

Simon Cowell doesn't seem to be able to win; after the public complained that the judges were sending the wrong people home, this week they left it up to the public vote; and yet the public are still complaining even though it was in their hands.

Some argued that people didn't vote for Aiden because they didn't feel he needed the votes, but is this the Xfactor's fault? If you want someone to go through, vote for them. Simple as. People are complaining that its all rigged, but after the complaints following last year's phone competition problems, ITV wouldn't dare make the same mistake again, and there is no doubt that there are both external and internal people making sure that all votes are above board, as anything else would be deemed fraudulent.

People are forgetting that this is not Big Brother. This is not a personality contest. You vote for those who want to go forward, and Katie's fans took the time to vote for her; sadly Aiden's didn't, and this will be a lesson to any other Xfactor fanatic.

People are also forgetting that Katie is just a girl who wants a music career, and the public are responding with abuse and even death threats. Any aggravation the public have of the show should be taken up with Simon and his team, not this poor girl who just wants to get on with her life.

Many of this is boiling down to the rumors that Katie is there because of her friendship with Sony; however these rumors have been cleared up by her family who explained that she met with Sony once but nothing came of it. We must also bare in mind that Xfactor have a very strict policy on people who have already had contracts, and have removed people in the past. The accusations against Katie are put down to tabloid rumor and doesn't appear to be any hard evidence for it.

But even if the rumors were true, the viewers should remember that it is a TV show. Nothing more, nothing less, and abuse of any kind is unacceptable. If you like somebody within the show, pick up the phone and vote. It is just like politics, you can't complain or have any say morally if you didn't vote in the first place.

Finally, it is unfortunate for those who are Katie haters that there is no doubt she will become a success regardless of the show, she is clearly talented. While we're on the subject of talent, it is unbelivable that people such as Katie get abuse while untalented hopefuls such as Wagner get through each week. Xfactor is turning into some reality TV show rather than a talent contest; maybe the loss of Big Brother this year is causing people to turn to other shows. But it is the public, not Katie Waissel, who have taken the X out of Xfactor

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Perspective

Yesterday I was watching 'Julia', a movie about people fighting against the persecution received under the Nazi regime . While watching it, it was refreshing to see people fighting back against these evil monsters who murdered millions across Europe.

However, it got me thinking about the protests against the rise in university fees this week, and the behavior of the protesters. Attacking policemen, smashing up windows and destroying everything in site. The scenes were uncanny to those seen in Julia and other Nazi uprising movies I've seen in the past.

Who the hell are these people? We're not being persecuted. The ConDem government are not murderers. We are not having our human rights taken away from us. They're putting up fees. Something which has happened twice before.

So we have to pay more for our education? Student loans will take care of that; it will take longer to pay back, but in no way does it stop us having an education. A few years ago, higher education was free, then it went up to £1000, and now it is £3000. A rise in fees is inevitable, especially in a recession.

I am in no way a Conservative follower and disagree with many of their political decisions; but the behavior of the protesters this week was despicable, and those involved should be ashamed. These were not protesters, but simply arsonists who put peoples lives at risks, and for what? Cheaper fees. Are these the type of people we even want at our universities? A peaceful protest, march or petition would of been sufficient enough without violence and arson.

There should be a little perspective in all of this; remember how lucky we really are to live in this country and have the right and access to education despite its expense, while there are areas in the world without access to education or even basic resources; and many are persecuted for their beliefs or for simply being themselves.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Real Thriller!

A Real Thriller!

As part of a birthday treat, my boyfriend Angus took me to see Thriller Live, a stage musical of Michael Jackson’s life. From start to finish, the show lived up to its name, and was a real Thriller!

The show took the audience through Michael’s life, from the early days of the Jackson 5 through five decades of an amazing career, covering songs from ‘ABC’ right through to ‘They don’t really care about us’. They recreated Michael’s hit live performances including Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal (they even did the lean!). This wasn’t some impersonator copying Michael’s act, instead they had various dancers and singers recreating his work and making it entertaining to all.

What was different about the show is that they had made it into a concert environment; people were dancing in the aisles and partying across the Palace Theatre. However the Theatre were obviously not used to this type of show and were constantly having to threaten drunken women that they will throw them out if they didn’t sit down. The most interesting, funny and ironic part of the night was when two women to the right of us began to start a fight during ‘Heal The World’ – a song about world peace. Before long though, the whole audience were on their feet, singing and dancing along to some of Michael's greatest hits.

From fireworks and amazing visual affects, along with a catalogue of fantastic hits, it was the perfect tribute to the life of Michael Jackson, who as they pointed out, is still the undisputed king of rock, pop and soul, and one of (if not, THE) greatest performers of all time.

The Cirque du Soleil group have just announced ‘The Immortal Tour’, their tribute show to the King of Pop, and is about to tour America, with plans to be global in the next two years, one which many fans of both Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson are anticipating to be another springboard of posthumous celebrations of a musical genius. Michael Jackson continues to thrill fans across the world, and there isn’t any sign of it stopping anytime soon.

Set List:

Music and Me
Stop the love you save
I’ll be there
Dancing Machine
Can you Feel It
Wannabe Starting Something
Working Day and Night
Don’t Stop Til ‘You Get Enough
Your Out of My Life
Rock With You
The Way You Make Me Feel
Beat It
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
Dirty Diana
Man In The Mirror
Billie Jean
Smooth Criminal
They Don’t Really Care About Us
Heal The World
Black Or White

(Photo taken from: