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Meltwater Group Social Media Consultant - International Management Programmer - Traineeship Interview Questions & Reviews

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Social Media Consultant - International Management Programmer - Traineeship Interview

Social Media Consultant - International Management Programmer - Traineeship
Amsterdam (Netherlands)

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Meltwater Group in February 2012.

Interview Details – I received a phone call approx. 3 weeks after my online application. The managing director asked me some questions about my cv and congratulated me with standing out among 150 job applications they received. Then she invited me for a face-to-face interview at the office. This visit was supposed to be a ‘just a chat’, and I sat down with the MD for 30 minutes where she started to ask me a lot of questions like 'What moment in life were you extremely proud of?' or 'Have you ever excelled in any sport activities?'. With every answer I gave, she would tell me 'That's a really good answer!'. The MD made clear that a big part of the job would be sales. She told me her success story about how she started as a trainee as well and then got promoted in 4 months to MD. She explained the recruitment process to me, and told me that the next step - the group interview -would take place with 15 to 20 candidates.

A week later the MD called me and congratulated me with advancing to the next round. Again she mentioned that I could be very proud of myself, because I made it out of so many applications. At this point I started to feel weird that she kept emphasized this so much plus that every time she would call me way after office hours. The group interview was scheduled two weeks later, but I didn't receive the final invitation with all details until 2 days before. The group interview consisted of 20 candidates, the regional manager (who flew in from London), managing director and 2 sales consultants. All candidates were very young: either not yet or recently graduated, or with very little working experience. What we all had in common was that we were very ambitious, lived abroad and have a lot of extracurricular activities. I think that many, just like me, had sent out many job applications, but got rejected (the Dutch job market is really tough atm) and were just so happy about getting an invitation, that we were all thrilled to be there.

The group interview consisted of 2 parts: the first part was a presentation by the MW employees about Meltwater, the business structure (how they grow organically; i.e. everyone starts as a sales consultant and the only way to make it to the top is from that position), the business culture and the ideal candidate profile. They kept emphasizing that they're looking for winners, for ambitious people, for exceptional candidates, which of course made all candidates present feel good about themselves. A smart move, because you actually feel special and honored that they selected you and completely distracts you from the fact that you nor your friends have ever heard of MW prior to the job ad. This time, the presentation mentioned 450 job applications, of which 35 were asked over for an informal visit, of which we were the 20 who made it to the group session. This time it was clear they were just making up numbers. On the other hand they were honest about how much the job was about sales, that the turn-over rate was high (30%) and that this job is not for everyone.

In the second part of the group session you were asked to present yourself in 3 minutes, to work together with 4 other candidates in a workshop (come up with a potential client for MW and explain why), debate with 5 vs 5, pick one other candidate who would suit most as a manager, and hold an elevator pitch of 60 seconds about your hobby. The group session took about 4,5 hours, and from this round they would select 6-8 candidates for the final round the next day. It wasn't a difficult round, but they test your confidence by putting you next to seemingly all-round ambitious kids. I got a call that day late in the evening where they asked me to come back the next day.

The last interview took place with the team who was leading the group session the previous day. For about an hour I got drilled with questions, again like 'mention an event that you had to cope with a setback' and 'what is your weakest quality?'. I also had to do two mock-calls, where two of the MW employees were pretending to be somewhat hard-to-get clients. Then I had to show off my managerial skills, where I had to pretend to be a manager and how to console a demotivated MW sales consultant. Finally they asked me questions about myself, but I didn’t get a feeling they were genuinely interested in that part.

After this session, the MD talked me through the salary structure. Then she told me that they would call everyone within 6 days with the results. In the end, they already called me enhusiastically the next day with a job offer. This time the MD mentioned again how proud I should be and how special I was, because I was selected out of 350 job applications (note the discrepancy with previous mentioned numbers).

Interview Questions

  • Pick one candidate from the group session who you would like to have as a manager and explain why.   Answer Question
  • Can you name one event you are particularly proud of, which also describes you as a person.   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – During the 'informal cup of coffee' I saw that the job environment is not optimal. At the office the department I applied for was sitting in the basement, and everyone working there were of the type 'smooth operators' and 'sorority sisters'. Also, what I didn't understand were that in the team they were recruiting for were only 3 people: the MD and 2 sales consultants. If the job would be that great, surely more people would be in it?

I got a strong sense that the recruitment team was trying really hard to reel us in by a lot of make-belief and boasting to make MW look like a great company. On the other hand, they were honest about the fact that a big part of the job is about sales. During the final round I was told I would be making about 10 calls a day, which might be downplayed. Also, the two present sales consultants mentioned a couple of times that it could take 3-6 months to close a deal.

All in all, I decided to do some research on MW, stumbled upon a LOT of bad reviews about them and sadly all descriptions matched my suspicions. Everything just sounded too good to be true and with each step of the application process I felt that something wasn't quite right. Mainly because they were boasting too much about the company without ever focusing on the quality of their product or service. The fact that all calls I got were way after office hours were also a bad sign. Especially when the MD told me that they were discussing the last recruitment interviews till 2 am the same night. That doesn't seem healthy, and given the info that they seem to go through this recruitment process every 6 months - I knew that if I would join MW, I'd have to do the same thing in the future.

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