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Job Hunting for UK International Students—A Simple Guide

The UK Careers Fair

In 2021, the Higher Education Statistics Agency reported 2,532,385 international students studying in different schools in the UK, about 1.8 million are undergraduates.

Many graduating international students are looking for jobs once they get out of school. If you are among them, you may want to start attending virtual career fairs because you have two options: direct entry and graduating schemes.

Direct Entry

Often, the direct entry option means that a graduate will enter a small or a medium-sized company based on their merits and the company’s requirements. There is moderate competition in this area. Small and medium-sized enterprises hire fewer graduates than those offering graduate schemes. However, they cater to more posts than larger enterprises.

Larger enterprises do provide direct entry for newly graduates. But the competition for these positions is quite fierce. These permanent entry-level jobs for new graduates are scarce and specific. The vacancies also tend to be sporadic and usually require an immediate start.

Graduate Schemes

A graduate scheme is an employment option for new graduates with an eighteen-month to two-year employment period. Companies that usually offer this option are those that recruit a sizeable number of graduates each year.

Applications for graduate schemes often start in September, with deadlines falling in early November. However, some companies are open for applications until March.

Graduate schemes encourage early applications as well. Successful early applicants usually start their scheme the summer after their graduation.

A Closer Look at the Recruitment Process

Different companies have different recruitment processes. This is to properly assess a candidate against the position they are applying for and the company’s staffing requirements. Below are some of the steps that businesses may ask applicants to accomplish.

Answering an Application Form or Submitting a CV

The function of an online application form and a CV is simple: to know the applicant. Although both documents contain your basic information, educational history, and work experience, they can go more in-depth. CVs can also include the applicant’s published and unpublished papers, organisations, and the like.

Tip: Regardless if you are attending an in-person or an online career fair, it’s best to equip yourself with an application form and a CV to ensure you’re well-prepared.

Answering Psychometric Tests

Many psychometric tests are available for employers today. Some companies only require a simple online personality test. Others would need a personality quiz and other exams to assess an applicant’s verbal reasoning, inductive reasoning, and situational judgement.

Thanks to technological advancements, companies can also conduct immersive experience tests. They are video exams where candidates are given scenarios and are evaluated based on their responses.

Note: If you only have a Tier 4 (student) visa, you must apply for a graduate visa first.

Participating in a Phone or Video Interview

Aside from knowing more about the applicant, this stage of the process checks a candidate’s basic skills and competencies. Sometimes, employers take this opportunity to gauge one’s enthusiasm. The number of interviews via phone or video depends on the company.

Tip: When preparing for an interview, try to learn more about the company’s background, values, vision, mission, and services. Some clients may ask questions regarding these topics.

Going to an Assessment Centre

Some employers would require applicants to go to an assessment centre where they may undergo a test with other candidates as a group. In the centre, you may be asked to present case studies or do group activities.

Attending a Final or Technical Interview

For jobs that require technical expertise, a company may ask applicants to participate in a technical interview. It may happen in the assessment centre, but they can also schedule it for another day.


International students in the UK have two options for graduate jobs: graduate schemes and direct entry. Regardless of your choice, you still need to undergo a recruitment process before getting the job offer you desire. Preparation is paramount if you wish to pass the process successfully.

Find your dream job with The UK Careers Fair. We are the leading provider of physical and virtual recruitment events in the United Kingdom. Book a ticket today!

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