We talked to recent recruit Beth about her experiences of attending a British Gypsum recruitment assessment centre and what it’s like being a member of the Saint-Gobain graduate scheme.
Why did you decide to apply to join British Gypsum?
My dad actually works in the plant at East Leake and he suggested I apply. I didn’t think it was for me at first, I didn’t even really know what plasterboard was! I’d studied primary school education at university but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term and I was a bit stuck about what to do next. Initially I brushed off dad’s suggestions, thinking it would be too technical or boring, but he persuaded me to take a closer look and I’m really glad that I did.
As soon as I started researching the Saint-Gobain group, I realised what a huge business it is and how many opportunities it could offer me – even in different parts of the world. My dad had always talked about it at home but it didn’t really sink in until I started looking into it for myself. So while I still had a few initial doubts, the Saint-Gobain offering as a whole is what encouraged me to apply.
Please can you talk us through the assessment day?
I remember being really scared that morning – which is only natural I think – but the process was actually a lot more enjoyable than I had expected. The day started off with a briefing in the morning, where we were introduced to the Saint-Gobain group structure and the Saint-Gobain Attitudes – which, essentially, are a set of behaviours that employees are expected to demonstrate. That was really useful, as it gave a good insight into the sort of people they wanted to recruit and showed that it was more about attitude and personality, rather than experience necessarily.
We then did a group activity to see how well we could work together, followed by the interview itself. After that we all had lunch together and were joined by some of the management team, then we had the chance to do some work shadowing. For me, this was the most interesting part of the day because it gave us the chance to have a more informal chat with our potential future colleagues and get their perspective on what it’s really like to work in the role.
I think the biggest thing I took away from the assessment day is that while it may be a bit more daunting than a standard interview, it’s much more of a two-way process. As well as giving British Gypsum a chance to get to know me, it gave me time to get to know the company and decide if it’s somewhere that I wanted to work. For someone coming into a completely new industry and role, that gave me vital reassurance and the confidence to jump in with both feet.
How has your role developed since you joined?
I was completely clueless about the technical side of things before I started but I was given thorough training, with someone sitting beside me for several weeks and showing me the ropes. We all received product awareness training and spent time in the Technical Academy we have on site, where we got to handle the products and put everything into context. We also got to go on plant tours and see how our products are made, which helped me understand the processes behind everything.
At the beginning of 2017, I was given a one-to-one account and I’ve enjoyed taking on the extra responsibility and building up the relationships with my customers. That is the best part of the job for me – it’s about really getting to know the customer and helping them do well in their own business. I enjoy that no two days within the Customer Service Centre are the same. I have been given so many opportunities since joining British Gypsum and I have had such an amazing time since joining.
Having been with the business since August 2016 I thought it was time for me to set myself a new challenge. I have started a new role as a Customer Champion on the Customer Experience team. This is a great progression for me and one I am very proud of. I absolutely love working on the Customer Experience team as no day is the same. It has given me great exposure to the business and I have networked with a lot of people from all different departments and I cannot wait to work with them next year.
What plans do you have for the future?
I have recently been given the opportunity to join a development group, alongside three more of my colleagues in our office. This is going to give us the opportunity to network with all different departments around the business. We all have a mentor who will be guiding us along the way and helping us fulfil our next career goal. It’s reassuring to know that if I do decide to move on there are lots of opportunities for me to choose from and lots of support from HR to achieve whatever career goals I might have. I definitely want to stay within Saint-Gobain, even if I do eventually change departments within British Gypsum or even move on to a different company within the group – I really do see this as a company for life.