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Add an annual turnover of more than $12 billion to a rental and leasing fleet made up of more than one million vehicles spread across some 7,600 locations worldwide and you get Enterprise Rent-A-Car - a business that's grown into the largest car rental company in North America and arguably, the world.
Name: Ashley Hever
Job Title: European Talent Acquisition Manager - Enterprise Rent-A-Car
University: University of Hull
Name: Charlotte Bass
Job Title: Branch Manager - Enterprise Rent-A-Car
University: The Arts Institute at Bournemouth
Course: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2008
"…It's not a rotational graduate scheme, you are really learning how to run your own business and you're doing that in the branches on a daily basis.…"
What competencies do you like to see in candidates?
We look for graduates, but we don't really care what degree you've done, whether you've got a 1st or a 2:2 or what university you've been to. It is just about looking far and wide for talent because talent goes to every university. People that say 'I've just worked in a pub' should never undersell what they've done. Even then they're learning team working skills, customer service skills and a good work ethic by combining part time work with study. Anything you've done at university can help you in that quest for a graduate job.
Can you talk us through the application process?
Our application process is an online application, followed by a short telephone interview. Then there will be a face to face interview with one of the Talent Acquisition teams, after that a branch visit where you will see where you're potentially likely to work. They'll also have an interview with the Branch Manager there, that'll be followed by an assessment centre.
What is the most common mistake you see in an application, which leads to candidates being rejected?
Not tailoring the application to the particular role. They should take a few extra minutes to check they haven't put John Lewis or another company in there. That's the difference you can see, we want to be looking forward to meeting you and be excited about what we've seen on paper. If it's not exciting, are you likely to get that first interview?
What is the main piece of advice you would give a graduate starting your scheme?
The competencies we look for in the interviews are really woven into what can push you up through the reviews, training and development when you're actually with the company. So we want people that have leadership skills when we interview you. So when you get your training, development and reviews you can demonstrate these skills in the business. The same with customer service, you said you enjoyed customer service, but have you been able to demonstrate that in the business. Are your communication skills where they need to be to be influential and to influence others?
What's the main challenge graduates face when they start?
It's not a rotational graduate scheme, you really are learning how to run your own business and you're doing that in the branches on a daily basis. There is a steep learning curve and it's competitive but it can also be a lot of fun. As for any graduate job it isn't very easy and there aren't many jobs out there that are nine to five. It is hard work, but we do like to make sure we have fun at work every day too.
How did you find your graduate job in Management?
At the start I just looked on the internet and used the Bournemouth University careers service. I was of the mind that I didn't want to be in an office all day long. Enterprise offered quick progression and a bit of room for change. Not to necessarily go down the full rental path but you can change the direction where you want to go.
Why do you think you were successful at Enterprise Rent-A-Car?
I think it was genuinely my bubbly personality. I think that always helps being approachable and just generally outgoing. The key thing is to just show hardworking skills. I talked about my university qualifications and the jobs I had held previously. For me it was a lot of part time work experience which helped getting this job.
What do you actually do?
For me as a Branch Manager, if I'm not involved in the daily operation, I will observe my team throughout the day and see that managers and assistants are giving consistent feedback. I will then sort out the accountancy side of the business. It could be working on the marketing side and searching out new business, then going out to visit these businesses myself or going with business account managers.
I have meetings scheduled in every day. We also do training pieces throughout the day so I'd pull employees aside and train them on a mixture of activities. I am always training and developing my employees on all different activities daily, I want to help them in developing their skills and become our future managers.
What skills do you need?
We take on people that don't have years of previous sales experience. It's not that specific that you need to have business management behind you. When you're actually in the store you get guided through every step. I had worked in a variety of service stations, I did some events based bits and pieces whilst at university. I had that behind me so it definitely helped but isn't a massive hindrance if you don't have it already because the training is there to help promote you and guide you through the pathways.
What is the best thing about your job?
I think it's the variety. It could be experiences like this (being interviewed by the graduate-jobs.com team!) or just being exposed to so many different things. You could be going out marketing, planning operational or on training sessions. The role just offers such a great deal because you get that feeling of being in control of your own business. I never thought I'd get access to the figures from day one, I can see my branches profit and loss statement. That's what I really enjoyed.
What advice would you give to graduates applying to Enterprise?
I would possibly say coming with key areas of sales, customer service and your passion for career progression. Everybody really wants to see someone that's really engaged and really keen. What I look for when I interview is someone that wants to get involved and are able to demonstrate the skills they have developed at University.
If you want to find out more about graduate jobs with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, please take a look at their minisite.
Ranked 1 of 40 sectors
The popularity index ranks the sectors graduates chose most frequently during registration since 2000.
Average salary for jobs in Management compared to the average salary for all jobs posted to graduate-jobs.com
Percentage of graduates who studied a degree related to Management that have found relevant work since 2012: 89%
A theory suggests that management and leadership cannot be taught. People are either managers and leaders or not. However that does not seem to be true, with managers coming in all shapes and sizes. Management styles can differ so much, whether being hands on and supportive or encouraging and always pushing staff on. Each sector leans to different techniques and approaches and with that different members of staff might require certain kinds of treatment.
Graduates often need to be versatile going into this sector. A balance needs to be struck when applying and should be made clear in the application. Management requires two separate roles to done at the same time. Candidates need to be able to run the business, including stock, sales and margins. The other side of Management and arguably more important, is to run the team. Staff are often said to be a business's most prized asset and it is a manager's responsibility to get the best out of them.
On the one side, candidates need to prove they have sound a business mind. This could be that they have studied something relevant at university, embarked on their own business ventures or simply have experience working in a business. While managers appear across the board in a variety of sectors, it is important that they understand what they're managing and how it functions. Employers are looking for graduates that are prepared to get stuck in and graft with their employees. Managers in general are often recruited from within. However, many graduate schemes offer management positions straight away.
Most positions in Retail Management require graduates to have some background in business or retail. They offer training in how their operation works, giving successful candidates the opportunity to learn more broadly about business. Evidence of previous work in business is really well received. If a candidate can demonstrate that they have organised or heavily participated in a profiting business, employers will be a lot more inclined to take that application further.
Being able to maintain a business is extremely important, however being able to develop and expand a business is as important. It is a manager's duty to drive the business to bigger and better things. It can be hard for graduates to show that they are able to turn a business into a money making machine, but employers do not look for that. Employers want to see an enthusiasm and candidates willing to put the work in. They do not expect applicants to be the finished article. However, they do look for candidates that are going to make a difference and work hard enough to achieve their goals.
The other side of the balance is the ability to work with people. Knowing when to give the supportive pat on the back or when to push employees in a certain direction is extremely important. Graduates need to be able to prove that they've had responsibility over other people and have been able to deal with situations that have arisen. Graduates should think about when they might have had to deal with conflict within a team and how they reached an amicable solution. Those who show they are capable and confident in tackling these issues often stand out.
A manager's main responsibility is making sure their team is achieving as much as it can. If the team is not, then it is up to the manager to rectify this. It could be providing staff with training, giving constructive feedback or just talking to the staff to learn their concerns. For graduates, this level of responsibility might be quite daunting at first. However, like before, employers are not looking for candidates to be the complete package, but rather to build on experiences and enthusiasm.
Furthermore, a great way for a candidate get that job in Management is to really emphasise their skills and how they might benefit a business. Depending on the nature of theanagement position, it might make different experiences more relevant. For example, people skills can be a broad term. However, if a candidate has worked on a shop floor or behind a bar they have evidence of customer service. It is the ability to sell themselves and be extrovert that employers look for when they are assessing future managers.
Another way that candidates can increase their employability in this field is by registering with the CMI. The Chartered Management Institute is an excellent resource for graduates to give them direction and advice to progress in interviews and employment. The institute also provides further training for managers.
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