The process began with an online application with competency questions and motivations for the role and working for Mercedes-Benz.
Secondly, candidates completed online numeracy tests.
The third stage was a first round of interviews at a MB site, lasting for half a day. These were conducted by an external recruitment company and focussed on competencies. It was a very guided interview, essentially ensuring your interests and experiences could tick boxes on the interviewer's record sheet.
The next stage was an assessment centre, again held at a MB site.
Afterwards, there was a phone interview with the CAReer team at the MB headquarters in Stuttgart. Again, this interview focussed on competencies and motivations for the role and also included some questions in German for candidates who had indicated German language skills on their application.
Successful candidates were then due to be sent a further set of online tests before final selections were made, however I withdrew from the process before reaching this stage.
*Please note that the 2013 process was highly unsatisfactory, extending over a period of 8 months*.
I submitted my original application at the end of January and received no further correspondence from MB until mid-June when the online tests were sent. The interviews and assessment centre took place in July and further phone interviews and testing were in August (NB. the assessment centre was supposed to be the final stage - MB added additional stages at the last minute). The role was due to begin at the start of September, leaving candidates with little more than a fortnight to make arrangements. Nobody was able to answer my questions about the progress of my application and the reasons for the unacceptable delays. The staff running the hotline number provided on the website do not seem to have real knowledge of the scheme (I was given the impression that they were reading from a script to answer candidates queries and struggled to help me when I deviated from a question they expected).
Most difficult question
The role play element of the assessment centre was most challenging, particularly weighing up the protection of company profits against providing outstanding customer service.
Do not set your heart on the MB Graduate Scheme as they can very quickly change their requirements (e.g. one of the other schemes was cancelled last year and they also changed their minds about the overall number of graduates they would take on (4 instead of 6)) and be sure to make contingency plans in case you are unsuccessful. The process was dragged out right up until a couple of weeks before the anticipated start date, therefore unsuccessful candidates could very easily be left without plans at a very late stage in proceedings.
Experiences at the assessment centre
This was an extremely demanding day involving a presentation about the company and the scheme, Q&A sessions with the previous year's graduates, a group exercise, an individual interview, a presentation and a role play (about customer service).
The website about the graduate scheme stated that the assessment centre was the fourth and final stage of the application process, however, candidates were informed at the conclusion of the assessment centre that Mercedes-Benz had in fact extended the process this year, with an additional phone interview and further online tests.
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