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Application process

Ok, so we've whetted your appetite and now you want to know what happens next. Questions are buzzing around your head… What are they looking for? How do I apply? What happens at the assessment centres?

Don’t worry, those questions are all answered, and in this section we'll give you all the 'must have' information to help make your application to IBM successful.

Assessment centres will be running from October and our peak hiring season is January-March so please be patient with us in booking you in for assessment centres and handling queries in this time.

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The selection process

Our process has been designed not only for us to understand if you are right for us, but also for you to understand if we are right for you. So, take every opportunity you can to ask questions along the way.

Please note all roles will be filled on a first come first served basis and we recommend you apply early to avoid disappointment. We often fill some roles well before the closing date for applications!

STEP 1 – Online application form

You need to apply online through this website. There are two parts to the application – the first is an online form that asks for personal details as well as information about your education and work experience. The second part is the IBM Application template.

The IBM Application template is quite straightforward – it lists all the skills that we look for and asks you to give examples to demonstrate where you have used them. You can use examples from any aspect of your life - school, college, university, hobbies, charity work, work experience… demonstrating the skills we look for, is the best way to make us think ‘we must find out more about this person at an assessment centre’.

STEP 2 – Online Test

If your application is successful through the initial screening phase then we will invite you to take an online computer aptitude test (CAT) - the IBM IPAT test. If you are successful at this stage, your application will be fully screened by one of our Early Professional Manager.

The IBM IPAT test has been developed to test logical reasoning and the ability to process information quickly. All the instructions are included in the email that will be sent to you inviting you to take the test.

The test itself is divided into three sections, however, you will only be asked to complete two of the three sections. You can choose to take these in either one or two sittings. You will have seven days to complete the two sections before your password expires.

The test can be adjusted for anyone that needs a reasonable adjustment and you will be asked to self select whether you need this when you log on for the first time.

STEP 3 – Application Screen

Your IBM Application template will be screened by managers to assess your suitability for the scheme.

STEP 4 - Assessment centre

If you achieve the required score in the online test, and IBM Application template screen, we’ll invite you to an assessment centre. You’ll be given a presentation about the available opportunities with the chance to ask more questions, and you’ll get the opportunity to meet some of our current placement students.

You can expect to take part in some or all of the following activities:

STEP 5 - Matching Interview & Offer

The last stage of the process will be a 'matching' interview. This is an opportunity for you to meet one of our business managers and to ensure that the role we may potentially offer you is a good match for what you are looking for, and also that you have the specific skills that our roles require. If you are found to be a good match we will make you an offer to become part of the IBM team.


What we look for

So, now you know the process, what are we actually looking for? Here’s the lowdown on the key qualities. Think about whether, and how, you can demonstrate them.


How do you cope with changing demands and stress? Are you flexible? Have you successfully completed several projects with competing deadlines?


Do you present information clearly, precisely and succinctly? Adapt the way you communicate to your audience? And listen to others?

Client focus

Can you see a situation from a client’s viewpoint, whether that’s colleagues or customers? Can you anticipate their needs?

Creative problem solving

Do you use ingenuity, supported by logical methods and analysis, to propose solutions? Can you anticipate problems? Do you put forward innovative ideas?


Will you proactively learn new skills – even if they’re beyond the scope of your current job? Will you put in the time and energy needed to achieve results?


How do you work with others to achieve shared goals? Do you easily build relationships with others? Are you a team player?

Passion for IBM

Do you know what IBM does and what our most recent achievements are? Are you up to speed with the latest trends in our industry? What are the biggest challenges we face? (You’ll need the facts at your fingertips and the enthusiasm to match.)

Taking ownership

Do you take responsibility for tasks/decisions? And implement decisions with speed? Can you show when you’ve worked to correct your mistakes?

Top Tips

“ Just be yourself. Don’t try and sell yourself as something different, because who you are is probably exactly what IBM want.”

“ Research IBM. Search news websites so that you’re familiar with what IBM does, and how that relates to your experiences.”

“ IBM loves confident people who are flexible, ambitious and good team players.”

“ Have confidence in yourself – assessors will pick up on your overall persona.”

“ Ignore the presence of the assessors on the assessment day, and if you think you’ve done badly in one exercise, don’t let it affect your performance in others.”

“ People who are genuinely excited about the prospect of a career with IBM really stand out from the crowd.”


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