My final year journey to a graduate job with ISS. Advice from a recent graduate.

My name is Joseph Osborn, I have just turned 23 years old, and I studied Sport Business Management at Brighton University during a thoroughly enjoyable three years on the Eastbourne Campus from 2014-2017. During my time at uni I played for the Panthers’ cricket team and would’ve played football had it not been for an ACL knee reconstruction!

Having been in the position myself last year, I realise how daunting post uni can be. There are so many possibilities and choices of where to next take your life- be it travelling or the job of your dreams. However, put a bit of effort into sprucing up your CV, focus on your degree, and make the most of the university’s careers services and the world really can be your oyster.

Like a lot of young boys, I grew up wanting to be a footballer- which unfortunately remained a dream, and consequently meant that I had never really identified what was right for me post university. As a result I hope the following blog can provide a little bit of guidance to students who are coming to the end of their UOB life, are wondering what to do next and perhaps convince the next wave of UOB grads to seriously consider applying to work at ISS………..

How did I go about looking for a job?

I lived in a house of seven boys and it’s interesting to see how everyone goes about approaching third year and trying to find a job in different ways- we are all now starting our careers in creditable positions within respective sectors and industries however, which therefore goes to show that there is not a ‘right way’ to go about looking for a job (although the earlier you start the more interviews you will take part in- interview experience  is priceless for when the right role comes along!).

Upon beginning my third and final year of university I had no idea what I wanted to do post uni, career wise, and therefore I started looking on graduate jobs websites on a daily basis from early November. What I found is a lot of the more renowned positions are sorted and tied up before Christmas, before the majority of positions do not go live until February/ March of the following year.

I would spend half an hour a day looking through Milkround, gradjobs, Targetjobs and Guardian Jobs just to get a feel for the job market and apply to anything which caught my eye (apply far and wide within your preferred industries, don’t narrow yourself to just a few jobs).

When I began having interviews from December onwards (that was early compared to everyone else around me, so there is no reason to panic) I noticed that every interview helped and made me increasingly confident before the next one. Interviewing is like any other skill- the more frequently you practice, the better you get and the more relaxed you feel (at the end of the day, all an interview is, is one person trying to understand who you are and what your skills sets/ experiences are to date).

However, although you are the focus in interviews, I would recommend pre preparing a few answers and learning them- some questions will catch you off guard and answers will not always spring to mind, so do your homework and ensure you are ready.

Application Process

In spite of starting my job search reasonably early I did not actually come across ISS’s grad job advert until early May. The previous 6 months I had spent looking and interviewing had not been a waste of time however- as it turns out it had all been prep for this job!

My application process consisted of:

  • Informal 20 minute phone interview
  • Face to Face interview 1
  • Online psychometric testing
  • Face to Face interview 2
  • Online psychometric testing
  • Face to Face interview and presentation (strategic implementation)

I was offered the job by the end of June and so it was quite a sharp turnaround!

Who are ISS?

ISS provides Integrated Facility Management Services to customers in both the Public and Private Sectors.

Since our inception in 1901, ISS has undergone a dramatic expansion and is currently the fourth largest private sector business globally. Our history has seen us grow from a small Danish security company to a leading international organisation. This success comes thanks to staying true to our values of honesty, entrepreneurship, responsibility and quality.

With over 45,000 staff across the UK, ISS provide every combination of facility services. These include facilities management, cleaning, catering, security, support, front of house, technical support, space planning, procurement, and many more. We provide services and solutions to clients of all shapes and sizes- ranging from a client who operates in one location or who operates nationwide or globally.

Why Facilities Management?

Applying far and wide for a range of business orientated jobs, there were dozens of roles which seemed appealing but nothing which significantly caught my eye. I had interview after interview via computer, phone, and assessment days and I had actually being lucky enough to receive two job offers by the start of May. However, I didn’t want to be accepting a job just to get it ‘out of way’ and to focus on my dissertation and making the most of the Brighton nightlife….

I’m not going to lie, like the majority of people I had never heard of ISS and did not even realise that Facilities Management (FM) was an industry- when in fact it actually makes up circa 8% of this country’s GDP. Additionally, the stereotype of FM is probably dull, not exciting and plain- when it is actually the complete opposite.

However, the size of ISS and the range of different services which they provide (cleaning, security, catering, tech services, property, front of house, transport etc) convinced me that this could be the job for me.

Indeed, the diverse range of opportunity which ISS could offer me was consistent with the ‘vague’ career path I had in my head- it has opened so many doors. At present I can honestly say it has been one of the best choices I have made in life to date.

Available ISS Graduate Positions

  • Global Management Trainee Programme
  • UK Management Trainee Programme (what I’m on)

The programmes will position successful applicants for an immediate managerial role, providing them with an excellent understanding of management and skills within operations. Each graduate will be allocated with a high-profile member of our executive management team as their personal coach and mentor in order to guide them through the programme. UK and Global graduates will participate in in-house and external management training at a local, regional and global level. The schemes are extremely flexible with three 6 month rotations across the business.

My experiences in the role

My first 3 months in the role have absolutely flown by! I am completing the first of my 6 month rotations as part of the Private Sector Development Team, which will come to an end at the end of March. I cannot speak highly enough of ISS in terms of the support and opportunity they have provided for me.

After a 3 week induction/ training period which was completed with the other graduates (16 of us- 8 of on each scheme) ISS has provided me with a tremendous platform on the corporate ladder. Considering the size of the company, its emphasis on people values and empowerment have meant that I have been made to feel really at home.

At present I am working on my designated project work which is based around enhancing the levels of solution integration within ISS (through developing a platform which enables everyone to share their ideas from our numerous accounts). In addition to my project work, I have sat in on the bid process and have been entrusted to contribute work to support bids for a few potential clients.

ISS are big on innovation and are constantly striving for ways to improve our services- we want to be the greatest service organisation in the world, and therefore we cannot stand still! Everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and speak up which is unique for such a large, corporate organisation.

I am currently based in our Canary Wharf office, but my role means that have been out to visit numerous different sites, from Leeds to Bristol, and have worked out of our Birmingham and Surrey offices (handy for me as I live in Milton Keyens).

How did SBM and Brighton University help me?

The biggest piece of advice I will give to any third year student is to make the most of your tutors and the support which the university offers you. I received a priceless amount of help from two of my senior lecturers in terms of getting this job, Mark Jordan and Marc Keech, and also from our Careers advisor, Jayson Short. Your lecturers want you to do well and are there to help you- book a tutorial and speak with them for ten minutes as they will go out of their way to help.

Additionally my course fits in perfectly to this job. Sport Business Management, quite a vague title in itself, enabled me to apply for a grad roll which is also slightly vague as the possibilities surrounding it are infinite- you can be who you want to be at ISS.

ISS do not look for certain degree types (need a 2:1 to apply, but in any subject), but look for a core set of life experiences which indicate you can work strategically and practically.

In designing our course, Mark and Marc both really appreciated the skills we needed in order to excel in the professional environment and so rather than just submitting essays, a dissertation and completing exams, we were also assessed via a placement, presentations and reflective practice. Similarly to ISS, although it may not even feel this way, everyone at university is one big team and everyone wants you to succeed- so in addition to going out 2/3 times a week, make time for your lecturers- as you will reap the rewards come third year.


Steven Sutcliffe • 17/01/2018

Previous Post

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar