If you’re British and you’ve looked into working for Disney, you probably know that it is very competitive. There are hundreds of jobs available for the summer programme, and much less than that for the year programme, and there are always hundreds and hundreds more people wishing and dreaming of that job than the ones that are lucky enough to be offered one.
The hardest part about it all is that so many candidates are so good. You may think you have the biggest passion for the Walt Disney company, but I quickly discovered that nearly everyone who applies has that same drive. Therefore, the recruitment process can be really tough. The standard is so high, and so are the stakes. A group interview usually starts off the face-to-face process, and then candidates are invited to talk to Disney’s professional recruiters. Trust me, the Disney cast members nearly always get it right.
If you’re nervous, one good thing to remember is that there is a wealth of information about these programmes available online. You’re already doing one thing right by researching interview tips, so well done.
So today I’m going to share some application tips specifically for the group interview stage. My only authority for this is that I applied twice and was accepted onto the summer programme once. I hope you can learn from my mistakes and secure the job you deserve in Florida.
1. Be yourself. The recruiters can see right through someone who is too desperate for the job, or is being overly enthusiastic. Don’t worry about who they want you to be, and be who you are.
2. Don’t let others monopolise the conversation. The first time I applied, I didn’t get past the group interview stage. I had some not-very-friendly people in my group who wanted to monopolise the conversation, pushing some of us who were slightly more introverted by the wayside. I could barely get a word in edgeways while others would answer the same question multiple times. To make sure this isn’t you, there are a few things you can do:
- Answer the question first. There’s always a pregnant pause between the end of the interviewer’s question and the first answer. Jump in there and get your answer in, then you can sit back and listen to everyone else until the next question is asked.
- Anticipate when people will stop speaking. I am so bad at this, so it was something I definitely tried to approve on ready for my second time applying for Disney. Try to think in advance and realise when someone is rounding-up a point so you can prepare to speak.
3. Dress professionally. A lot of people panic about this, but it’s a lot more simple than you think. For ladies, a long dress, skirt or trousers with a smart work shirt is perfect. If you’re wearing a dress or skirt, the length should ideally reach your knees. Other than that, don’t worry about patterns, colours, or designs. Keep your make-up to a minimum, too, and remember to stop panicking about clothes; a smile is the most important thing you will put on before your interview.
4. Plan some answers in advance – but don’t memorise them. Some questions come up year in year out, including:
- Why do you want to work for the Walt Disney company?
- Why do you value cultural interaction?
- What would you do if you had an unhappy guest?
- How do you think you would cope living away from home?
- Who is your favourite Disney character and why?
- Tell us about your hometown.
So it’s a good idea to have a vague idea of what you want to say. If you reherse answers word-for-word, though, the interviewers will be able to tell a mile off. Inject your personality and you’ll find that you can add a new dimension to your answers when you’re on the spot.
5. Talk to other applicants. A bit of small talk will it make you feel more at ease to know there are other people feeling just as nervous as you. Plus, if you’re both successful you could end up becoming great friends in Florida. My roommates Rachel and Rebecca (hello if you’re reading this!) met at their final interview in London. They became fast friends, shared a room in Disney, and are still best friends now. Don’t miss the opportunity.
6. Listen actively. Don’t sit back and fret about what you’ve said when other people are speaking. Genuinely listen to their answers and outwardly show that you’re engaged by nodding, smiling or laughing when appropriate. Don’t be a creepy robot laughing manically at every joke, though! React as you would in any situation.
7. Do your research. This is great for a few reasons: you could insert a key piece of Disney knowledge into some of your answers, such as how many people work at Walt Disney World or the types of jobs available. Plus, most interviews are proceeded by a presentation with prizes for those who correctly answer questions. Pay attention and you could impress your interviewer before you even start.
I hope this has helped if you’re considering applying for any of the Disney programmes for UK residents! Have you applied for the programme before? If you’re feeling generous, why not leave your interview tips in the comments as well? Good luck!