I know it's getting to Disney CEP interview time in the UK, so I thought I'd do a quick blog post on interview tips.
Overall this interview is nothing to worry about. Get an idea of what you're going to say in your head, they ask all the typical interview questions. It's never a bad idea to do some research on the roles and past CEP/ICP experiences either. The interview seems like more a chat with a bunch of new people rather than an interview and you'll be in and out in what will seem like 5 minutes.
Here's some tips:
1. Be polite. This goes without saying for any interview, but especially for group interviews. Make sure you get your point across, but let others get a word in edgeways.
No doubt you'll end up in the standard British "No you go first" "No you go first!" situation at some point…
2. Be yourself. Yummy Jobs will be looking for someone who they think will fit in with the rest of the cast members at Walt Disney World and who has the enthusiasm and dedication for the job. They'll ask the standard questions like why you want to work for Disney, what character are you most like and why and what role you want and why. Be honest and be succinct with your answers, whilst getting your personality across.
3. Arrive early. Remember first impressions are everything, so try to not make you sneaking into the back of the presentation their first impression of you. When you get allocated your group interview time, arrive at the room early. Interviews tend to run a bit late but don't count on that.
4. Remember your paperwork. Forgetting your paperwork is just going to make you look unorganised, unprofessional and cause extra work for everyone involved.
5. Be professional. I know the thought of going to work at Disney World is a very exciting, but they don't want to hear all about how you've always wanted to be a Princess and that Disney World is your dream blah blah blah. Passion is one thing, but remember Disney is still a professional business so don't go OTT.
Face to Face Interviews
Now I have to say, these were much more nerve wracking than the group interview. My face to face interview for my second program made me so nervous, I completely forgot all of my prepared answers and thought I'd completely blown it. Saying that, some people thought they were fine, so don't panic.
These interviews are going to be with people from the International Recruitment Team at Disney, so you're looking to impress. Don't be alarmed if your interview is very short and to the point. Every recruiter has a different style. Some last as short as 5 minutes and 3 questions, others are more about 15 minutes.
Here's some tips:
1. Do your research. Like I said above, Disney is a professional company so do your research like you would for other jobs. For my first interview, I found out about Disney's Four Key Basics and said how I'd implement each of those into my time working as a Cast Member. The interviewer was impressed I'd done that much research, so it's definitely worth it.
2. Look presentable. Disney are very particular about how you're presented. Try and stick as close to the Disney Look as possible and wear smart casual clothes.
3. Find your location. Unless it changes, your interview will most likely be at Disney HQ in Hammersmith, London. If you're not used to London, make sure you know exactly where it is for the morning of your interview. It might be worth meeting up with others beforehand, there's normally a Facebook group each year so have a search!
4. Know your strengths. The recruiters are most likely to put you in a role depending on your past jobs. I've only ever worked retail, so I ended up in merchandise both times. If you're worked in Food and Beverage roles, you're likely to end up in Food and Beverage roles. However, if you really think you'd be good at another role let them know. Sell yourself well enough and you never know what might happen.
5. Be Flexible. Following on from the above point, remember they're looking for flexibility too. The less picky you are, the more likely they'll find a role for you. I'd still suggest clearly stating what you want to do, but don't make them think it's the be all and end all if you don't get that role.
6. Finally, smile. You're being interviewed to work at Disney. When you're "on stage" you're representing Disney, so keep that smile up. It'll be good practice for when you get an offer!
The questions they ask seem to depend on who you have interviewing you. I had Jill Jacobsen who asked the standard questions such as why you want to do the program, what you're looking to achieve from your time at Disney, what role you want to do and why and also what past work experience you've had. They'll also ask you a few general questions such as if you think you'll cope ok in the Florida heat and humidity and if you're willing to abide by the "Disney Look".
Those of you who have done the program before, they ask pretty much the same questions, just tailored towards why you want to return and what you'd do differently this time round.
What to wear:
Smart casual is the way to go for these interviews. Girls, smarter skater dresses, a nice blouse and smart trousers. Guys, most guys wore a nice pair of chinos, shirt and brogues. For my interviews I wore a smarter style, black skater dress, tights, a pink blazer and plain flats.
If it helps, for my first ever group interview in 2012 I went to the interview on a whim after seeing the application presentation (the process has changed slightly since then). It was one of those times at uni where I desperately needed to laundry so I was wearing the most casual mis-matched outfit ever and I still got through to the next round. Of course I don't suggest you just go in jeans and a t-shirt, but what I'm trying to say is they're looking more at your personality and enthusiasm than your dress sense. Don't stress too much.
Also, it's going to help if you stick to the Disney Look, especially for your second interview with Disney recruiters. Ladies, natural coloured hair and not plastered in make up. Gents, clean shaven or fully grown beard and traditional hairstyle.
Whilst we're talking about Disney Look, don't lie about any tattoos/piercings you have. They aren't going to not hire you just because you have a tattoo (as long as they can be hidden). Several of my friends had tattoos and even one of my managers had full on sleeves and a chest piece. So long as they're hidden you'll be fine, they'll just put you in a position where the costume can hide them.
Just a few extra words:
Now I also feel the need to say a few things at this stage.
Some people go in with the mindset that working at Disney is going to be like a fairytale. Remember it's a real job and essentially, as harsh and unmagical as it sounds, as an ICP/CEP you're just extra staffing for Disney's busy summer period. Guests have very high expectations whilst they're at Disney World and it's your job to fulfil these expectations. You're going to be very busy, it's going to be very hot, you'll be working long hours and potentially working until/starting in the early hours of the morning.
It's also going to be expensive. You're probably going to be spending close to the £2000 mark once you've factored in flights, transportation back and for to interviews, visa payments, program fees, spending money and all those new summer clothes you'll definitely buy. Make sure you're going to be able to afford this, some people really struggled to make payments and wished the expenses were emphasised more.
Finally, if you're lucky enough to get offered a position, don't get put off if it's not the role you want. I've never met anyone who hasn't really enjoyed their role, even those in the less "glamourous" positions such as custodial and Quick Service Food and Beverage. Remeber, you'll be living at Disney World. Some people would do anything to do what you're doing. The cast members you work with and guests you meet will make your job way better than you expect and you'll soon realise there's pluses and minuses to every role.
Despite all of this, it'll be 100% worth it and the best summer you've ever had. You're working at Walt Disney World, spending your days off at the parks, attending housing events, visiting the beach and meeting amazing people from all around the world. Once you're home you'll really wish you were back.
Feel free to email me/leave a comment if you have any other questions on any part of the process.