Working At Walt Disney World| How To Apply Stage 3: The UK Face-To-Face Interview

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Hello :)

This is part three of my posts detailing the UK application for the Disney Cultural Representative Program (CRP) and will cover my experience of day of the final interview, or the face-to-face interview as it's also known, which took place on March 19th, 2015. Again, as I have said before, this post talks about my personal experience and as such your application experience may differ slightly. Click on my CRP page in the bar above to find my other posts about my CRP journey.

Through to the final round! 
So, 48 hours after my pre-screen interview I was at work and checked my emails to see that I'd been invited to the final round of the application, a visit to Disney HQ in Hammersmith, London! For me this was to be the most exciting part of the application process as I'd have the chance to see a little bit of the inside of Disney HQ, something that many people will never have the chance to do.

In order to prepare for this interview I made sure to join the new Facebook group to help me connect with the people that could potentially become my new work colleagues, decide what to wear, and plan out some answers to potential questions in my new Mickey Mouse notebook. I was also sent an email from Disney asking me to fill out my role preferences (I put Merchandise as my preferred interest because I wanted to try something new, and then Food & Beverage. Unfortunately the UK only has these two job roles available as we don't have any attractions in the UK Pavillion!), and to select my interview date and time. I was also invited via email to upload my CV, emergency contact details and other such important documents to Disney's online hub, DOC, which I did in anticipation that it would save me some time if I was given the job (update: it did!).

The final interview was set for approximately 2 weeks after the pre-screen event so I didn't have much time to plan a trip to London. The email will ask for you to be at Disney HQ for 09:00 on the morning of your interview so I knew that I would have to include an overnight stay this time which arrived in the form of my friend Hannah from Saudi, who graciously let me stay at her flat for the night.

The Day Itself
On the day of my interview (which was the 19th of March, the second of the two available dates) I caught an overcrowded train and tube during morning rush hour to meet with my fellow interviewees outside of McDonald's in Hammersmith Bus Station. We made our way to Disney HQ and received our security passes before waiting patiently in the lobby beside a giant Swarovski Micky Mouse to be called upstairs to check in with Yummy Jobs. My passport was checked and then we were all ushered into Disney's full sized movie theatre for a presentation from two Disney representatives, Chuck (the general manager of EPCOT Theme Park!) and Sue (an international recruiter for Disney).

The presentation was much like the one at the pre-screen, where Sue talked us through some important information like the job roles, the wages, housing, and cast member benefits, only this time it came with added videos that made me want to cry with happiness, and really hit home just how much I actually really wanted to make it onto the program. The video I've linked above really sums everything up for me, and I actually shared this to the Facebook group prior to us arriving for our final interviews and everyone agreed that it's a tear-jerker!

After the interviews everyone had to leave Disney HQ and then come back 15 minutes before their allotted interview time. As mine was at half past 3 that afternoon I ended up having 5 hours to spare before I was called into the interview room. In the interim time myself, and some new Disney friends (Hi Peter, Leanne and Matthew!), decided to go to the Disney Cafe in Harrods which was an excellent choice as we ate the most delicious lunch and spent about 3 hours there in total (see my blog post here about it). It was so great chatting to some fellow 'Disnerds'!
Disney HQ Reception
In The Interview
So 3:30pm rolled around and I felt myself getting a little nervous as I made my way back to HQ to wait to be called back upstairs. I ended up having to sit for another hour to be called into the interview room because my last name begins with a W, which was nerve wracking because I got to see how everyone felt on their way out of the interview room, but no-one was giving anything away! It was nice chatting to Katie from Yummy Jobs, and fellow CRP hopefuls but all too soon my time came around and Chuck came to the door and called my name - I was to be interviewed by the general manager of my soon-to-be-new-home theme park!

Now I'm going to be completely honest here and say that I truly can't really remember the ins and outs of what my interview actually consisted of because it all went by in a complete blur, and I honestly thought I'd fluffed it. I know that it lasted about 10 minutes, and I managed to make Chuck laugh a lot, but I don't really remember what my main answers consisted of.

What I do remember is that I sat down and Chuck asked me what I'd done with my time in between the presentation and my interview slot and I told him about going to the Disney Cafe for a toastie. He asked me what a toastie was and I immediately answered saying that it was akin to a grilled cheese (one point to me for cultural exchange!). The interview then bounced between being a really informal chat and a proper interview, which completely took me by surprise. Chuck asked me questions like:
  1. Why Disney?
  2. How would you cope with the heat?
  3. What would be the hardest part of your program?
  4. Do you have any experience with handling money?
  5. How would you deal with a guest who had a complaint?
  6. Have you any experience of manual / heavy lifting?
  7. Which airport would you fly from?
  8. Do you have any tattoos?
  9. What is your availability?
A lot to get through in 10 minutes, eh?! I remember that I did do lots of talking and also made a point to translate every time I said something very British into an American alternative so that I could demonstrate that I could talk about anything to just about anyone (for example I converted how much I'd normally cash up in the Drive-Thru till from ££ to $$ so that he'd have a greater understanding of the scale of my cash handling), and looking back I think this worked in my favour. We also talked about my experiences of international living, and my current job with McDonald's, where Chuck told me that I was the first person with McDonald's he'd interviewed in this intake in the UK, as in the US he speaks to many people with a McJob. (I believe that he also said that he began in McDonald's once upon a time, so hey, don't you ever knock us hard working McWorkers!)

All too soon my interview was over, like I said it went by so fast and there I was thanking Chuck for his time, shaking his hand and collecting my luggage ready to catch the coach from Hammersmith back to the West Country. 

My Top Tips
  1. Your interview will only last 10-15 minutes and may take place in a room with one other person and another interviewer (although strangely you cannot hear what they are saying and I don't remember the other girl leaving). Keep your answers short and succinct, be prepared to physically sell yourself in a professional setting and really try not to ramble. 
  2. Do lots of smiling. The interviewers may seem intimidating (purely because their jobs roles and personal CVs are so great!) but smile loads and showcase your personality through your answers and you'll naturally relax. 
  3. Ensure that you meet the Disney Look guidelines when choosing your interview outfit. If you google the guidelines you'll find lots of information about Disney's preferred look for it's cast members and this was really helpful for me as I wanted to look and feel a part of the company right away to get me in the right mindset. In all honesty I wore exactly the same outfit to my final interview as I did my pre-screen but this was purely because I work in a uniform and therefore only own one set of proper business clothes. I made sure to wrap my bun in my Minnie Mouse style bun wrap and changed my shoes into neat flats instead of boots to feel more professional. 
  4. Get to HQ early on in the morning, leaving plenty of time to make sure you're at the correct entrance (you need the one without the life sized storm troopers!) and enough time to mingle with your fellow potential colleagues. It's much nicer putting a face to a name from the Facebook group and having some people to hang out with in between the presentation and your interview slot. 
  5. Take some time to drink in the Disney details. Some of us had to give in to nature when collecting our ID cards and ended up being shown a toilet behind a concealed door in the wall. Magic. There are hidden mickeys all up the stairs, art work and movie posters on display and lots of merchandise in display cabinets along the walls. It's pretty damn cool!
So there you have my experience of the final interview with Walt Disney Recruitment for the CRP 2015 Winter intake, if you have any questions, please let me know!

Have a magical day!

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