Working At Walt Disney World | How To Apply: Stage Two - The UK Pre-Screen Event

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Hello :)
I'm back with the second part of my three part mini series detailing the application process I undertook at the beginning of this year to help me get my new job at Disney World. If you've not read stage one then please click here to do so. 

Stage two incorporates a selection process with Yummy Jobs, called the pre-screen. This replaced the telephone interviews that they used to do previously following your successful online application form, and in my opinion is much more fun and informative that simply chatting to someone over the phone. Remember that I can only speak of the 2015 application process so keep that in mind when reading.
E-Mail Inviting Me To The Pre-Screen Event
So How Do You Get To Pre-Screen? 
A couple of days after the applications closed in January I was sitting at home after a long day of work and saw the above email. I was so excited that I called my Mum straight away and she helped me to prepare mentally for the possibility of actually doing this, like, now that I was through the online application page, then a job at Disney World could actually happen!

The interview event was scheduled for just over 2 weeks away from the original email being sent, so I quickly rearranged my shift cover at work, booked a train to London and then the train to Stanstead Airport. For the first time (since I've been doing my research anyway) the pre-screen was held just outside London, at the Radisson Blu Hotel near to the main airport terminal building. If I'm honest it was quite a faff to get to, considering I had to get the train to Waterloo, then a tube to Tottenham Hale, and then another train from Tottenham Hale to Stanstead. It was worth the 6am early start though, and, because my registration event was scheduled for in the afternoon, I was happy to see that I could do all travelling in a day, whereas some people who interviewed in the morning had to pay for accommodation.

You must dress the part for this event as it is an interview. I went for a nice black dress, with my hair up in a bun and subtle Disney details like Mickey ear earrings, and a red bandana with white polka dots around my bun to make me stand out a bit. Nothing too in your face Disney, but still professional and fun all the same. I also took a lovely black leather handbag and wore flats for maximum comfort. I would also recommend taking a notebook, some water, a pen and some mints just in case. YJ will also ask you to print off your YJ passport from their website to take with you. This is vitally important as you must affix a passport picture of yourself to the page and hand this in to your interviewer. This is where they'll make notes about you during your interview.

Arriving On The Day
I arrived alone just after 1pm (I think!) and had plenty of time to spare. I realised that I hadn't actually eaten anything due to nerves so I entered the main terminal building and bought a sandwich from M&S before entering out onto what I thought was the main concourse to go to the hotel. Turns out that I could see the hotel, but couldn't physically get to it, so I ended up having to ask for directions!

Once inside the hotel I noticed that there were a lot of neatly dressed people milling around in the bar area and on the chairs, and according to the Facebook group I had become part of, these people were also waiting for the 2pm registration, so I joined them and chatted merrily for half an hour or so before we were called in to register.

Registration & Presentation
The first thing we had to do was wear a Yummy Jobs sticker to help identify us as part of the YJ group. We then signed our names in and were assigned an interview time slot and group name (I was in the first interview slot at 3:30pm, and part of Team Cruella DeVil!), before making our way into a room where YJ was going to talk though a presentation about the job and do a mini quiz.

If you're like me and good at planning and researching then the information YJ gives you during the presentation shouldn't really be anything new, it should just reconfirm to you how bloomin' exciting it would be to have a job at Disney, and provide some information about the housing arrangements. I've been following the Disney IP YouTube channel for a while now and each of the videos they showed are available on there should you wish to have a look and get inspired.

In a nutshell the presentation covered:

  • Walt Disney World 
  • What the Cultural Representative Program is about 
  • A look at Food & Beverage and Merchandise roles
  • A look at Disney Housing
  • Living, Earning and Learning
  • A Day In The Life of a UK CRP Participant
  • Costs you'll have to pay if offered a job
  • Potential earning salary when working
  • A look into the next steps of the recruitment process

After the presentation my interview group didn't have long to gather our thoughts before we were off into the interview room (but I did have chance to quickly Google how to make bubble & squeak as I'd heard YJ would quiz us on British dishes!)

The Interview
The interview lasts approximately 1 hour and will consist of 6-8 people sat in a semi circle around the interviewer who is behind a table in front of you. I was happy to see that my group was all girls, and that none of us had ever done a Disney program before (there were lots of people who had done the college program at the pre-screen).

We entered into the room, and said hello to our interviewer and she took our YJ Passports from us while we sat down. I felt like I was quite lucky to be in the middle of the semi-circle because I was right in front of our interviewer, and was able to talk to the girls on both sides of me quite easily. The questions asked of us were:

  1. Choose 2-4 Starburst and depending on what colours you chose you had to give answers to an icebreaker type set of questions. I had to name two of my favourite places in the world (I said a library and aside from my bed, the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney / Disney Springs), and also what I like to do in my spare time. 
  2. Why do you want to do this programme?
  3. What would you find difficult living with other people?
  4. How would you organise getting to work?  

(I'm sure there was one or two more questions but I can't remember!) There are also two activities you have to complete in your interview which are designed to showcase your personality and your knowledge about British culture. The first is to bring an item that best represents your hometown or the UK. This was extremely difficult for me because I don't have a home town (see previous post here) so I took a tiny set of Beatrix Potter books that I have had since I was born to help me illustrate my passion for reading and represent all of the great literary geniuses that have come from the UK that have helped provide the stories for so many Disney films. (In hindsight, my friend Hannah says that I should have taken a globe!)

The second task is to 'sell' a British item or food dish to the group and the interviewer. We were each given a piece of paper with a picture of our product and they ranged from scotch eggs to the Queen to whiskey to cottage pie and so on. I was given a One Direction t-shirt to sell so I decided to have a bit of fun with it, pretending I was an X Factor voice over introducing them on the stage - something along the lines of 'you little sister wants to marry one, your mum loves their songs and your boyfriend thinks their hair is great, so come and buy this t-shirt and be part of the directioner family'. (I'm not a 1D listener so this was definitely quick thinking!)

All that was left to do once the interview was over, and believe me when I say that it flew by, was thank our interviewer (I shook her hand although lots of the other girls didn't) and make my way back home (via the Disney store on Oxford Street...).
Bought myself Cinderella to read on the train home :)
Top 5 Tips

  1. Make conversation with those around you while you're waiting. If any of those people get put in your interview time slot / group then you'll really thank yourself because you'll already be at ease! 
  2. Don't panic. The interview is like have one big discussion about how you'd fit into the program, and although there are interview questions and activities designed to make you think on your feet, it's quite a relaxed atmosphere and the YJ team are incredibly friendly! 
  3. Showcase your personality. Disney is all about personality, they're not looking for mountains of experience (although of course that will help you), but someone that is friendly, loud and proud to say that they're British with an appetite to learn and succeed. If you say nothing during your interview then you're really not what they're looking for. Be respectful, let others have their turn, but don't be afraid to showcase yourself. 
  4. The primary purpose of the pre-screen is to see what you're like in a social situation, so wear something professional yet comfortable that will allow you to breathe and act like you would do normally. Try not to let nerves overcome you, stay calm and focus on your answers. 
  5. Don't prepare answers so far in advance that you sound like a robot reading from your mental auto-cue. Sure, think about possible answers and have key words that you want to mention to help you talk but please don't sound like you're reading from your notebook, it will really show, and it's really not what Disney are looking for. 
So that was stage two, the YJ pre-screen event. They told us that we'd wait no longer than 48 hours to see if we got through to the final face-to-face interview stage, so watch out for part 3 of my application round up coming soon! 

Any questions or comments please leave them below or email me: louisekwilliams@googlemail.com 

Have a magical day! 

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