After receiving my Congratulations email on the 3rd September inviting me to attend the pre-screen selection interview at Yummy Jobs HQ, I headed up to their offices in Epping on Friday the 28th September for my 2pm slot.
This first interview in the process is a group interview which is held at the Yummy Jobs office in Epping, Essex. They hold both morning and afternoon slots at either 9am or 2pm and this year they were in the week spanning Monday 24th – Friday 28th September.
Despite having an afternoon time slot I woke up early in excitement and anticipation and headed up to London at around 10:30am (I had come back from university the night before to make my journey shorter the morning of the interview). The train I take arrives in to London Paddington station and from there Epping underground station is another hour on the tube. Epping is right at the end of the Central Line in the North-East of London so once you are on the right line then just stay on it until the end and you’ll be in the right place.
I arrived at Epping at just after 12pm, which despite being two hours before my interview, was when people had arranged to meet at the Starbucks across the road from the office. If you are applying to the CEP next year I highly recommend you search for and join the Facebook group, there will be one, as it is really nice and encouraging to chat to everyone else going through the experience with you. You’ll make loads of friends and usually everybody going to pre-screens will arrange to meet up beforehand for whatever day and time-slot you have been allocated so you can all relax and calm your nerves beforehand!
Upon arriving at Epping station I bumped into a couple other girls who had come for the pre-screen but didn’t know where they were going, we started talking and walked up to Starbucks together. Once we arrived the cafe was nearly overflowing with interviewee’s and we managed to find a seat next to some others and started talking about what we were expecting to be asked, who we would say our favourite character was and what we were most excited about.
2pm came around very fast and we headed over to congregate in a huddle outside the door to the Yummy Jobs office at 5 minutes to 2pm and exactly at 2 they came and opened the door to let us in. I would say there were around 50-60 of us there for the afternoon slot and we all filed in up the stairs to the office space.
Some people struggle to find the office as it isn’t it’s own building as such but rather just a door along Epping High Street. If you’re on the high street then you are in the right place, if you head towards Fine Art and the British Heart Foundation you’ll see a grey door in between the two shops with a small plaque next to it which says ‘Yummy Jobs’ – this is the place you need to be! They won’t let you in until the time of your interview so if it’s a bit of a chilly, windy or rainy day try not to be waiting outside too early for your own sake!
That Friday, the 28th September, was actually the Macmillan Cancer Coffee Morning day and so we all took part in that and brought cakes, cookies and all sorts of yummy treats with us to support the charity. Yummy Jobs had actually taken part in it all week long with every one of the CEP interview groups and in total raised £721.45 throughout the week. I had managed to quickly make some ‘Mickey Cupcakes’ the night before so brought those along with me.
We all signed in with Natalie and got given a sticker (which is randomly handed out) with our individual group interview name and time on it, along with a role checklist and costs form. I was in ‘Team Tramp’, as in the charming, mischievous and fun-loving mutt from Lady and the Tramp. There were two possible time slots you could be allocated, 3:30pm-4:30pm or 4:30pm-5:30pm and I was given the latter. After getting my sticker I put my cupcakes down at the back of the room and filed into the seats that had been set up facing a projector.
Not long after 2pm, once everybody had been given a sticker and sat down, Natalie and the rest of the Yummy Jobs team introduced themselves and started the presentation on the Cultural Exchange Program. They took us through the program dates, general information and showed us some videos made by previous program participants before taking us through every role available to us in detail and asking us to tick the ones that appealed to us on the form we were given. I ticked every role as while I am open for trying anything, it also does look good to show you’re keen at this stage which usually gives you a higher chance of getting through to the final interviews.
The presentation lasted just over and hour and it really did get us all so much more excited about the program and all it has to offer. After it had finished they asked us to briefly step outside while they rearranged the office ready for the interviews. We congregated outside the office again for around 5 minutes, which gave us time to sign the bottom of our role checklists before heading back up. They then called the first 3 groups into three separate office rooms for their interviews and the rest of us stayed outside in the main office space and talked, ate cakes and had some tea while waiting for our turn. The hour passed pretty quickly and it was so nice talking to the other applicants, especially as some had travelled from really far to get there.
It got to 4:30pm and the final three groups were called into the offices. Natalie called my group, ‘Team Tramp’, into her office and there were 8 of us who all squeezed in and sat in the chairs lined up in front of her desk. A few nerves started to kick in at this point but since we had been able to talk beforehand we were all quite relaxed around each other which made things much easier.
Natalie first asked us to talk with the person next to us while she collected in all our documents, which included a photocopy of our passport, a copy of our CV, a passport size photo and the role checklist we had completed earlier. While talking to the person next to us she asked us to find out their name, their university and what course they are studying, an interesting fact about them and finally what Disney character they would be and why. I had a really nice chat getting to know the girl next to me a little more and then after a couple minutes Natalie asked the girl at the other end of the room to start and we then went down the line and introduced our partners.
After that the main portion of the interview started and we were asked these questions:
What are our top two role choices and why.
Recall a memorable moment you have witnessed a Disney cast member give.
Why do we want to take part in the program, what do we think we will get out of it and what about the program is most important to us.
How would we deal with living with roommates in Disney housing, what experience do we have living with others and what challenges have we faced and overcome during those experiences.
What skills do we have that would help us in taking part in the Cultural Exchange Program.
Every time Natalie asked a question she would ask a different person in the room to start and we would then work our way round the group answering one by one which meant nobody was fighting to talk over each other. We also weren’t asked any scenario questions which Yummy Jobs was known for asking in the past which was surprising. The interview lasted around an hour but it felt like it went by extremely fast and before we knew it we were back out in the office.
Before leaving I managed to get a photo at the infamous Disney International Programs wall, before heading back to the station with a couple of the other girls.
I came out of the interview unsure as to how I had performed. It was such a relaxed environment to be interviewed in that I felt it was very hard to read exactly how it went or whether I had come across well. They do take notes and refer to your CV as you are speaking as well. Try not to be put off by this as even though it is a bit nerve-wracking to see someone scribble down notes after you speak it is only so they can remember you better afterwards!
I left feeling really positive due to how wonderful the whole experience had been that day. I had the chance to meet some lovely people and the opportunity to have a really fun group interview experience. As the days went on I kept thinking about the interview and how it had gone. I kept overanalysing my answers and thinking I should have said something different and weighing up the large number of applicants who had been interviewed at prescreens with my chance at being one of the few who made it through this stage. I convinced myself I hadn’t done well enough to pass this stage but was so thankful to have made it that far and had the chance to get a prescreen. We were told that we would hear whether we were successful or not by the 10th October and so the anxious wait began… and then, to our surprise on the 5th October I woke up to the Facebook group being lit up with notifications saying emails had come out…
and in my inbox there was an email from Yummy Jobs saying ‘Congratulations!‘
I couldn’t believe my eyes and stared at the email re-reading it over and over as I tried to process the fact that I had been offered a Final Interview. I quickly sent an email confirming my place and then began the next wait to hear from Disney Careers.
I am so excited to continue this journey and see where it takes me, hopefully that place will be Walt Disney World. Another post will be up soon detailing everything that happens after the Pre-Screen but before your actual Final Interview as there is quite a bit to do so keep an eye out for that.