After months of waiting and preparation, nothing can prepare you for that first moment of excitement and anxiety when you are shown to your desk and you have finally started your first graduate placement.

So why Total Media? At a glance Total Media is a company that combines psychology and marketing by understanding our desires and habits so as to ascertain where media activity should be focussed. In my view, this is something that really sets Total Media apart from the rest, especially as an agency we are spear-heading the behavioural marketing approach. To many it might seem like a simple concept, but not many media agencies focus on these principles, which to me, makes the company unique.

To successfully get a place on the graduate scheme here at Total Media, all prospective Graduates trainees had to complete five interview stages. As each of these rounds were completed, my desire for the job grew more and more. Whilst many of my friends talked about life after University and what they might end up doing, it was rare to hear of anyone landing their dream job straight away.

For me, the process began back in November when I wrote a cover letter to Total Media that outlined what I was interested in and why I thought I would be good for a graduate role. A few months later I received an email inviting me to the next round. After that the interview stages were as follows:


Short Video

  • Create a video answering four questions, we had to try and be creative in our approach
  • Game-Based Assessment
  • Abstract Reasoning
  • Numerical Reasoning

Telephone Interview

  • Asked a series of questions and told to think about the company values when answering them

Assessment Day

  • A 10-minute presentation on a Brand of your choice
  • 30-minute interview
  • Group task


Each stage required a different skill and a chance to demonstrate another part of our personalities. Whilst University prepares you for a lot, such as self-development and confidence, it doesn’t prepare you for such a rigorous interview process where I knew there would be tough competition from some very talented candidates, so I drew on everything I had learnt in the past three years to stand out from the crowd.

For the assessment day I spent a lot of time thinking about a brand that would allow me to explore all the different areas that I was interested in. After much thought, I decided that going with something I know and have a personal connection with would be the best idea. I chose an alcoholic drinks brand as this allowed me to talk about the brand comfortably, as I had experience working with it through my part time job whilst studying, which meant I knew the ins and outs of the product from a professional as well as personal perspective. As a bit of an ice-breaker I decided to start the presentation with a short taste test and asked that my interviewers match up the flavours in one of four glasses with one of four descriptions and the cans in front of them. The primary aim of this was to devise an experience that engaged the interviewers to think about the brand before being told any information about it.  The idea was based around an active learning theory from a psychologist named Jerome Bruner which I had learnt about in my final project at University. This focussed on narratives in media and our personal relationships with them and related well to what I had read about Total Media. My following presentation was centred on the story of the brand with points about why it had been successful and what my personal opinion was for these successes. By presenting in this way, I enabled the interviewers to gain an understanding of the brand but also develop an emotional connection to it.

I am now two weeks into my first placement in Client Services and it is safe to say that feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. All of a sudden I have gone from a bartender/student, to a full time employee with a desk and a whole new industry to learn about. At times it can feel like I’m learning a whole other language, especially with the amount of acronyms people in media use. However with all the investment that Total Media put into their staff I am confident that soon I will be fluent as everyone else.

Sarah King - Graduate

Author: Sarah King - Graduate

Sarah has recently graduated from The University of Greenwich studying Media and Communications. She has joined Total Media on the Graduate rotation programme and is currently working in Client Services. As well as this she is currently training for a half marathon.