Natasha Wilkinson

Recruitment and Talent Manager

Recently our Formula Careers community submitted questions they’d love to ask the HR department of a Formula 1 Team. Here Natasha Wilkinson, Recruitment and Talent Manager for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team, answers a selection of those questions.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role within the team?

I head up the Recruitment and Talent Team at Aston Martin F1 team. I have 25 years of agency Recruitment experience working across a number of different sectors and types of businesses.

My job is to make sure we find the best people for our Team and sometimes that means finding people with very unique skills.

What’s it like working as a Recruitment and Talent Manager for an F1 team?

It’s awesome! Crazy busy every single minute of every day which I love. I am building relationships with every Manager of each area of the team and am learning about what everyone does and ultimately what their recruitment needs are now and in the future. I can then go out and find appropriate candidates for those vacancies.

From your point of view, what makes Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team a great place to take an industrial placement?

It is such a great time to be a part of our team as we are just at the start of our journey. With the impressive investment from our owner Lawrence Stroll and our amazing campus being built, it is creating such a buzz and a real  winning mentality for the future! It is a great place to be with so much opportunity to share new ideas and be a part of our future!

What is your role like during placement season, and do you receive many applications?

It’s a really busy time of the year for the team anyway as we head into our build period. There are also a lot of positions to recruit for at the same time. We receive hundreds and hundreds of applications from all over the globe for our undergraduate roles! It’s a really exciting time of the year though.

What time of the year do you release placements and how do you advertise them?

We release the adverts around the end of September on our F1 website and on LinkedIn. We will also post the vacancies on GradCracker and Formula Careers.

How do you begin to sort through the applications?

Once we establish that the student is returning to their studies once they complete their placement year with us, we then will send a test out which will be relevant to the area they are applying to i.e an Aerodynamics based test for the Aerodynamics placement.

What makes a particular application stand out above the others?

Always include extra-curricular experience or work experience such as: Formula Student, volunteer work, part time or weekend work at the pub, clubs and sports you may be a part of or hobbies that you have. It is all really important as it shows us who you are! If you have a passion for motorsport, cars and racing that’s a bonus too.

What are the stages of the application/interview process?

Once you have made your application and it has been checked to ensure you are eligible for a placement, we will send out your relevant test with a timescale attached to it. Once the test has been submitted and marked, if you have exceeded our pass mark, you will be contacted to attend either an assessment centre or an interview at our Silverstone factory.

Adverts should go out at the end of September, very early October, we will then have an online webinar with GradCracker on the 3rd October 2022.

Once we collate all of the applications, we will then send the tests out early November and you will have 1 week to complete the assessment.

Depending on the results of your assessment, you may be called to a face to face interview (or Teams) middle of November.

How should I prepare for psychometric or technical tests?

Our advice is to brush up on the skills within the area you are applying to! You aren’t expected to know everything but should know the basic principles.

How can I make my application stand out or make it unique?

I wouldn’t think too much about this as all candidates will get the opportunity to take the test as long as they are undergraduates who are returning to their studies once the placement with AMR finishes. We have a team of 700 passionate people – show us your passions!

Do you offer graduate schemes, and if so, what types are on offer?

We don’t have a graduate programme at the moment. We take on graduates into graduate or junior positions but we may look at a more formal programme in the future.

What can students do before placements are released to improve their CV?

Ask someone to check it for you. Ensure it has everything on it that relates to the vacancy you are going for (including referencing the right Team name!) and ensure there are no spelling mistakes.

What experience can I get outside of school or university?

Any experience you can gain within the field you’re applying for is highly valuable whether it’s part time work or volunteering. It shows us that you’re committed and it gives you extra skills and experience for us to consider. Don’t worry if you can’t get experience at an F1 Team – any relevant field is great.

What do you look for in an intern?

Someone who is keen, enthusiastic, passionate and hard working!

What qualities or soft skills do you need to work in an F1 team?

A team player, energetic, helpful, not be afraid to share ideas, supportive.

What should you do at university to improve your chances?

Try to be involved with Formula Student if your university has that, if not be involved in anything that you feel would give you any insight into motorsport or the field you want to get in to.

Do you offer placements outside of engineering?

We have done so in our Commercial team and may do so again in the future.

Do I have to be below a certain age to make a move to working in F1?

Not at all! For our placements, you need to have a sandwich year / placement year within your studies meaning that you return to university after completing 12 months with us. But generally, we take on employees of all ages with various levels of experience!

Are there opportunities for applicants outside of the UK? And/or with no motorsport background? Both in terms of placement students and general roles.

Yes we have employees and students from all over the globe and with no motorsports background.

Should you go for a Master’s degree rather than a Bachelors?

We don’t have a preference.

There are lots of different departments within an F1 team. Do you have any general advice of how to get into the different ones?

Focus on the area that you are interested in and try to gain experience in those areas or do volunteering work so that you can learn more and add that experience to your cv. Take a look on the social media pages of the team you follow, quite often they release videos about the various sectors within the team so you can learn a bit more.

Do you have any other tips or advice you wish to share?

Yes, be yourself! Try to relax and enjoy the process of preparing your cv and attending interviews/assessment days. After all, you are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing you!

 

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