Learn More About the IBM Application Process

Are you applying for an internship or position with IBM? Have you been invited to take the IBM IPAT test, participate in an assessment centre, or attend an interview? Learn more about the stages of the IBM selection process and how to prepare for them with JobTestPrep.

  • Prepare for your IBM IPAT assessment tests
  • Access timed practice tests & comprehensive score reports
  • Learn as you go with detailed answer explanations

About IBM & Their Recruitment Processes

The IBM recruitment processes follow similar structures at all levels, although some of the details may change. Most recruitment levels take the IBM IPAT, an online aptitude test designed to test your logical reasoning abilities, as well as attend assessment centres and interviews examining you against IBM’s competencies. IBM take on 500 new students (for the IBM internship) and graduates each year, as well as experienced hires, so there are always job openings. Competition is high, so you need to show your value at each stage of the process. The IBM selection process can take several months, especially if there are a lot of candidates for your desired position.

IBM Recruitment Processes

IBM hiring processes follow similar patterns for each type of recruitment, but the exercises you will encounter depend on the level you are applying to. There are also some differences at each level between technical recruitment and business roles.


IBM School Leavers eXtreme Blue -
IBM Internship
Graduates Experienced Professionals
Online Application Form Yes Yes Yes - with questions, different depending on role Yes
CV Follow template Follow template No Yes
IPAT Test Yes Yes Yes Yes
Telephone Interview No No No Yes
Assessment Centre One or two days Two days One day One day
Final Interview or Second AC Interview Interview Final interview Presentation and interview

IBM Competencies

You are tested against these skills and abilities throughout each stage of the recruitment process, from the IBM online application through to the IBM interview:

  • Adaptability – How flexible are you? Can you cope with changing demands, stress, competing deadlines?
  • Communication – Can you present information in an easy-to-understand format? Can you adapt your style for different audiences?
  • Client focus – How do you approach a client’s needs?
  • Creative problem solving – Can you be innovative in how you approach problems? Can you anticipate problems as well as use logical methods and analysis in your solutions?
  • Drive – Are you willing to learn new skills and put in the effort to excel at them?
  • Teamwork – How do you work with others to achieve shared goals? Are you good at building relationships with others? Are you a team player?
  • Passion for IBM – Do you know what IBM does? Do you believe in the work of IBM? Are you up to date with current events in the industry and the challenges IBM faces?
  • Taking ownership – Do you take responsibility for your tasks? Do you implement decisions quickly?

IBM Application Form

IBM School Leaver Programme and IBM eXtreme Blue Applicants

The IBM applications have two parts: an online application form asking for personal details and education and a CV template asking you to provide more information about yourself, including a personal statement and space for you to write 150 words describing when you have demonstrated the six competencies. Two additional questions ask you to write up to 150 words about your motivation for applying for the job and any achievements. This section is all about you, so make sure to tell IBM all about you and how you will be an asset in the role you are applying to. Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Response) to organise your answers against the competencies and to ensure you cover all the necessary information.

IBM Graduate Programme Applicants

Graduate applicants also face a two-part application that includes both the online form and a fuller application form. You are asked to list your three preferred roles with IBM, so make sure the rest of the application form, including the personal statement, refers to your skills in the context of these roles. Mention your experience and skills, such as university projects, volunteer work, and internships. You also need to write 150 words against each competency listed on the form as described above.

IBM Experienced Hires

Experienced hire applicants are required to send in their CVs as part of the application. Ensure your CV addresses the IBM competencies as well as the requirements of the job. Use our CV builder to help you create a CV that really stands out from the crowd.