John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre

The John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre (also known as the John Lewis Partnership Assessment Centre) is just one part of a larger application process for candidates applying for a position at John Lewis or Waitrose. The John Lewis/Waitrose Application process is as follows:

    1. Application Form;
    2. Online Tests;
    3. Telephone Interview;
    4. Video Interview;
    5. Assessment Centre;
    6. Face-to-face Interview.

As part of the application process, you’ll have to complete a number of tests, including the situational judgement test as well as questionnaires based on the John Lewis Partnership core values. If you pass the online tests and telephone/video interviews, you’ll be invited to the John Lewis Assessment Centre (or Waitrose Assessment Centre, if you’re applying for a role at Waitrose). Here, you’ll need to complete a number of exercises both as an individual and within a group. We’re going to take a look at the John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre – what you’ll have to do, and how to pass it.

What is the John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre?

The John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre is an assessment day designed for employers to meet candidates in person. It’s used to evaluate a number of skills that can’t be measured easily through online tests. Your invitation will be sent after you’ve passed the telephone/video interview stage, and will include information about when and where you need to travel in order to attend the centre. You might also be able to claim travel expenses up to a certain amount. If this isn’t made clear in the invitation, get in touch with your potential employers to find out if this is applicable to you.

The John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre is used for candidates applying through a number of different routes. Experienced hires, graduates, and applicants on industry placements will all need to attend and pass the John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre.

What Exercises Will I Need to Do?

There’s a range of different exercises and activities that you’ll need to complete as part of the John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre. Up to four of these exercises will be part of the John Lewis Group Assessment (or Waitrose Group Assessment). These exercises may include:

Group Exercises

• Group discussion – you will be given a scenario that you need to deal with as part of a group. You’ll have a limited amount of time to come up with an effective plan to respond to the scenario. These scenarios will be based on possible real-life events you could deal with whilst working at John Lewis or Waitrose;

• Core values exercise – as a group, you might be asked to discuss a series of different moral values and make judgements on them. This might involve ranking different values from best to worst;

• Sales exercise – in this exercise, you’ll need to sell an item to a member of the recruitment team at the assessment centre. You’ll need to think about what the qualities of the item are, give out tasks to other members of the group, and work together to make a convincing sales pitch;

• Store exercises – these role plays will have you behaving as though you were in the role, and are trying to complete a task.

On top of these, there are individual exercises, which can include the following:

Individual Exercises

• Presentation exercise – here, you’ll have to prepare a ten-minute presentation based on a topic given to you by the assessors;

• John Lewis trays (or Waitrose trays) – this is an in-tray exercise that you might have to complete. This is a sort of role play exercise which has you working through paperwork and making judgements. You can think of it as a situational judgement test, but taken using physical documents to refer to. Click here to read our guide to passing in-tray exercises;

• Face-to-face interview – this is the final interview for the role, and will usually come at the end of the assessment centre.

John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre Tips

Now that you know what you’ll be doing at the John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre, here are some tips to make sure you’re as prepared as possible:

Learn the Core Values/Competencies

You’ll need to do this for the online testing and interview stages of your application process, but make sure to refresh yourself on everything that you’ve learned. Remember to focus on the core values/ethos of Waitrose and John Lewis, as well as the core competencies required for the role. You’ll be asked about these in many of the group and individual exercises, and must keep them in mind for every activity you’re getting involved with in order to demonstrate that you’re a suitable candidate.

Think about How You Want to Present Yourself

This is important since you’re going to be showing yourself and your personality to the assessors during the exercises. You want to make sure that you come across as assertive and confident, but not to the point of arrogance. You need to be able to demonstrate that you can work with others. This might involve giving orders or taking them during the group exercises.


Now you know what to expect from the John Lewis/Waitrose Assessment Centre. Take time to prepare effectively, pay extra attention to core values and competencies, and be ready for any or all of the exercises listed to show up. Good luck!