Sainsbury’s is one of the most popular and biggest UK supermarkets. With this in mind, finding a job at Sainsbury’s is a highly competitive process, and one which requires discipline, skill, and tenacity. In this blog we will not only run you through the ENTIRE Sainsbury’s Job Selection Process, but we’ll also provide you with examples of the types of tests you’ll have to take, and the Sainsbury’s interview questions you might face.
If you’re looking to join one of the UK’s elite supermarket chains, this is the perfect resource for you. So, let’s get started!
Stage 1 – Searching For Sainsbury’s Vacancies
If you’re looking for a job at Sainsbury’s, then the first thing you need to do is to head over to the Sainsbury’s website, where you can actually apply for a job. You can find this via the Sainsbury’s recruitment page https://sainsburys.jobs/search-apply/
Once you’ve arrived on the recruitment page, it’s time to start looking for the perfect role for you.
Sainsbury’s Job Descriptions
You will be pleased to know that Sainsbury’s are almost always recruiting, and this means that there is highly likely to be a vacancy in an area near you. Sainsbury’s has an enormous range of opportunities for every kind of person. The most common thing that comes to mind when people think about working at a supermarket is ‘shelf stacking’ or ‘customer service’, but in actual fact that is only a tiny sample of the jobs available in Sainsbury’s. You could be working behind the scenes, in finance, advertising, or technical areas. You could enter your role at Sainsbury’s as a manager. There’s so many opportunities, so don’t automatically assume that there isn’t something for you.
Whatever your speciality, the important thing, however, is to ensure that you are applying for a vacancy which suits you. Of course, most of this is basic common sense – you wouldn’t apply for a night shift role if you didn’t want to work nights. However, the mistake that most people make when they apply for a job at Sainsbury’s, is that they just gloss over the job description. Whether that’s because they underestimate the competency required for the role, or because they’re just too confident, the end result is that if you don’t read the job description properly then you are highly unlikely to be successful at the Sainsbury’s interview. Let’s look at a sample job description now, and break it down:
Customer and Trading Manager
We’re looking for a friendly, capable, efficient and customer-orientated person, to work full-time in our Ficshire Store. Said person will be working 4 days a week, and will have a flexible range of opportunities, mostly involving management and leadership-based jobs.
The successful candidate will have tasks including:
-Coaching members of your team, and your colleagues, to provide an excellent service to your customers.
-Using your initiative to improve the way operational procedures are conducted, and to get the most of your colleagues and teammates.
-Helping to drive sales, through creative, original and efficient lines of thought.
-Dealing directly with customers, and helping others to improve their own customer service skills.
-Making plans and decisions related to sales initiatives, schedules and plans.
The ideal candidate will be:
-Enthusiastic and dedicated about providing the best possible service to customers.
-Willing to learn, and adopt new methods of working.
-Excellent at planning and decision-making.
-Open minded and flexible towards change.
-A capable leader, able to influence and support the members of your team/staff.
-A role model, able to inspire others and get the best of your colleagues.
For more information, visit our website at Sainsburys.jobs.
How To Break This Down
So, now we’ve looked at a sample job description, let’s handle how to break this down. Whenever you’re applying for a role, not just at Sainsbury’s but anywhere, you need to be able to identify the ‘core competencies’ of the role. If these aren’t actually listed, then you need to look at the job description, and ascertain what the core requirements are. In this case, we can glean the following from the job description:
We’re looking for a friendly, capable, efficient and customer-orientated person, to work full-time in our Ficshire Store.
This tells you that anyone applying for this role needs to be customer-focused – which means having great customer service skills. It also tells you that they need someone who is friendly – which means you need to have good communication skills.
Coaching members of your team, and your colleagues, to provide an excellent service to your customers.
This tells you that anyone applying for this role needs to have excellent leadership skills.
Helping to drive sales, through creative, original, and efficient lines of thought.
This tells you that anyone applying for this role needs to be innovative and creative, and be capable of problem solving.
Making plans and decisions related to sales initiatives, schedules and plans.
This tells you that anyone applying for this role needs to be capable of analytical thought, forward thinking, and organisational ability.
So, from the above alone, we already have a list of competencies for this position, including:
- Great customer service skills;
- Great communicational ability;
- Problem solving;
- Organisational ability.
Keep these in mind, because they will be very important for the coming stages!
Stage 2: Sainsbury’s Job Application Form
Once you’ve decided on a role, it’s time to fill in the online application form. The type of form you’ll have to fill in could vary depending on the position you’re applying for, but generally you will be asked to fill in some personal details (which will also be useful for the person conducting the Sainsbury’s interview), before doing one of the following:
-Uploading an up-to-date CV.
-Answering questions based around your motivation for applying.
If you’re asked to upload your CV to Sainsbury’s, then you need to make sure you get this right. Far too many people simply upload their regular CV, and then expect to make the cut. This won’t get you very far. You need to ensure that your CV is tailored to the employer. By this, we mean making sure that every single aspect is relevant to helping them see that you’re the best person for the job position. It means keeping all of your experience relevant, and your personal profile in line with what the Sainsbury’s interviuew job selection assessors are looking for. Using the above job description, take a look at the following two personal profiles. Which do you think would be most appealing to the Sainsbury’s interview recruitment team?
I’m an efficient, conscientious, and hardworking person, who is extremely creative. I am someone who loves to read, and to this end I am extremely excited about the idea of working within an industry that supports this. My experience within publishing has taught me a great deal, and now I truly believe that I am apply these tips to a job with your company.
I’m an efficient, hardworking person, with fantastic customer service skills. Throughout my career, I have worked in and led teams to fantastic results, and I truly believe in the value of providing customers with an exceptional level of service. I would like to work in a career that supports this endeavour, and I believe a position at Sainsbury’s could provide me with this opportunity.
If you chose Profile B, you would be correct! You can clearly see that this profile highlights many of the qualities we’ve listed above, under the core competencies, and that it makes a real effort to impress the Sainsbury’s interview recruitment team specifically.
The same approach needs to be taken to the ‘Past Experience’ section of your CV. Don’t just include roles which have no relation on the job position. Employers don’t want to know that you worked on a lemonade stand at the age of 14, or that you played football for your local team. They want to know that you have worked as a leader, that you’ve accomplished professional tasks, and taken initiative to bring about positive change in the workplace. So, keep it relevant.
Sainsbury’s Job Application Questions
If the Sainsbury’s interview team don’t ask you to include a CV, then there’s a good chance you’ll need to answer some questions regarding your motivation for applying. For example, you might be asked:
In 200 words or less, tell us about why you want to work at Sainsbury’s.
When answering a question like this, you need to read between the lines. This question isn’t just asking you, ‘Why do you want a job?’ It’s actually saying, ‘What is it about Sainsbury’s specifically, that makes you want to work here?’
Using the core competencies, this question should be easy enough to answer. Furthermore, make sure you do some research. Go onto the Sainsbury’s website, look up their values and initiatives. What is it that they represent, and how you can relate this to yourself?
For more CV and job application tips, check out our fantastic resource.
Stage 3: Sainsbury’s Online Assessments
Once you’ve completed the Sainsbury’s application form, you’ll be invited to take some online tests. These online tests are dependent on the role that you’re applying for, but they generally take the following forms:
- Verbal Reasoning
- Numerical Reasoning
- A Sainsbury’s Personality Questionnaire
- A Sainsbury’s Situational Judgement Test
Below we’ve provided you with some information about these types of assessments, and the types of question they involve.
Sainsbury’s Verbal Reasoning Assessment
Verbal Reasoning can take many different formats, and incorporate lots of different questions. However, the crux of Verbal Reasoning is that it assesses your understanding of words, and the relationship between words. So, in this test, you can expect to see questions like:
Which of the following is the odd one out?
A – Giraffe
B – Goat
C – Pig
D – Tiger
E – Elephant
In this (fairly simple) question, the answer would be D – tiger, because this is the only carnivore on the list.
If you want to practise more Sainsbury’s verbal reasoning questions, check out our excellent guide.
Sainsbury’s Numerical Reasoning Assessment
Similarly to Verbal Reasoning, the Sainsbury’s Numerical Assessment can incorporate many different types of questions. However, the main purpose of Numerical Reasoning is to test your understanding of numbers, and how well you can use different numbers to solve problems. So, in this test, you can expect to see questions like:
Identify the missing digit from the following equation:
144 + 5?2 = 706.
In this case, the answer would be 6 (562), since 144 + 562 = 706.
If you want to practise more Sainsbury’s numerical reasoning questions, check out our excellent guide.
Sainsbury’s Personality Questionnaire
The Sainsbury’s Personality Questionnaire is focused around ensuring that you are the right type of person for the role. You are highly likely to face this assessment, as it is an excellent way for the assessors to weed out candidates who are unsuitable for the position. The personality questionnaire will ask you a multitude of fairly simple questions, and you’ll likely need to decide your answer based on a scale of 1-5. For example, you might be given a statement such as:
I am someone who is able to handle adversity.
Following this, you will likely need to select a mark for yourself between 1 and 5, with 5 being ‘Completely Agree’ and 1 being ‘Completely Disagree’. These simple questions are a fantastic way for the recruitment team to identify if you have the personality traits that they’re looking for. If you are taking this test, then ensure that you are completely honest. The test is there for your benefit as much as for the assessors – as there is no point in them recruiting somebody who is not the right personal fit.
To practise more Sainsbury’s personality questions, check out our amazing guide.
Sainsbury’s Situational Judgement
Similarly to the personality questionnaire, the Sainsbury’s Situational Judgement test is designed to assess your personality, and your decision making. Situational judgement requires you to look over a passage of text, which details a scenario, and then make a judgement call using the answer options provided. When working at Sainsbury’s, your decision-making matters, especially since you’ll be dealing with customers or handling foods. Have a go at the sample question below:
You are working within the frozen meats section of the store. A customer approaches you, complaining that he cannot find the parmesan cheese, and that he needs some assistance. What do you do?
A – Laugh in the customer’s face. Tell him that he can find the parmesan in the cheese aisle, along with the other cheeses.
B – Apologise for the inconvenience and take the customer over to where he can find the cheese.
C – Point the customer in the right direction, and get back to work.
D – Ask another colleague to show the customer where he can find the parmesan cheese.
In the above question, the correct answer would be B. This is the politest, most professional approach available, and is what would be expected of a model employee and customer service representative.
To practise more Sainsbury’s Situational Judgement questions, check out our amazing guide.
Stage 4: Sainsbury’s Interview: Top Tips
If you successfully pass the tests, then you will be invited to a Sainsbury’s job interview! This is the final stage in the process, so you need to make sure you put in the hard work preparing for this. Many people underestimate the difficulty of a supermarket job interview. They think that they’ll walk in and just ace it – it’s really not that easy. Sainsbury’s is one the most elite supermarket chains in the world. They don’t just hire anyone, and you should have noted from our sample job profile that only the very best candidates will make it through and secure a position after the Sainsbury’s interview.
With all of the above in mind, it is essential that your preparation entails using the core competencies. Study the job description in-depth. What are the assessors looking for? What do they really want in a candidate, and what would help YOU stand out from the competition? When you’re preparing, make sure you have a copy of the job description alongside you at all times, so that you can be sure that you’re practising in line with the job specification.
In terms of what questions you’ll be asked, this can vary. It’s likely that your interview will focus on competency-based questions. Here’s an explanation of what these are:
Sainsbury’s Competency-Based Questions
Sainsbury’s competency-based questions will focus on the core competencies required for the role. Remember the ones we listed earlier in this blog? Let’s recap:
- Great customer service skills;
- Great communicational ability;
- Problem solving;
- Organisational ability.
You will almost certainly see questions relating to these qualities during your interview, and other competencies too, so be prepared! The questions will ask you to demonstrate when you’ve used this behaviour in the past. So, you can expect to encounter questions such as:
‘Give us an example of when you’ve used your customer service skills during your career.’
‘Tell us about a time when you’ve demonstrated your leadership abilities.’
‘How would you rate your organisational skills? Can you give an example of when you’ve used these?’
When answering these questions, focus hard on what YOU’VE done. Too often, people fall into the trap of telling the assessors that ‘while I haven’t had to do this before, here is how I would do it.’ All this tells the assessors is that you don’t have the experience required for the role, and that other candidates would be more suitable.
During your preparation for the interview, make a list of all the competencies, and then think of dedicated examples of when you’ve used these during your life/career. This will be extremely useful for the Sainsbury’s interview. If you’re pre-prepared with an answer, your response will be far more focused and succinct, and you are more likely to address the assessors in a way that impresses them.
For more practise Sainsbury’s Interview questions, check out our interview resource!
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