Jaguar Land Rover
Competences and qualifications
Graduates applying for a place on one of Jaguar Land Rover’s graduate schemes must have at least a 2.2 (or equivalent) at undergraduate degree level. For the majority of schemes, any degree type is accepted, but engineering roles require a relevant engineering subject. Applicants to the IT and finance schemes can also be from any degree background, though a relevant subject is preferable.
Jaguar Land Rover’s high performance behaviours
The company has a list of core competencies which it calls its ‘high performance behaviours framework’:
- Efficient delivery: Ability to complete work to a high standard, in a timely, cost-efficient manner
- Effective relationships: Ability to form positive working relationships both within and outside the business
- Clear direction: Ability to identify and maintain focus on business priorities
- My business: A strong commercial focus – acting to promote the interests of the business, and focusing on customer needs
- Agility and flexibility: Ability to cope with change and constantly seek improvements
- Strong teams: Good communication and teamworking skills
- Positive impact: Acting with honesty and Integrity
- High performance: Passion and drive to be the best.
Other key competencies
As well as its high performance behaviours, Jaguar Land Rover has also cited the following attributes as being particularly important for graduates to demonstrate:
- Interest in hands-on engineering work
- Willingness to learn
- Strong problem solving skills
IT skills are also highly important, particularly for the finance, HR and purchasing programmes.
Scheme-specific skills and experience
Some of Jaguar Land Rover’s graduate programmes also list specific skills and knowledge as particularly valuable:
- HR – attention to detail
- Manufacturing engineering – some knowledge or experience of project management
- Marketing, sales and service – analytical skills, excellent writing skills (including the ability to adapt to different audiences), ability to prioritise tasks
- Product development engineering - some relevant knowledge or experience
- Purchasing – attention to detail, analytical and numerical ability
The recruitment process is the same for all of the company’s graduate schemes. It involves three steps:
- Online application
- Online psychometric tests
- Assessment centre.
While the company doesn’t provide exact details of the length of the application process, it says applicants can usually expect to hear back within six weeks of submitting their online application. Assessment centres are then held between February and July.
Feedback is available on request to candidates who are unsuccessful at the assessment centre, but is not provided before this stage due to high application volumes.
Application volumes have increased in the last few years, rising to more than 8,800 in 2011. Given that there were 336 vacancies in that recruitment cycle, competition is intense.
Application form sections
- Personal information
- Questionnaire 1: equal opportunities data.
- Questionnaire 2: a much longer section comprising contact details, educational information (including details of modules and projects) and work experience data. It also includes some competency questions (see below).
There are four competency questions on the application form, each of which relates to a different skill or characteristic. Each question must be answered within a maximum of 1,000 characters.
1. Agility and flexibility: Describe an occasion when you recognised an opportunity to improve something and acted on it. (Consider the impact of the change, and any problems you identified and overcame)
- Tip: This question highlights your ability to identify areas for improvement, and to think creatively about how to implement change. Think about the different steps you took to plan and reach your goal.
2. Strong teams: Describe a time when you have been part of a new team and had to encourage the group to work towards a shared goal. (Consider how you integrated with the team, how you ensured that everyone in the team contributed, and what the benefits of working collectively were)
- Tip: It’s important to give plenty of detail about your contribution, and the way you interacted with other people.
3. Positive impact: Describe a time when you had to persuade someone to undertake an action they did not want to do? (Consider how you decided to present the information, what impact you had on the individual, what the outcome was)
- Tip: This question deals with your persuasion skills, and how you interact with others in the position of a leader. Be very specific about how you approached the individual, and what steps you took to ensure that the situation remained calm.
4. High performance: What interests you about the graduate scheme you have applied for and what do you believe will be expected of you in the role?
- Tip: Be sure to answer both aspects of this question, as recruiters will expect you to have a sound understanding of what the role entails.
The online tests comprise of verbal, numerical and diagrammatical reasoning tests. Once invited to take the tests, candidates have one week in which to do so. Tests will be repeated at the assessment centre to confirm the results were accurate.
Graduate and internship roles
- Opening date: September.
- Closing date: 31 December.
Jaguar Land Rover interviews candidates as part of the assessment day. All candidates will usually face a competency interview, but some (such as engineering applicants) may also have a technical interview.
Competency-based interviews at Jaguar Land Rover
Competency-based interviews are conducted as standard during the graduate recruitment process, regardless of which scheme the candidate has applied to. These are structured interviews based around the candidate’s previous experiences. The company website makes it clear that candidates will be expected to give detailed and specific answers; it recommends the use of the ‘CAR’ approach when answering competency questions. This means explaining the context of the situation, the action that you took, and the result you achieved. The competencies tested will likely be linked to the 9 ‘high performance behaviours’ detailed in the competencies and qualifications section.
Questions in the competency interview have reportedly included:
- Why do you want to work for Jaguar Land Rover?
- Tell me about a time when you have helped someone or corrected someone who was doing the wrong thing.
- Describe a situation where you have been particularly persistent.
- Tell me about a time when you had to make a quick decision.
Technical interviews at Jaguar Land Rover
The details of the technical interview are largely kept under wraps; however, questions will likely relate directly to the candidate’s area of specialism, so it’s important to review the job description before the day. Opening questions will likely explore the candidate’s technical background, for example: ‘What is the most technically challenging situation you have faced?’. These may be followed by some on-the-spot calculation and problem-solving activities. Brushing up on relevant technical areas by re-reading university notes is advisable.
Assessments and tests
The company generally holds its assessment centres between February and July; however, for its 2012 intake, the company brought this period forward to between November and May.
Activities are assessed on the company’s core behaviours.
A total of 12 candidates are invited to each assessment centre. The day starts at 8.30 am and lasts until 4.30 pm, so it’s a fairly gruelling process.
The company’s assessment centres tend to include several different activities, such as:
- An interview
- Role play
- Group exercise
- Confirmation psychometric tests
- Technical presentation (NB: this is for the product development engineering scheme only).
Activities at the assessment centre
Interview - While some previous candidates have had both a competence interview and technical interview at the assessment centre, this appears to apply mainly to engineering graduates; most people will only have a competence interview. For more information, see 'interviews explained'.
Role play - Generally, the role play seems to be a one-on-one activity in which candidates act out a business-related scenario with an actor. Some previous role plays have involved making business recommendations to senior managers. While the exact nature of the scenario will most likely be dictated by the programme applied for, it may include factors such as product life cycle, budgeting or meeting client requirements, so a certain level of business acumen will be useful.
Group exercise - According to assessment centre attendees, the group exercise is a discussion centred around a business brief. The group must decide on the most appropriate course of action based on the information given.
Psychometric tests - The psychometric tests are similar to those undertaken online after the initial application (ie, verbal, numerical and diagrammatical reasoning tests), and are designed to confirm that the previous results were accurate.
Presentation - Applicants to the product development engineering scheme will be asked to give a technical presentation. The subject of the presentation (often a previously completed project) may be set either before or on the day of the assessment, but candidates will always be told in advance what to expect, and given time to prepare.
What assessors are looking for
Jaguar Land Rover says that it uses assessment centres to determine whether applicants have the relevant knowledge and competencies for the post, such as teamworking or analytical skills. All of the activities will be assessed based on the company’s core behaviours (or 'high performance behaviours'), which are detailed in the Competencies and qualifications section.
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