Interviews and assessment centres

Prepare for potential M&S interview questions with these examples

Whether you’re preparing for the M&S video interview or for the interview at the final stage of the retailer’s graduate recruitment process, here’s our expert guidance for how to answer M&S interview questions.

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Jump to: M&S graduate interview questions | Sample answers to M&S interview questions | Parting targetjobs’ tip for your M&S interview prep

Succeed in your Marks and Spencer video interview and you’ll reach the final assessment stage for the household retailer’s graduate roles. Here, you’ll either be invited to attend an assessment centre alongside other applicants or a final interview. We put together this article to help you prepare for your interview. So, read on to learn how to devise strong answers to the M&S interview questions that you may encounter.


Find more guidance for your application to M&S and insights into working life from its graduates.

Previous Marks & Spencer graduate interview questions

M&S states that its graduate recruitment process is strengths-based. However, along with interview questions that asses your strengths, you should also prepare for competency-based and motivational questions. Marks and Spencer’s competency-based questions usually ask you for examples of when you’ve developed the required skills in the past. It’s motivational questions assess your interest in your chosen programme and your reasons for wanting to work for M&S, as opposed to other retailers.

Previous candidates have been asked the following questions. Use them to get an idea of what to expect and to practise crafting responses. Bear in mind that interview questions do change from year to year and will depend, in part, on what you wrote in your application.

  • Why do you want to work for Marks & Spencer? Why do you want to work for Marks & Spencer instead of [another retailer]?
  • Why have you applied for this particular graduate scheme?
  • How have you challenged the decisions or ideas of others?
  • Tell me about a decision you have had to make.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited resources, and how you managed that challenge.
  • Describe a time when you’ve had to deal with a dissatisfied customer.
  • What does good customer service mean to you?
  • What other company do you feel is on a par with M&S, and why?
  • When have you implemented a change?

Sample answers to the M&S interview questions

If you were given the following questions, here's our advice on how to answer them.

Why do you want to work for Marks & Spencer?

Base your reasons around specifics and facts. It could be that you are impressed with the progress the company's made under its 'Plan A' sustainable initiative to become a net-zero business by 2040. It could be that you believe that you are well suited to the blend of formal and on-the-job training (you need to say why). It could be that you find its multi-channel e-commerce strategy interesting. Whatever your reason, back it up with facts – and don't mention pay or benefits!

Head to our article on answering the ‘Why retail’ interview question for more guidance on expressing your interest in a graduate career with a retailer such as M&S.

Why would you thrive at M&S?

You could take your answer to this question down one of many routes based on what your research into Marks & Spencer and the role has turned up. Perhaps the specific role responsibilities are closely aligned with your interests (you need an example). Or maybe you see a clear opportunity for career progression at M&S (you need to say why).

Keep in mind that the M&S recruitment process is strengths-based. So, an answer that shows that you’d truly ‘thrive’ should touch upon how you’ve got the skills for the role along with the aspects of it that you’d most enjoy. You could even blend in how the company’s values align with your own – adding an extra facet to your answer.

Your reasons will depend on the role you’re applying for. But no matter what you say, be sure to tie what you’ve learned about the company and the role to examples of your experiences and skills.

Our guides on answering tricky interview questions such as ‘ Why do you think you’ll be successful in this job? ’ and tackling strengths-based interview questions will further help you to prepare.

Tell me about a time when you had to work with limited resources and how you managed that challenge

Resources could mean materials, information sources or people. Perhaps you had to write an essay and couldn't get hold of vital research or work on the subject? Perhaps you were short-staffed in your part-time job and had to cover for others? Or perhaps you were manning a student society stall at a freshers' fair and the person supposed to be alongside you couldn't make it or you ran out of marketing material? If you can, give an example where the lack of resources wasn't caused by your actions or lack of action.

When giving your answer, explain the problems the lack of resources caused and the actions you took to remedy the situation.

How have you challenged the decisions or ideas of others?

Your answer to this question should find a balance between showing that you are someone who actively listens to and considers the thoughts of others and demonstrating your ability to think independently.

Clearly explaining what the idea or decision was and why you didn't believe it to be the most effective course of action will allow recruiters to see that you can make considered and rational judgements. The how part of this question may refer to both the argument you gave and the way you expressed it. Make it clear that you were diplomatic – describing how you asked the other person (and the rest of the team if applicable) what they think once you've expressed your view is one way to demonstrate this.

Whether it will be relevant depends on the example you decide to give, but explaining how you provided an alternative decision or idea will show problem-solving skill and an aptitude for coming up with positive contributions. Remember to discuss through to the outcome (eg did the others agree with you and did you decide to progress your proposition instead?).

These last two questions we’ve covered have been competency-based. See our guide to answering competency-based interview questions for more help.

Parting tip for your M&S interview preparation

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