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Succeed in Morrisons’ graduate application, assessment centre and interview

You will be assessed on how well you typify Morrisons' values.

Look at Morrisons’ graduate recruitment website and you’ll be given a pretty good idea of what to expect when completing the retailer’s application form, interview and assessment centre. It also tells you clearly the criteria that you will be assessed against: the Morrison values. Here’s how to ensure you demonstrate those values throughout the graduate recruitment process.

Morrisons value 1: One team

What does this mean?

Being a good team player, communicating well, being trustworthy, valuing the contributions of others and knowing how your role within the organisation contributes to the retailer’s overall objectives.

How to demonstrate it:

  • At application stage: Emphasise your experience of working in teams on your CV when writing about your work experience, course, extra-curricular activities and ‘other stuff’. Include this too in the work experience section of the application form. Say how many people you worked with, explain your responsibilities and how your actions contributed to the end results.
  • At assessment centre: How you communicate, respond to and build relationships with others is assessed in the group exerciseget tips on impressing in group exercises here. During the presentation exercise, you may be part of the audience for other candidates giving presentations. Be polite, supportive and encouraging. Bear in mind that how you relate to others will also be noted during the less formal, more social and ‘meet and greet’ parts of the day.
  • At interview: Expect questions asking for examples of (for instance) when you worked in a team, when you motivated others to overcome objectives, times when you’ve taken on responsibility or been reliable, or what you value most in a manager.

Morrisons value 2: Can do

What does this mean?

This is about being proactive in achieving objectives and solving problems. It is about doing everything you can to help a customer or colleague. It is also about attitude: not being fazed or demotivated by setbacks or failures.

How to demonstrate it:

  • At application stage: Include on your CV any times when you’ve overcome difficulties or achieved something against the odds. (An example of this would be if you were editor of your student newspaper and some of your writing team were unable to file their stories due to illness, but you managed to step in and ensure the edition went to the printers on time.) If you’ve worked in a customer service role in a part-time job, give an example of how you provided exceptional service.
  • At assessment centre: Your can-do attitude will be gauged by how you approach and react to the different tasks of the day: are you enthusiastic and positive no matter what exercise you’re given? In the exercises themselves, it is likely to be most closely assessed in the role play (in how you respond to the given situation), the group exercise (in how you tackle the scenario and how you support others) and the in-tray exercise (in how you approach the work set and react to problems that arise).
  • At interview: You can bring your ‘can do’ attitude into your answers if you are asked questions about your reasons for wanting a retail career, about how you have overcome obstacles or about a time when you gave excellent customer service. If talking about a time when you gave excellent customer service, for example, talk about how your positive attitude and desire to do the best for the customer motivated you.

Morrisons value 3: Great shopkeeping

What does this mean?

Closely related to the ‘one team’ and ‘great selling and service’ values, Morrisons describes this as having pride in its core function: shopkeeping. Morrisons’ graduates need to take pride in doing a good job and in the products, and look for ways to improve the retailers’ offerings and bottom line further. You might think that this is only important if you are on the frontline, but that’s not the case: graduates on the Morrisons property scheme, for example, should take pride in acquiring the best sites for the best price.

How to demonstrate it:

  • At application stage: Write about any times when you have been praised or recognised for doing a good job in your CV and the application form’s work experience section. Won awards for academic achievement or employee of the month? Received good feedback from your line manager? Include it.
  • At assessment centre: The pride you take in your work can be gauged by how you put together your presentation and how you do in the in-tray exercise. Recruiters may also take into consideration how you behave and dress on the day: do you act professionally and appropriately? See our features on in-tray exercises and structuring presentations for more advice.
  • At interview: Impress interviewers with your knowledge of the retailer and your enthusiasm for working there. Do your research on Morrisons. Start by reading up about the retailer’s graduate scheme, training and development, and the experiences of current graduates on the scheme. Next find out about its business strategy, the opportunities and challenges it faces, and how it is doing in comparison to its competitors. You can use this information to answer possible interview questions such as ‘What do you know about us?’, ‘Why do you want to work for us?’, and ‘What are the biggest challenges we face over the next year?’.

Morrisons value 4: Bringing the best out of our people

What does this mean?

From Morrisons’ point of view, this is about giving each employee opportunities to develop and being a ‘responsible’ employer. If you are a store or departmental manager this means doing the same for your team (see our advice on how to be a great graduate retail manager).

How to demonstrate it:

  • At application stage: This covers similar territory to that of the ‘One team’ value so follow the advice above in demonstrating your ability to bring out the best in people. However, also think about non-team environments where you may have supported others. For example, you may have volunteered in schools or been a superviser in a children’s holiday camp; you may have been a very active student mentor at university; or you may have supported new starters in one of your part-time jobs. All of these would be very good examples of bringing out the best in people.
  • At assessment centre: Look out for others and be supportive throughout the day. Also bear in mind that if you are given a role play that involves dealing with a line managee, you should think of ways to bring out the best in them.
  • At interview: As well as providing examples similar to to those you gave at application stage, it will also impress interviewers if you have some idea of how you work and learn best. This indicates a certain self-awareness. If you can point to any examples of when you’ve taken the initiative or done something off your own back, it will be a bonus.

Morrisons value 5: Great selling and service

What does this mean?

What it says on the tin. However, think about what it would mean from the perspective of the part of the business you are applying to. For example: buyers contribute to great selling and service by selecting the right products; store managers by providing guidance to their team, serving customers and planning the store so that customers are encouraged to buy more; and graduates on the marketing scheme by getting across Morrisons’ message in the right way.

How to demonstrate it:

  • At application stage: It would be great if you had experience of working in retail – but any customer-facing role will give you good examples. If you worked in retail and had to meet targets (eg the selling of insurance or storecards), say how many you sold and if you hit target. Give specific examples of when you provided excellent customer service.
  • At assessment centre: Your ability to provide great selling and service could be evaluated during the role play, group exercise and the analysis exercise, depending on the tasks you are given. When approaching tasks, always bear in mind the importance of serving the customer well in addition to ways you could increase sales.
  • At interview: Again, expect questions on providing good customer service: these could be both competency based (‘Give me an example of a time when you when you went the extra mile for a customer’) or hypothetical ‘(eg ‘If a customer came to you with a Morrisons product that they claimed was faulty but they didn’t have a receipt, what would you do?’). Depending on the scheme you’re applying for, you could be asked about your understanding of the sales process. For example, you could be asked why you think a particular product has out-sold another.

Morrisons value 6: Fresh-thinking

What does this mean?

Coming up with new ideas and implementing ideas with enthusiasm.

How to demonstrate it:

  • At application stage: Include on your CV any time when you have changed and improved something or came up with a new idea. For example, perhaps you’ve thought of a new way of collecting registrations for a student society or developed a new activity/event for the society? Or perhaps you found a novel way to raise funds for a good cause?
  • At assessment centre: Your ability to innovate and come up with new ideas may well be tested during the group exercise and the presentation. Your fresh-thinking could also be assessed in what you pick out of the analysis exercise. There is very little you can do to prepare for this – just trust your gut instincts.
  • At interview: As above, it is a good idea to have examples of innovations you’ve made as you may be asked to provide some. Alternatively, you might be given some ‘case study’ questions asking ‘What would you do in X scenario?’ but Morrisons’ interview guide doesn’t mention this type of question.
Our 'How to get hired' articles are written by TARGETjobs editors and writers with job candidates in mind, helping you research and understand employers. Copyright of all material written by TARGETjobs lies solely with GTI Media.
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