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DHL Supply Chain

DHL's graduate interview questions: how to answer them

Telling DHL recruiters about their company in your own words, rather than theirs, shows good understanding of what you've applied for.

DHL have added a strengths-based assessment element to its graduate recruitment process this year; it has introduced a ‘strengths journey’, a video interview and an experience day. Here we give some insights and advice into tackling the ‘strengths journey’ and answering the video interview questions.

What we know about DHL’s strengths journey

DHL’s strengths journey is an immersive job experience, which provides you with an insight into working at DHL and gives you a few hypothetical situations and asks how you would handle them. Not much is known about this at the moment, which makes it difficult to prepare for. It’s worth bearing in mind, actually, that it is designed to see how you would instinctively and naturally behave – so you they are not looking for you to be over-prepared.

But there are some things you can do to prepare.

  • Look at some of the past competency interview questions asked by DHL (as revealed in the DHL Inside Buzz survey) and think about how you would answer them because they might be inspiration for the hypothetical situations. For example, many graduates have reported being asked about how they would handle conflict in a team that they were managing. There is no guarantee that this question will come up, but thinking through scenarios will put any rests to nerve.
  • Read around the DHL website and investigate the working priorities and the culture of the company (for example, the emphasis it puts on green initiatives) as they could be a factor in your responses to the hypothetical situations.

The DHL video interview: potential interview questions

The video interview will not be ‘live’; you will record your answers and they will later be reviewed by a hiring manager. DHL is clear that this interview is aimed at finding out about:

  • your motivations for applying to the company and for the programme
  • hearing some of your previous experiences.

So it is probably wise to practise:

  • explaining your reasons for wanting to work for DHL and for wanting to join that graduate programme specialism
  • outlining your career ambitions
  • talking about your work experience and achievements
  • answering typical competency questions, related to the skills that DHL skills want (which vary according to the job descriptions, but could include a ‘can do’ attitude, good customer service, flexibility or leadership).

You can read some advice on undergoing a video interview here. In addition, below are some past questions asked in DHL interviews, as provided by Inside Buzz – you’re unlikely to be asked exactly the same ones, but you can use our advice as a good starting point for your interview preparation as they may be similar.

Past DHL interview question no. 1: ‘What do you know about DHL?’

DO have a good browse of the company’s website and read the ‘This is DHL’ section, but DON’T stop there. If you can tell recruiters about their company in your own words, rather than theirs, it shows good understanding of what you’ve applied for. If you can find out more about DHL than is on its website, it shows you’ve taken an interest and shown initiative.

Good things to research on DHL’s website include:

  • its UK customer base – eg is it mainly business or household?
  • whether it reached its financial targets last year
  • its green and corporate and social responsibility initiatives

Good things to research on news websites, in national newspapers and elsewhere include:

  • DHL in the news over the last 12 months
  • its competitors – who they are and any major news concerning them

Past DHL interview question no. 2: ‘Tell us about a time when you were pushed out of your comfort zone. How did you deal with the situation?’

It doesn’t matter whether your example comes from a work situation, your university course or an extracurricular activity, but the situation you choose to talk about should ideally show that:

  • you are willing to be stretched – as you would be if you joined one of DHL’s schemes
  • you meet the requirements of the role, such as a ‘can do’ attitude or ‘able to tailor communication style according to the audience’

Perhaps you worked for a catering company and at the last minute had to be lead waiter on the top table at a wedding. How did you cope with the pressure and manage the people in your team so that collectively you worked to a good standard? You could use ‘STAR’ to describe the Situation you faced, your Task or goal, the Actions you took and the Results of those actions. Give the most detail to describing the Actions and Results, as your interviewers are most interested in the ‘How did you deal with the situation?’ part of your answer.

This is a competency-based question.

Past DHL interview question no. 3: ‘How would you go about making a change to a warehouse and get colleagues on board who have been working there for 20 years and don’t accept change easily?’

Answer the question by addressing its three parts, one by one:

1. How would you go about making a change to a warehouse?

You may find it helpful to ask your interviewer what sort of change they have in mind, if they don’t specify. In each case, however, outline the steps you would take to introduce the change. Who would you consult before making it? Who would you need to communicate this change to and how would you do this? Would you make the change straight away or give advance notice? For each step, explain why. For example, you might think it wise to bring in the change gradually to make it easier for warehouse colleagues to adapt.

2. How would you get colleagues on board who have been working there for 20 years?

Graduates may be worried that they won’t be received positively by colleagues who have been with the employer much longer, particularly if the graduate manages the older employees in some way. It’s very important to respect older employees’ experience and knowledge of the company and be sensitive to how they may feel about change. How would you show consideration for them when bringing in the change? Would you just tell them what is going to happen, or would you explain why the change is happening and give them a chance to voice any concerns? What are the advantages of listening to what they have to say?

3. How would you get colleagues on board who don’t accept change easily?

It’s common for people to be unhappy when faced with change in their workplace, often because it is not known what the impact will be. How could you deal with your colleagues’ concerns and minimise any negative effects of the change?

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