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Kerry Group

What Kerry seeks in graduates: leadership skills and a strategic mindset

Some candidates think we make Kerrygold butter – it’s the number one giveaway that they haven't researched us!

Candidates who apply to Kerry Group tend to want to work for companies that are innovative, dynamic and creative, right across the taste, nutrition, pharmaceutical and FMCG fields, according to Katie Dunne, early careers talent adviser at Kerry Group.

She thinks that one of the reasons graduates want to work for Kerry in particular is the amount of access to senior leaders and responsibility they can gain early in their career – but how are graduates assessed and what can they do to impress assessors?

The assessment criteria for Kerry Group’s graduate schemes

‘We have set competencies, which we use to measure leadership qualities in our candidates,’ Katie explains. ‘These include having a strategic mindset, customer focus and technical skills.’

Leadership potential is obviously essential – in fact, ‘strong leadership and communication skills’ and being a ‘motivated self-starter with the determination and drive to succeed’ are requirements for all of the Kerry graduate programmes. However, it is also worth looking at the detailed list of required skills and behaviours found in the individual job postings on this employer hub to know what is expected of you.

Don’t forget that Kerry is a values-driven organisation and so impressive candidates will demonstrate that they share those values throughout the recruitment process. As Eimer Finn, a graduate on Kerry’s procurement scheme, told TARGETjobs: ‘You will face challenges and problems when working in Kerry and the decisions you make should align with the business’ values. Keep that in mind throughout the recruitment process.’ Read up on Kerry’s values on its corporate website.

Another important thing that Kerry is keen to discover is your attitude towards relocation and travel, as being willing to do so is an essential requirement of the graduate programme.

Research is a necessity

For Katie, the candidates who stand out have a passion for what Kerry does – and so you need to know what it does. In fact, it’s obvious when you don’t: ‘Some candidates think that we make Kerrygold butter – it’s the number one giveaway that they have not researched our company!’ she says. ‘Another misunderstanding is that we only make supermarket brand products when in fact we have over 15,000 products, varying from flavourings to textures, which we create for our customers.’

What are you expected to know? ‘We would expect you to demonstrate a good understanding of the company – its structure and the various branches that form Kerry Group (Kerry Foods, Taste & Nutrition, Kerry AgriBusiness, Applied Health & Nutrition). A knowledge of some of our customers, products and locations is also impressive.’

‘Do some research so that you really know what you are applying for and how you would work well in the company,’ advises procurement graduate Eimer Finn. ‘There is an abundance of information online so read relevant reports to gain an idea of the core beliefs and values that Kerry holds.’

In addition to looking at Kerry’s website and social media accounts, it’s worth looking at some of the industry news websites and social media that focus on consumer goods companies, such as FMCG Magazine and Retail Week.

Identify Kerry’s competitors in different markets – such as Unilever, Pfizer, Glanbia, Ornua and Associated British Foods – and read up about them as well. What differentiates Kerry? If you can, it would be a good idea to compare food products on the shelves.

You can stay on top of new developments at Kerry and its competitors by setting relevant Google alerts. These will notify you whenever new results for these terms appear in a search.

Next up…

Discover how to succeed at Kerry Group’s online psychometric and situational judgement tests, in its video interview and on its assessment day.

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.