How to Pass the Waitrose & John Lewis Online Assessment? – Ultimate Career Guide
The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is the parent company of the UK’s best-loved brands, John Lewis and Waitrose. If you have applied for a job at Waitrose or John Lewis, you may need to take some JLP online assessments, attend their assessment centre, and go to an interview.
Different roles follow different recruitment processes. One thing they all have in common is the number of people who are attracted to those roles. You can expect the competition for jobs to be intense.
Hence thorough preparation for the pre-employment process is essential if working at Waitrose or John Lewis is your ambition.
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What jobs can I apply for at John Lewis or Waitrose?
Jobs at John Lewis Partnership come under the following three categories:
- Experienced Hires: Expect to work at John Lewis, Waitrose or Head Office.
- The John Lewis Graduate Scheme: There are six different options to choose from here.
- Industrial Placement: These can see you working either in Retail Management or Head Office.
However, though each role expects different work competencies from employees, John Lewis Partnership’s emphasis on its values and ethics is a common strand running through all roles.
- Delivering results
- Leading and developing
- A passion for retail
- A team player
To ace the recruitment process, you need to show you have those values and will happily adhere to them. This will show the recruiters you are a good fit for the company and can be relied upon to carry their message when you work for them.
What is the recruitment process?
Each of the three roles requires you to submit an application form and do an online assessment.
For experienced hires, the application form comes first, followed by the online assessment. The online assessment comes first for the other two areas, followed by the application form.
How do I prepare for the John Lewis and Waitrose assessments and interviews?
It is advisable to begin your preparation even before you apply, as the application form or online tests come first, depending on which scheme you are applying under. They each have a bearing on your progress through the recruitment process.
Rather than carrying out time-consuming online searches for information on preparing for John Lewis Partnership assessments and interviews, we recommend using the services of Job Test Prep, a company experienced in helping applicants prepare for pre-employment testing.
With many years of experience in the field, they will provide you with accurate information about the recruitment process and preparation materials that will help you navigate the tests.
Your preparation materials for the assessments and interviews come in a test prep pack where you will find sample test papers for the tests you will have to do, interview preparation models, study guides and explanations to help you along the way.
For an example of the sample tests they provide, please take the practice test below.
The application form
The application form is submitted online and requires a lot of detail. For experienced hires, consider the application form your first step in the recruitment process.
You need to showcase your skills, work experience and give considered answers to a number of questions asking for your view on John Lewis and Waitrose as an employer, why you want to work for the company, your feelings about teamwork and customer service.
Allow 2-2.5 hours to complete your application.
A well-executed application form will see experienced hires progressing onto the next stages of the recruitment process, in their case, the online assessments.
Graduate scheme and industrial placement work applicants have to prove themselves at the online testing before being asked to submit an application.
Waitrose and John Lewis online assessments
Expect to have to complete up to five SHL assessments. Only 50% of applicants do well enough to reach the next stage of the recruitment process. To be part of that number, intense preparation is essential.
You need to prepare for multiple-choice questions specific to the scheme you have applied for.
You will also be asked to fill in a value-based questionnaire.
You are presented with several workplace scenarios in the questionnaire and asked to write short answers outlining your response to them.
The key to doing this is to familiarise yourself with John Lewis’ values and ensure you reflect those values in your responses.
Numerical Reasoning Test
The numerical reasoning tests are timed, allowing you 20 minutes to answer 20 questions. You will be presented with numerical data in the form of graphs and tables, and charts. The questions that follow are multiple-choice, and you have to make calculations based on the information supplied.
Working with basic maths, percentages and ratios, you are allowed to use a calculator. You will find yourself working under time pressure here, so this is an area you need to do prior practice on.
For a free sample SHL numerical reasoning test, go here.
Verbal Reasoning Test
Expect your English language skills to be assessed here. You will be given a passage to read, and there are two types of questions you can be asked. The questions require you to answer based on the information given in the passage.
One type of questioning may present you with statements. You have to decide if the statements are 1) True, 2) False, 3) Cannot say based on the information given.
The other type of questioning will present you with a statement along the lines of, “The writer believes that…” followed by multiple-choice answers. Again you have to choose the correct answer.
Expect the time factor to play a part here again, so regular practice is essential in your preparation. Remember to focus only on what is said in the passage.
For a free sample SHL verbal reasoning test, go here.
Scheme-specific multiple-choice questions
This assesses your understanding of the scheme you have applied for and gives the company an indication of your suitability.
Ensure you refresh your knowledge of the scheme before attempting this questionnaire. As with all the John Lewis assessments, you need to show the company you have done your homework.
Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
If you are asked to do an SJT, expect to be presented with a work based scenario and asked to choose your responses to the situation. When answering, remind yourself of how John Lewis would expect an employee to behave in a work-based situation.
Try your hand at a free sample situational judgement test here.
Interviews are conducted by phone, via video link and/or face to face.
Expect all interviewers to be interested in your job-related competencies and the skills you can bring to the workplace.
The telephone interview lasts for 20 or so minutes and searches for information on your skills.
The video interview is interested in your knowledge of the business and its work culture. In this interview, you have to answer pre-recorded questions within a limited time frame. As you will essentially be talking to yourself when doing the interview, get some practice in before attempting the interview.
The face to face interview is a further assessment of your skills and usually happens at the assessment centre or afterwards.
Your test prep pack provides interview preparation materials to help you with these.
Waitrose and John Lewis Assessment Centre
Getting to the assessment centre is an achievement in itself. Give yourself a pat on the back when the invitation arrives, then knuckle down in preparation for the exercises and assessments you will have to do there.
Expect to be tested on areas specific to the job you are applying for. The recruiters will be looking at your leadership abilities as well as your ability to work as part of a team. And they will also be measuring you as a good fit for the company.
Brush up on company values before heading to the centre.
What happens at the Waitrose and John Lewis assessment centre?
The key to doing well at the assessment centre is to come prepared with all the information you can find on the company. As you go through the day, you may find yourself performing well on some exercises and not so well on others.
Remember to keep moving forward. If an exercise does not go well for you, don’t focus on it. Focus on the next upcoming exercise. Show your flair and creativity in the exercises.
At the centre, you will have group and individual exercises to perform.
Many applicants find the group exercises challenging. Suddenly catapulted from doing assessments alone, you are required to work with a group and will want to make a great first impression.
You will be asked to take part in the following:
Your group will be given a brief to discuss and will have to decide on how to put it into action. The brief may relate to an event to be held in store.
In the discussion, you will need to strike a balance between being too passive and too dominant. Remember, a good leader displays both talking and listening skills and, at all times, shows respect for others.
You may be asked to sell a John Lewis item to the recruitment team. A study of the John Lewis approach to customers will help you here as well as some exercises from your test preparation materials.
Store Related Tasks.
Your group may have to visit a virtual department and collect information in a limited amount of time.
A job-related exercise.
You may have to write a piece about the position you have applied for or carry out a role play. The role-play may see you interacting with a difficult customer.
The interview focuses on your skills and is another opportunity for you to shine. Check over your initial application and search for experiences you have mentioned. Are there anywhere you used a skill that has relevance to a job at John Lewis or Waitrose? Or anywhere you dealt with a difficult customer or any other difficult work-related issue?
You will be given a list of options for your presentation and time to prepare a 10-minute presentation on your chosen one. Following the presentation, you will be asked a number of questions about what you have said.
This exercise is a test of your ability to present succinct, relevant information in an easily understood manner. You will be using flip charts and pens in your presentation. This is an assessment of your communication skills, and it is a good idea to make some presentations to friends or family as a dry run.
Again remember the company’s emphasis on its ethics and values and your need to show them you have studied up on the company’s background.
Preparing for the John Lewis Partnership recruitment process
Begin your preparation as soon as you can. The recruitment process is intense, and you need to be prepared before beginning it.
Work to a timetable. If possible, allow yourself a relatively free day before the assessments begin.
Use your sample test papers
Sample papers should be the backbone of your preparation process.
- You are working on tests mirrored on the real assessments
- You become familiar with the style of questioning
- You are learning to work within the time allowed
- You can monitor your progress from test to test
- You can quickly pick up on areas that are causing you difficulty
- You are saving yourself from any unpleasant surprises when you do the assessments
Doing the assessments and interviews
You need to approach the assessments well-rested and clear-headed. Remember, we make most of our mistakes when we are tired and stressed.
Approach the tests with the confidence of knowing you have done the work and deserve to ace this.
If you are likely to feel stressed during the process, have some stress-busting techniques in your arsenal. Deep breathing and stretching exercises work for some people, or you may have your own techniques.
And finally, go in there and give it all you’ve got!
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Written by Elizabeth O Mahony
With 25+ years’ experience as a teacher and state examinations corrector, Elizabeth now writes for the education and careers industry. Her experience preparing students for examinations and running an academy for supplementary education give her invaluable insights into what it takes for job seekers and graduates to succeed in assessments.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.