Marks and Spencer Online Assessment: Application Process, Interview & Preparation Guide
Last Updated on April 6, 2021
If you are applying for a job with luxury food and clothing retailer Marks and Spencer, competition can be fierce.
Roles go quickly and involve various application stages. These include online assessments that measure the raw intelligence, skills, and personality of the candidate…you.
These can seem a little nerve-racking if you are doing them for the first time but don’t worry. With some simple preparation and research, you will be ready to ace the process. We have documented the whole application process for Marks and Spencer jobs right here and will take you through all the possible exams so that there are no surprises.
Be aware that the process may differ depending on the role you are applying for, with a more rigorous process for more senior and graduate positions. Let’s get started.
About Marks and Spencer
If you are from the UK, you will know Marks and Spencer is the staple of any high street. It is a major multinational luxury retail store with headquarters in London that spans the sectors of clothing, homeware and food products. With more than a thousand stores in the country and worldwide there are a whole host of different jobs available within the company. These include:
- In-store jobs
- Office support
- Graduate programs
- Business placements
Marks and Spencer claim to make a concerted effort to be a feel-good place to work. They offer competitive salaries, pensions, minimum 28 days holiday, bonus schemes, life assurance, mental health support as well as offers, discounts and incentive schemes for employees.
Who do Marks and Spencer want to hire?
So now we know who Marks and Spencer are, let’s identify what they look for in their employees. In recent times of uncertainty, M&S are looking to focus on creating a greener and speedier industry, focusing on making the most of technology and the digital world.
To make this shift they are looking to attract big thinkers, bold movers and boundary breakers. The company supports diversity and inclusion, looking to learn and grow from different people with different ideas and skill sets. They also support sustainability and innovative ideas for smart working.
It is a good idea to try research and get familiar with Marks and Spencer’s values for the application process. That way you can use them to help you align and frame your answers throughout the process. Referring back to Marks and Spencer’s core values is a good way to do this. The key values revolve around making amazing quality accessible to all. They are summed up in the following:
So how does the application process work for roles at Marks and Spencer? There are various phases of the process that you will need to complete to finally land a role at the company.
Depending on the type of role as well as the seniority of the position, the application process may differ somewhat. We have gone over everything you can expect below, but you will also be given specific instructions from the company once you apply for a particular position.
For any role within Marks and Spencer you must complete an application form as the first step. This is done online and will require you to fill in typical information such as your details, education and academic results as well as past work experience.
Make sure to fill this in with care, relating the relevance of your skills and past experience to the role you are applying for. The earlier you can submit your application the better to make sure you have the best chances possible.
Marks and Spencer online assessments
If your initial application is successful, you will then be sent some psychometric aptitude assessments that will need to be completed online. These are an integral part of the process and will assess various different skills. They are aptitude tests so you will not need to study and learn any information beforehand.
They provide the information and instructions you need within each test. The tests evaluate the way you process information and think on your feet.
But, can you prepare for them? Yes, don’t fret. There are ways to prepare for these tests such as brushing up on your maths skills in advance, taking practise tests online, and reading up about Marks and Spencer’s company values, and aligning your responses.
We will go through all the testing options now to make sure you aren’t presented with any nasty surprises. Remember not every role will be given every test so make sure to check the instructions in your application thoroughly.
Numerical reasoning test
Time to dig out your GCSE maths! This exam will test your basic mathematics skills and how you can process numbers under pressure. Usually, you will be given some data usually in the form of a graph or chart and be asked to answer questions or draw simple conclusions from it.
You will then have less than a minute to answer each one. The questions could include basic calculations, percentages, fractions and ratios. Practising this in advance is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the process. Don’t get caught out by the stress of the timer.
Verbal Reasoning Test
The verbal reasoning test is about testing your reading comprehension. You will be given a short text that you will need to analyse to extract the most important and relevant information.
There is a true and false question format referring to specific parts of the text to see how well you have been able to understand it. This is fairly straightforward, however it can be a little more tricky if you are a non-native English speaker.
Situational Judgement Test
This test is all about seeing how you would act in certain situations in the workplace. The questions will lay out hypothetical situations at work and you will choose from a list of multiple choice answers. This test is used to measure decision making, values, problem-solving, teamwork, and other workplace behaviours.
Although all answers are valid and there is no ‘right’ answer, M&S will look for answers that align with their values and work ethic. You should be honest with your answers as tests are designed to flag up manipulated answers.
However, there is no harm in reading some practise questions and doing some pre-exam research. Before this exam is a good time to brush up on the company values and use these to help guide you to the answers that feel right.
Logical Reasoning Test
Some job role applications at Marks and Spencer may require you to also take a logical reasoning test. This is a type of aptitude test that essentially measures common sense and intelligence. The questions include different sequences of shapes and you will need to identify patterns, similarities or rules that link them together.
You are usually asked to find the next shape in a sequence or things like that, with a multiple choice list of options. Although these tests are simple, they are usually timed and the format can throw you off if you are not used to it. Try taking some practise logical reasoning tests online first to become familiar with how they work.
The M&S personality questionnaire is designed to get a feel for who you are. It judges how well you would fit into the position you have applied for, as well as with the company as a whole. The format will be a series of statements and you will need to reflect the ones that represent you the most.
Again it is important to be honest and be yourself as there are technically no wrong answers. However bear in mind the M&S core values to help put forward your values that most align with theirs. The personality test helps M&S get a feel for what motivates you, how you make decisions and how you will get on in a team.
Marks and Spencer Assessment Centre
If you pass your online assessments you will make it through to this final stage! The M&S assessment centres usually consist of a group of candidates taking part in a variety of activities and tasks.
Some of these will be with your fellow applicants for the role, while others will be worked on alone. You will be assessed by some senior members of the company and given a hands-on chance to show how you work.
You will usually be asked to undertake a group exercise which will be used to determine how well you work in a team. Normally you will be given a task to work on as a group. The evaluation is not about reaching the right answer but on how you interact and collaborate with your fellow teammates.
Here it is important to strike a balance between confidently putting forward your ideas and listening to others. Stay calm, hear and build on others’ opinions, ask insightful questions to spark new ideas, and make confident suggestions too.
Another task you will likely come across in the assessment centre is a presentation task. This will involve being given a brief, outlining the topic, and giving you some key information. There is also a chance you could be sent this beforehand to prepare at home.
You will need to think on your feet to put together a presentation. Stick to a clear structure and highlight a few salient points. This way you will be ready to answer any questions that might come your way too. Make sure to stick to the time limit suggested when presenting, and speak with a clear, calm voice.
Sometimes you will also be asked to do a role-play task at the M&S assessment centre. Here you will be given an imagined situation, something that could actually come up in the job role you are applying to. You will receive a brief which outlines the situation.
It could be anything from having to deal with a tricky customer, to a logistics issue to a team problem with a co-worker. You will be given a short period of time to come up with a response and then act out with the examiner how you would deal with the situation.
Of course like any job, an interview is a necessary part of the process. You may be asked for a preliminary phone interview before being invited to the assessment center. This phone interview is usually fairly short and the interviewer will corroborate the skills on your CV and ask you some questions about your background and skills.
The final face-to-face interview will be a longer process, up to an hour. It will use mostly competency-based questions to more deeply assess your suitability for the role. Competency-based questions usually ask you to draw on past experiences and achievements to show how you have overcome difficult situations and handled workplace issues in the past.
You can expect to be asked to talk about examples of showing leadership, dealing with difficult clients, introducing new ideas, working in a team, and much more. In this interview, you can also expect to be questioned on what you know about Marks and Spencer as a company.
It is important you have done some research both about the institution, how it works and the company culture and its values. This is something you can read up on and prepare for in advance and helps to show you have a real interest in working for them.
It will be particularly helpful if you can show how their company ethos aligns with your values. You may also get a chance to ask some questions. Don’t be afraid to make use of this time to show enthusiasm and curiosity about the company.
So whether you are looking to use your people skills in-store, your organizational skills in distribution, or join a graduate scheme to start off your career, you are all set to take on the Marks and Spencer application process. So do your research, get prepared for the online assessments and be yourself and show your true enthusiasm and passion as you go.