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Your Career Guide to Preparing for Sainsbury’s Online Assessments & Interviews

Last Updated on March 28, 2022

Is a job at Sainsbury’s on your wishlist? If so, you are in the company of many others who have the same ambition. Sainsbury’s has a demanding recruitment process involving online tests, several interviews and an assessment centre day.

Most people who get selected by Sainsbury’s have something in common. They prepared thoroughly for each stage of recruitment to set them up for success. So, to join these leading candidates, expect to have to prepare intensively to shine above the other applicants on the road to recruitment with you.

Read on to discover all you need to know to pass the Sainsbury’s application and tests.

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How do I prepare for Sainsbury’s recruitment process?

You can search online or in past print issues for information. But this has proven to be a time consuming and not very accurate way of carrying out your preparation. Instead, invest your time and energy in using the services of a job test preparation company.

We advise using the services of Job Test Prep and benefiting from their many years of service in the industry. You will get accurate information and guidance from them as well as job test preparation materials that will help you work your way comfortably through the recruitment process.

Using their Sainsbury’s test prep pack, you will have sample test papers modelled on the real assessments, handy study guides, exercises to practice for your day at the Sainsbury’s assessment centre and interview guides.

To get an idea of the tests they provide, try a free sample numerical reasoning test here.

What is the format of Sainsbury’s recruitment process?

The recruitment process is long and can be tedious. However, with adequate preparation, you can ace it.

Application

Filling out your application form is your first opportunity to make an impression on the recruiters. Having filled in your personal details, you will have an opportunity to talk about your previous work experience and the skills you have gained.

An overview of the job description of the role you are applying for is essential before you complete this section.

Make sure you mention experiences that are relevant to the job you want, and don’t forget to mention voluntary experiences you may have had that could have prepared you for the role.

Keep Sainsbury’s values at the forefront of your mind when filling the application and throughout the recruitment process. Whenever possible, you need to show that you value the codes that matter to the company::

  • Giving excellent customer service
  • Teamwork
  • Showing good social skills
  • Taking responsibility

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Sainsbury’s Aptitude Tests

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The aptitude tests consist of the following areas.

Verbal Reasoning

The verbal reasoning test assesses your ability to understand and analyse the information in written passages.

The test is challenging, not least because of time constraints.

In 19 minutes, expect to read ten passages on varying topics and answer 30 questions. Getting through this volume of work in such a restricted time frame calls for a lot of practice.

With adequate practice, you will learn to extract information quickly and avoid the trap of including extraneous information when answering. Your answers must be based strictly on the information given in the passages.

For a free sample verbal reasoning test, click here.

Numerical Reasoning

Expect to be given numerical data in tables and charts followed by multiple-choice questions. Time is once again the main challenge in this assessment.

You will be expected to answer 18 questions in 25 minutes. The test assesses how quickly you can gather information from charts and graphs.

The answer to acing this assessment is practice. You can get a test prep pack combining numerical and verbal tests from job test prep to ensure you are ready for these assessments.

Test your numerical skills with a free sample numerical reasoning test here.

Logical Reasoning

The logical reasoning test is, as you might expect, totally logic-based and assesses your cognitive abilities. You are allowed 25 minutes to answer 24 questions.

As logical reasoning is a new topic for many people doing pre-employment tests, practising on sample tests will help you become familiar with the material and train you to answer questions at speed.

For a free sample logical reasoning test, go here.

Personality Questionnaire

You can see this test as a means of judging your preferred style of work and, naturally, if it equates to the company’s standards. A quick review of Sainsbury’s values before doing the test will guide your answers.

You will be presented with work-related scenarios and have to decide the most appropriate response to each scenario. The test is untimed, allowing you plenty of scope to consider your answers.

Sainsbury’s are able to evaluate your typical work personality through the behaviour exhibited in your answers. The concept of personality testing terrifies many people but remember that personality is judged from behaviour.

When doing the questionnaire, you are not being asked to change your personality but rather your behaviour.

Example personality test question

Try answering the following scenario with each of the suggested options. Then stop and think. Can you see how each response portrays you differently as a potential employee? Next, select the option that you feel is the best fit for an ideal Sainsbury employee.

Question:
A customer approaches you and says: “The service here is just horrible!” What would you say to her?

Answer options:
A
“I am really sorry you feel that way. Would you like me to get the manager so that you can talk to him?”
B
“I understand your frustration; this is an unexpectedly busy hour. We are doing our best.”
C
“I am sorry to hear that. What is it about the service that disappointed you today?”
D
“I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience today. I hope your next visit will be more pleasant.”

Regular practice on personality tests will show you how to present the ideal persona when answering.

The test consists of 104 blocks, each containing three statements.

See how you fare on a free sample personality test here.

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Telephone Interview

Having done well in the assessments, you will be called to a 30-minute telephone interview. The purpose of the interview is to get to know if you have the skills required for a role in retail.

Expect to be interviewed by a member of Human Resources and asked questions about your experience of working in retail, dealing with difficult customers, or working under pressure.

Prior to the interview, you need to brush up on your knowledge about the company, their main competitors, retail in general and Sainsbury’s values.

To show your interest in the company, prepare some questions to ask when invited to do so.

Sainsbury’s Assessment Centre

An invitation to the assessment centre signifies that you are almost there. However, there are some exercises to do here as well as a final interview.

Throughout the day, the recruiters will be assessing your suitability for a role at Sainsbury’s, as well as your teamwork and leadership skills.

Daunting as this may seem, try to view the day as one where your personality is on display. You might even enjoy the experience!

Roleplay Exercise

The roleplay exercise is a test of teamwork and leadership skills. Expect to be playing the part of a Sainsbury’s employee trying to deal with a problem that arises at work. You will be given information about the problem and expected to come up with solutions.

You may be asked to play the role of a Human Resources manager dealing with an underperforming employee or a department head who is rescuing the department from a fall-off in sales.

The roleplay will see you dealing with the information given and displaying the personal skills necessary to deal with the problem.

Recruiters will assess if you display a sense of responsibility, assertiveness and leadership as you act out your role.

Your test prep pack will guide you on how to play the part and encourage you to practice dry runs before the assessment centre comes around.

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Presentation

Giving a presentation is a test of your communication skills and your ability to analyse information.

For your 10-20 minute presentation, you will be given a topic to prepare in advance. Topics are related to Sainsbury’s and the retail sector. You might be asked to talk about how you would make a Sainsbury store appealing to customers or how you would improve customer service.

After making your presentation, you will be questioned for approximately 20 minutes on what you have said and the likely impact of your ideas on Sainsbury’s. The questions are an attempt to test your competence and abilities.

Remember, when preparing your presentation, you may have to justify what you have said.

A thorough knowledge of how Sainsbury’s stores work is needed here as well as the courage to make a speech in front of strangers. Find exercises to practise on in your preparation materials and again try delivering presentations to friends and family.

Group Task

For this task, you will be working with a small group attempting to solve a workplace dilemma you have been given information on.

The purpose of the task is to decide if you can work as part of a team and if you can analyse information to find solutions to a problem.

The task carries its own difficulties.

  • You have to strike a balance between being too passive and overly assertive.
  • You need to express your ideas but in a clear, concise manner.
  • You need to show good listening as well as talking skills.
  • You need to show creativity and a flair for retail.

Final Interview

You will have your final interview either at the assessment centre or afterwards.

Being called for a final interview means that you are very close to success. However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.

Prepare for the interview as you have prepared for the other sections of the recruitment process. But this time, you will have information gained from the assessment centre exercises to add to your repertoire.

In the final interview, expect questions along the lines of your telephone interview where you were asked about your work skills.

In the final interview, you can expect questions to require more detailed answers.

Expect to discuss your weaknesses as well as your strengths. In relation to your weakness, be prepared to explain how you plan on improving this trait of yours.

For this interview, it is a good idea to run over past work experience again and to select moments you can talk about.

Don’t forget to check out the Job Test Prep pack’s guide to doing well at an interview.

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Preparing for the Sainsbury’s assessments, interviews and assessment centre

Before you dive into preparing, congratulate yourself on having taken your first step to what could be a very promising career.

With your test prep pack to hand, set your preparation routine in place.

Plan your preparation

The testing process is long and tedious. Using the following tips will make preparing for it easier:

  • Decide on a designated place where you are going to do your preparation.
  • Work to a timetable. Draw up a realistic timetable you can stick to and leave the day before a test free for some rest and final reviews.
  • Incorporate good study techniques into your preparation — work in short bursts of no more than 50 minutes, followed by 10-minute breaks. Take your breaks away from your study place.
  • Get adequate sleep and nutrition. Your brain will work better as a result.

Use your sample tests

Using sample tests in every preparation session:

  • Will make you more familiar with the exam and train you to answer within the time allowed.
  • Will ensure there are no surprises in assessments and interviews
  • Will allow you to monitor your progress from test to test
  • Will help you identify areas you are having difficulties with and devote more time to them.

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Finally

When assessments and interviews loom their heads, approach them with the confidence that comes with knowing you have done the work.

Approach the assessments well-rested and clear-headed. Being stressed will sabotage your efforts to get that job. If stressed, take deep breaths, a stroll in the fresh air, or whatever works for you.

And walk in there ready to give of your best

If working at Sainsbury’s is your ambition, you will find all the resources you need to prepare for the pre-employment process here.

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