The first step was a telephone interview which lasted about 20 minutes, and asked about my university experience, work experience, and why I wanted to work in merchandising. They were basically checking at this point that you're articulate and enthusiastic, as well as explaining more about the role. The next stage was an assessment centre with about 6 other people, and then a one-to-one interview. In the interview (with a recruiter and area manager) I was asked a series of questions including more about me as a person and how I would cope in this demanding job. I had to draw on a variety of situations from my work experience where I was a leader, showed an eye for detail, worked alone or as a team, or was tough and resilient. I was grilled on why I didn't boast my first class honours degree to the group (I didn't mention it), and I still don't see why that mattered! I was asked about my future aspirations and how that would fit into a career with Henkel. For example, where do I want to be in 5 years or 10 years?
Most difficult question
'Who in this assessment centre stands out to you as competition/the best candidate for the job?'. You really need to have listened carefully to everyone else and their names.
Think of the most unusual questions you could be asked! Note all the different aspects of your personality and strengths down so that you can quickly apply these to the unusual questions, but you also want to sound spontaneous. Research merchandising roles well, and consider how your experience would enable you to succeed in this role. The Henkel presentation is informative but the information was all easy to find beforehand. Try to find out something that isn't immediately available on the Henkel website, and ask questions about this. Be chatty and enthusiastic.
Experiences at the assessment centre
There were about 6 other people at the assessment centre. We had to introduce ourselves to the group and say two interesting facts about ourselves that were non-university related. Then we were asked a series of unusual questions, such as 'if you were an animal, what would you be'?, 'if you were a brand, what would you be and why'. We were also asked normal questions such as 'why merchandising' or 'why Henkel?'. We had to close our eyes and put our hand into a bag to take out a random object (e.g. Pritt Stick or a plug) and describe it to everybody else. We were then given cards that we weren't allowed to turn over until it was our turn to speak - they had questions on such as 'describe one of the toughest challenges you had to overcome at university' and other questions on a variety of topics. In between tasks we took maths and verbal reasoning tests, plus situational judgement, and we also watched a presentation on Henkel and its values. There wasn't really any group work, it was more talking in front of a group and listening.
- Group / Panel
- Senior Management
- Verbal reasoning
- Assessment centre
- Group exercise
- Background check
- Competency based questions