Marks and Spencer Interview Questions & Answers

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  • Marks and Spencer - Retail Management Graduate Scheme

    4.8571/5 | Interview date: February 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 6

    Sectors: Retail

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    I had a phone interview where I was asked questions mostly regarding why I was interested in the company and sector. Be sure you know your answers beforehand - depth is better than breadth! I had a very solid idea of why I wanted to work for M&S, and was very passionate when I talked about it. Remember to be specific e.g. I talked about the conservation and sustainability schemes that M&S have, which makes them very unique in the field.

    Most difficult question

    Having no experience in the sector, it was difficult to express why I decided that I wanted to work in retail, and why now. This was especially considering that I had not only applied to the retail field. However, I was very clear on why I wanted to work within retail.

    Make sure you know why you applied for the job, and make sure you are very well aware of what is expected of you if and when you get the job. There is no point trying hard to get a job if you hate it once you get it.

    Interview tips

    Know why you are applying, make a list of the competencies and examples of when you have demonstrated each, and do your research on the company! M&S is a great company to work for, with a solid brand and very clear morals. Know them and love them!

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    There were four parts to the assessment centre. One group task with two parts, both discussing a decision you had to give input to. The first part was allocating new personnel to different departments over the Christmas period while also managing current staff to work on improvements based on feedback. The second part was to choose a charity to support for the year. Make sure your reasoning is heard and your opinion is clear, but do also let others speak. Remember that you are not competing for time. Saying nothing and speaking too much are equally unattractive traits. Remember to watch the time and guide the discussion towards a solution - if the group is straying, bring the conversation back on topic. The answer you come up with is not important at all - the process is what they are looking at.

    The second task was a presentation; this is tough, because you are expected to be confident despite having no experience in the particular situation. Again, the answer you come up with does not matter. They are recruiting based on potential, not knowledge. They will teach you what you need to know. You just need to demonstrate that you can understand written data (you will be given an information pack full of statistics and graphs to prepare), reason well and present clearly. You should also be able to answer any follow up questions. Do remember that you have to speak for about 10 minutes! Though better to speak for 8 minutes and get your point across well, than ramble for 15!

    The third task was a role play exercise. Here you are given a situation that could occur in the workplace, and you have to perform a certain task - e.g. for us it was giving an employee an appraisal and asking them to perform a task they are not eager to do. Remember to stay in role, commit 100% to the task, and make sure you do not just read off the paper! They will tell you what you should communicate to the employee, but do not just tell them bluntly. Tactful communication is very important in your role.

    The final part was the interview. I have to say, for me this was by far the easiest part! Remember that they do not expect you to be the perfect package - if there is anything you don't know, just say so and tell them that you'd be eager to learn. They want you to be passionate about the company and committed to learning. They will ask you about certain competencies that you will require for the job, and will ask you to give an example of when you demonstrated each one. If you do your research and think of examples beforehand, you should not have a problem with this part. Remember also to show a bit of your personality - as long as you are appropriate, there is nothing wrong with a big of humour. Build rapport with your interviewer, and do ask all the questions you have - after all, they've gone through the process and sat in your seat before, too! And a lot of them have very interesting stories about the process. Do make sure you do not ask any questions that you could easily find on the website! That is an absolute faux-pas.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 
  • Marks and Spencer - Retail Management Graduate Scheme

    4.4286/5 | Interview date: January 2015 | Job offer? Not yet |

    Was this helpful? Yes 4

    Sectors: Retail

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    A very relaxed atmosphere with me and one other person asking questions.
    The questions were to do with times you have shown certain qualities. You must provide examples which, then show that the example worked. For example customer support, I have called people asking for them to send data in, then to prove I was successful in my task you say that you received the data.
    I was asked 'why marks and spencers?'

    Most difficult question

    The most difficult question in my opinion was 'What other organisation do you feel is on par with M&S, and why?' I wasn't sure how to answer it. Do you quickly say a company, answering the question too honestly? Take your time, but still be name a company? Or say there is none?

    There is no right answer, but it was certainly one that I wasn't sure how to answer 'correctly'.

    Interview tips

    Research the interview questions! I found them online.
    Be positive in the role play.
    Make decent notes for your presentation.
    And make sure you fit in well within the other candidates.

    Be calm. They were very nice. I hate assessments, but this couldn't have gone smoother. They provided food, drinks, gave you a tour of a store nearby etc.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    Group Discussion- Everyone in my group was very nice. I was very nervous going into the day, but this certainly calmed me down. The task was to go through a pack for 15mins, in the pack was information on a fictitious company, closely resembling M&S. You were told the store had a few issues, and that it was nearing christmas and that you had an extra 30 staff you had to choose where to put them. Also for CSR you needed to pick a charity out of a possible 4.
    This was all very easy and was not about being right or wrong, but how you work in a team. MAKE SURE YOU LET PEOPLE TALK, AND TALK YOURSELF! NOD, SMILE AND COME TO A MUTUAL DECISION.

    Then was the presentation. You had an hour to read another pack, on the same pretend company closely resembling M&S. You could make changes to the store, but you were told a new christmas range was coming in, and you had to set it up etc. This was very easy in ways, BUT, watch your time! The hour seems like a minute! You present to one person. It is not daunting, but you do have 10 minutes! And it feels like an hour.... Make sure you have all your points on one sheet!

    Then was a role play. You were given 10mins to read a pack, understand the situation, then get into character... A worker in the store comes in, isn't happy he has been called in, is a little negative, quiet, etc. You must tell him that he is to re-design the womens range layout, and you must give him his feedback. Be motivational, but make sure he knows you are the boss. I felt I may have been too stern.... oops

    Then the interview. The easier part! I know myself, and so interviews are fine! I don't know pretend store workers and companies, so those can be challenging. Just make sure you look up all possible questions, have an answer for them, smile and be polite. Thats all.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 
  • Marks and Spencer – Graduate Food Technology and Food Buyer

    4.4286/5 | Interview date: June 2014 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 1

    Sectors: Retail

    Difficulty rating 20.0 / 100

    Interview process

    Initially we had a 30 min phone interview about general interview topics (e.g. why M&S, why food etc), which got more specific to M&S towards the end.

    At the assessment day the questions were a lot more related to the food industry, including the technical side involved.

    We had to do a group task first, followed by a role play exercise, presentation and then two interviews.

    Most difficult question

    The role play exercise was difficult, as you were addressing a 'client' who had worked with the company for many years, so you had to keep them on side but at the same time be strict with your outcome.

    Interview tips

    Learn the company ethos and bring it in as much as possible in the interview. Keep up to date with current food trends and issues, so that you can relate to what the company is currently facing.

    For the role play it is difficult to prepare for but keep in mind the professionalism you'd expect from someone working at the company.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    The group exercise involved the 8 of us being given 3 different topics to discuss in 45 minutes. They all had a similar theme but each one had a different issue, e.g. relocating a factory, supply issues etc

    For the (unseen) presentation we were given an hour to prepare for but this included having to write a maximum 2 sides of A4 summary which they assessed you on later.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 3/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 
  • Marks and Spencer - Retail Management Graduate Scheme

    4.5714/5 | Interview date: March 2014 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 4

    Sectors: Retail

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    First step was psychometric tests including numerical and verbal reasoning.

    If you are successful and pass the psychometric tests you will be invited to the assessment centre. Before the assessment centre they send you a personality questionnaire. This is very long (mine took an hour).

    The assessment centre was with approximately 8 other candidates and involved 3 group exercises and an interview which lasted approximately 1 hour. The interview is partially based on your experience and CV but a lot of questions are based on the results of your personality questionnaire. For example, if it came across in your questionnaire that you do not make decisions they will ask you about decision making.

    Most difficult question

    When have you implemented a change?

    Interview tips

    Be aware of the time - take a watch.
    Make sure you express your views, particularly, in the group exercise.
    Be prepared for a long interview at the end of the day.
    Read up on the company and its values.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    There were 4 parts to the assessment centre.
    1. Interview
    2. Group exercise - decision making regarding various scenarios.
    3. Presentation - regarding a store scenarios - making decisions and discussing strategy. You have an hour to review the information and prepare a presentation. You then present the presentation.
    4. Single exercise - you are given a scenario by one of the interviewers and asked to respond to several questions.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • 

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