We caught up with Arsene, who is on the Retail Placement at Lidl. She provides us with some great insight, tips for the application process and her background.
Please talk us through your Lidl journey
I started as a Customer Service Assistant in May 2015 as a part time job to support myself through college and uni. I saw that the company was growing and changing, and was excited about the direction it was taking, so I applied for the placement year. The placement started in September 2018 - there were rotations in Logistics, HR and in-store as a shift manager. Regional Distribution Centres (RDC) in Learning & Development (L&D) appealed to me the most due to the flexibility of the role and my own personal development opportunities. This involved supporting the RTC in the RDC, inboxers, Systems, Applications and Products and LEON, and learning more about recruitment. The day-to-day is fast-paced and I was given a lot of responsibility as well as training. From day one I felt like part of the team rather than a new placement student.
My four year journey at Lidl has been amazing – I’ve met some great people, learnt about other areas of the business, and I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else!
How did you find the interview process?
The interview process wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. At the assessment centre, everyone made me feel very comfortable and it felt like a conversation rather than an interview. When travelling there, I was really nervous, but in the actual interview everything felt natural and I really enjoyed my day.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been going from a flexible way of working at university to working with a given structure and routine. Having a team here that supports me has been really useful for preparing me for the future and helping with my organisational skills.
What has been your proudest moment at Lidl?
I created a story board for the assessment centres, placing a big emphasis on diversity and equality. The project was two weeks, and I presented afterwards – the entire experience was super rewarding and fun.
What is the office atmosphere like?
In RDC, each department is like a small family with different dynamics.
Head Office feels like one big family – there’s no hierarchy and the office is open and relaxed. It’s nice to be around people you’re familiar with and who have similar goals to you.
What activities are there outside of work?
There’s always something going on outside of work. In the beginning of my placement, we went bowling where I met the team, and there were other great socials such as a Christmas dinner and a trip to the water park.
The company also does quite a few charity events. We recall products into goodie bags, so they don’t go to waste. We also had a bake sale, raising money for the NSPCC – I made some very tasty rice crispy cakes!
How's the work life balance? And how would you describe the culture?
The work life balance is great – there’s always such a positive environment and approach to working life. Although it’s hard to get weekends off in-store, Lidl still recognises the importance of having a life outside of work.
In terms of the culture, leadership is emphasised, as well as taking ownership and having pride in your work.
What advice would you give to students applying to Lidl?
If you haven’t had exposure before, then the placement is eye-opening in so many ways. I’ve had such good life experience, the environment is fast-paced and fun, and I’ve learnt how to prioritise and delegate work whilst taking on lots of leadership roles.
To find out more about Lidl and view their opportunities, click here.