We caught up with Hai Vu, who provides us with some great insight, including tips for the application process and his background.
Please talk me through your Lidl journey
I joined Lidl a little over two years ago as a Deputy Store Manager, having just finished university. I spent three months with Lidl Training Academy for deputy store manager training and successfully passed the course. The course entails working your way up from customer assistant to shift manager and then deputy store manager level. I spent one day a week in the academy and four days in store to implement what we’d learnt that week. You will get to learn about cash process, ordering, inventory process and also some soft skills such as tetra map to help you lead better. Over the next 15 months, I practiced and honed my skills by working closely with my Store Manager and Area Manager. The next step of my career is joining the Lidl Graduate Programme in September 2020. The programme provides you with a lot of training, guidance and, more importantly, you get to experience various parts of the business to gain a much broader understanding as a whole.
How did you find the interview process?
The interview process was rather fun, especially the assessment centre, where you can really show your potential and skills through various exercises such as analytical, problem solving, strategic planning and public speaking. Furthermore, the interviewers were very relaxed and friendly. I found the video interview the most challenging as it was strange and unnatural to talk to a camera without any human interaction. My advice would be to do your homework and be well prepared for each stage.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoyed getting to know all my colleagues, not just at the store level, but across the whole business. LidlGB is such a diverse working environment as I get to meet a lot of people from all ages, ethnicities, religion and backgrounds. It really opens your mind and enables you to gain more knowledge. As a store manager, you get to implement a lot of changes and see the real results. Inventory is one of the big changes we have implemented in the store, along with bottle locks, manager checks twice a day, staff sales, and efficient communication with the guards. As a result, our inventory went from nearly 50% over the target to achieve the target in less than 12 months and our inventory audit scores have increased significantly.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been to recognise and confront my weaknesses. It’s extremely important to take on constructive feedback from everyone around you and constantly try to improve to be a better leader.
What has been your proudest moment at Lidl?
Whenever the Store Manager goes on annual leave, I’ve been stepping up to fill his shoes. Responsibilities include organising and co-ordinating all staff for daily business, delegating tasks and responsibility for all managers. I have to ensure that all procedures are followed correctly and followed by managers and individuals alike. I also had the pleasure of leading a store walk with the Head of Sales to show how we are doing as a store, what we achieved and what the next steps are. One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is to organise enough man power for a store deep clean at quite short notice and liaise between the RDC, store managements and our manager. I had to be a very organised, clear and effective communicator. Running a multi-million pound store is rather exciting, but does come with a lot of challenges. However, there is a real sense of self achievement once you overcome them.
What is the office atmosphere like?
Everyone in the store is very friendly, supportive, and makes you feel part of the family. Like any family, there are ups and downs, however, we all cohere very well. The store atmosphere is extremely fast-paced and your day flies past.
What activities are there outside of work?
Twice a year we have outings – one in the summer and one either before or after Christmas. These outings are really fun and allow us to celebrate our successes. In the last outing, we went bowling as a district with three other stores. In addition, a group of us in the store often meet up and arrange our own gathering. It’s super fun. There are also a lot of charity events that you can participate in throughout the year, such as Lidl Mudder bike riding. We also hold store charity events in-store for the NSPCC.
What's the work-life balance like? How would you describe the culture?
I would say we spend a lot of time at work compared to other companies, it varies from person to person. As managers, we do try our best to give staff plenty of time to rest and recuperate. Recently, LidlGB has really pushed for wellness, especially in recognising and raising awareness about mental health.
What advice would you give to students applying for Lidl?
It really doesn’t matter which degree you’ve studied at university, however you should utilise and hone the skills you’ve acquired from your degree.
Also, be yourself. Don’t just show what you have achieved but also your potential. Do your homework on the company and know your stuff. Structure your answers using the STAR technique in interviews, and also summarise your answers.
To find out more about Lidl and view their opportunities, click here.