We caught up with Sheyda, who is on the Retail Graduate Programme at Lidl. She provides us with some great insight, tips for the application process and her background.
Please talk me through your Lidl journey
I started my Lidl journey as a customer assistant in store. I spent time on the tills, putting stock out of the shop floor and baking all the bakery products for the day. I then learnt more of the managerial side of running a store such as dealing with customers’ queries, creating rotas, managing KPI’s and looking at ways to increase revenue in store.
Next, I went on and spent time in supply chain, where I looked at ordering and allocating promotional lines and normal lines whilst looking at ways to reduce waste where possible. Additionally, I looked at the quality of products to ensure they were of a standard that we expected. Communication with suppliers was key, as it’s important to build trust and relationships.
I’m now starting the next stage of my journey, where I’ll be spending time in logistics. Here I’ll be looking at how the warehouse operates, delving into areas such as transportation, recycling, storage of products, and warehouse management.
How did you find the interview process?
I found the interview process quite straightforward. I especially enjoyed the assessment centre as it was very engaging and the tasks were interesting, involving real life situations that may occur.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
I love how much experience and how many skills I’ve gained in such a short space of time. Having the opportunity to spend time in different parts of the business really enhances your understanding of the business and procedures. Every day is different and I love how I’m constantly learning new things, having different tasks and facing interesting challenges. Additionally, you meet such a wide range of people who have a vast amount of knowledge, which again means you are constantly learning and gathering information which is invaluable to your experience and your development.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me has been relocating. I had to move away from my home and friends for this graduate scheme, and that can be challenging initially. It was a massive adjustment, but thankfully the other graduates and my fellow colleagues have been so welcoming! I feel like I have made friends for life which has definitely made my move significantly easier. Whilst the decision to relocate was difficult, the opportunities and experience that come with this scheme are absolutely worth it and I know I made the right decision. I’m very happy – great things don’t come without sacrifice!
What has been your proudest moment at Lidl?
I was working on a project in supply chain that looked into trialling a new system for stores. I spent a lot of time on the project, training store managers on the new system, ensuring stores’ compliance for new procedures before the launch were perfected, so that when the system got launched, it would go as smoothly as possible. When the launch happened, due to the preparation of the launch being of such a high standard, everything went really well. The stores and our stakeholders have massively benefited from the new system. The hard work that I had put into getting that preparation perfect tremendously paid off, which was a very rewarding feeling.
What is the office atmosphere like?
The office is like one big family! All teams are super friendly and welcoming; you cannot walk around the office without bumping into someone and having a quick chat. At the same time, you can also see how hard people work and the focus they put into what they’re doing. It isn’t uncommon to see someone helping another person out – Lidl is all about teamwork and that really shines through in the office. You’ll always have someone to help or talk to if you need it. Plus, our charity events are always great fun, so look forward to seeing lots of cakes, funky outfits and games around the office.
What's the work life balance like? How would you describe the culture?
The big question! It varies – when you work in an office based environment, your work life balance tends to be really good. You’ll know what time to be in and approximately what time you’ll leave, but of course, there will always be days you may need to stay on to help the business. When you’re in stores, it is very different. You’ll have different shifts, some very early mornings and some starting quite late. Your work life balance won’t be as good as the office, but it’s all about planning! You’ll get your rotas minimum three weeks in advance, so you have time to plan out your days off and work your life around your shifts. For me, the store was a fun, fast and challenging environment, and I love that sort of atmosphere. So whilst you may have to compromise on your work life balance a little, for me, it was definitely worth it.
What advice would you give to students applying for Lidl?
Don’t underestimate the hard work. You’ll gain significant and invaluable skills and experience from the scheme. But it is extremely fast paced and challenging, mentally and physically. There will definitely be times that you will need to stay on longer or do something that is completely out of your comfort zone. So be prepared, this scheme isn’t easy. With this, you need to have a very story work ethic, be incredibly resilient and determined. This scheme will push you to the limit, so be realistic when you apply if you think this fast pace is something that really excites you and that you would thrive in this kind of environment.
To find out more about Lidl and view their opportunities, click here.