Meet Luke - He studied a BA (Hons) International Business at the University of Hertfordshire, and is now an IT Graduate at John Lewis Partnership. Luke has been working as a Test Analyst since September 2015.
Why did you choose the John Lewis Partnership and this role?
Through the years of being a student, I was fortunate enough to work at John Lewis as a Shop Floor Selling Partner. It was ultimately my experiences during this time which lead me to understand that the Partnership wasn't like many other businesses in the UK, especially within the retail sector. To elaborate, the Partnership is underpinned by "Principle 1", which highlights that the mere existence of the Partnership is to maximise the happiness of partners through satisfactory employment. Take "Principle 1", an embedded democratic structure and model of co-ownership and what you have is something very profound.
More specifically, I chose the IT graduate scheme because out of those on offer, I felt my skill set and personality was more suited to this one. Furthermore, I felt that this scheme had the most to offer as the retail industry undergoes fundamental change through increased digitization and the prospect of being a part of this change in John Lewis IT was an exciting one.
What was the toughest part of the application process? And your favourite part?
The recorded interview was definitely something I had never done before and felt a little unusual completing. The recorded interview is timed, so you have to be quick to read the questions, prepare an answer and then finally deliver the answer. I just did my best to remain calm and tried to deliver my response as clear as possible whilst being mindful of time, as a scenario like this can often cause you to rush your answer!
Were you surprised by anything in the process?
When I got to the final assessment centre at Head Office, I think I was initially surprised at the diversity of backgrounds amongst all the candidates. It ranged from people with years of experience under their belt to people with no experience. Also, there were many other candidates, like myself, who didn’t have an initial background in IT.
What three top tips would you give to graduates applying now?
- Be yourself - This may sound like a cliché, but this is the most important piece of advice I could give to anyone applying. The Partnership encourages you to be yourself and this is clearly evident in the application process. After completing the application form, the online tests and the recorded interview, the final assessment centre is a great opportunity for them to understand what you are like as a person, make sure you let your real personality shine through.
- Research, research and some more research - Retail is an industry that is incredibly fast-paced, driven by the forever changing demands of customers. Make sure you are attuned to the current trends and growth areas in retail, especially those that are being delivered through IT.
- Be confident - Being confident in yourself and in your delivery of assessment tasks as it will only instil the confidence of others in you, so try to be clear and assertive throughout the application process and most importantly, at the assessment centre.