Your Application

Hints & Tips

Before you apply

Do your research.

We don't expect you to know each and every detail about Sainsbury's, but what we do ask is that you have thought long and hard about why a career here is for you.

Think a little about yourself.

Not just what you're good at, but what your development areas are too. Be honest. What really interests you? Where do you excel? Where do you need to improve? What do you want to get out of a career? The more thought you give this, the easier it will be to answer tough questions.


If, once you've given everything a good deal of thought, you find that your ambitions and interests don't match ours, take a step back. A career at Sainsbury's won't suit everyone, and there's no shame in admitting that, all things considered, it's not the right option for you. We want you to make the best career choices that suit you as an individual.


Sainsbury's is in a highly competitive retail market so do your research. There is a lot of fascinating debate surrounding many of the areas we're involved in, so it's worth familiarising yourself with some of the major topics. Online is a good place to start but don't forget to actually visit our sites and our competitors. Trust us, it'll be time well spent.

If you require any adjustments to your application process then please inform us as soon as possible via or 0845 603 6290 option 1 option 1. Any details you provide will be used in strict confidence and only for the purposes of any adjustments which need to be made.

Filling out the application form

Don't rush. Well thought out answers really stand out. So take the time to think about what's relevant to each section you're answering. Think about what we do. What are the key skills and attributes we are looking for? How can you demonstrate this?

If you want to think longer about a particular question, you can always save your application and return to it later.

Be concise. We'd love to find out all about you, but there'll be plenty of time for that beyond the application form.

Wherever possible, highlight your responsibilities, strengths, skills and achievements.

Check for any spelling mistakes and grammar. Poor spelling can suggest someone who doesn't take care in what they do. Applications can get rejected purely on this basis.

Make sure you have answered all the questions on the form and always read through your application form before submitting it.

Keep a copy of your form: you may need to refer to it at later stages of the process.

Psychometric Tests

Before you begin, try your hand at some practice questions, for some examples visit the SHL website. Please note: Sainsbury's accepts no responsibility for the content of external sites.

The verbal and numerical reasoning tests are timed so find a room where you are not going to be disturbed, as once you start, the test is real and you will not have another chance.

Work through the tests as quickly and accurately as possible.

Do not spend too much time on any one particular question.

Don't worry if you have not finished all the questions: not everyone does. However, try to get through as many as you can.

If you are completing a personality questionnaire be honest and try not to answer how you think we would want you to. These tests are designed to find out if you're right for us as much as if we are right for you.

Telephone Interview

Make sure you are somewhere quiet and where you won't be disturbed.

Be ready to take the telephone call at the arranged time.

Look back over your application form before the interview: you may be asked for further information from your form.

It is always an excellent idea to prepare before the telephone interview. What are the main points you want to convey? What is the skill that you want to show (e.g. organisational skills or communication skills)? Is the example you have the best one to demonstrate this?

When describing the situation, be brief: this is purely to set the scene for the interviewer. What is most important is what you did in a given situation and what the results were. That could be financial results; it could be the impact you had on how a group worked together; it could be delivering a piece of work ahead of schedule; or it could be a combination of different things.

Take your time. If you need to gather your thoughts before giving an answer, then do so. We want to hear your best answer, not your first answer.

Don't be afraid to ask if you need a question repeated or want to check your understanding of what is being asked.

Try to be clear and concise in your answers and do not waffle. However, do not be so brief that you don't give enough information to the interviewer. Most interviewers will ask further questions to ensure that they get as much information from you as they need.

Where possible, try to come up with a variety of examples, rather than the same one for each question. If you do use an example more than once, be clear on emphasising the aspects of that example to demonstrate the competency you want to highlight, or to answer the question fully.

Be prepared to explain why you want to work for Sainsbury's and show you understand what we do.

Have a few questions that you want to ask. Apart from anything else, it shows you're interested.

Assessment centres

Sainsbury's operates a work dress code and you should wear business dress to attend the assessment centre.

Again, prepare for the assessment centre. Read about Sainsbury's in any recent press. Research, the retail industry as a whole. Our assessors will be looking to see if you understand what drives us as an organisation, have explored the business and industry on a general level, and know for sure why you want to work for Sainsbury's.

Make sure you read and understand our instructions. If you're not sure about anything, then ask one of the assessors for clarity.

Remember that we want you to do your best at the assessment centre and will do what we can to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

If you feel that one exercise does not go as well as you hoped, don't let this put you off. We are looking at overall performance, not just at one exercise.

Work out your travel route in advance and allow plenty of time to get there.

Be proud of yourself. To get to this stage in any recruitment process is difficult and you have already shown some great skills and experience.

Whether you are successful or not, always ask for feedback. You will find this useful for any subsequent assessment centres you attend or for when you start at Sainsbury's and looking at your personal development. Equally, if you have already attended other assessment centres, learn from your feedback and make sure you don't repeat your mistakes.

Most importantly, be yourself. You need to ensure that Sainsbury's is right for you too. If you try and second guess what you think the assessor wants to hear, you may end up working in a place that isn't suited to you.

Remember, the recruitment process is a two-way process: for you to find out more about us, just as much as it is for us to find out more about you, and your skills and attributes.