Chloe is just finishing her first year at Lidl – so far she has worked in store, in the warehouse, and is now in supply chain.
Chloe loves to travel, and took a year out before starting Lidl's grad scheme to explore South East Asia. Chloe is a keen runner and is doing the Paris half marathon this year, raising funds for one of Lidl's chosen charities, the NSPCC.
Why did you choose Lidl?
My degree was in Biology, but I knew that I wanted to work with people. Not having a business degree, I started exploring lots of different grad schemes. I wanted a scheme that would allow me to people manage and learn the nuts and bolts of business at the same time. The more I learned, the more I realised Lidl fit the bill perfectly.
Is it living up to your expectations?
You're given a lot of responsibility early on, but that's what I expected and for me, that's exactly what I wanted. I started at entry level, as a customer assistant, with no retail experience whatsoever. I had to learn how to stack a shelf, how to work a till, load a pallet, doing it all hands-on. And then all the warehouse roles too - picking, checking, driving the pallet trucks – you work every role that exists, from stacking shelves to running whole stores, spending enough time to really understand them before you start any management roles.
How did you find the application process?
I applied online and sent my CV, answering questions online instead of a cover letter. It was nerve-wracking, but as the application process goes on, you get more feedback, which helps.
The online assessment was a series of questions that allow Lidl to find out more about you and how you might react to certain situations. My advice is just to be honest – there isn't really a right or wrong answer, because they're really trying to get to know you. I was so nervous for the telephone interview but then when it actually happened, the interviewer made me feel so comfortable it just felt like more of a chat. I definitely didn't need to be that nervous!
The assessment centre was probably my favourite part. It was about getting to know us as people, as opposed to a series of interviews. We were there for half a day, with only one interview – most of it was group exercises and chances to try team-working. The teams were friendly and supportive, and Lidl did their best to make everyone feel like they could be themselves, instead of being nervous.
What did you wish you'd known before you started at Lidl?
I wish someone had told me not to worry so much about getting things wrong – it's a key part of learning. There's always support – even when you're running a store on your own. The team are around you, and there are people you can call if you need to.
What do you enjoy the most about working for Lidl?
It's such a teamwork environment. Everybody here knows that we do things as one team, so we're all on board, pulling together. It's a great feeling to be part of something like that. Learning is just part of every day, and there's so much variety.
I've also enjoyed the extra things you get to do as well, getting such a wider knowledge of the industry, becoming a brand ambassador and visiting universities.
Have there been any surprises during your time at Lidl?
The workload was probably my biggest fear. I thought 'The grad scheme starts, my life ends, I'll just work and sleep and work again.'. But it's not like that at all. There are long days, but the scheme is
structured with downtime when you need it, and there's support so that you don't feel overwhelmed.
I've learned so much and I've got so much more confidence now. The personal development outweighs the professional development a million to one. The scheme is helping you to grow as a person - that's been the best part of it for me.
How do you see your next steps in terms of your career?
I really want to go into sales in year 2 as that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most. A region will only take on 2 or 3 graduates per year and they invest a huge amount in us. You still have to apply for a role with Lidl after the scheme but your whole placement is building towards giving you everything you need to grow and succeed with Lidl.
What advice would you give future applicants?
My main tip would be to put your all into it. Be ready to be surprised. Be proactive. Push to get what you want – put yourself out there and make sure your passion shows through.