Here’s a quick summary of what I experienced at the Unilever Assessment Centre for a summer internship in Research and Development:
If you are given the chance to sign up for the optional lunch, do it! You’ll get there early, have a chance to settle in, and you’ll be looked after by someone on the graduate scheme. You may even get to meet other applicants, and I found that to be one of the key factors as to why I was much less scared – I was really lucky and got on really well with the other applicants on the day, which made such a huge difference to my attitude. I contrast this to the time at my ASDA assessment centre where I turned up ten minutes later and had no rapport with any of the other applicants. Horrible day.
Case Study and Presentation
You are set a business related scenario, and get given a big handout full of data which you need to analyse in forty five minutes. I was asked to make three decisions based upon how a newly acquired company should be run and to give an eight minute long presentation, which would be followed by twelve minutes of questions and answers. Criticism I received from this was that I focused too much upon the opinions of customers and not enough upon the facts and figures.
Standard forty five minute long joint with one other assessor. You are asked why Unilever, and then five competencies that are assessed via the STAR method. Make sure all of your answers conform to this: Situation, Task, Action, Result! Went in having done next to no research on Unilever, other than knowing the names of a few of the products, and the fact that they’d recently been involved in a price-fixing cartel so that ruled out ‘reputation’ as a possible answer I could give. Advice: research your chosen business function, and get in key words like ‘consumer need’ and ‘product development’. Luckily for me my interviewer was really nice (or that they were really desperate for interns), for I had to be spoon-fed all of this during my interview… >__<
Standard forty five minute long exercise. If you’ve done one of these then you’ve done them all. We were given a set amount of time to read through some information before being assessed for twenty minutes on how we solved a problem together. This was the one that I enjoyed the most because I’d already gotten to know the other applicants really well, so it just felt like more banter, and as I was so relaxed, it was easy to forget the presence of the assessors in the room. Feedback from this was that apparently I led (I led?!) the discussion, keeping everything on focus and that I made some very good points. Hunh…
1. Make sure you know the key competencies that Unilever are looking for2. Turn up early!!!3. Try to get to know the other applicants beforehand - this will make you feel more relaxed if you can establish rapport with them4. Drink lots of water throughout the day5. If they offer you free Ben and Jerry’s, take it!6. Take your time with your answers.
Finally, good luck!!