Two years ago, I was working at Marks and Spencers, a quintessentially British supermarket, as a Christmas Sales Assistant. This post aims to give you a sneak peek into how I found it working at Marks and Spencer and guidance with the application process, as it is quite a long one for a fairly simple industry.
Disclaimer- this post aims to share my experiences of working at Mark and Spencer’s, everyone has different experiences so do not anticipate your experience to be like mine. My intention is not to offend Marks and Spencer’s, I just want to share my experience to help others!
At the time I was looking for a job in retail, especially being a full-time student I did not want to take a serious job for it to clash with my schedule. Besides, retail jobs often have flexible working hours. So I applied to a variety of places such as Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys and Marks and Spencer’s. I did not get through to the interview stage with Tesco’s. I got an interview with Sainsbury’s, however the contract I applied for was crazy hours and I had to decline the offer. I got through the interview stage with Waitrose but I had already received an offer from Marks and Spencer, so at that point in time, I had declined the interview for Waitrose.
The application process was long lol. I had to add background information about myself such as my occupation, experience and so forth. I had to take around 3 tests about customer service and the values of Marks and Spencer’s. I strongly recommend anyone that is going to apply for a job at Marks and Spencers to research very well about the company if you really want the job!
Thankful, I passed the online tests stage and I was invited for an interview. I was quite nervous about the interview because I honestly did not know what to expect. I was told I would be having a face to face interview and I’ll have to take part in a role play or group exercise. I have never taken part in a role play for a job before! So I was researching online on forums such as the Student Room to have more of an idea of what this “role play” would be about. From what I had read I was reassured that there was nothing to worry about, and there honestly wasn’t!
The section manager that interviewed me described a scenario to me about a problem a customer had and I had to ‘act out’ how I would help the customer make the best choice. It honestly is not as bad.
After the role play, I had the face to face interview and I was offered the job just like that! The section manager showed me the hours that were available and I chose the hours that suit me best and then I was invited back for the induction day.
The induction day was 2 days, 9am to 5pm where a group of us had training on the values of the company, health & safety, and general administrative duties were completed. The coach training us told us about the various benefits we would have from working at Marks and Spencer’s such as the discounts available. It was really excited and I think we all just wanted to start working!
Day in The Life:
I did around 15 hours a week, most days I would be coming straight from uni and rushing into work to tap my card into the system. Generally, I would replenish the stock and attend to the customer’s needs. I did not work on tills, especially as I was a temp my main priority was to help replenish stock. Especially with it being Christmas, the store gets busy very quickly and items get sold quickly too. We had to wear black shoes whilst working, so at the end of the day, my feet were in agony. I wished I had invested in black shoes with a supportive sole at the time. Then I would make my way home and rest, then get ready for another day.
Would I come back again?
Don’t get me wrong, the employees are incredible- I’ve met some fantastic people. But I see working in retail a temporary phase. Especially, as a University student, I have a fied of interest already and before I get to my destination along the way I have goals to achieve which require money so I will take up a few temp jobs here and there to help funds my projects. As well as, to help me develop my soft skills.
Often, I think a lot of university students make a mistake with ‘depending’ on retail jobs after they graduate. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the various challenges there are to get a job after graduating and that some graduates stay in the retail job but are actively applying elsewhere, but they just stay in retail temporarily to have a constant flow of income to help pay for their expenses. But it becomes a problem when a person doesn’t apply for a job elsewhere and just gets accommodated with the job they have.
There is so much more for us to learn in this world and skills for us to develop, there’s a platform that we need to fight to reach. Never settle for less aim high and make the difference.
I anticipate to share more retail stories and general work tips and advice, is there a certain topic you’d like me to address? Feel free to leave it in the comments section.
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