Thursday, 3 December 2009

Waitrose: 2,500 applications for 20 graduate posts. Need any help with the psychometrics madam?

The decision by supermarket chain Waitrose to commence using psychometric tests in its recruitment process is hardly a surprise bearing in mind that 2,500 applications were received for the 20 posts available as part of its store management programme.

The hurdles faced by aspiring store managers, as well as the challenges faced by the Waitrose recruitment team are plain to see: 2,500 applications filtered down to 150 candidates attending assessment centre still requires a significant investment in management time and effort.

Waitrose is understandably keen to make the process for selecting those candidates who attend assessment centre as effective as possible, so the company has introduced a “Graduate Dilemmas” selection tool to serve as a filter.

A&DC (who have designed the psychometric tool describe it as “a Situational Judgement Test used at the initial sifting stage of Graduate assessment. Candidates must rate several potential responses to common situations, through an online platform, where results are collated and scores automatically produced.”The particular competencies that the test is designed to identify are Planning and Organising, Analytical Thinking, Achieving Results and Relationship Building.

The head of the recruitment services team at Waitrose explained that they are looking in particular for people who are achievement oriented, coupled with an openness and positive regard for colleagues that is appropriate for their business.

A&DC Candidate Sifting Tools
  • Any thoughts on the use of such psychometric tests for filtering out candidates prior to interview?


  1. It always puzzles me how you can use an on-line test as a means of selection when you have no idea who completed the test.

    Maybe they could set up a number of stores with self service testing bays alongside the self service tills. A picture could be taken of the individual completing the test and if, when invited along to the assessment centre, it’s apparent that the person who completed the test was in fact the candidate’s grandmother then they are sent either sent away with a flea in their ear or interviewed on the basis of their resourcefulness!!!


  2. I followed the link to A&DC web page as I was interested in how they structured their Sifting Tools. It showed that the candidate got some feedback from the test. That seems a little fairer than the one I had to complete. It was over 3 sessions and was fairly stressful to finish over a set time limit per session. The only feedback I got was that I wasn't successful, nothing else - feel its very impersonal and as EBTG says, it could be your grandmother completing it!


  3. Hi the entire point of the test is to see your characteristics. Granted that it could be your grandmother doing it after there is a 2 day assessment centre and WR reserves the right to retest a person at any point.

  4. Hi Anonymous and thanks for the comment. How did your grandmother get on by the way?

  5. I have just completed the Waitrose Dilemma's Test - there were 20 questions - 5 which really tested you - overall it was challenging!

    I can understand their situation with that many applications!

    I just hope I've met the benchmark - i'd like to know how it is marked, whether there is more than one answer to a question!