Hi all,

PLEASE read through thoroughly.

About 6 weeks ago I applied for the “Lidl Area Management Graduate Scheme.” Received an email about 4 weeks later offering me a 1st stage group interview for the 4th May (may the 4th be with you…) so obviously I was excited, and got my hopes up. I had performed my research on the company – been to Lidl stores, noted the layout (unfortunately couldn’t speak to a manager for more than about 30 seconds), and written notes about the company. I had also read through all the posts on wikijob and other forums about the company, with the majority being negative, I decided to turn a blind eye and go in expecting the best.

Arrived 30 minutes early, and about a minute later another girl turned up too (we were both final year students at university). By the interview time, nobody else had turned up, which was surprising, and we were taken upstairs and introduced to the employee giving the presentation.

This presentation consisted of;
-Company information (one thing was mentioned that no senior management have computers or laptops… in a modern day company this struck me as abnormal)
-Information on the “District Manager Graduate Scheme”
-Working hours (50 + 5 unpaid hour lunch breaks, plus once a week in at 5am and once a week leaving at 10pm, plus on-call at any time)
-Salary (£33k)
-Benefits etc etc.

We were then asked to stand up and introduce ourselves and why we applied of Lidl. Nothing challenging at all.

Then a Maths test - pretty much long division and multiplication. (eg I have a crate which holds 41 boxes, how many boxes do 160 crates hold?) - nothing challenging for those who passed GCSE maths.

And then it was on to the one-to-one interviews with a very stern and cold looking German (I think) employee who was senior management. He asked me standard interview questions;
-Why retail?
-Why Lidl?
-Personal information not including education or previous work.

After answering all these questions, he was very pleased with my answers, interview manner, and personality. I think I even broke his cold front a couple of times by making him genuinely laugh, and felt that there was a connection between us… (no, I’m not gay, but with him being my future manager I think it’s relevant).

He then progressed to say that because I have very little management experience (I’m 20, final year uni, but have been working since I was 16 in a number of jobs in different industries) I was not suitable for the “District Management Graduate Scheme.” I understood and asked what next…? (expecting the reply to be Graduate Store Management Scheme). But no, this was not the answer… answer was (you’ve guessed it if you’ve read previous posts) “Deputy Store Manager.”

Great, so I had my hopes up, and he shot me down, I was the stupid one expecting anything more. For (on average) 18-24 months I would be a Deputy Store Manager (NOT a graduate scheme) on £19k working the same hours as previously stated. (about £6.64 an hour… subsequently less than a store assistant). With opportunity of progressing, because all is internal promotion, but he made it clear that I would be behind a long list of people before progressing.

I just thought I’d share my opinions with everyone else, as the advert is misleading, which is what I’m mostly annoyed about. And the fact that throughout the interview until the very end they were still leading me on.

-Not a Graduate Scheme
-NO ONE starts as a District Manager Scheme… EVERYONE has to start as a Deputy Store Manager.

It finished off with me saying I’ll have to think about it, because I believed at the time they were genuinely interested in me as a person and what I had to offer. They said they would be in contact, and the interviewer called me back 3 hours after leaving asking if I had thought about it. I said that I needed a little more time, and he said he would give me 48 hours. Expecting the call bak tomorrow to offer me a second stage interview, but the answer I’m going to give is NO.

Obviously I hadn’t received the job offer yet as there are two more stages, but I thought I’d let everyone know my experiences - I know that I would have wanted to know more information before going in there (even though I knew some I turned a blind eye).

Sorry that it’s a long post, but hope you took the time to read it and enjoyed it!



I went to interview yesterday, I have emailed them this morning with the below…

Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2011 11:39:06 +0000

Dear Lidl,

Yesterday I attended a group interview which, from my application, I has believed would have been for the Graduate Management Scheme. This scheme was advertised to me via the student jobs website and I had also read about the scheme in the Times newspaper. When I visited one of your stores however the Manager said they have never heard of the scheme and that did cause me some concern.

Upon arrival it was clear to me that many people within the group were not in fact graduates. I had taken a full days annual leave to come to this interview as well as using half a tank of fuel to drive to the supposed Graduate scheme interview which it appears in all honesty was never being offered in the first place. The first question I was asked in my interview is if I would accept a deputy manager role. Which offers the same fast track learning and management shadowing at £12,000 less a year. I as then told that the Graduate Scheme had an over 80% failure rate; which makes me wonder why it is rated so highly in the Times Graduates Listing. The interviewer went on to say for the scheme you would require management experience and retail experience for a minimum of 2 years to be considered, this is completely the opposite of what all your published material advertises and boasts about being able to take graduates straight from university and be investors in developing people.

The interviewer offered me the role of deputy management role and asked if this is something I would consider. Having had time to reflect upon yesterdays experience I am contacting you to say I would not be interested in this other option and I think it is disgraceful that you attract people to your company under the guise of a fantastic graduate scheme when that offer is in fact not on the table.

I will be highlighting my experience to, who sent me the details of your graduate program. Having researched on-line forums I am now aware of several other graduates who have been ultimately disappointed in having their hopes built up from what you advertise to what is in fact offered at interview.