Hey guys, just been through the whole process which ended two days ago. Everything just went horribly wrong and on my birthday no less. I’ll outline the process for your’ll:
1st Phase: (Case study and interview)
Once Unilever reviews your response to their extensive application form, your called in for a case study and an interview. The whole process lasts about 6 hours and your grouped with approximately 40 candidates. They have two sessions like this a day just as a process of elimination. Anyway, from the 40 candidates, they split you up into groups of 8. Each group is taken to a separate meeting room and has two assessors. You are then given a case study. This usually involves about three pages of information on a business in a particular situation. In my case, it was about a company called ABC Meats who manufacture a very popular consumer product known as Grand Pies. The issue was that a retailer which stocked the pies wanted ABC Meats to create a pie of similar quality but sell it to them at 10% less than the cost price of Grand Pies. So basically, you had 20 minutes to read up on this, then had an additional 10-15 minutes to discuss whether or not ABC Meats should go ahead with it. Make sure you aren’t the ‘loud and noisy’ or ‘quiet and passive’ one. If no one suggests it, just prior to your group discussion, politely ask your group if each person could take about 2-3 minutes to express their thoughts, going around the table in a clockwise fashion. When doing this make sure your able to pick out the majors flaws in the proposal, when it was my turn, i spoke about the cost to the company in additional sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, storage, logistics, etc. The assessors don’t participate, they just sit back and observe. They award points for those who think out of the box, considering issues others wouldn’t usually think of, those who stick to the decision and most importantly, those who talk up and I don’t just mean saying a few words every know and then, make sure every time you speak lasts for at least a minute. Be constructive in what you say, always back it up with facts and figures from the information they provided you with. I really enjoyed this, I always spoke up and always questioned someone else’ point of view if it contradicted with my own.
After the case study, we were given about 10 min to get something to drink and nibble on. One of the main reasons i enjoyed the process was the food, lol. Anyway, the next activity was a one-on-one interview with an assessor, they call you name, you go with them. Lasted for about 30 minutes. Questions were basically a recap of everything in their extensive application form. Nothing to worry about, just study your application form the night before and you’ll be fine. Went really well for me, my answers just arrived like clockwork, didn’t have any ‘uhms’ whatsoever, lol.
And the last activity for the day was me grabbing a few finger desserts on the way out, hehe
2nd Phase: (Psychometric assessments - Part 1)
This was another half a day assessment, all involved in the process of elimination. We were once again divided into groups of about 8-10, each group had it’s own assessor. First each of us had to do a numerical reasoning test. 20 questions in 20 minutes. I was only able to go up to question 11 as were most others. The questions are based on bar graphs and pie charts, so nothing major, even though i’m an engineer, it was more relevant to high school mathematics than anything else. Next was an abstract reasoning test. We had 24 questions to do in 12 minutes. Basically what comes next in the sequence. I went up to question 16, much like everyone else. It was all multiple choice. You just need to work fast and be accurate.
There wasn’t any finger food in this phase, so grabbed a cup of coffee instead, lol
3rd Phase: (Psychometric assessments - Part 2)
This threw me off because i wasn’t even aware that there was another psychometric assessment. This one ran from 8am till about 2pm. They once again divided us into groups of 8 and we each had our own industrial psychologist. The tests were based on learning capabilities. There were several tests, maybe 15 in total. We had about 10-15 minutes to do each one. In between each test, the psychologist would talk to us, outlining what the next test was about. Stuff like identifying the shape that doesn’t fit and placing it in the correct box, etc. There was a range of questions. At the end of the learning capabilities test, usually five hours later, they give you a personal assessment to do, there’s no right or wrong answer to this, they want to know about you. Don’t try and crook the test, i.e. make your answers match that of unilever’s values and principles, etc. The test picks up if your lying. Oh and there are about 280 questions in this assessment.
This time the food provided was finger fruits?!! Basically fruit cut up into small pieces, quite upsetting really. But i had my fair share, lol
Final round: (Assessment day)
The invite to the assessment day is usually included with the 3rd phase invite. This is a whole day event. Starts at 8am and finished at 6pm for me yesterday. There are only 8 of you this time, for the entire day! First you are given an in-tray test and asked to read and answer the questions on it, all within 60 minutes. Read Aniliop’s post above, it’s quite similar to that. I was given about 50 pages on information on a company wanting to launch a new shampoo and conditioner line. There’s a lot of information so you won’t be able to read everything, instead just skim through what they give you and answer the questions. There are only three questions about identifying the issues, addressing them and you plan of action. The answers to each question must be four pages long. I barely got to the planning, the time just ran out. You have to work extremely quickly for this. Once that is done, they give you another in-tray test to do in 30 minutes. All of this is done on your own, everything at the assessment day is done individually.
Next, you have a one-on-one interview with an engineer which lasts for 60 minutes who works for unilever. I applied for supply chain so naturally engineers would be involved at this stage. The questions aren’t that difficult, it’s once again a recap of everything you mentioned in your application form. Sadly, this was the only activity that went well for me.
After the interview, you engage in a case study. Similar to phase one but the company and everything else are just more complicated. This will last about 60 minutes. Make sure you talk, give it everything you got, remember your competing against the other seven guys and now all four of the assessors are giving points. I just stalled, i couldn’t say anything constructive at all, my input was the least from everyone else, must have had something with me not sleeping the night before…hmmmm
After that, you are given a specific topic to read up on. It’s about a page of information but you had to consider all the other information you’ve been given thus far which they take away after each activity. You are given 30 minutes to read up on it, understand it and create a presentation on it . The presentation is done on an A2 piece of paper. Your presentation must last at least 10 minutes and is delivered to one of the assessors. After the presentation, he/she questions you on it. This was the ultimate low point for me because after my fumbled presentation with more ‘uhms’ than I care to remember, the assessor politely told me “Good luck, it’s only going to get harder!”…i smiled, shook his hand and said thank you for your time.
At this point i just felt like leaving, at the rate things were going, I knew what my fate was.
After the botched presentation, there was another 60 minute case study. I spoke up a little more than i did in the previous case study but still not enough. That was the end of it, I left the Hilton at around 6pm and never even looked back.
The best advice i could give you is to please please please ensure you have your 6-8 hours of sleep. I cannot emphasize just how much you need to stay alert and on the top of your game. There’s no technical questions whatsoever, these activities are used for all functions from HR to Marketing to Engineering. They test your ability to quickly analyze information and make accurate and concise decisions. I really did my homework on this company, I know it’s website inside out as though i was the one who created it, lol. I even knew it’s performance in the market, it’s acquisition of Alberto Culver and resultant share price increase. But all of it was for NOTHING!! They don’t care about that, it’s all to see how you are able to work. At the end of the day, they know more about you than you do yourself.
There was one small highlight though…you guessed it…the fo0o0o0o0o0o0od!! lol. Enough deserts for a lifetime and a huge variety as well. Come to think of it, I should have grabbed a tray on my way out, dang lol.
Oh well, that’s just my 2 cents review on it, hope it helps. Oh and the reason I spent all night researching unilever and not sleeping was due to the time i lost researching Standard Bank. Had the SB Leadership Development Programme interview the day before unilever. But i’ll post my review of the SB LDP interview on the SB thread soon.
Anyway, take care. All the best. Pm me if you need anything else. I’ve got several tests if you need em. And a very BIG BIG BIG THANK YOU to Aniliop!!! Thank you so much for your post and the links you provided. Even though i didn’t get the job, your post helped me get to the final round.