Unilever is a globally recognized name that includes more than 400 brands that are used by 3.4 billion people every day.
With more than 148,000 employees across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, India, the US, and Canada, they are a truly global business that is a destination for graduates in a number of areas - and the Unilever Future Leaders Programme is designed to give graduates who have at least a bachelors degree the opportunity for accelerated development through a blend of formal training, on the job experiences, and multiple rotations through different functions during the three-year program.
The UFLP is available across the following business areas:
Supply Chain & Engineering
Customer Development (Sales)
Research & Development
The selection process for any of the graduate programs at Unilever follows the same pathway.
The simple application form needs you to complete basic information about yourself, your education and your past experience.
You can autofill the application using your LinkedIn profile (as long as it is up to date, of course).
If you are applying to a graduate program, you may only apply to one function
If you match the criteria for the role according to your application form, you will be invited to complete the Profile Assessment, which is essentially psychometric testing.
Unilever uses Pymetrics gamified assessments, and you will complete five short games that will demonstrate your social, emotional, and cognitive traits.
Once you have completed the games, you will receive personalized feedback about your performance.
The next step is the Digital Interview, which takes place on the HireVue platform. You will be asked to record your answers to three short questions and work on a business case. This interview is all about your ability to use your judgment to solve problems, and is a good way for the recruitment team to see how you present yourself.
The Unilever assessment center is referred to as a Discovery Center, and the idea of it is that you as a candidate will be able to get a feel for what it is like to work for Unilever, with a ‘day in the life’ feel.
The Discovery Center can take place in person at one of the Unilever offices, or it can sometimes happen virtually.
Why does Unilever use assessment centers?
Assessment centers are an excellent way for the recruitment team to get an understanding of how well a candidate communicates, leads, and works with others.
By bringing a number of applicants together, the recruitment team can be assessing them constantly to see how they react under pressure, what their interpersonal skills are, and how well they can apply themselves to solving problems in different ways.
For the applicant, the Discovery assessment center allows a real understanding of what it would actually be like to work at Unilever, the kind of challenges that they might face in their working day, and practice some new skills. It is an opportunity to meet other graduates, future colleagues, line managers and other people in the business, so that as an applicant you can see if the job is right for you.
What skills is Unilever looking for?
At Unilever, the most important strategy they have is about promoting sustainability - and they are building a workforce that has environmental issues at the front of mind.
When it comes to personal attributes, Unilever wants to hire people who share the same values as the business and are ready to bring their best selves to every single role.
Applicants need to be aware of the ‘Four Pillars’ of Unilever, and be ready to demonstrate that they have the skills and competencies to match these pillars, which are:
Brilliantly Different Together
Be the Catalyst
Future leaders need to have excellent leadership and communication skills, they need to be able to analyze situations to find effective solutions to problems, and they need to be able to work effectively as a team.
Aside from this, every role will have specific skills and aptitudes (and in some cases specific qualifications or experience) - but this will be highlighted in the job description and you should make sure that you are ready to demonstrate that you have what it takes to be successful throughout the Discovery Center and the rest of the application process.
For example, you are likely to need both verbal reasoning and numeracy, as well as excellent logical reasoning and situational judgment skills.
Unilever assessment center format
On the day of the Discovery Center, you will be with a number of other applicants. Some might be candidates for the same role, while others might be going for a different program. Unilever treats this as a ‘day in the life’, so you will take part in different activities and exercises that emulate what you might do in the role.
The actual activities and exercises might vary in content depending on the role that you have applied for, but you can expect them to be something like the below:
Unilever written exercise
This is an individual activity, and one that is undertaken within a set time limit.
You will be given a case study to deal with, and there will be lots of different written information provided. The brief will ask you to create a report based on the information you are provided with, and you will need to analyze the information to come up with a solution to a problem.
In this assessment, you are being evaluated on your comprehension skills as well as your ability to multitask and prioritize information - some of the documents might not be relevant and you will need to work out what is useful and what isn’t.
You will also be assessed on your writing ability - including things like vocabulary, spelling, grammar and structure.
Unilever group exercise
The group exercise is in two parts.
Firstly, as a group, you will be given a case study to discuss. This might be a continuation of the case study you used in the written exercise, or something completely different.
As a group, you need to cooperate and collaborate to come up with a strategy and a course of action to take to solve the presented problem. This is a timed exercise, so you need to ensure that the group stays on track and gets the answer sooner rather than later.
In this part, you will be assessed on teamwork and communication as well as leadership and listening. If you take a leadership role in the group, try and make sure that you are inviting every member to make a contribution - this exercise is all about group effort.
After the discussion portion, you and your group will need to present your findings to the rest of the applicants and the recruitment team. You may also be required to answer questions based on the information in your presentation.
The last stage of the Discovery Center is a one-to-one interview with your line manager. This is a multifunctional interview where you can expect to answer questions about yourself and your career aims, about your CV and your relevant experience, about your knowledge and passion for Unilever, and about your competencies, too.
Questions might be something like the below:
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What was the best part of your degree?
Who do you think is Unilever’s biggest competition in the health and beauty industry?
Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult decision.
Tips for passing the Unilever assessment center
You need to have a good knowledge of the role you have applied for and the type of person that they are looking for to fill the role, but you also want to be sure that you know as much as possible about Unilever.
Getting in-depth knowledge about Unilever and what they are doing and trying to achieve will help you to answer questions effectively while also giving you an idea of the skills and competencies you want to demonstrate to show the recruiters you are the ideal candidate.
2. Get enough rest
Applying for a new job can be nerve-wracking and stressful, but you don’t want to scupper your chances because you haven’t been getting enough sleep. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep a night in the run-up to the Discovery Center, and make sure you eat healthily and stay hydrated, too.
3. Be yourself
You’ve got this far into the recruitment process, so the team obviously sees that you could be the right person for the role.
That means that when you are at the assessment center, you need to continue to be authentic - remember that this day is about job fit for you as much as it is for them.
4. Dress well
Whether you are attending an in-person or a virtual Discovery Center, you should always dress to impress. If there are any clothing requirements that need to be met during the day then the recruitment team will let you know.
Dressing well will make you feel more confident, even if you are taking part from your bedroom.
5. Join in
Nerves are normal, but the day is meant to be an immersive experience so try and dive right in and really get involved so that you can get the most out of it.
Everyone else will also be feeling nervous, so you are all in the same boat - but if you don’t join in, you could get overlooked.