John Lewis Online Tests and Assessment Centre Prep

This PrepPack™ combines SHL-style numerical, verbal and deductive tests, interview preparation, drills, guides and tutorials.

About John Lewis Patnership (JLP)

Every job at the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) is different. As such, there is no “standard” recruitment process. What you can be sure about is that this process is tough and that competition is fierce. Preparation is the key element to ensuring that you progress through the John Lewis and Waitrose recruitment processes.

Recruitment at the JLP comes in three levels: Experienced hires (John Lewis, Waitrose and Head Office), the John Lewis graduate scheme (with six different strands) and John Lewis industrial placements, which can take place in either Retail Management or Head Office.

Whilst some of the details may vary, the different elements of the John Lewis interview process are as follows:

Experienced Hires
(assessments from the following list)
Graduates Industrial Placements
Application form Online testing Online testing
Online testing Application form Application form
Telephone interview    
Video interview Video interview (may be telephone in some cases)  
Assessment Centre Assessment Centre Assessment Centre
Interviews Final interview (Waitrose Leadership Scheme) Interviews

JLP place great emphasis on the company’s values and ethics throughout the recruitment process. In order to be successful, you have to demonstrate your fit with these JLP competencies at every assessment.

The six key competencies that John Lewis Partnership are looking for in each employee are: about me, delivering results, leading and developing, passionate retailer, team player and vision and creativity.

John Lewis Application Form

The John Lewis online application form is the first opportunity for you to tell the recruitment team about yourself. This form is fairly long and detailed asking for details of your qualifications and relevant work experience. As well as this, you will need to answer some questions relating to the job. Some example questions are:

  • Describe how you view John Lewis or Waitrose as an employer.
  • Describe what customer service means to you.
  • Please provide some examples when you have taken responsibility, built relationships and grown as a person.
  • Have you ever worked as part of a team? Describe what you did.
  • Tell us why you are a good candidate for John Lewis or Waitrose.

Answering these questions can be quite daunting, but the correct way to view them is as an opportunity to showcase your skills. Learn about the STAR method in order to answer these questions properly, the way the John Lewis Partnership wants you to. As an experienced hire, if you do well enough in this part of the application you will be asked to take the John Lewis online tests. Applicants for John Lewis graduate schemes or the John Lewis industrial placements will move on to the telephone or video interview.

John Lewis Partnership Online Aptitude Tests

JLP make extensive use of online aptitude tests at the start of their recruitment processes. For applicants to the John Lewis Graduate Scheme (including the Waitrose Graduate Leadership scheme) and John Lewis Industrial Placements, you must first pass the online tests before you are asked to complete the application form.

The John Lewis Partnership recruitment process assessments are provided by SHL. Applicants may have to take up to five different tests. Prepare for all your John Lewis Partnership online tests 

Scheme-Specific Multiple-Choice Questions

These tests are designed to reduce the number of applicants progressing to the next stage by up to 50%. Your best way of making sure that you are able to move on to the next stage is preparing for each test.

John Lewis Partnership Values Based Questionnaire

This questionnaire is untimed and you are given some different situations and asked to write a response in under 200 words. When writing these responses it is important to try and show that you have the motivation as well as the skills to answer them in the manner that John Lewis wants.

John Lewis Numerical Reasoning Test

The JLP numerical reasoning test examines your ability to utilise numerical information in your work. On this multiple-choice test, you are presented with numerical data in the form of tables, graphs, charts and ratios. Your task is to extract the correct information from these data sets and make the relevant calculations (basic maths, percentages and ratios) in order to answer a series of questions.

These tests are timed, you have 20 minutes to answer 20 questions and you may use a calculator in these tests. The time limit and number of calculations needed to answer each question create pressure on you to answer quickly and accurately. Preparation is key to ensuring that you are familiar with the types of questions and the calculations needed, so that you can work through the test faster and with more confidence, ultimately leading to a higher score. The SHL-style preparation pack gives you just the practice you need for your SHL-style Numerical Reasoning Test. 

John Lewis Verbal Reasoning Test

The verbal reasoning test is an assessment of your English language skills. You are presented with a paragraph of information about certain, often abstract ideas and you will be asked some questions on it. SHL-style verbal reasoning tests have two types of questions: in the first you are asked to determine whether a statement is true, false, or you cannot say based on the information in the text; in the second you are given a statement such as “the author of the text believes that…” and asked to choose the correct answer from a series of options. This test is also timed and it is challenging to answer all the questions in relatively short time allocation. Taking practice tests ahead of time can help you increase your analytical reading speed, as well as pick out the keywords in the text to help you answer the questions.

Scheme-Specific Multiple-Choice Questions

This test is specifically for applicants to any of the JLP graduate schemes. The aim is to enable the recruiters to assess your fit with the area you have applied to. Ensure that you have read up everything that you can find on your scheme ahead of taking this test.

John Lewis Partnership Interviews

The John Lewis Partnership assessment process contains several types of interview, including video, telephone and face to face interviews, as well as an assessment centre in some cases. See more details on all of these below:

There is a range of different interviews across the John Lewis Partnership interview process. All interviews are competency-based, with emphasis placed on how well you demonstrate that you have the desired skills of a John Lewis employee.

There are three different types of interview, outlined below. Read on for advice on how to prepare for these interviews. The John Lewis Partnership telephone interview is scheduled to last just 15 to 20 minutes. This interview is competency-based, with the interviewer looking to get a good basic knowledge of your skills. Prepare examples and common questions using the STAR method (situation, task, action, result).

The JLP video interview was first introduced in 2013 and is becoming more widely used. In this interview, you have to record your answer to six pre-recorded questions. You can only record your answer once and you have a time limit per question, so ensure you don’t ramble. The questions in this interview focus on your knowledge of the business and your suitability for the scheme you have applied to. Make sure that the technology works before the time you have set aside to record your interview and practise giving your answers into a webcam.

JLP face to face interviews are a feature of almost all recruitment processes, in both assessment centres and as final interviews. These interviews are designed to assess your skills and to allow your future managers to examine your fit for their teams.

Preparation for all the interviews is the same. Before you start, read up on the job description, department you are applying to and about the Partnership itself. Refresh your memory of the John Lewis competencies. Prepare examples from your previous experience to use to answer questions. Rehearse the STAR method for each answer. Prepare answers to questions such as the common questions below, or consider others, such as the sample questions in the free guide to interviews. In most interviews, you will have the opportunity to ask questions, so don’t forget to prepare a couple of questions beforehand.

Once you have completed your preparation, the final stage is to rehearse giving over your answers in mock interview conditions. The PrepPack™'s interview preparation package can give you just that rehearsal that you need, with helpful feedback as an added bonus.

JLP Interview Questions

  • What is your knowledge of the company?
  • Tell me about a time when you have led a team.
  • Tell me about a time when you have helped someone achieve a personal goal.
  • What do you think is the single biggest factor that could adversely affect the business?
  • What qualities can you bring to John Lewis?
  • What’s the difference between a leader and a manager?

Some Waitrose specific questions asked to candidates include:

  • Why do want to work for a supermarket?
  • How do you interact with a team?
  • Do you like helping people?
  • Who are our main competitors?

John Lewis Assessment Centre

If you have impressed at the earlier stages, you will next move on to the JLP assessment centres. For some applicants, this is the final stage of the recruitment process, others will still have interviews to come. The assessment centres are specific to the job or scheme you are applying to. The assessment centres are a mix of group and individual exercises, including team activities and discussions, a presentation and an interview.

You can expect up to four group exercises designed to test leadership and group work. Whilst these are difficult to prepare for, it is worth taking time ahead of your assessment centre to consider the core values as well as some strategies for how you want to come across in the group.

Some examples of previous exercises include:

  • True/ false - given cards with statements to identify what is true or false.
  • Group discussion - you are given a brief to work out, discuss and come up with an action plan. An example is of an event held in store and the best way to activate it.
  • Store related tasks - for example, visit a department and collect as much information as possible in ten minutes.
  • Rank a series of values from best to worst and why.
  • Sell a John Lewis item to the recruitment team.

Individual exercises include:

  • Interview
  • An exercise related to the scheme or job you have applied to, for example, a written exercise, or a role play of how to deal with difficult customers.
  • Business presentation - at the assessment centre, you are given six options and a short time frame to prepare a ten-minute presentation to give to assessors. You are expected to prepare materials using a flipchart and pens. Following the presentation, you will be asked questions about what you have said.


John Lewis, Waitrose, SHL and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep or this website.