Tesco Assessment Centre Exercises and Interview Preparation

Are you expecting to attend the Tesco assessment centre or interview? For many roles this is the final step in your application and if you do well here then you will almost be sure of being offered a job. Here we will go through the various stages that take place at the Tesco assessment centre and point you in the right direction where you can receive extra help. 
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The Tesco recruitment process stages:

Tesco Interview

You may have more than one interview throughout the process, including a phone interview and an interview at the assessment centre. The Tesco interview is a competency based interview, which means Tesco are looking to see if you possess certain skills, and they request that you demonstrate how you have used these skills in the past. This is usually around 45 minutes and you may be asked between three to six questions, depending on the role being applied for and the interviewer.

The competencies that Tesco are looking for in the interview include:

  • Customer focus
  • Drive
  • Team work
  • Managing decision making
  • Managing performance
  • Personal integrity

Preparation for the interview is key. Think of examples of that can be used to illustrate your answers to the above competencies or to common questions. Rehearse those answers, organising them around the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Review your application form to refresh your memory on what you wrote. Read up about Tesco, their values, and some of their recent innovations in the area you are applying to, any news or cases, so that you can use this knowledge to illustrate your answers. 

The interviewers will ask follow up questions on your answers, so prepare to be challenged on some answers and think of follow up responses. For questions asking about previous mistakes or bad situations, they interviewers are also looking for explanations of what you have learnt from that event.

This interview is a two way session, an opportunity for both sides to decide whether you are the right fit for this job. Come prepared with questions to ask in the interview that will help you gather the information you need to know, but also do your research into the company, the job and the work itself before so that you can ask the questions that can’t be answered through your own research.

Gain more tips about interviews with our free guide to interviews. The final piece of preparation is to practice giving your answers in a mock interview. JobTestPrep’s Skype based interviews are with trained professionals who can help you understand what you need to improve for your next interview.

Tesco Interview Questions

The following questions are questions that have been asked in Tesco interviews before now. These questions will probably not come up in your Tesco interview, but they are a good place to start in your preparation.

  • Why Tesco?
  • Why this scheme?
  • How do we stand out from our competitors?
  • What challenges are we facing right now?
  • Describe your personal qualities.
  • What are your personal values?
  • What do you think makes an effective team?
  • What is the biggest professional achievement of your career?
  • Tell us about a time when you overcame a challenge and three things you learnt from it.
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How would you improve your local store?
  • What are your strengths, and how will they help you in this role?

Some example competency questions asked in past interviews include:

  • Customer Service: ‘Tell me about a time where you had to understand a customer’s personal circumstances very quickly; how did you go about doing this?’
  • Drive: ‘Give me an example of a time you have had to work to meet a specific target; did you feel like you were struggling at any point?’
  • Teamwork: ‘Describe a time where you worked as a team to a common goal; how did you contribute to the group effort?’

Tesco Assessment Centre

If you have passed all the preceding stages of the Tesco recruitment process, the next and last stage for many is the Tesco assessment centre. This assessment centre is a whole day event, usually at the company’s head offices in Hertfordshire, or in a few locations around the country for store management applicants. During the day you will undergo many different assessments all of which are designed to assess a new set of skills. The focus of the recruitment team throughout the day will be on your leadership skills, and this will also be a key part of your interview.

The activities at the Tesco assessment centre will vary depending on the scheme you have applied to, but some of the exercises you can expect are listed below. You will usually be told what to expect and what to prepare in advance of the day. Your first activity of the day will be an ice breaker, introducing the group to each other and the assessors.

Aptitude Tests

You may be asked to take shorter versions of the online aptitude tests to confirm the results you got last time around. As it may be some time since you last took these tests, don’t forget to refresh your memory before your assessment centre.


you will be told in advance to prepare a short presentation to give to the group. The topic of the presentation will be give to you. A past example of a Tesco assessment centre presentation is of candidates discussing the risks and opportunities in the area you have applied to. In some rare cases, you may only be told you are giving a presentation on the day. Gain tips for how to prepare and deliver a presentation on our JobTestPrep blog.

Role-play Exercise

In this exercise you have to take on a role as though you are already working at Tesco. Some people have experienced role-play exercises where they have had to persuade a difficult colleague to adopt a new practice.

Group Exercise

There is likely to be more than one group exercise during the day. One activity that has repeatedly come up at Tesco assessment centres is to build a structure out of paper and sellotape. Another group exercise that has been used is to create and present a sales pitch in your group. In some cases pitches will be put up against each other and the group need to decide whose pitch is the best. In all the group exercises you need to work as a group. You as an individual need to ensure that you are on board with the group and that you are working with the group to achieve the overall objective whilst also providing original and helpful suggestions. Read more on how to tackle group exercises on JobTestPrep’s group exercises pages.

In-Tray Exercise

You may be expected to take an in-tray exercise. The purpose of this test is to show how you manage your workload, assess priorities and handle competing demands on your time. Learn more about in-tray exercises from JobTestPrep.

Written Exercises

Some assessment centres contain written exercises on the day. Past examples of exercises include numbers tasks choosing the location for a new restaurant, or identifying the best and worst sellers from a list of products. Prepare for your written exercise with our written exercises practice pack.


This is either a one-to-one or a panel interview. Depending on the type of interview you have had earlier, this interview could be a competency interview or a more informal interview asking you about your motivations in joining Tesco, and why you have chosen this specific role. You may also be asked to list your values and ambitions at the company. Review your preparation for the earlier interviews, and brush up your interview skills with our free guide to interview preparation.

In Summary

The Tesco recruitment process for the graduate scheme, internship or school leavers scheme is thorough testing you on a full range of skills whilst maintaining a focus on customer service and leadership throughout. Competition for places is high with 24 people in the running for 4 jobs as late as the assessment centres at the end of the process. Preparation is key throughout the process in order to ensure that you are one of the lucky applicants to get the job. This article has highlighted the resources available to help you prepare at each stage of the process. We hope you have found it useful, and good luck!

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