Co-op Assessment Test
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The Co-op is a company that is owned by 4.5 million members – those employed by the Co-op.
The company has five business areas:
- Legal services
- Support functions
- Insurance services
The Co-op’s ethos can be summarised as giving back to the community, either through the profits the organization makes or by its employees doing work that benefits their local community.
Besides doing work that makes a difference to its local communities, the Co-op also offers its members job-related benefits:
- Development program with defined career pathways, personalized career plans and the opportunity to take secondments.
- Discounts offered on all Co-op services as well as money off products sold in Co-op stores.
-Wellbeing program with set parental leave and holiday entitlement, days off to support local causes and access to wellbeing support. -Financial package with access to a pension scheme and season ticket loans.
What Is the Co-op Candidate Charter?
As part of the recruitment process, the Co-op works to a set of five candidate commitments that make up its candidate charter (visible on the application process page).
These ensure that the Co-op assessment test is fair and transparent.
The Coop candidate commitments are:
In practice, this means that:
- candidates are kept up-to-date with the status of their applications.
- Candidates are given the necessary information to prepare for the recruitment process.
- Candidate data is stored according to data protection laws.
Career Opportunities at the Co-op
The Co-op offers careers in many business areas at various levels. These roles are open to all, and the Co-op encourages its members to grow and develop in their chosen role.
After explaining the Co-op's apprenticeships overall, each area is briefly summarised below.
Apprenticeships provide the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time.
These roles are open to both school leavers and those looking for a change in career direction.
Apprenticeships in the UK begin at Level 2.
The Co-op's traditional apprenticeships are offered at Levels 2, 3, 4 and in many different areas. The company also offers a longer degree apprenticeship programme, through partnering with Anglia Ruskin University, in all Co-op business areas.
An HR apprenticeship is also offered at Level 5. Entry requirements for the apprenticeship programmes vary by business area.
Opportunities in support may be in HR, supply chain and procurement, project management, finance and accounting, property, or digital and technology.
These roles allow candidates to develop expertise that is crucial to the day-to-day operations of the Co-op and its members.
Many of them offer project-based work as part of specialist teams or teams with other Co-op members such as researchers and product managers.
The support teams are predominantly based at the Co-op's offices in Manchester.
Most roles within this business area require legal qualifications. However, they are often suitable first positions for people with such qualifications, specifically being advertised towards newly qualified individuals.
Occasionally, roles arise in the legal team that do not require specific legal qualifications, usually through the Co-op's apprenticeships.
Roles in the logistics business area include delivery drivers and warehouse operatives.
Warehouse operatives do not need any prior experience, making it a suitable entry-level role.
Delivery driving roles require candidates to have attained their LGV driving license.
In both of these areas, Co-op supports candidates to develop their careers, which can include progressing to the next career level or further specific training, such as to gain their LGV licence to transfer to the logistical department from another area of the Co-op.
Entry-level and seasonal work positions are available in food retail at the Co-op.
These roles offer varying shift patterns and hours.
Applications for this department are usually made to specific retail outlets when vacancies arise.
These roles have a defined 4-stage career path, which can end with a BA (Hons.) degree and begins by being a member of the customer team.
Entry-level positions as part of the funeral crew or as a funeral arranger are found under the company's apprenticeship programs.
These programs allow candidates to develop the necessary skills and experience to effectively carry out their role in the funeral care teams.
Level 3 apprenticeships as a funeral director are also available.
Roles in funeral care are advertised on an ongoing basis at set Co-op locations.
The Co-op's insurance department requires specialists in pricing, product development or other niches.
These roles are not UK-wide but based in one of three Co-op locations: Bury St Edmonds, Nottingham or Manchester.
Co-op Application Process
The Co-op application process consists of five stages. Certain stages of the process may vary slightly in format according to the role applied for.
As part of the Co-op candidate commitment, applicants are kept up-to-date with the progress of their application and all applicants are made aware of the outcome of their application.
Stage One: Online Application
Applicants create their own account on the website. From there they can search for their desired role and make an application.
Applications may include uploading a CV, potentially built using the CV builder the Co-op offers.
The whole process from registering and creating an online account takes around eight minutes.
Stage Two: Online Assessment
These tests are based on the key skills and behaviours required for the role applied for; they are taken online and require around 12 minutes to complete.
Candidates who have applied for roles in operations, funeral or retail are also required to sit additional online tests. These assess specific skills and behaviours required for roles in these areas.
Stage Three: Screening
If successful with the online application and the Co-op assessment tests, candidates are invited to the screening stage.
Video interviews are generally carried out for more specialist roles such as those in the legal team.
These screens assess a candidate's suitability for the role and whether they meet the minimum entry requirements.
Stage Four: Interview
Interviews are carried out face-to-face and, for the majority of Co-op roles, can be scheduled via a candidate's online account.
All Co-op interviews are behavioural-based. Candidates need to provide examples of times when they have demonstrated the behaviours required by the role.
Stage Five: Offer
Once written acceptance of the offer is received, pre-employment screening checks can take place. These checks vary according to the role and business area applied to.
It is worth noting that the Co-op is willing to provide candidates who are not successful at the interview stage with feedback.
If they would like to receive feedback, a candidate must specifically request this and are actively encouraged to do so.
Note, feedback is not provided automatically to candidates unsuccessful at the interview stage.
Co-op Interview Questions
As part of the Co-op candidate commitments, candidates are provided with information to help with their application.
The Co-op interview is a behavioural interview, sometimes called a competency-based interview. This requires candidates to provide real-life examples that support the behaviour being assessed.
The sorts of questions that you may be asked in a Co-op interview include:
- Explain what you know about the Co-op
- Why would you like to work as a Co-op member?
- Outline the skills that you have that you can bring to this role
- Describe a situation when you have shown exceptional customer service
- Provide an example of a time when you have had to deal with a difficult customer. How did you approach the situation?
- Describe a time when you made a mistake at work, school or university. How did you go about resolving it? What did you learn from it?
How to Prepare for a Co-op Assessment
There are many ways that candidates can prepare for each stage of the Co-op assessment process.
It is always advisable to ensure that as an applicant you research the organisation and what the role will involve.
Also, think about why you are applying, as you may be asked about your reasons.
There are also specific ways that candidates can prepare for the different stages of the Co-op assessment test:
Practice Taking Online Tests
This will enable familiarity and confidence with the format and style of questioning. There are many online tests that can be used for practice.
Ensure that you practice under timed conditions.
Also, read more about online tests to feel more prepared and less nervous.
Think Carefully About When to Schedule Your Interview
Many Co-op roles allow you to use your online account to schedule your face-to-face interview.
Think about the most appropriate time to have your interview. You want to ensure that you leave enough time to research and prepare your example-based answers.
Also consider whether you do better in the morning or later in the day and, if possible, account for this.
However, if your ideal time of day is not available, ensure you eat well and get good rest the day before to have a good foundation.
Review the Job Description
The day before the interview, review the role’s job description.
Make note of the skills the company is looking for and the sort of tasks you will be responsible for.
You do not want to be trying to impress your interviewer with a certain skill only to realise mid-interview it is totally irrelevant to the role at hand.
Think of Relevant Examples
Co-op interviews are behavioural and competency-based.
This means that the questions you are asked require you to provide examples of times when you have demonstrated this behaviour.
Look at the behaviours the role requires.
Think of examples from your recent work or academic experience that demonstrates them well.
Use the STAR technique – Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Ensure That You Have Checked the Requirements for the Online Test
Knowing what equipment you can use in the test (such as whether a calculator is allowed) will mean that you give yourself the best chance of success.
You do not want to make the test harder for yourself by not using all resources available to you.
Key Tips for Getting Hired at the Co-op
Being successful at the five-stage recruitment process requires preparation, self-awareness, a willingness to learn and a desire to work as a Co-op member.
Here are some key tips for being successful at the Co-op assessment test and getting hired.
Research the Co-op
Questions are often asked at the interview on why you want to work at the Co-op.
By being aware of the company, its values and how Co-op makes a difference to its local community, you will be better placed to show to the interviewer your desire to work for the Co-op.
It is also a good idea to keep up to date with any recent developments happening within the Co-op by checking the Our Stories section on their website.
Research the Role You Have Applied for
By researching the role and being clear on the behaviours and competencies the role requires, you can then demonstrate, through examples, how you exemplify everything they are looking for.
You do not want to put in the effort to prepare examples for behaviours not expected of your role (for example, team leadership in an entry-level customer service role), so it is important to research your chosen role and focus your energy on what is relevant.
Read Through the Interview Preparation Pack Provided By the Co-op
The Co-op candidate commitments ensure that all candidates receive information on the recruitment process.
As part of this, candidates who make it to the interview stage are given a preparation pack.
To give yourself the best chance at success, you should read through this and follow up on anything that you want more information on.
Bring Any Requested Documentation/Evidence and a Copy of Your Resume
As part of the recruitment process, you may be asked to provide written documentation or evidence to support your application; often, this can be proof of qualifications.
The company may also request that you bring proof of identity to your interview, such as a passport.
Proof of qualifications and other supporting documentation are necessary as part of the pre-employment screening checks that occur after you have received an offer, but often employers request you bring this documentation to the interview so that there are no delays should you be successful.
Ensure that you know what documentation you need to provide and have this to hand so you do not slow down the recruitment process.
Prepare Questions of Your Own Ahead of Your Interview
Asking questions yourself at the end of an interview can be a strong way to finish.
You can use these questions to find out more about the organization and to show the interviewer that you are interested in the role and the Co-op itself.
These questions could focus on how the Co-op deals with challenges it has faced – for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic – or what the interviewer enjoys about working at the Co-op.
By asking questions, you are also gaining a better insight into the role and the Co-op. This can help you decide whether the company and working culture are right for you.
The Co-op has a clear five-stage interview process for all roles.
As a candidate, being clear on what each stage of Co-op assessment tests involves and preparing appropriately for each will give the best chance of success.
Research forms the foundation of all triumphs.