In 2014, ALDI rose to second position in the Times Top 100 league table of graduate employers. It employs 27,000 people in the UK. I oversee the ALDI Academy, the business’s UK recruitment and training department, and manage ALDI’s north west region, comprising 68 stores and more than 2,500 employees.
Extending our reach
ALDI targets professionals looking for a career change, as well as recent graduates, through social media, digital advertising and media relations, to reach an audience with a wider skills base. Through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, we highlight the values of the company, offer application tips to candidates and answer frequently asked questions.
We think it’s important for our area managers to share their experiences of their jobs to ensure candidates have a good understanding of what’s required. ALDI relaunched its careers website last year to include case study videos from area managers and directors, providing firsthand accounts of their roles. We also have 55 brand ambassadors at 28 target UK universities, who promote the area manager programme.
Representatives have a presence at university fairs to create brand awareness and to engage with potential candidates through private presentations. Our area manager programme offers graduates responsibility and progression. After a year of training, they oversee a portfolio of three to five stores, and provide direction and leadership to store management teams.
"We have 55 brand ambassadors at 28 target universities across the UK."
ALDI recruits around 150 graduates annually for the area manager programme and 500 apprentices for our stores and logistics schemes. We have a rigorous and comprehensive recruitment procedure for all roles, designed to assess candidates’ strengths, academic achievements and attitude.
The selection process includes competency-based tests, a video interview, and group and individual interviews. The final stage involves candidates taking part in a one-to-one interview with a regional managing director. Candidates applying for the area manager role require a 2:1 degree or equivalent, and a full UK driving licence.
From a personal perspective, moving from the store operations side of the company to set up the ALDI Academy was a significant challenge within my role. It happened at a time of growth and the demand for new recruits was high. With ALDI opening 80 new stores a year over the next few years, I find it rewarding to be responsible for an entire region, as well as working with my team to drive the business forward.