Sainsburys Jobs

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 - Blog, Sainsburys Jobs

Sainsburys Jobs

In our regular Thursday Job Application Form series, this post is about applying for Sainsburys Jobs.

We have already done Aldi, Asda, Morrisons and Tescos in this series, so there is lot of information here to apply for Retail Jobs.

Sainsburys background

Sainsbury’s was established as a partnership in 1869 when John James Sainsbury and his wife Mary Ann opened a store at 173 Drury Lane in Holborn, London. A retailer of fresh foods, the trading philosophy was stated as “Quality perfect, prices lower”. The innovative stores featured a whole range of own brand products, served by uniform staff in a shop which had tilled floors and marble work surfaces – different to the saw dust floors and wooden grocery stores of the day. By 1922 the organisation had expanded so quickly that it incorporated as a private company, with each store offering six departments: dairy; bacon and hams; poultry and game; cooked meats; fresh meats; groceries. All store location were chosen to be in the middle of a parade to improve display, and offered home deliveries.

Still highly London based, in the 1930s it bought Midlands based retailer Thoroughgood in 1936. The Second World War was tough for the company, with many stores based in London and food being rationed. In the 1950s, after a visit to the United States, chairman Alan Sainsbury pioneered self-service stores in the UK, opening the first in Croydon in 1950.

After listing o the stock market in 1973, Sainsburys began to enlarge its store portfolio organically, from 10,000sqft to 20,000sqft. The last counter-service stored closed in Peckham in 1982. The SavaCentre brand was co-created with British Home Stores in 1977, with half of the 35,000sqft area devoted to non-food items. In light of competition from Asda and Tesco, these stores were re-branded Sainsburys from 1999.

For much of the 20th century, Sainsburys had been the market leading Uk supermarket. Due to a series of errors in the early 1990s, by 1996 it had lost this to Tesco, and would later be overtaken by Asda. Its was only after the appointment of Sir Peter Davis in 2000, and then current CEO Justin King in 2004, the first non-family members to head uo the companies management, that this trend began to turn. Sainsburys now rivals Asda in turnover, from a relatively smaller store base and square footage.

Sainsburys job application

Sainsburys has its own dedicated jobs portal, which can be found at That is the first .jobs url portal to be investigated in this series.

The front page is bright, clean and matching Sainsburys branding, so in other words: orange and white. At the top are tabs for:

But that’s not all. At the footer of the page you have the additional sections of:

Sainsburys Careers

Sainsbury’s Corporate

If that’s not enough, there is also a dedicated YouTube channel. Two points of note:

  1. There is almost too much information here, which for the job seeker could get confusing. Actually, most of the items in the footer are the commonly-used information pieces in each of the dedicated department sections in the top of page tabs. To me hence, the design brief was to filter job applicants at the top of the page towards departments/careers if you know what you want (big graphics in the middle so that you initially can not see the footer), and give the “not sure but want to work for us” information at the footer. It does work, just a tad initially confusing!
  2. As I always keep saying to job seekers, notice the balance and order of a jobs webpage to be guided and note that employers focus and balance of recruiting policy and requirements. Yes, stores and logistics comes first, but there is a heavy focus here on pharmacy and graduates. The dedicated YouTube channel content is almost all focused on graduate recruitment

This two-point focus carries on down through the top tabs, as long as you know what you want to do. The subsections are tabbed with job titles, which if you click-on give a little bit more about that type of job, all backed by an existing employees experience. But, for instance, how many people would be looking for a “Petrol Customer Service Assistant” job, as opposed to any instore job at their local store?

Secondly there are three tabs to the right of each sub section, common to all of the top page tabs, namely: About; Rewards & Benefits; Search Careers.

Confused? Yes, I was! It is all good stuff, packed full of information, I just think that it is:

  1. Focused on getting you to apply, but then using jargon (too specific job titles, over that store/location)
  2. Too many ways to get at the same information, but at the same time bypassing the common job seeker questions

So lets give you a guide of how to apply for Sainsburys jobs!

Apply for a job at Sainsburys

Here’s our guide on how to apply for a job at Sainsburys, using the information on their jobs portal that you should read:

  1. Start by going to the dedicated jobs portal, which you can find at 
  2. Read the About Us section. There is lots of good information here about the company and its business, and opportunities within
  3. Now read the Rewards section. This, honestly, is horribly impressive. To call it comprehensive is an understatement, both in terms of what it offers the employee and the information that its provides the job seeker. If there is a section of this whole Sainburys employment offer that stands out and shows Sainsburys roots as a family started and orientated company, then this is it. If it doesn’t impress you – personally for me it easily stands next to the excellent package offered by the John Lewis Partnership – then please, read it again
  4. Still unsure if want to work for Sainsburys (be amazed if you don’t after that Rewards package offer), then read the Why Us section. This is a nice HR piece on the whole Sainsburys employment opportunity

Now onto the meat of the information provided to job seekers, which is contained in the What We Are Looking For section. This outlines the six key elements as:

  • Passion
  • Enthusiasm
  • Commitment
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Performance

Finally, if you still have any questions, then read the FAQ section.

As I said above, I think there is lots of great information for job seekers on the Sainsburys Jobs portal. There is just a lot of it, and it makes navigation difficult – hope that the above guide helps!

Sainsburys graduate scheme

Before we get into the task of actually applying for a job at Sainsburys, I have to highlight the focus and excellent information on the Sainsburys graduate scheme, which is called 2020 Leaders. Clicking on that link will take you to an again comprehensive and dedicated Sainsburys graduate scheme portal, which claims that:

2020 leaders is the name for our new graduate programme. Others take you through a ‘scheme’ – we’ll take you to the top.

Putting the spin aside, I think you should take the claim seriously if based on the quality of information provided. The employment industry perceived top retail job graduate schemes are Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer. 2020 looks like a great rival to these, if not in some ways better. It may not have the reputation right now, but some of the other graduate schemes compared to this look neglected and sitting on past laurels.

Sainsburys jobs application form

OK, lets apply for a job. Again, as for all retail jobs, I’ll look for a retail position in the South Wales area.

  1. Before you start your job application, read the Making the most of your Application section. It is again comprehensive, and walks you through the whole job application process with Sainsburys. It tells you about the application process, interview preparation and assessment centres
  2. Click on the Career Search tab (top right of first page, or on each of the dedicated tabs). There are two sections: at the top a search section, allowing searches on postcode, keyword or career groups; a lower section highlighting certain jobs currently available (Job Seekers Note: I view these as the jobs most needing filling, ie: you should stand a good chance of getting employed applying for these positions)
  3. On entering our Cardiff based postcode, I found 9 current vacancies (July 2012), which were shown in the lower section of the screen. Each has a title, location and to the right a yellow “Details and How to Apply” tab.
  4. For the purposes of this exercise, I choose a Convenience Customer Service Assistant position at Barry Park Crescent Local, South Glamorgan
  5. The screen now tabs down (allowing you to potentially compare positions), and offers details on: job description; map of job location; base details of full/part time and pay rates; the working hours (Job Seekers Note: again, this is comprehensive and open. You know what job you are applying for and its requirements)
  6. I was then taken to a dedicated jobs application portal for Sainsburys Local. You are asked to enter an postcode of your home location, and an eMail address. The notes point out that you need to be located within a certain distance of a store to be able to apply, which is common policy in the retail industry. Living outside a 5mile radius of that job, I got rejected!
  7. So, returning to the job search portal, I then applied for a similar position at the Cardiff Bay Bute Street store. Again, I got rejected as being too far away!
  8. Returning for a third time, I used an alternate ID and postcode, and after asking for confirmation of my location for a second time, was taken to a page which expanded on the details given in the search menu.
  9. Clicking on the grey “Apply Now” button at the bottom of the page, you are then taken to page which fulfils two functions: Confirm your Right to work in the UK; registration on the Sainsburys jobs portal
  10. Having registered, a box at the top now advises that you need to confirm your email address, but that this might take 3hours. Secondly, I am dumped in another search page. What happened to that job that I clicked “Apply Now” for? There doesn’t appear to be integration between the jobs section and the job application section, at least for new to Sainsburys job applicants
  11. Job Seekers Note: make a note of the job reference number of the job you apply for. I know, it is crazy but such failures do happen in computer systems = Opps! Secondly, being Welsh based, why is it that all of the English counties have their own drop-down tab in the Area of Country tab, yet Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all singular options? I might just deem that bias and/or poor systems design. What is poor systems design is the size/scale of the font here. If you are sight impaired or even well sighted (I was viewing the information on a 22inch screen), then the way to apply is on the far right of the displayed information boxes
  12. Clicking the apply now button on the far right of the screen (next to each position), now seems bugged! Having got my email confirmation in less than 3minutes, it took five cycles to be able to apply for the job that I had selected. The system at one point (on the job description page) even warned me that if I found that I could not apply for that job, then I was to logout and then log back in. These are basic computer system errors, and the fact that a systems programmer placed such a note within the system strongly suggests that they know that there are computer bugs in the there. Very poor!
  13. I eventually got to an application page! After asking for your name, the next details ask for two referees – so be prepared. The way that you are asked to enter your age seems ageist (I am pre-1979, so that’s three clicks+). Then there’s a “Special arrangements for interviews” question, which is next to confirming that you have now current convictions. I don’t think Sainsburys are ageist or biased, but the layout here is “questionable” at best
  14. I then ran into a series of systems errors. The job application system is based on an Oracle database, and seemed at each of the four steps to fail! As a result, this was the longest job portal write-up that we have so far undertaken, due to errors within the system. Wonder how many job applicants fallout of the system thanks to systems errors?

Sainsburys job application UK

Overall, this was a good job applicant experience, let down by two easily solvable issues:

  1. Overly complex portal design, which borders on the confusing
  2. Basic technical glitches in the job application system

There are a lot of good reasons to work for Sainsburys, and much as I think that the average job seeker could be confused by the portal, I am impressed by the depth of information. There are no excuses for the technical glitches in the job application system (which is basically the old PeopleSoft system, now improved by Oracle), which in this modern age should be easy to solve, and tested – like we have done here – regularly.

Overall, a good experience let down by two issues, which could be quickly and easily improved: 7/10

Good Luck!


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One Response to “Sainsburys Jobs”

  1. Mike Marshall Says:

    I found just what I was having a look for! You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! Thank you, Mike

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