Applications: Part 3 #interviews #assessment

Find out about the assessment centre aspect of our selection process, and get some tips on how to get the most out of them.

Assessment centres are used by many employers when recruiting graduates and each employer will have their own specific structure and exercises. The benefits for us as the recruiter is that we have the opportunity to see how you perform in particular scenarios and understand how you could potentially contribute to the business. The benefit for you as a potential employee is the opportunity to meet a range of senior managers from across the business and understand more about the company’s culture.

In Musgrave, we will have a maximum of 12 applicants at any one assessment centre so you’re not an anonymous face in a crowd.  Our assessment centres are function specific and only graduates being considered for that function will be invited to attend on the day i.e. if you are invited to our Supply Chain assessment centre, you are only being considered for a role in the Supply Chain Programme.

Assessment centre activities can vary from a practical exercise to group discussions to analytical presentations.  All of these activities are typically based on material given to you on the day so you can’t prepare the content in advance. In addition to a group or practical exercise, you will be interviewed at the Musgrave Assessment Centre.

In preparing for an assessment centre, you can consider what competencies the recruiters may be looking at in each activity and be conscious of your contributions in the exercise. Competencies are desirable qualities for particular roles such as:  communication skills; strategic thinking; drive; creative thinking, resilience, etc.  Take the example of a group discussion. Assessors will be interested in understanding how you contribute to group decision making and will assess you on both your interpersonal interactions as well as how you manage the information. You can find out more about the competencies that we are looking for here.

The best advice we can give you before starting an assessment centre is to focus on being the best version of yourself on the day. Sometimes candidates can get caught up with nerves and focus on competing with others on the day.  Competition can be good for you but not to the extent that you forget the overall objective – that is to demonstrate your ability to a potential employer. Knowing the company’s values and industry practice can also inform your approach in the assessment centres.


Interviews are a core step in the selection process and there is a lot you can do to prepare in advance.  Graduate Programmes are focused on hiring for potential. We understand you may not have extensive work experience right now. Focus on the skills you do have from your experiences in work/college/sports and how you can demonstrate these to us.

Interviews will usually focus on a review of your CV before leading into competency-based/behavioural questions.  These are questions such as “Tell us about a time where you worked as part of a team?”  or “give us an example of where you made a mistake?”  As interviewers, these questions allow us to understand how you behaved in the past which can help us predict how you may behave in future.

When asked an open question like that, it can be tempting to waffle on in very general terms.  Instead think about STAR.  STAR is a recommended method of talking about your experience so that interviewers can get all the information they need in a logical sequence.

Situation: Set the context of your example (where, when, who, etc.)

Task: What did you have to do? Remember this is about you, not the rest of your team so be clear about what your role was.

Action: What did you do to respond to the task?  Be clear about what actions you took to complete this.

Result: What was the end result of your actions? Was it successful or not? What did you learn? Did anything change as a result? Were there measurable results?

 Our Top Tips

  • You are there to be assessed, it’s in the name! We can only assess competencies based on the evidence we see on the day so participate fully in all activities.
  • If one activity doesn’t go your way, shake it off and move to the next activity. We assess across all activities on the day.
  • Review the competencies we are looking for and what examples you can show to demonstrate these competencies.
  • Be familiar with your CV and be prepared to talk about your previous work experience and what you have learned e.g. customer service, organisation skills, event management and so on.
  • If you’re not clear on what’s being asked, ask the interviewer to clarify it rather than answering the wrong question.
  • Be passionate (or at least interested!) in the job and industry for which you have applied. Assessors will spot someone just going through the motions.
  • Find a technique that works for you to calm any nerves.
  • When completing activities virtually, make sure you will be in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and that you have a good internet connection.  Use virtual backgrounds if you believe that your background may be distracting.
Find your answer in our frequently asked questions.
What do I need to consider before I apply?

Add to your email contacts to make sure you receive our application updates

– Make sure your CV is saved in PDF or Word format as other formats may not be supported on our recruitment system

– Are there specific academic criteria for your preferred role? If we are looking for specific qualifications, we will apply these criteria for shortlisting candidates. You may be considered for your second preference if you do not meet specific criteria for your preferred role.

I've submitted my application, what happens next?

We’ll email you within 24 hours of submitting your application inviting you to complete our online assessments. This email will come from so make sure you mark this email as safe. Depending on your email filters, it may be directed to your spam folder. Keep an eye on the inbox and spam of the email you used for your application. If you have not received this email within 48 hours, contact us on requesting this to be resent. This will be resent where applicable within the time-constraints of the application process.

I haven't received details of the online assessments after submitting my application.

This email will come from  so make sure you mark this email as safe. Depending on your email filters, it may be directed to your spam folder. Some spam folder settings will automatically delete all emails after 30 days. If you have not received this email within 48 hours of submitting your application, or believe that it may have been deleted from your spam folder, contact us on requesting this to be resent. This will be resent where applicable within the time-constraints of the application process.

When will I find out if I have been successful?

We’ll contact you as soon as possible after each stage of the recruitment process. Correspondence up to the assessment centre stage is through email so please check your email regularly. Depending on your email filters sometimes our email may end up in your spam folder, check this out if you haven’t heard from us and ensure you have marked our email as safe.

How many graduates do you hire each year?

We’re a fast-moving business and our opportunities change from year to year to meet our business requirements. We typically hire between 10-20 graduates each year.

Can I reapply next year if I don’t get onto the programme this year?

Yes, you can apply the next year if unsuccessful in your application.

Do I need a specific degree to be considered for Musgrave?

Many of our opportunities are open to graduates from all degree backgrounds. Where we do look for a specific qualification, we’ll specify it in the role description so check out Our Opportunities page. If we are looking for specific qualifications, we will apply these criteria for shortlisting candidates.

How recently should I have graduated?

Our roles are aimed at grads who are looking for their first or second job. However, if you are interested in a career with Musgrave and have more experience you can apply directly for any of our current vacancies on

What is the minimum requirement to be eligible for the graduate programme?

Successful applicants must have graduated, or be on track to graduate, with an Honours Primary Degree (Level 8 NFQ). For roles where a specific degree or discipline is specified, we will apply these criteria for shortlisting candidates.

I need a work permit. Are you able to organise that for me?

It is a requirement that you are eligible to work in the Republic of Ireland. If you do not hold an appropriate work permit, regretfully we cannot take your application further. If you are successful in your application with us, we will support the required documentation for future permit application and provide financial support.

Why do I have two role choices on the application form?

We ask for your two preferred graduate roles to understand how you want to develop your career. We’ll consider your application based on your first preference as much possible. We may consider you for your second choice if we feel this would be more suited to your profile or if your academic qualifications do not meet criteria for specific role if required e.g. if you apply for an IT role and you do not hold a relevant IT/technical degree or masters.

Do I need to know what area I want to work in?

Our graduate roles are designed to provide you with the skills and knowledge to progress to business roles in specific areas e.g. if you join our buying programme, you will work in buying teams for the two years of the programme to gain the experience needed to become a buyer for our leading retail and wholesale brands. We recommend you go through our Opportunities carefully and make an informed decision on which area appeals most to your career ambition.

What's the salary?

Starting salary for roles based in the Republic of Ireland is €31,000 gross per annum and increases after 12 months subject to performance. You are also eligible to a bonus on successful completion of the Programme.

What is the duration of the graduate programme?

The Programme runs for two years, apart from the finance which runs for three years. We hire on a fixed-term contract initially and will work with high performing graduates to provide you with suitable career moves in our business post-Programme.

Will I change locations during the programme?

Depending on your graduate role, you will work in at least two of our divisional headquarters throughout the programme. These may be located in Dublin, Cork or Belfast. Check out our Opportunities to see where the roles are based and whether the role has a geographical rotation. If such a rotation is required, it forms part of your contract.

The majority of our opportunities are hybrid with teams typically working 1-2 days in the office.

What's involved in the Musgrave development programme?

The Musgrave Graduate development programme is a bespoke development programme to support the professional and personal development of our graduates. It comprises in-person and virtual modules over 2 years focused on areas such as personal growth, strategy, financial acumen, project management. You will also receive individual coaching as part of the Graduate development Programme and will work on a business projects which you will present to our CEO and senior leaders.

Can I work remotely?

All Musgrave colleagues in office-based roles have the option to work in a hybrid role, with time spent in the office to collaborate and engage, and time working remotely. We calling this Work Smart @ Musgrave and details will be shared with successful applicants. Typically colleagues will spend 1-2 days in the office per week however it can vary by team.

Will I work with specific brands or across the whole business?

Depending on the role, you may work across several brands while on the Programme to give you wide exposure of our business. Details of the brands involved in each opportunity are included in the role descriptions on Our Opportunities

I want to study for a professional accountancy qualification, will you support this?

We support our Finance graduates in studying for the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) qualification via the CGMA Finance Leadership Program provided by CIMA. This is an online learning program, similar in scope and rigour to a master’s degree, that teaches the finance, business, people, and leadership skills needed to succeed in the finance team of the future. All learning, assessments and Case Study exam preparation takes place within the comprehensive FLP platform. Musgrave provides financial support and study leave for our Finance graduates to undertake this study pathway. We do not currently support other accountancy study pathways.

Where can I get more information?

Connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook  for regular updates, you can also visit our corporate website to find out more about Musgrave

Are there opportunities to work abroad?

Currently all our graduate roles are based on the Island of Ireland.