I had just finished 2 years of study in Germany and was looking for a dynamic, interesting role in a large multinational company and came across the Lidl Careers Website. I had met some Lidl employees in Germany at a careers fair and felt the company overall offered every thing I was looking for. Buyers in Lidl require a good level of German due to the interaction with suppliers and other Lidl countries around the world. It was the ideal company for me and my academic background.
My degrees had a massive focus on the international environment that is modern day business which is very applicable to the role of a buyer. Having my course split between 2 years in Ireland and 2 years in Germany was definitely an advantage as I got to understand how the different countries operate in the business field.
The selection process in Lidl was a bit different then how it is now. I had two interviews, with the second consisting of me presenting a case study. Having the language was fundamental as a good level of German is a key need for a buyer to operate effectively. There is rarely a day in my role where I don't speak German.
The buying team operates in a fast-paced, pressurised environment and that can take some getting used to. I look at it as a positive as you are always busy and never get bored on the job. Traditionally young graduates aren't given a lot of responsibility, however in Lidl that isn't the case. Young managers in Lidl are entrusted with a high level of responsibility which I found slightly intimidating at the start but is something I am very proud of and comfortable with.
We are very proud in Lidl Ireland of our export business with our Irish supplier around Europe and having German is a key component of this. Unlike a lot of multinational companies, that have English as their internal language, we speak German when it comes to interacting with our colleagues in different European countries regarding export projects and promotional activity. On top this we have a lot of dealings with international suppliers of ours based in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and it is key that we are able to communicate with them effectively.
Getting working experience with your language of choice is a major benefit. Being able to converse and write in a social context is obviously a great skill to have however, if you want to stand out, knowing how to use the language in a business environment can be a major highlight for an employer. I would recommend that any young graduate involved with languages goes out and makes the effor t to go and work in the language that they are studying, ideally in a native speaking country. Most of Europe is familiar with the internship model and this something that is rarely availed of by Irish students outside of Ireland, but it is something that could bring your language skills to a whole new level.