Graduates put on fast track to top

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 March, 2006, 12:00am

The retail division of Unilever Hong Kong is recruiting graduates to join its two-year customer development trainee programme, which starts in the middle of the year.

The programme is a fast-track training course aimed at raising graduates to the level of assistant manager in two years.

About 30 candidates will be interviewed to fill two positions. University graduates with more than a three grade point average are being sought.

Olivia Ng, human resources director at Unilever, said that apart from academic qualifications, ideal candidates should be full of energy, creative, action-orientated, people-focused and have a winning mindset.

'I am looking for people who love to be number one,' she said. 'Nowadays, the Hong Kong environment is so competitive that we need a team with a positive attitude that will make things happen. In our recruitment of these trainees, we will also highlight our corporate mission, 'Adding vitality to life', because we want people to join us who can share this mission, who want to help the consumer feel good, look good and get more out of life.'

Candidates will be put through various stages of assessment. This may include a group discussion on current business or community issues, case studies as well as a competency-based interview. They will be judged on how they conduct themselves, how they interact with others and, more importantly, whether they are able to demonstrate that 'winning mindset' without doing so at the expense of others.

Under the tuition of a coach, trainees will complete three assignments during the course: customer management, where they will experience the challenging day-to-day interaction with supermarket buyers; trade marketing, where they will be responsible for executing store marketing plans; and eventually they will be moved out of sales and into the marketing department where they will be introduced to brand building and methods of communicating with consumers.

Following this, the trainees should be ready to take up the position of assistant manager and to independently handle medium-sized accounts, such as cosmetics or grooming. This will progressively lead to the adoption of larger accounts and, ultimately, to the position of account manager.

Ms Ng hoped the trainees would eventually become leaders in the company and aspire to become the head of customer development or trade marketing, or even the managing director of the retail division, a position now held by a former trainee.

'We believe that having solid roots in the company [and] starting your career with Unilever as early as possible makes it easier to grow to be a leader in the company.'