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Hints and Tips

Got a question about applying for a job with us? Or our recruitment process? Or just around working here? Then this is where you'll find the answer.

Tips on applying

How do I know if I’m right for a job at Direct Line Group?

As a national insurer and a major UK brand, we look for people with a wide range of skills. Generally, if you're enthusiastic, good with people, full of great ideas and can think on your feet, you’ll find something to suit you here.

Of course, we do have some specialist jobs, too – say in HR, IT, insurance-related areas such as underwriting, and in our auto repair centres. These are the teams that may look for relevant experience, along with your positive attitude.

How do I find a job to suit me?

Finding a job can be stressful, time-consuming and, frankly, a bit of a hassle. So, you need to think carefully about what jobs will be right for you.

Think honestly about what you actually enjoy doing. This could be something you’ve done in the past, or the kind of skills you like using. For instance, do you like to be outdoors or indoors? Working on your own or in a team? And what are you good at that most people aren’t?

Make a list of these and then try to match a job to them. As an example, if you like solving problems, working with numbers and talking to people, you could be right for a number of our roles - after all, we don’t just offer insurance related jobs. Then once you’ve found a job that sounds interesting, try to talk to someone who does it. That’ll give you the lowdown on the pros and cons.

Finally, don’t expect to find the perfect job first time, but look for jobs that’ll help you build more experience and learn more about what you do and don't enjoy.

How do I make my CV stand out?

Your CV should cover the main things that will help us decide if you’re right for us. Try to keep it as short as possible (ideally two to four pages), but don’t leave anything important out. And give it a structure, so it’s easy to read.

Start with your contact details and a short personal statement that tells us why you’re right for this job. Then tell us about your previous jobs – explaining any gaps – and your education and qualifications. Give us a short overview of anything else that might be relevant for the job you’re applying for. Finally, don’t forget to include two references – including one from a previous job.

It’s important to back up what you tell us. For example, don’t just say you’re a good communicator. Instead, tell us about how you motivate your team, or present to managers.

One final thing – before you send it to us, always do a spell check.

What should I put in my covering letter?

The first thing to say about your covering letter is that it shouldn’t just repeat what’s in your CV. It’s really your chance to tell us about you as a person and why you really want to join us.

It’s the first thing we’ll read, so it’s got to make a good impression. How? Well, try to keep it to one page, split it into short paragraphs, with short, clear sentences. And don’t just print off the last letter you wrote – each one should be about the specific job you’re applying for.

You need to give it a convincing opening and an equally strong ending and write it from your point of view - “I’m writing to apply for this job because I think I’d be right for it, based on my background in…”

How can I prepare for an online test?

The online test is part of our application process. You have to do it all in one session and it should take around 20 minutes. So, first of all, it’s important to set aside enough time to finish it. Although that doesn’t mean you have to do all the online application in one go – you can save your application and come back to it at any time. It’s only the test that has to be done all at the same time.

Before you do the real thing, you can try out some sample questions first. You’ll find some samples and tips on how to prepare here.

I’ve been asked for money to process my application. Is that right?

No, this is a scam run by criminals and has nothing to do with us.

Usually, the fraudsters pose as Direct Line Group on a recruitment website. If you apply, they tell you that you’re right for us, but you need to pay them to process your application.

We want to make it clear that we and all our recruitment partners will never ask you for money as part of our recruitment process. 

These are the things that’ll tell you it’s fraud:

  • They use an email address that isn’t from Direct Line Group
  • Their use of English is poor
  • At some stage, they ask for money
  • They offer you a job before you’ve had an interview

If you see an advert or are contacted by anyone who claims to be from Direct Line Group, but you’re suspicious, the best thing is not to reply to them and give their details to your local police station. Whatever you do, never give them your personal or financial details.

Can I apply if I am studying?

If you’re interested in a graduate role then you can apply, but your academic results will be checked and you’ll need to meet our A-levels and degree classification.

I’ve already graduated. Can I still apply to the graduate training scheme?

Yes. We welcome people who’ve already graduated or who are studying for a postgraduate qualification. We value any extra experience or skills you may have gained during the time you spent working or studying.

Graduates / Apprenticeship - I was unsuccessful in my application – how long do I have to wait before reapplying?

If you’re unsuccessful at any stage of the application process you’ll need to wait twelve months from the date of your last application.

Acing the interview

How do I make the best impression at my interview?

It's easy for us to say don’t be nervous. But one thing to remember is that we already think you could do the job – that’s why we’ve asked you for an interview.

There's plenty you can do before the day itself. Research the company and the job, and have a question or two ready to ask about what you find out. It all shows how interested you are in getting the job. If you’re nervous about the process, you could try a few mock interviews, too. Jot a few questions down you expect to be asked and either get a friend to pretend to be the interviewer or sit in front of a mirror and practice your answers. It all helps you to think about how you can be positive and show your strengths.

First impressions count, so on the day get there on time. Whilst we have a relaxed dress code, it's best to dress smartly for your interview. When you meet the interviewer smile, make eye contact and give them a confident handshake. Remember that the interview’s about us both finding out if we’re right for each other. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions at any time. It shows you’re keen to get all the information you need. Just try not to interrupt the interviewer – wait for a natural pause.

Most of all, try to relax and stay positive, upbeat and outgoing. In short, be your natural self – after all, that’s what we want to see.

What will my interview involve?

Depending on the job you've applied for, you'll have one of two types of interview. It might be a traditional interview when we sit down with you and ask some questions to find out about your background and experience. Or it could be a competency-based interview. This is designed to test your skills and experience by asking about how you've dealt with certain situations in the past.

If you're in a competency-based interview, you need to make sure you give a clear description of what the situation involved, what you personally did and what the result was. Then tell us what you learned from it and what you'd do differently. This will give us a good impression of how you cope with different situations.

What kind of questions will I be asked and how should I handle them?

We ask a variety of questions, depending on the job the interview’s for. But generally, there are three types of question we might ask.

The first one’s a specific question about a particular work situation. So, we might ask you how you’d deal with an angry customer. If you’ve got an example of how you’ve dealt with this in the past, then that’s great. If not, it’s a chance to show your skills, experience and ability to think on your feet.

The second type of question is an open-ended, more general question, such as: What is good customer service? This is designed to see how much you understand about the job and the company’s culture.
 
The third type of question will usually aim to find out about your character and personality – how you might fit into a team, or a high pressure atmosphere, or how self-motivated you are.

The important thing with all these questions is to give as detailed an answer as possible, ideally with examples from your previous work.

What should I expect at an assessment centre?

If we invite you to an assessment centre, it’ll be in one of our offices and we’ll ask you to do one or more exercises to help us decide if you’re right for the job. The exercises might include:

Presentation – We might ask you to give a short presentation on a particular subject. If we do, we’ll let you know in advance what the topic is and how long your presentation should be.

Group exercise – Sometimes we want to assess how you work with others. We’ll want to see how you contribute to the task, as well as how you influence and communicate with the team. 

Role play – We’ll tell you what the exercise is about before it starts and you’ll act it out with an assessor.

In-tray exercise – You’ll have lots of pieces of information and will need to prioritise them. It’s designed to see how you assess complex facts and figures and make decisions under pressure.

Case study – You’ll need to assess some documents and make recommendations based on them in a presentation or a short, written report. It’s testing how you analyse information, make judgements and express your opinions.

Written exercise – You might need to write a letter or a report. The important thing is to show how you plan, prioritise, solve problems and make decisions based on the details we give you.

Psychometric Assessment – You’ll answer multiple choice questions within a time limit, either online or on a printed sheet.

I have a disability which means I’ll need an adjustment for me to attend an interview. What should I do?

If you need anything adjusted to help you apply, come for an interview or join us, due to a disability, please call our Candidate Services Team on 0345 877 6309.

What we look for

How do I know if I’m right for Direct Line Group?

That's a difficult question to answer, because our business teams look for people with a wide variety of skills and experience.

In our contact centres, for instance, we don't look for specific qualifications. But you do need to be a great communicator, comfortable using your initiative, and able to handle the pressure. While in sales, you need that competitive edge to pass your targets. And in a lot of our insurance roles, we look for a combination of commercial nous and customer service.

But mostly what we look for is an enthusiasm for learning new skills, a drive to find better ways of doing things and a desire to give our customers the best insurance products around.

What do I need to be eligible to apply for a job with Direct Line Group?

We need to be sure that our customers and staff are protected, so we do thorough referencing and background checks on people who apply to work here. So, we’ll ask you to bring original documents to your interview that show your:

Right to work in the UK – This could be a passport with valid Home Office work permit or visa endorsements, or a UK birth certificate with proof of your National Insurance number.

Address – A bank statement or utility bill from the last three months. You’ll also need to give us details of all previous addresses, including when you were a student.

Employment history – A payslip, P45 or P60 showing your current employer dated within the last three months, as well as details of previous employers for the past two years. Alternatively, documents to show another activity, such as a child’s birth certificate, travel documents, academic qualification certificates or unemployment benefits. We’ll take up references with previous employers or tutors, but will only contact your current employer after you’ve given us permission.

Details of criminal or civil proceedings – We’ll conduct both a criminal and credit checking. The job we offer you will be subject to successful employment and credit references.

Does having a disability affect my application?

Not at all. At DLG we’re committed to encouraging diversity in the recruitment, retention and development of our people. Any data you provide will be held in strict confidence and will help us to make any reasonable adjustments necessary. It’ll also allow us to track how successful we are in recruiting talented people, irrespective of difference.

What do you look for other than good grades in a potential employee?

There’s no single type of person who succeeds at DLG, but we do look for people with something special to offer. We’re just as interested in other aspects of your experience and other parts of your character.

Overall, we look for people with a curiosity to find out more and the ability to think of new ways to solve problems.

Do you have an age limit?

No, age isn’t important to us. We’re an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from all backgrounds. We pride ourselves on our commitment to creating the kind of inclusive workplace that treats everyone with respect, and where people can be themselves and still achieve their potential.

Graduates / Apprenticeships - What are the minimum academic requirements?

As a general rule, you’ll need at least:

  • 2:1 degree, ideally in Finance, Economics, Business, Management, STEM subjects, HR, Marketing, Digital Technologies.
  • Grade B GCSE Maths and grade B GCSE English Language or equivalent.

If you’ve studied abroad, have an international qualification and want to apply to join us, you will need the equivalent.

I don't meet your minimum academic requirements, will I be rejected automatically?

No – if there are extenuating circumstances we will consider the overall application. However, please bear in mind that we’ve developed the criteria as a guide, as to how well you should be able to manage the demands of the role, professional exams and training. So they are very important in the selection process.

Doing our bit

What does the Group do to make sure its business doesn’t damage the environment?

As with our approach to our business, we’re always looking at new and better ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Whether that’s setting targets and acting to reduce our carbon footprint, cutting waste by reusing and recycling materials, or minimising the energy we use.

We recycle 100% of our paper waste and all our office waste is diverted from landfill. At our UK Accident Repair Centres, 61% of non-paper waste was recycled in 2016. At our offices, we recycled 42% of non-paper waste in the same year.

Our office paper is made from recycled material and we’re using new technologies to use less printer and copier paper and to send customers their policy documents electronically.

We’re also cutting our greenhouse gas emissions and won two awards at the Carbon Disclosure Project UK Results event in 2015. Our energy-savings plan for all our buildings is aiming to reduce our energy use by 30% on 2013 levels by 2020 and we buy all our UK electricity on a green tariff.

How does the Group make a difference in the communities it works in?

We think our people are the best ones to lead the way in how we benefit local communities – after all, they live and work there.

That’s why we set up, fund and support local Community and Social Committees. They’re run by local volunteers at each site and run a variety of events and activities. They’re free to come up with their own ideas and link up with local organisations. They’ve supported national charity events, and organised quiz nights, fun runs, balls, festivals, cake sales, sky dives and charity football matches to raise thousands of pounds for local causes.

Join us and you’ll also be encouraged to volunteer with a local organisation of your choice through our 'One Day initiative'. And our Payroll Giving scheme will match your charitable donations up to £50 per month. We also give £250 grants to organisations where our employees regularly volunteer or raise funds.

In 2016, 33% of our people raised funds or volunteered in company time and they donated £149,000 through our payroll giving scheme. We donated a further £100,000 in matched giving and handed out £68,250 in grants.

As well as supporting local charities, we also want to make society a safer place to live and work in for everyone. We aim to influence and contribute to road safety across the UK, particularly by inspiring a generation of safer young drivers.

What do you do to make sure your suppliers are following your lead?

We have an Ethical Code for Suppliers that sets out what we expect from them across our supply chain. After the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015, we extended our Ethical Code to cover a commitment to ensure modern slavery isn’t part of our supply chain.

Who will have access to the information supplied on my application form?

DLG treats any information supplied by you during the application process with the utmost confidentiality. By completing the online application process you’ll be deemed to have agreed to the processing of your data in this manner.

No information supplied will be passed to non-contracted third parties.