Coca-Cola EP answer your questions about getting graduate jobs and opportunities during Covid19

Coca-Cola European Partners are a dedicated team of some 23,500 people in 13 countries, working together to make and sell the world's greatest brands across Western Europe. CCEP Bulgaria, with 2 offices in Sofia and Varna, is a home to a large part of their Finance Shared Services Centre, a Reporting and Analysis Centre of Expertise, and parts of the HR, Procurement and BPT teams. 

The Bulgarian Talent Acquisition team has very kindly taken the time to answer questions from careers services at universities across the UK regarding graduate job recruitment in the current climate, and have shared photos of their company culture while working at home. Their answers give invaluable advice to students and graduates to help them in their job search in this unprecedented time.

GradLink would like to extend a huge thank you to our friends at CCEP for taking their time to share their experience and expertise.

UWE Bristol

Given the current situation, what advice would you give to graduates looking to start their career with a global company like Coca-Cola European Partners?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, moving forward with a career might seem complicated. This is a unique situation none of us could have predicted. Be flexible and patient as you approach HR professionals, as they will be helping their current employees adapt to the change. If there are no positions open at CCEP at the moment, feel free to reach our team and learn about our future plans. Companies like Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) still want to build their talent pipeline at this time, so stay in touch.

University of Oxford

What advice would you give to students about networking effectively online? Is LinkedIn still the go to platform for connecting with employers?

Networking isn’t about how many connections you have on social media, but how you interact with those people. Have a clear idea of why you are approaching someone and do your research. Be authentic, show interest and ask questions, but be patient and give them time to respond. Try to engage with presenters at webinars – it’s a good way to attract attention to yourself. Your personal brand is a long-term investment, especially in the Bulgarian labour market, so focus on your development and attitude.

LinkedIn is still an effective way to network online. But don’t limit yourself to using the channel to contact employers. Build an impressive profile, connect with thought leaders, follow the market trends in the industry you’d like to develop. It’s important to use other platforms. For example, Facebook isn’t just for fun but serious discussions. Many businesses have a local page on different channels – it’s way to interact, follow news and attend online events. CCEP Bulgaria pages will be launched soon, so remember to follow us.

University of Nottingham

In light of the current situation, are there any additional skills Coca-Cola European Partners in Bulgaria would want to see candidates demonstrate? If so, what would these be and how do you think candidates could demonstrate these in applications, assessment centres and/or interviews?

CCEP Bulgaria has a long-term vision for development within our Finance area. We’re interested in Finance candidates with a strong desire to learn and build themselves as professionals. This is important because we invest time and effort in our people’s learning and development. Most of our leadership roles go to employees who are willing to move around and across the business. In addition, we focus on soft skills. Not just subject matter experts, but candidates with the skills to become successful mentors, team leaders and people managers. Those who are good with people as well as processes.

University of Hertfordshire

Our international students living in the UK are showing resilience in dealing with the pandemic away from their home country. Many will be disappointed to not be able to take up internships, work shadowing and research projects this summer. In lieu of this work experience, what would Coca-Cola European Partners look for on a CV to demonstrate a strong candidate?

Relevant experience is always a good start, but many students can’t get this until they graduate. However, they can attend online classes and webinars, and highlight any extracurricular activities, interest groups and seminars they’ve attended. They should check the skills needed for the role and build their CV around it, linking their personal qualities to what they want to achieve in the future. And since we’re a Finance Shared Service Centre, students should also focus on improving their finance knowledge this summer. Boosting their Microsoft Excel skills is always a good idea.

Fitting in with a company’s culture is another major factor. For example, our culture in CCEP is defined by how we work as individuals, with colleagues and with customers. Therefore, we have our five ways of working:

  • Focus on Customers & Frontline
  • Listening & Caring
  • Passion for Growth
  • Empowered to Win Together
  • Execute with Speed & Agility”), which help bring our culture to life.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of undertaking selection practices online? We heard from an employer recently that it made it easier to overcome unconscious bias as individuals were being assessed more on what they said, rather than how they looked etc.

CCEP will always give fair attention to all our candidates. We consider it an extremely important step in the selection process. As an international organisation, we have a standardised interview format used for all countries, which reflects our ways of working, as well as tips on how to avoid unconscious bias during the hiring process. Our Talent Acquisition team try to show candidates our real company culture – even the little details like a friendly welcome, meet and greets, and giving plenty of information about next steps. We train our hiring managers in how to lead an interview, get the most from a candidate and learn about people’s talents. 

Our goal is also to protect people’s inherent rights and freedoms. Inclusion and Diversity is an important topic for us. We do more than follow the legislation – we create an inclusive environment through training and volunteering activities. Because want to foster a culture where everyone is treated equally, with dignity and respect.

Kings College, London

How has your approach to the application/interview process changed in the light of the current situation?

It hasn’t changed much. We’re using our normal systems and processes for the application, screening, and the offer stages. The major difference comes in the interviewing and onboarding stages, which now happen digitally rather than in-person. Safety is our priority, so face-to-face interviews were stopped before even the official lockdown measures were introduced. At CCEP, we already use digital technologies during the selection process, so this isn’t too unusual for us.

University of Bath

How can students best adapt to and prepare for virtual group exercises (in comparison to face-to-face group work at assessment centres)?

While we love opportunities to interact with candidates in-person and show off our world-class office spaces, the safety and well-being of our employees and candidates is our top priority. In these challenging times, there are things you can do to prepare for virtual meetings and exercises:

  • Take some time to set up your physical space (find the most comfortable position and remove any unnecessary objects that might distract you).
  • Test your technology in advance (test your internet connection, webcam, microphone, etc.)
  • Practice – do a mock virtual interview/meeting with a friend beforehand.
  • Bring your true self – no need for official dress code, just something casual and comfortable.
  • ENJOY the meeting!

What sort of attraction campaign do you think you will be able to run given the current situation, and how can students best adapt and prepare for these?

We’ll mainly focus on social media attraction campaigns. We’ll use several different social media channels to locate a diverse and multi-skilled talent pool – and to interact with people in different ways. The Covid-19 pandemic will eventually pass, but we will look for candidates who have been proactive during this period. Their ability to be flexible in the current situation is a good indication to how well they’ll do at a brand like Coca-Cola European Partners.

University of Portsmouth

As you are a global organisation, how does the recruitment situation differ within your different markets at the moment, in terms of the impact of the Covid-19 situation?

An advantage of being a global organisation is, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, our processes are standardised across all countries. And all our locations collaborate to add new ways to care for our candidates, employees and communities. The Global Talent Acquisition team is actively working on our social media strategy, so hopefully soon we’ll be able to meet virtually through new local social media channels. Until then you can learn more on our new careers website : www.ccep.jobs

No doubt Bulgaria stands out as being slightly different, as it’s home to our Finance Shared Services Centre. We don’t have any production in Bulgaria which is different to the  rest of the countries in our group. The recruitment situation differs within our markets depending on the country specifics and local needs. And even at this time:

  • Supply chain and field sales professionals are still critical to serving our customers.
  • Finance, planning and performance roles are essential to analysing and deciding where to allocate our efforts.
  • Support functions are needed to care for our people, culture and morale.

So we hope to get back to hiring as usual after this summer. And although we had to postpone our Annual Internship program, we will let you know when it’s been relaunched.

We would welcome your thoughts on what you believe the impact of the Covid-19 situation over the next 1-2 years is likely to be on your recruitment patterns?

It will have an impact on how we work in the future and it’s unlikely anyone will go back to exactly how things were. Over the next few months, we’ll continue to focus on our digital interactions with students, and will look to develop new communication channels over time. Both ourselves and candidates will have to be agile in adapting, as changes to social trends and the labour market take place over time.

University of Sussex

Which sectors are recruiting internationally in the current pandemic situation? Is there any emerging pattern of sectors that are stronger or weaker?

The Covid-19 domino effect started with the travel industry, but hospitality isn't far behind. As part of the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry (FMCG), CCEP will without doubt be impacted – especially as our Hotel, Restaurant and Café’ channel has been effected during lockdown. In order to respond to the situation, the management team has taken steps to support our customers, our communities and preserve the long-term future of the business.

It’s a challenging time for every industry. Remember, even companies who haven’t been impacted directly have clients, partners and communities who are struggling. But we believe that companies who are flexible, adopt new technologies, have an progressive mindset and are open to diverse talents – such as ourselves – will recover well.

Are there any potential skills that are changing in demand with recruiters?

This pandemic has changed the world. The way we live and the way we work won’t be the same anymore. Therefore, the most important skill for each of us will be the ability to adapt to the new reality. Being flexible, gaining new skills and knowledge, and applying it to our jobs will become more and more essential for both individuals and businesses.

University of Sheffield

If Coca-Cola European Partners offers virtual placement opportunities, how do they convey corporate business culture/value and create a virtual business environment for the students?  

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, CCEP was flexible about allowing some remote working opportunities, but office-based working was the norm. We give our people everything they need to be comfortable and motivated during the working day, and have plenty relaxing and social aspects that strengthen our culture – from massage, yoga, dance class areas to free fruit and drinks.

Now, we’re trying to bring more digital services to employees, including online induction sessions for new joiners, an online Coronavirus employee support hub, mental-health training (including access to our Employee Assistance Program) and tips on working from home. And to help our people feel connected, we launched ‘Redline’ – our brand-new internal social media for CCEP employees. It allow employees to stay up-to-date on:

  • Company news and local updates
  • Work anniversaries
  • Communication from our People and Culture team
  • Life@CCEP for events, activities and entertainment (games, quizzes, competitions, volunteering etc.)

We are now beginning to plan when and how our people can return to the office. We will have focus groups and carefully assess all the risks, but we will return stronger and more connected as a team, more resilient to future challenges. We hope to meet you virtually very soon and see how you’ fit in with our culture.

Working with help

  • Sport

    Weekly Cooking Challenges

  • Enjoying our drinks

  • #eggchallenge@home

    Hidden talents

  • Celebrations

Follow us on your preferred social media to find out more about our upcoming digital events and look out for us at the virtual job fairs. We look forward to meeting you!

Stay tuned for more…

We would like you to share with us an example of the last books/articles/ videos you explored during the lockdown period!

Thank you for your time and  our Talent Acquisition team will be happy to receive your ideas to our corporate e-mails:

Yoanna Georgieva: yoanna.georgieva@ccep.com

Desislava Kecheva: dkecheva@ccep.com

Emil Kaprelov: ekaprelov@ccep.com

By GradLink Published: Jun 18,2020