Aldi has become the unofficial grocery store of choice for the financial independence movement. They have done an amazing job changing their image during the past several years. When I was in my early 20s it was embarrassing to claim to shop at Aldi, and now it’s the hip thing to do. It’s not just hip in the personal finance community, but in mainstream. New Aldi stores are opening all over the United States. They recently invested $3.4 billion to open 2,500 additional stores nation-wide. Many jobs will become available during the next several years. Individuals may be wondering what it takes to get hired at Aldi.
If you don’t know much about Aldi, below is a summary from their website:
ALDI is a no-frills grocery shopping experience focused on customers first – delivering high quality food they’re proud to serve their family, responsive customer service, everyday low prices and a quick-and-easy shopping experience with only four to five aisles and all the essentials.
We carry the weekly must-haves and display them in their designed shipping boxes to help save time and resources to restock shelves. Shoppers will find more than 90 percent of the groceries we offer are under our ALDI exclusive brands, hand-selected by ALDI to ensure that our products meet or exceed the national brands on taste, quality and, of course, price.
That means you don’t have to worry about which ketchup brand or Greek yogurt brand is best, because we’ve specially curated the best product for you and your family. We can’t promise you’ll find ten choices of the same item, but we can promise you’ll find the best one.
I originally planned to write an introductory post about Aldi, but came across the article below posted at Women Who Money providing an excellent review. Check out their review to learn more about all things Aldi related.
My Experience Recruiting for Aldi
A few disclaimers before jumping into this post. First, I am in no way affiliated with Aldi. It’s been more than five years since I recruited for Aldi, so some things may have changed. The opinions below are reflective of my own personal thoughts and experiences and may vary based on location. Different districts have different practices related to hiring, pay, and store management.
Aldi Employees Work Hard and are Paid Well
Getting a job at Aldi is not a cushy job where you can hang out in the bakery or deli (neither of which they have) all day without much to do. The few employees on hand will be working hard. Cashiers are lightning fast at moving customers through lines while others will be running around keeping shelves stocked. Friends that have worked for Aldi have attested that it’s one of the hardest working jobs they’ve ever had. Where larger grocery stores require dozens of individuals in the store during peak hours, Aldi can run its stores with far fewer employees.
The hard working environment and fewer employees per store allows Aldi to pay their employees really well. By being extremely efficient and requiring that employees work hard, they are able to run a lean operation and compensate the employees in the store well despite their insanely low prices. Cashiers are paid several dollars more per hour than most other retail stores. Working for Aldi isn’t for everyone, but individuals who like to stay busy and work hard are rewarded.
Aldi Uses Recruiters for Most Positions
As mentioned earlier, several years ago my side-hustle was to assist a friend who owned his own recruiting business. His largest client was Aldi. Recruiting can be an amazing side-hustle, though the barriers to entry are really high. Most companies won’t use a recruiter unless they have a strong reputation, and it’s tough to build a strong reputation as a recruiter part time. As a part time recruiter, I recall being fascinated by Aldi’s business model. At the time I couldn’t figure out why more people didn’t shop at Aldi. Over the past few years it appears that the secret is out given Aldi’s increase in growth.
My primary responsibilities as a recruiter included searching job boards for qualified candidates and screening resumes for job postings. Full time staff would conduct the initial interviews and decide who to send on to the client. Working a full time day job, this side-hustle was something I could spend a few hours doing at night.
There are only four positions in a store, though many overlap as anyone could be asked to perform any role in the store at any time. The four in-store roles include cashiers, shift managers, manager trainees, and store managers.
Aldi gives flexibility to its district managers to determine how to source employees. Some district managers elect to use recruiters, some conduct their own job fairs, and some use other methods to hire in-store employees. We used to primarily recruit for shift managers and store manager trainees. Ideal candidates were assistant manager types at other big box retail stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and Target. They look for individuals who are used to being on their feet much of the day in a retail environment due to the demands of the job.
District Manager Hires
Towards the end we also started recruiting for district manager positions. Previously, many of their district managers were hired at Aldi right out of college. Potential district managers go through an intense year-long training program after being hired. District managers are also rewarded with high pay in exchange for hard work.
A new district manager hire starts at $80,000 plus benefits including a fully expensed Audi A3, iPhone, 401(k), insurance, and generous vacation time. A successful district manager could be making six figures in only a few years. The interview process is intense, though for individuals who make the cut it’s not a bad gig, especially for a recent college graduate.
There was a shift towards the end of when I was recruiting. Instead of recruiting district managers right out of college, they started using recruiters more often to get more experienced candidates. Not surprising that recent college graduates with little experience didn’t always pan out as expected. Aldi recruits district managers from good colleges, with high grade point average, and with related experience.
Anyone who has worked in recruiting knows that it can be a challenging job. When you are not salaried, any money you make is completely dependent on placing qualified candidates with your clients. With that being said, recruiting can also be lucrative as clients will often pay 15 to 30 percent of the individual’s starting salary as a commission. The only reason I stopped recruiting was because I took on a management position at my day job, and recruiting for another company, even behind the scenes, could have been a conflict of interest.
Recruiting for Aldi allowed me to better appreciate their business model and hiring practices. I came to appreciate Aldi’s focus on having a diverse workforce from a variety of different backgrounds. Additionally, they are an extremely efficient organization that focuses on low prices, high quality products, and hardworking and efficient employees. There’s a reason why Aldi gets so much publicity in the personal finance space. It’s a no-frills place where you do not pay for the marketing or advertising involved in a product. If you are looking to optimize your grocery store purchases and have an Aldi in your area, I’d highly recommend checking one out.
Retail experience at a big-box outlet improves your chances of getting hired at Aldi. During the interview you’ll want to demonstrate a willingness to work hard in a fast-paced environment. District managers have a higher bar and will require a college degree with impressive credentials. The hiring process can take several weeks or even months. Be patient and enjoy the experience!