CONGRATULATIONS!! You've secured an interview with a luxury retail company, but before you begin to picture horrific scenes from The Devil Wears Prada , we want to put you at ease about what to expect and how these companies conduct their interviews.
Alex James Bespoke Careers has compiled a list of the top interview tips that our clients told us were important to remember during the interview process.
Understanding the brand that you are interviewing with is the first step to really setting yourself up for a successful meeting. While we are not suggesting you recount Wikipedia pages verbatim with mundane and trivial information, we suggest that you delve deeper into the historic collections and discover the heritage of the brand. Ask yourself:
- Do you understand how the brand has evolved through different collections?
- Do you know what the latest collection looks like?
- Can you describe the emotions the brand is trying to evoke?
- Can you pronounce the name of the brand?
We've all heard the story of 'that' candidate who interviewed with a brand they knew nothing about. Even worse praising the brand with achievements of the competitor. Classics include:
"I aspire to work at Hugo Boss because I really connect with the French heritage" - Hugo Boss is a German brand.
"I love the Bulgari Love Bangle" - The Love Bangle is a Cartier classic.
You should arrive at your first interview with an understanding of what the brand stands for and an even clearer understanding of why the brand connects with you.
Further, ensure you've reviewed the Position Description to make sure you're on top of all the skills required in this role and if there is anything that you don't completely understand, speak with your recruitment consultant to clarify those points.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
We suggest you dress in an manner that is appropriate to the brand you are interviewing with. If its a boutique based role, you should pay a visit to their boutique before your interview and take note of what the teams are wearing. If they are wearing corporate styled uniforms, wear something similar. If they were wearing something more casual, feel free to show some of your personality. Alternatively, if its an office based role, we suggest you wear business attire for your first interview.
We highly suggest covering all tattoos, body piercings and wearing your hair and make-up in a conservative manner. During your interview, you can ask questions about their dress code to understand more about their long-term expectations.
Alex James Bespoke Careers advises arriving to your interview location right on 5 minutes before your scheduled interview time. If you arrive any earlier, it is best to wait nearby before going to reception. You MUST call ahead if there is the slightest chance that you'll arrive even one minute late.
Interview techniques vary from company to company, from a casual coffee and chat to a formal panel style discussion on your merits and work history. But a reoccurring them is for Hiring Managers to throw in a few tricks to see how you cope.
No matter the style, it is important to remember that above all else, you're selling yourself. You're job is to make the employer fall in love with you.
If you do come across questions that you would need to think about before making the commitment, you can always say you are open to considering the option. For example, If you're asked about salary, your answer could simply be "I am open to negotiating when the time comes" rather than a concrete figure that you will not be able to retract later on. It is best to leave the negotiations to your recruitment consultant, as they understand how to get you the best possible outcome.
Lastly, it is not a bad idea to prepare some questions about the role that you may not already know the answers to.
PHONE AND SKYPE INTERVIEWS
Due to the global nature of Luxury Retail, from time to time, you'll be required to interview with a manager who is located overseas or interstate. This must be taken as seriously as a face-to-face interview and invest just as much time in preparation. Its also important to ensure you're dressed as you would for a face-to-face and that you find an appropriate space to have a confidential and commercial discussion. You must remember that you're being assessed at every turn. You're skype name should be professional as well as your choice of interview location. I've heard of candidates interviewing whilst at work and asking the interviewer to hold while they attend to a client. Needless to say, they didn't make it to the next round.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Firstly, you'll want to contact your recruitment consultant as soon as you can after your interview to debrief. We'll want to know how you felt the interview went and in order to determine, we'll ask questions like:
- Did anyone else join your interview?
- How long did your interview go for?
- What kinds of questions did the interviewer ask and how did you answer them?
- Do you feel you were able to demonstrate why you're suitable for this role?
- What did the interviewer say the next stage would be?
- Are you still interested in proceeding with your application?
Next, we'll get feedback from the interviewer once they have completed the round of interviews and talk with them about each candidate. We'll be fighting for you and highlighting what it is we see in you and why we feel you're suitable for the role. We'll get back to you once we have feedback for you and let you know what comes next. If you haven't heard back anything after considerable time, don't hesitate to contact your recruitment consultant and ask for any progress.
It is really important to remember that even if you aren't successful in this role, you may still be considered for another role, especially if you've made a strong connection with the interviewer. A little Alex James touch, and a nice way to say that you appreciate the opportunity is to send a hand-written thank you note. You'd be surprised how you'll stand out if you take the time to make the effort.