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Interview: Preparation + Character

One of the reasons I launched Merchant Inspired was to help others in the industry grab that dream job or at least get closer to it. It’s the reason I love being a mentor, it’s the reason I added "coach" to my website, and it’s the reason for writing today’s post. And although I have never officially worked for Human Resources, my advice comes from countless interviews I hosted while searching for Assistant and Associate level positions within my career. I have seen first hand what it’s like to nail an interview, or completely blow it (just being honest). My hope is that the suggestions below help you become more prepared, increase your confidence level, and allow you to showcase your inner rockstar at such an important meeting. Let’s get started…

In the retail industry I have seen three mistakes made most often by candidates: they don't physically visit a store prior to the interview, they have no opinion on the current assortment being offered, and they have no idea what the competition looks like. And while you might think that their background and communication skills make up for that- it doesn't. Managers want someone who understands the brand, it's mission, and goes that extra mile to stand out. They also want to see how your mind works. So do not be afraid to have an opinion, just please be respectful about it. And with that in mind, I provided a list below of ten things you should always know about a company prior to walking in the door (or taking a phone interview). It may seem like a lot initially, but I promise you it's worth it.

  1. Target Demographic

  2. Market Trends

  3. Competition

  4. Store Visit

  5. Assortment

  6. Visual Presentation

  7. Pricing

  8. Marketing

  9. Website

  10. Social Media

Lastly, I chose the quote above for a reason. It couldn't be more true when it comes to interviewing someone. Character matters sometimes much more than talent (at least for me). Showcasing professionalism, holding back the arrogance, being authentic, asking questions, and having gratitude goes a LONG WAY. You have to remember that in most cases, the company you are interviewing with has a completely different structure, system, and strategy in place vs. your previous employer. It will take time to learn your way around and become efficient- and we as managers get that. So yes, we are looking at your personality, your passion, your knowledge, your drive, and your demeanor. All aspects of your character, and the way you will represent yourself to the team.

I could go on and on since I want nothing but success for each and every one of you- but I will leave it there for today. Know that I say all of this with love and encouragement, and if you ever need any additional assistance, you know where to find me. Best of luck, always.

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