If you’re ready to dive into a new career in retail, a great CV and cover letter can help you get your foot in the door. But you won’t be able to close the deal and sign on with your dream company until you ace the biggest challenge of all: your interview.
By Barbara Mason All interviews require confidence and social aptitude, but there are a few success moves that apply specifically to opportunities in retail. There are also a few blunders that might escape notice in other fields, but can derail a retail interview in seconds. Visit LiveCareer for a little prior research, and then consider these must-haves and no-no’s for your entry-level interview in this competitive sector of the job market.
Retail Interview Must-Haves
1. A relationship with the brand or product. It’s always a great idea to step into a retail interview with a clear, long-established love of the specific brand you’re asking to sell and promote. If you’ve been wearing XYZ jeans for years and can’t imagine life without them, your XYZ employers will enjoy hearing about this. Even if you don’t wear XYZ brand, it will help if you know something about jeans and have a place for them in your life. 2. A warm smile and an open mind. A relationship with the product is great, but it isn’t half as important as a relationship with the company’s customer base. Even if you don’t know much about apparel, electronics or hardware, you should be interested, willing to learn, extroverted and friendly. 3. The right look. A trustworthy, confident presentation starts with your appearance. Customers will shape their opinion of the company based on their opinion of you, and employers know this, so dress to impress. Think clean, personable, professional and sharp.
Retail Interview Blunders
1. Leave the surly expression at home. From the moment you step in the door of the building to the moment you leave, stay aware of the look on your face. Don’t scowl at the receptionist or glare at your phone, even if you think no one’s looking. Smile, relax and look for the best in everyone you meet. 2. Any sign of indifference or disengagement has to go. Never slouch in your chair, glaze over or answer questions with a single word. This sends the message that you don’t care about the outcome of the present moment, which means you probably don’t care about the success of the company. 3. Don’t get flustered or defensive. Some interviewers like to cross examine job applican’ts to gain a feel for their flexibility and sense of humour. Remember, this position may involve dealing with angry or confused customers, so keep your cool and consider this a practise session. 4. Don’t show disinterest in the product. If you don’t know much about formalwear or home appliances, that’s okay as long as you’re willing to learn. And your first lesson begins on the day of your interview. If your employer describes specifics about the product or the kinds of customers who shop for this product, tune in. Listen carefully and remember every detail.