As many of you know, my day job (as well as one of my passions) is scouting out talent for one of the fashion industry's most well-known luxury retailers. I interview people day in and day out that are looking to join this fabulous, yet crazy little world. In an industry driven by passion, you would be surprised at how many of the below bad habits repeat themselves.
Beyond the usual "Be on time" and "Make eye contact with your interviewer", here are some actual best practices to remember when preparing for an interview in the fashion industry (and honestly, any industry).
- Do your research. Research the brand, the company, the product, the culture and the interviewer. The more you know, the more you will impress the recruiter or hiring manager. Interviewers want to know that you have an educated understanding and connection with their company or product. Visit the stores, the company website, search for recent news articles, know their competitors, check LinkedIn...there are so many avenues you can use to gain information these days that anything less is considered laziness.
- Know how to correctly pronounce the company name. Sure Lacoste and Rebecca Minkoff are relatively easy, but try Miu Miu, Hermès or Givenchy. It is PAINFUL hearing people who in one breath are saying how much they love the brand and have been shopping it for years or that it is their life long dream to work for xyz...yet in another they are butchering the name.
- Be conscious of your social media accounts. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. Regardless of what anyone says, we all do our research before interviewing you. Make sure you are proud of the image you are presenting to the world.
- Know how to articulate your measurable successes. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If you are able to explain and provide examples of how you were able to impact a business in the past, it paints the picture for the interviewer and makes choosing you that much easier. Leave out hypotheticals, speaking to specific experiences lets the interviewer know that you can hit the ground running. Make sure your examples are relevant to the position you are interviewing for...if not directly, find a way to tie the two together.
- Show some personality (and make sure you have one). Interviewers are people too and beyond having all your ducks in a row, letting your personality shine can really make yourself stand out in a pile of qualified candidates.
- Keep the brand or company in mind when dressing for the interview. Whenever possible, wear the brand or dress in your best interpretation. Being aware of the company culture and doing your research also helps you in deciding what to wear to the interview. (i.e. Don't show up to TOMS Shoes in a traditional suit or to Christian Dior in a flowy hippie dress.) When in doubt, it never hurts to ask the interviewer what the dress code expectations are beforehand...in fact, I highly suggest it!
- Treat a SKYPE interview the same as you would an in-person interview. This is not the time to throw your hair in a messy bun and wear sweats. Dress as you would for a traditional interview and eliminate any distractions in the camera frame (i.e. The cat jumping onto the desk or the kid throwing toys at your head). The purpose of a SKYPE interview is the same as an in-person interview...treat it as a professional meeting.
There are many, MANY free resources available to the public and putting in a little time and effort ahead of the interview can do wonders. It's the best feeling to know that you presented your best self to a potential employer. Your career is in your hands, be sure you make the most of each and every opportunity.