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Tips on Interviewing at a Clothing Store
You may be applying for that clothing store job because you love fashion, but the heart of your future success is in your ability to sell, sell, sell. Preparing for that clothing store job may require you to have an opinion about the differences between Burberry and Louis Vuitton, but if it's like a lot of job interviews, it's going to focus more on your salesmanship.
Do Your Research
Research the store location, and any larger company with which the store is associated. That means poring over the company website and cruising by the storefront to get a feel for what's in season and the store's general style. Also check out the store's social media feeds, and search it on LinkedIn to find out who works there, and something about the company's general public image. If you find people you know who work there during your research, reach out to them to find out what the hiring process is like and what you can do to be best prepared. When you correspond with people who are current or former employees, always be professional, as you never know when those people will put in a good -- or bad -- word for you.
Sales Interview Prep
In order to gauge your ability to sell, the managers are likely to ask about your sales experience. Managers might ask you to name a time you were most successful, or most unsuccessful in selling a product. They may ask you about your general sales technique, how you handle rejection or a difficult customer, or how well you know the products and brands the store carries. Make a list of any sales-related questions you can think of and practice answering them with a friend.
Dress the Part
You aspire to work in a clothing store, so that means you need to dress well. Your research into the store and its larger company should have given you a sense of what type of clothing the store offers. Even if that's not your everyday style, you'll probably be expected to dress in clothing that will attract customers or make them feel comfortable. You should always choose your outfit carefully, no matter where you're applying, but in this case, take extra care to ensure your clothing is professional yet appealing, and, of course, similar to the styles or brands the store offers. In some cases, you could even be asked to talk about your own personal style or why you chose to wear what you did.
Success at Any Interview
No matter where you aspire to work, managers are also going to want to know that you're a reliable person and a diligent worker. On top of general sales questions, prepare for the standard battery of questions, such as why you want to work for that particular company or what you know about the company and its reputation. If you really love the clothing at the store, it's OK to gush a little. Always answer questions politely and with open body language -- meaning you don't have your arms crossed or your eyes averted. Retail managers want employees who are open, friendly and approachable so that customers will feel comfortable working with them. Keep this in mind throughout the interview, and you should be on the sales floor in no time.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
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