Those of you who are on the lookout for a new fashion job - whether you've recently left fashion college/Uni or have a few years of industry experience - it's more important than ever before to go to those all important interviews armed with as much information and research as possible.
We all know that fashion is competitive, however the jobs market is even tougher than ever before and employers who are hiring can really be as choosy as they like when it comes to decision making on who to take on.
It's therefore imperative to impress at interview, and this is where your prior research is key. Here at The Fashion Careers Clinic we advise our candidates to use this research to their advantage towards the end of their interviews. When you get to the part where they say 'Now, do you have any questions for us?', use the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of their company by asking informed questions.
Don't limit yourself to asking questions only about the specifics of the role (although it's clearly important that you find out as much about the role as possible!), also ask more general questions about the company as a whole.
If you've done your research well, you shouldn't have any trouble thinking of questions to ask. Use the following methods to gather information about the fashion company:
- Simply do a Google search and see what comes up - mentions on blogs, newspapers, consumer magazines, Twitter etc - find out what others are saying about the company
- Check out their company website - don't just look at the product or service they provide, also read about the company history, news sections, events, their blog. Some sites list a 'who's who' of employees, timelines of company activity, etc
- If the company you're going to meet sells products, make sure you have an opinion on them and are up to date with their most recent products. For instance, if you're going to meet Topshop, make sure to visit at least one (ideally more than one) of their stores. Make notes on what you like, what you feel could be improved, their price points, the product mix. Take a look at who their target customer is. Do a comparison visit to one or more of their competitors and have an opinion on how the stores and products compare.
- Read all about it! Make sure you read any articles relating to the company that you find when you do your Google search - even better, subscribe to as many trade magazines/websites as possible so that you're always clued up on what's happening in the fashion industry. Most people are aware of Drapers (www.drapersonline.com) the main UK based fashion trade magazine, however the following sites and magazines are also very good:
Retail Choice - www.retailchoice.com
Pambianco - www.pambianconews.com
FashionMag - www.fashionmag.com
Fashionunited - www.Fashionunited.co.uk
Business of Fashion - www.businessoffashion.com
Once you've done your research, begin to formulate your questions in advance of the interview based upon your findings.
To demonstrate how you can use the research, I'm going to give an example of when Topshop opened their first US store in New York a few years ago. At the time, it was reported in the press that Philip Green and Kate Moss were there to host a major launch party, how fashion conscious Americans were in a frenzy about the new store, news about the store design, etc. If you had been interviewing for a role at Topshop head office here in the UK during the weeks and months following that launch, you could have used it as a starting point for your questions, such as:
- Tell me how sales are going for the new NY store - are they as buoyant as expected?
- Have the collections been changed significantly for the US market or are they the same as the UK collections?
- How do you think your competitors over there are feeling about the launch?
- Are there plans for expansion across the States or do you plan to focus just on NY for now?
So, even though you're asking a question, it shows you've done your research. Employers are likely to be impressed by these types of questions as:
- It shows evidence of your research skills
- Shows them that you're keen about THEIR company and are enthusiastic about them, keen to learn more
There's another bonus of the 'Tell me about xxxxx' line of questioning - if you're asking for more information about something or the interviewer's opinion, it's less likely you'll get a yes/no or one worded answer. This means that the interviewer will talk for some time to give you the answer - giving you more opportunity to ask another question off the back of this info.
This leads to you spending more time in the interview and a better chance of building a stronger rapport with them if you can get a good dialogue going.
We hope you found this article useful.
Good luck with those interviews!
Posted by: Stephanie Finnan, Founder of The Fashion Careers Clinic
If you require more advice on finding a job in fashion, please visit our main website to learn how we can help you: www.fashioncareersclinic.com
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