How to: Pass Store Approval
You found the role, nailed the interview but your offer is pending store approval. You’ve already done the hard work, so make sure you follow our tips to make sure your perfect job is in the bag!
Store Approval Preparation
Store research is the most important part of preparation by far; arriving to any form of interview unprepared and unknowledgeable is a sure-fail way to damage your chances of passing, before you’ve even started.
At this stage you would most likely of been interviewed and received a offer from the brand your going to be working for, now its time to gain approval from the department store itself.
Below are a few points which will ensure you’re completely prepared for any questions the interviewer might ask;
Know The Store History
The interviewer will almost always ask you “Why do you want to work in .......?”
The easiest way to answer this question while impressing is to mix a few honest reasons with some store history, for example, any awards the store has won, the quality of customer the store attracts and wanting to work directly with them, being part of a world renowned company, what you feel you can bring to the store based on your previous experience and what you know of the store.
Know The Brand
The interviewer might also want to know why you have chosen the specific brand your being approved for. Again research everything you possibly can about the brand, and its history with the store in particular.
How long has the brand had a concession within the store, is this one of the brands highest profiting concession, what is the brands customer base and how does this correlate with the stores customer base.
Know The Customer
If this is the first time moving in to a Department Store, the interviewer will certainly want to know your aware of the more Luxury, Department store customer.
Research who the store’s most common customer is? What are the busiest times of year and why? Do they have special store opening times for any Religious festivals? How can your previous experience be adapted to deliver the best service to the department store customer?
Most importantly the interviewer will want to know about you, what can you bring to the business? Why should they pick you for their store? Where can you see yourself going?
The most likely and important question they will ask will be “Tell me a time you have gone beyond a customers expectations?”, use your previous experience within retail to show just how high the level of customer service you deliver is, use an example where you have managed to secure a very high sales figure, delivered items to a customer, kept in contact with a customer to ensure future sales.
All the above will show you are equipped with the necessary skills to work within a department store.
Dress Code & Grooming
Regardless what department you will be working on, you need to remember you will be representing one of the leading luxury department stores in the world, and what you wear and how you wear it is key to exude confidence and professionalism. This is not the time to show off your fashion prowess, its to look smart and stylish.
Just because you are selling designer items, doesn’t mean what you wear has to cost the earth. You can pick up a great suit on the high street. Just remember, the fit is key, so shop around in different stores to see what best suits your body shape.
Full black matching suit with a white plain crisp and clean shirt or a smart black knee length dress with black tights
Footwear - polished smart black shoes, such as a brogue or loafer or black court heels. Avoid ballet pumps – remember you are at work, not out for a casual shop!
Make up:- Must be minimal, no coloured lipsticks or eyeshadows.
Nails :- Must be a classic colour, either French, clear or red and definitely not chipped!
Jewellery:- Minimalistic – you should only wear one stud in each ear.
Full black matching suit, plain crisp and clean (and ironed!) white shirt, a black plain tie & black polished shoes.
Clean shaved, Hair styled neatly. No jewellery.
On the day
Upon arriving to the store for your approval, make sure you look and feel the best so you can feel as comfortable as possible during the interview, below are a few tips on how to prepare in the few hours before –
• Prior to your interview, plan your journey to ensure you arrive on time. Freedom recommends the app Citymapper for planning your journey https://citymapper.com/london/
• Arrive at least 15 minutes early to your assessment, this shows both good time keeping skills, as well as giving you time to relax and prep beforehand. Even better, aim to arrive an hour early and take time to look around the store
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, being nervous (which is normal) often causes you to become dehydrated in intense situations, so plenty of water beforehand will help with any dry mouth you might experience.
• Do Not Smoke before the interview, chewing gum doesn’t always help and this give’s off an immediate bad impression which is hard to forget.
• Take a loo break before the interview, you don’t want to allow for any distractions during the interview, so make sure you’ve taken some time to visit the toilet and check your appearance before the interview.
The Approval Itself
When in the assessment this really is your time to shine. Store Approvals are usually in a group session and this is a great chance to show how unique you are, however do not become the centre of attention for the wrong reasons;
• Whilst speaking, remain calm and clear. Speaking very quietly or muffling your words could give off the impression you’re not great under pressure, which is a imperative skill within retail.
• Remember to listen to other people’s point of view. Do not interrupt other people when they are speaking, remain engaged and interested in what they have to say
• Stick to the point, there is nothing worse then getting distracted whilst trying to get your point across, ending up on a complete different topic, keep all answers direct and well sentenced.
• Engage in the conversation; however do not become too relaxed. It is likely a group task may be set during the process of your approval; whilst it is important to be confident and show off during this piece, do not allow yourself to become unprofessional.
• Keep eye contact whilst talking, again this shows how confident you will be during a customer engagement.
• Manners. it is important to be polite, greeting everyone professionally as well as at the end of your interview, letting your interviewer know it was a pleasure to meet them and look forward to hearing back from them.
• Always remain passionate, really show them why you want to be a part of the store, whilst staying genuine at all times.
After The Approval
After the approval, you shouldn’t contact the store directly, contact the Agency who introduced you to give them some feedback. From this point, let the agency get the feedback for you.