Are you looking to take your part-time retail experience to the next level by joining the company’s head office?
Justin Abraham, a Marketing Specialist at one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, which also operates retail stores across the country, interviewed fourth-year students for entry level marketing positions at the company last year.
He offers three tips based on what he heard on university campuses around the province and his own job-hunting experience that will help you ace your interview and get the job.
1. Find out what makes the employer tick
“One of the things that makes someone stand out is how well they fit the company’s brand and what they bring to the table,” says Justin, a recent marketing grad from Queen’s Commerce. If you communicate your achievements in a way that’s relevant to the company, it shows that you’ve done your research and that you share similar values to other people that work at the company.
When Justin was just months away from landing his current full-time position, he started networking with some of the company’s employees who worked in a variety of departments. He contacted managers and had coffee/lunch meetings with them to learn more about any job openings, how the team functioned and some cool projects people have recently completed.
You might want to contact someone at the company you’re hoping to work at and schedule an informational interview with them. The experience could help you learn more about the type of person the company is looking to hire and the problems the company is hoping to resolve. The worst thing that could happen is that the employee says they’re not available to meet with you. But you won’t know unless you try.
2. Rehearse the stories and situations you plan on referencing during your interview
“Every interviewer is looking for something concise that ties to the brand,” Justin says. This includes the stories you tell when an employer asks you a situational question.
He recommends that interviewees communicate the following information if a question like this comes up:
- Situation: What was the situation?
- Task: What was the task?
- Actions: What did you do?
- End Result: What was the end result?
- Connection: How is this example relevant to your interviewer?
Practice how you tell your story and ensure that you’ve included answers to all five questions in your response.
3. Don’t be discouraged by the process
“Most people with business degrees are not used to getting rejected that quickly and that often,” he says. “Don’t get discouraged by the [application] process.”
As difficult as it may be, it’s persistence is critical during the job search. Keep your head up, utilize the resources available to you (especially campus career centres and job boards like TalentEgg) and broaden your support network.
And when you finally land an interview, don’t wear your frustrations on your face or in your tone of voice. Be thankful for and enthusiastic about the opportunity.
This issue was also a topic of discussion during TalentEgg’s #TEretail Retail Week Twitter chat:
— Mitch Blom (@MitchBlom) March 20, 2013
— RBC Student Careers (@RBC4Students) March 20, 2013
— Kirsti Stubbs (@kirstistubbs) March 21, 2013
Photo credit: Drew Leavy