Applicant Interview Tips

Typically, the day before a job interview, your brain goes into overdrive imagining all the things you might do wrong. What if your alarm doesn’t go off? What if you bungle an answer? What if… Stop! Anyone with a pulse will experience some anxiety about a job interview, but there’s no need to let fears race out of control. Our guide can help you relax, arrive on time, look your best, and sound like the professional you are.

We’ve taken a tactical approach to job interviews. We’ll guide you through the research phase, help you decide whether to apply or not, encourage you to do your homework, prepare you for the interview, ease you into the interview and help you follow up. This information is focused specifically on retail management—and applies to all levels from one store to multiple stores.

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Research

Company research is very important in retail, and fortunately today with the Internet and  Google it’s gotten easier to conduct. You want to know everything possible about a company, including:

  1. Number of stores
  2. Company history
  3. Volume
  4. Earnings
  5. Profits
  6. Stock price
  7. Merchandise
  8. Customer profiles
  9. Expansion plans
  10. Philosophy/Mission Statement/Vision
  11. Geographic reach (local; global via website catalog, etc.)
  12. Stories in the press (their press releases; things written about them by outside sources, such as magazine or newspaper reporters; ratings such as “Best Company to Work For.
  13. Employee programs and relations (incentives, culture, turnover)

Prepare yourself to be able to speak about your current sales performance in terms of comp stores (stores that have been open for at least a year) and whether sales have increased or decreased as a direct result of your involvement. Learn enough to speak intelligently about the prospective company’s earnings, profit, and contribution (which is the same as profit).

What about its expansion plans? Is it moving into new markets? Speak to the specific merchandise that it sells. Know who the current company executives are and be prepared to speak to what their goals are.

Apply or Pass?

  1. Carefully review the job expectations/requirements listed on the job posting. Does it sound right for you? Would you be happy there a year from now? We all tend to project good things onto new situations—when we know very little about them! Make sure you are looking objectively at this opportunity.
  2. Can you speak effectively about everything listed for that job?
  3. How would you be able to achieve and succeed at those tasks and responsibilities?

Details of the Interview

  1. Can you effectively explain gaps in your resume or lack of qualifications, such as education?
  2. Can you speak to/about the company’s “problem(s)” and specifically how you will solve them?

Once you have decided you want to apply, and once you’ve gotten an interview, you might say you’ve got your work cut out for you.

While still on the phone about the interview, get a clear “contract” about what will take place there. Who will you meet with? Where? For how long? You might expect an hour; they might need two hours. You want to budget enough time to complete the process.

John Wayne’s “Stagecoach”

Filmed in black-and-white, 1939’s Stagecoach began a decades-long collaboration between classic movie star John Wayne and his most loyal director, John Ford. The fact that it’s also the film that catapulted John Wayne to true stardom is an even better reason to like it. What’s also interesting is that his portrayal of The Ringo Kid is recognized by critics as moving the typical Western hero from a person who basically wore a white hat, so to speak, and without ulterior motive, to somebody who was more complicated and multidimensional. Also starring Claire Trevor as a frowned-upon woman of so-called loose morals, and Thomas Mitchell as a drunken doctor of no real courage, director Ford’s examination of true motives and complicated behaviors among several members traveling on a stagecoach going through the Indian Territories set a pattern of realism for more than a few Westerns that followed over the years. It’s worth noting that Mitchell also won a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his effort.

Stagecoach brought about a new era of Westerns to emerge from Hollywood, and many of the spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s have a direct lineage back to this one film.

A veteran of dozens of B-movies by that time, John Wayne took The Ringo Kid, who was a man of ready violence, if need be, and used him to show how someone who might’ve been not-too-pure in the past, could make himself capable of good works in the defense of those weaker than himself. Also, Claire Trevor’s run-out-of-town saloon girl proved she was more than equal to the rigors of stagecoach travel, and in dealing with bands of marauding Indians and raiders. Though she’d been beaten down a bit by life, she demonstrated a ready willingness to stand up when it counted. And also to love, when it mattered.

Many critics contend that this now-classic movie was the first really adult oriented Western to come out of the cowboy movie factories of old Hollywood.

This is due in part to Ford’s examination of societal mores, and also in the way in which complex relationships between members of the stagecoach traveling party were laid out. Particularly in the case of the alcoholic doctor, memorably played by Mitchell, one can see Ford’s continuing fascination with redemption and episodic feats of courage. Additionally, the crisp cinematography and the film’s use of light and shadow to depict deep emotions make for an experience which made this John Wayne vehicle a movie that was hard-hitting for its time, and beloved among classic movies in the here and now.