Monday, 2 April 2012

The lost graduate series: Hollister Interview

One of the main reasons I created this blog was because I wanted to document all my job applications, interviews, assessment centres, victories and failures.. many, many failures. But I've been blogging about food for some reason. I just get hungry a lot.
OK, so I've graduated, travelled, worked a bit and now I'm finishing up my ACCA papers. Which means its high time that I got a proper job. Problem is, I live in the middle of nowhere and the country has the highest unemployment rates in what seems like forever. But oh well, I'm sure something will come along *says she hopefully*.
Since the graduate schemes start somewhere in September and I'm still studying part time, not to mention that the application process for most of these schemes can run anywhere from 4 weeks to 3 months, the best course of action for me is to get a part time job while I wait, aside from the work I do at Cancer Research. 

In comes Hollister.

Abercrombie & Fitch, the holding company of Hollister and its sister brands, is notoriously known for hiring people based on looks. I wish I could say that this is not true, but come on, the sales assistant position is actually called the "model" position. 
My experience was OK, the interview was definitely not challenging. In order to get a retail position with Hollister, you have to apply online. The application form has a password. The manager (I assume its the manager, anyway) would normally approach you in store and poke you, at which point you will turn and search through the darkness (if you have been in Hollister, you will know that you need a flash light to see in that place. Ambiance. Yeah right) for her hovering face and she'll say something along the lines of "we're recruiting for part time "models", would you be interested in applying?" and then give you the details of how to access the form. You can also get the password in store somehow. Plead your case.
So after completing the form, I was asked to choose an interview date which was sometime last week. They have group interviews every Tuesday and Friday at 4pm which some may find inconvenient but hey, not me. Where else would I have to be? 

So I researched a bit online and the common consensus is to wear something with a Hollister feel, namely navy, grey and white, sandals (yep, even in winter apparently) and beachy. I wore a grey tank, navy hollister cardigan and dark wash skinny jeans. And I'm sorry, but I refuse to wear flip flops at this time of year in the UK so it was navy flats for me. I was going to sort of straighten my hair but couldn't be bothered. They said natural didn't they? Honestly, I don't really think it matters what you wear, there were so many of us there that I doubt anyone really noticed.

Now onto the exciting part. I arrive about 10 minutes early, mingle a bit with the other applicants, realise I have NOTHING in common with a bunch of 17 year old school kids and part time models and contemplate leaving when a 6 foot something, blue eyed, blonde, model type guy comes out and announces he's the assistant manager and he'll be interviewing us. Umm.. I'm sorry, but you look about my age. Maybe younger. Not that I'm ageist. And I can't take you seriously in those shoes.

Up until then we were sort of perched awkwardly along the railings in the mall. Oh I forgot to mention, this is the Cardiff store, in St. David's shopping mall. Back to the story. So he says follow me and so we do. Into the back of the shop, up some stairs and into the "interview room". Which is an alley way with a bunch of boxes and clothing rails. Classy. We squeeze together on to the boxes and I get a good look at the other people, there were about 10 of us. Again, I think to myself "WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING HERE?". They were all fiddling with their perfectly straightened hair, checking their nail polish (not allowed by the way) and applying lip gloss. And I sat there with my blackberry, reading up on the latest business news feeds for a commercial awareness question in one of my applications. Yeah...

So in he comes, introduces himself, I immediately forget his name as I do, and hands out a bunch of forms which we fill out to state our availability and things like that. Then onto the group interview. He tells us that we will be on a zero hour contract which means they have no obligation to give us any hours a week, which I think is total rubbish. I don't remember much else but it wasn't important. We then went in a circle and said a little about ourselves, most were still in school, others doing the whole model stint. When it was my turn and I said "Hi, I'm Fatimah and I'm an accounting graduate studying for my further qualifications and have just returned from Asia", there was pin drop silence. Like "Honey, seriously, why are you here?".. Anyway, then he asked us 3 questions which we took turns to answer. I think it was at this point that I almost fell asleep. The questions were "Describe the store in 3 words" "Describe how your friends see you in 3 words" and "Describe yourself in one word".. Intense stuff. Needless to say, I used words like independent, flexible and analytical. The rest used a combination of bubbly, cool, cute and fun. Then he said we were to have our pictures taken so we each stood awkwardly against a wall and posed. Of course, as soon as you point a camera in my face, I turn into a banshee so when he said smile, I bared my teeth in what must have looked like a snarling animal preparing to pounce on its prey. Sigh. And that was it, everyone seemed to leave. So I left. They said we would hear in 2-3 weeks if we are successful, I doubt I will be getting a call.

Now, I think this is a really good job for someone who is still in uni with a bit of free time and if you don't really need the money. If I do get a call, which I doubt, the prospect of  not getting any hours to work in a week is not very appealing to me. I will say that everyone was very friendly, I didn't feel intimidated by the pretty people at the shop who work there, they were all really pleasant to me. I just think that my answers and the person I am is not something that they're looking for. I am thinking of applying for the manager in training position though, which I spotted on the form and kicked myself for not learning about sooner so I'll keep you updated on that. Hope this was enjoyable reading :)


  1. Wow! You're such an awesome writer. I have like the smallest attention span and can't really read anything too long. But, I did and I think it's awesome that you do "job reviews." I always look for input from people who've worked at the places I'm applying, so this is an absolutely great idea. I used to work at Abercrombie & Fitch and you seriously got everything all right. I definitely think it's better at AnF than Hollister because everybody at Hollister always talked about all the dumb rules. Although we weren't allowed to wear too much makeup either (just mascara and no dark colored/flashy nail polish), we got away with a lot of things. But I guess that was all because of the awesome manager I had; he even let us wear close-toed shoes for those cold winter days:O. I do agree that everybody is sooo nice! They might look like they're a little stuck-up because they work at Hollister/AnF, I mean it's the first thing that comes to your mind, but they're all so nice. The managers are probably the only problem, however. And it's usually the female managers; I don't know why! Males are usually more laid back and chill whereas females always feel like they have to be meaner and tougher just to get anything done; It's kind of stupid but I see it a lot. Anyway! I hope you get the job; even though I really hope you find a better one because $7.25/hour when they give you only 3 hours a day isn't worthy of your academic accomplishments. Just keep looking around; you're super smart so you'll get hired in a heartbeat. I know that because the other day I applied for a job and got it within 1 hour, and I'm not nearly as smart as you. Like, I went in person, applied, got interviewed, and hired all in an hour. so it's definitely possible; you just have to go for it. Good Luck with everything!

    Oh and just a tip, Hollister manages all their hours online and they allow you to pick your availability there. Make sure you put in your hours before Sunday; like way before. They also have a habit of scheduling you for hours you didn't sign up for, like wtf! so just make sure you tell them when you can't work certain days because they sometimes disregard the online scheduling. It's weird and annoying but hey.

    Anyway, I just wrote a novel so let me stop.
    Good Luck with your job hunt!!

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