Having applied for a job in the retail industry — and having been shortlisted for the role — the next step will be that of going through the interview. It is highly unlikely, in this day and age, that you would get a retail industry job without going through some sort of interview. What usually varies from company to company is the nature of the interview. But the bottom-line is that you have to go through some sort of interview. And if you are to clinch the job you are looking for in the retail industry, you really need to put some effort in preparing for the interview. In this regard, you need to remember that the other individuals shortlisted alongside you have the same qualifications as you, if not better. You therefore have to give the employer a reason to select you [as opposed to one of those other individuals]. And the only way you can do so, once you are past the short-listing stage, is by performing in an impressive manner at the interview stage. That is why you need to prepare properly for your retail industry job interview.
In preparing for your retail industry job interview, you need to:
- Refresh your technical skills: Nowadays, retail industry job interviews tend to have several components – one of which is the technical component. That is where you are asked questions about the role you are seeking or where you are asked to perform some tasks practically. Other components may include the aptitude component (where you are given a general aptitude test), possibly a psychometric component and then the oral interview. It is the technical aspect that tends to trip most people – which means that you need to pay special attention in preparing for it. If in the course of the interview, it emerges that you have a poor grasp of the technical area you are seeking to work in, you are unlikely to get hired. For instance, if you are seeking to become a merchandiser at a retail company, yet (in the course of the interview) it emerges that you don’t know anything or you know very little about merchandising, it is highly unlikely that you would get hired. So it is important to do whatever it takes to refresh your technical skills (in the area you are seeking to work) while preparing for your interview. You may read your books/notes on the subject area. Or you may conduct online research on the subject area… whatever it takes, ensure that you at least have the basics at your fingertips.
- Undertake research on the company: In the course of your retail industry job interview, you may encounter questions that are designed to gauge how well you know about the company. So it is very important for you to (at the very least) visit the ‘about us’ page on the company’s website. You can go further and read online news articles about the company. And if the company is one of those that have a Wikipedia entry, you should make sure you go through it too. Otherwise if, in the course of the interview it emerges that you know next to nothing about the company, you would be exposed as an ‘opportunist’ (and that would lower your chances of getting the job). Oh, and while at it, you should also research on where exactly the company’s offices are/where you are expected to go for the interview, and how long it would take you to get there. The worst you can do is arrive late for the interview, on account of having got lost on the way.
- Sleep well on the night before: Some of the questions you may encounter in the course of your retail industry job interview will require quick-thinking. That is especially the case if you will be put through an aptitude test and psychometric test in the course of the interview. Your performance will definitely be hampered if you are groggy on account of not having slept well. It is therefore very important for you to ensure that you sleep at a decent hour on the night before the interview. If the interview is in another far-off city, you may consider sleeping there (in that city) on the night before the interview. That is as opposed to a scenario where you have to wake up at a crazy hour on the interview morning (to travel for the event).
- Dress appropriately for the interview: You need to make up your mind well in advance on what you will be wearing for the interview. The outfit you wear has to be one that depicts you as a ‘responsible’ person — someone who is capable of coping with the demands of work in a retail setting. Having made up your mind on the clothes you will be wearing for the interview, you need to have them cleaned and ironed in good time. In all this, remember that human beings tend to make their decisions based on first impressions. Therefore the interviewers will be greatly influenced by the first impression they get of you. And one way in which you can ensure that they get a good first impression of you is by dressing in an appropriate manner. Therefore making decisions on what to wear for interview and cleaning/ironing the outfit in good time is a very critical aspect of interview preparation.