One of the best ways to get the job of your dreams is to be well and truly prepared for your interview! Being prepared will not only insure you answer the questions with ease but will also make you feel confident, calm and collected on the day. The most useful things for me when preparing for my job at Benefit cosmetics was reading about other people's experiences. So I thought I'd contribute my interview experience and a little bit about the job for anyone who is thinking of applying or has a interview coming up themselves!
First things first, I applied for the position of Seasonal Beauty Adviser. I worked through November and December 2014 as a Christmas Temp. I was then hired a few months after in a different time to work full time and have been working there since. Besides this blog, I have no previous makeup experience, so please don't be nervous if this is also the case for you. What I do have however, is a powerful interest in makeup, confidence in applying makeup on others, previous sales experience and most importantly extensive brand knowledge and a pure passion for Benefit Cosmetics.
The Phone Interview
The first stage of the (quite lengthy) interview process was a telephone interview. I had applied online two days prior this stage and there was no warning when or even if they were going to call. Luckily I had started preparing as soon as I had sent off the application and was aware this was going to be the case. In a weird twist of coincidence I was also at that very moment reading an article about Benefit Cosmetics in Elle magazine! They asked questions such as;
- What previous sales experience do you have?
- Why do you want to work for Benefit Cosmetics?
- What do you know about the company?
- What are your favourite products and why?
- If you could be any Benefit product what would you be and why?
That last one's a bit tricky and the only one I hadn't previously read about/prepared for (you can thank me later!) I think I said 'I would be the Rockateur blush as it's girly and fun but has a bit of an edge' In short, be creative - pick a product you know and love and compare your own positive traits to those of the product. Answering this question well will show off your skills as well as your product knowledge! After the phone call which lasts around 7-10 minutes, they will tell you whether or not you are invited to the real life interview.. this is where it gets serious!
It's probably quite useful to take note that your interview might not be in the store you applied to work in, or even the same county. I applied for a job in Hertfordshire and went to an interview in Cambridge so be prepared to travel! One thing I would recommend for any interview is getting there very early. I got to the mall that the store was in an hour early. This gave me 45 minutes to sit down, have a coffee, go back over some preparation and create a calm state of mind before the interview. This meant that I also allowed me to turn up to my allocated time slot 15 minutes early. The Interview included many of the questions asked over the phone along with a few more such as;
- Have you ever worked towards targets before?
- How would you create a good customer experience?
- Tell me about a time that you went above and beyond for a customer
- Share a time you experienced a tricky customer - how did you handle the situation?
They also ask a bit more in depth about your previous experience, qualifications and what you're doing at the moment job/education wise. You will most likely be interviewed by an area manager! All the beautiful benebabes higher up in the company that I've met are all very friendly and welcoming so don't worry! A big piece of advise I'd give for all stages of the interview would be to hold the brand values in your attitude. Benefit are all about fun, they are looking for fun, friendly, happy, bubbly smiley staff so show that this is who you are and that you'd fit into the benebabe family like a missing puzzle piece! If you're successful you'll then be invited back to the audition which takes place after all the interviews that day have been completed. For me this was an hour an a half later - which meant I got a nice little coffee break!
The two hour audition is perhaps the most crucial part of the interview process. In other blog posts I've read that you are shown a few products, a specific order to use them in and how to use them before the audition. On my audition however we were very short on time and so they said that they were confident the applicants they'd picked for this stage had sufficient product knowledge and were given free range of all the products! In short - be prepared for anything, there's no specific formula for any interview!
You are then made to 'traffic stop' this is where you grab a member of the general public and offer them a free 'mini-makeover'. If you are not confident approaching strangers or applying makeup on others then do not apply for this job. Even if you get the job after, this is what you will be doing every working day so you have to enjoy or at least be confident with it! By this point I think I had already consumed around three black coffees so being energetic was beyond an issue. The key to traffic stopping is confidence, I can not stress this enough. If you walk up to a member of the public and shyly ask them to come over for a makeover they're going to dismiss your offer. Be bubbly, confident, energetic. Let them know it will only take a few minutes of their time and bring them over to the counter. I would recommend if not previously given a correct order, applying two items of skincare (eg. It's Potent eye cream & Triple Performing Facial emulation) followed by a primer (e.g Professional) and then two items of makeup (e.g Boing concealer and They're Real mascara) this follows the Benefit 'Prep, Prime & Perfect' magic fomula whilst still keeping it simple. Always ask customers if there's anything in particular they wanted to try, this is the easiest way to get a sale.
I've read on others that this part of the process is all about 'bums on seats' i.e the number of people you get sat down at the counter. Strictly speaking I think this is very important, getting customers to come over shows that you have good interpersonal and social skills. However I don't think that this is the only thing they are looking for. The benebabes looking over you will also be monitoring your social skills and how well you interact with the customers, your product knowledge and product application. One thing that I personally think is very important that not many others in my audition paid much attention to is hygiene and organization. In the moment you may be very nervous and focusing more on getting 'bums on seats' than keeping their workplace clean and tidy. Coming primarily from a barista background this came quite naturally to me, but seriously, it takes two seconds. Throw away your dirty tissues/cotton pads,properly sanitize brushes and anything that has been directly applied to a customer and put everything back where you found it!
- Be confident, bubbly, friendly and enthusiastic
- Let your personality shine through and reflect the brand values
- Have a order of products that you know a lot about ready in case a specific order/knowledge is not given on the day
- Keep your workplace clean and tidy
The Call Back
I was called back around two days after. They told me that I had pretty much got the job however I would need a store approval. This is where you meet with somebody from the store you're working in (for me it was the beauty manager for the department store the concession was in). They will assess briefly whether you will fit in well with the store. You'll then be taken over your schedule with your account manager and you're in!
I've worked in other retail stores, cafes and even a restaurant but I have never enjoyed a job as much as I do Benefit. It may sound a bit corny, but making women smile becomes a part of you daily routine and what could be more wonderful than that? Working at Benefit has only made my passion for makeup stronger and I would love to one day work in the marketing department of a cosmetics company, combining my knowledge and passion of beauty with the skills I've developed through my degree in Marketing!
Thank you for reading this post I hope it was useful! If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask me in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them all, or even share your own experiences for others to see!
Until next time,
Until next time,