Working for a clothing retailer is a secure job, because people love to buy clothes, and they do not care much about environmental impact of their behavior.
Banana Republic advertises something about sustainability on their website and in their stores, but just like with any other big clothing retailer, it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. To save 20% of water doesn’t change much when you still spend (waste) billions of gallons in your production, and when 30% of all clothes you produce end up in a landfill, without being worn once.
Anyway, if you decide to apply for the job of a sales associate or customer service worker, or assistant manager with Banana Republic, I have good news for you: this isn’t a difficult interview, and the atmosphere is rather casual. No need to stress out. Let’s have a look at the questions you will face.
Can you please tell us something about yourself?
The way you talk and conduct yourself is actually more important that the words you choose to describe yourself.
Do you smile while talking? Do you keep an eye contact? Do you talk clearly and to the point, in a way that customers will understand you? Do you stutter, or do you have any other problem with your speaking? In general, is it a nice experience talking to you?
They observe mostly these things, and what you say isn’t superbly important, unless you say that you like drugs or getting wasted each evening…
Anyway, you should somehow describe them the role your job application has in your life. Perhaps you love clothes and talking to people, and that’s the reason why you always wanted to work for a clothing retailer. Or you are studying at the college in the same city, looking for a decent job which you can get without previous working experience…
In any case, your introduction should help them understand why you apply for the job, and what you can bring onboard to their retail store.
What does Banana Republic mean to you?
There are many clothing retailers, and the interviewers try to find out whether you have any associations with their brand. And you should have some positive associations. For example, you can say it’s your favorite place for shopping, because you love the way the stores are organized, and the selection they have in place for each demographic group.
Or you can praise their sustainability efforts, the fact that they have a female CEO (which is very rare for any Fortune 500 company), and basically show the interviewers that you know something about Banana Republic, that they are just another clothing retailer on your list of prospective employers…
Of course if you have good knowledge of their design lines, and love certain product categories, you can point them out in an interview. Having a decent knowledge of their products will help you to excel in your job from day one.
Could you style something a “this or that customer” could wear to “this or that place or occasion”?
There’s no better way to assess your ability to sell clothes (and to upsell the customer) than asking you to style something for a certain type of person or for a certain occasion. Now, I suggest you to pick something neutral, to not go for some extravagant choice.
What’s more, you should not spend 10 minutes choosing the clothes–you won’t have so much time in job, and customers hate to wait even for five minutes. The hiring managers want to see your choice, but they also observe how long it takes you to make the choice.
Try to be quick. Pick colors that match nicely, and do not forget on accessories. For example, if you are styling a set of winter clothes, you should definitely include a winter cap, gloves, a scarf or a shawl, and some nice winter shoes (if they sell them at the moment).
Show the hiring managers that you will always try to sell as many items as possible to the customer, and that it won’t take you thirty minutes to style a set of clothes.
What would you do if a customer complained about your service?
Quality customer service is not a plus. It’s a must in today’s competitive marketplace. Ensure the hiring managers that you will take each feedback seriously. You will listen patiently to the customer, and try to identify what you did wrong, or what they misunderstood, and why they are upset.
Then you will try to remedy the situation. And you will also try to learn from the experience, to not repeat the same mistake again. Of course, during the peak times, it’s impossible to deliver a superb service to each customer. Once there are many people in the store and just a couple of sales associates, customers simply have to wait for their round. And some of them may not like it, and complain.
In such a case the only thing you can do is to apologize, perhaps give them a gift card (if you are allowed to do so), and continue trying your best with other customers.
Where do you see yourself in one year from now?
Employee fluctuation is quite high at Banana Republic, similarly to most other retail stores that sell clothes, shoes, and accessories. Sales associates make typically $8-$13 per hour, which isn’t really a great salary, considering how heavy the workload can be. That’s why many people leave.
However, while interviewing for the job, you should at least try to convince them that you plan to stay for a long time, and perhaps even grow with the company. Say them that you see yourself working as a sales associate (customer service assistant) in one year time, achieving great results, and perhaps thinking about promotion, if a managerial position becomes available in the store.
Of course you do not have to be with them, in one year, one month, one week. You can leave anytime you want. Once interviewing for a job, however, you should try to convince them that you are serious, and do not see this job just like a temporary solution.
How do you feel about working on weekends?
Banana Republic stores are open seven days a week, typically from 10am to 7pm. In most cases, workers rotate between short and long week, which means that one week you’ll work on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and on the next one only on Wednesday and Thursday.
It means that you will have to work two weekends per month. Ensure the interviewers that you read the job description carefully, and know what they will expect from you in the job.
This is also your opportunity to show some collegiality. Of course nobody wants to work on Sunday. But you understand that when you work on weekend, your colleagues can be at home, having nice time with their families or friends. And the next weekend they will pay you back the favor… Sometimes they may put this question differently, asking “What’s your availability?”, but the principles remain the same.
Some other questions you may face while interviewing for a job with Banana Republic
- How would you describe an ideal colleague?
- What motivates you the most in work?
- Tell us about a goal you achieved, and describe the process of achieving it.
- You are on your way to work, but realize that you will be fifteen minutes late. What will you do, if anything?
- Do you know anyone who works for us?
- After everything that happened in this interview, do you want to tell us anything more, or do you want to ask about anything?
Conclusion, next steps
Interviews for in-store jobs at Banana Republic belong to easier job interviews. As long as you demonstrate good communication skills, and show willingness to work hard (and on Sunday), and to deliver outstanding customer service to each person in the store, they will give you a chance to prove your skills in the store.
Try to prepare a short answer to each question from our list, and do not forget to check also the following posts:
- How to overcome interview nerves – 4 simple strategies that will help you chill out and deliver your best in the interviews.
- How to dress for an interview – In an ideal case you should wear something that you bought at Banana Republic, but there is more than that… See our 5 steps guider and pick the right clothes for your interview.
- Nordstrom interview question.