Sephora, a multinational chain of personal care and beauty stores operates in more than 400 locations in North America. Making over $10 billion in revenue each year, and employing thousands of people in their stores all over the globe, we can definitely call them one of the leading players in the field.
But how can you get in? How can you become another member of their friendly team of sales associates and other employees? We’ll have a look at some questions you will have to deal with in your interview, and then I will also give you some advice on how to make the best possible impression on the hiring managers. Enjoy!
Why do you want to work for Sephora?
The key is to demonstrate positive associations you have with their brand, and with the working model in their stores. For example the one on one customer service approach they have in place. Or that they pioneered the assisted self-service sales model, encouraging customers to test products in retail locations before purchasing them. Did you know that Sephora was the first brand that came with the idea?
Or you can refer to a very positive experience you had as a customer of the store. You enjoyed everything from the wide selection of products and affordable prices to excellent customer service. You’d love to join their team and become a part of this great initiative, trying to take the sales of beauty products to the next level.
Why did you leave your last job? (Why do you want to leave your present job?)
They rarely hire people without previous retail experience at Sephora. Which means that in the moment of interviewing for the job with them, you likely are working somewhere else, in another store, or you left your job recently. You should have an explanation ready.
One of the good answers I heard from an applicant was that before she worked with groceries, and while she liked her job and provided good customer service, it wasn’t really something she was enthusiastic about as a young woman. Since she had a passion for cosmetics and beauty products, and tested a lot of brands, she believed a job with Sephora would be a better match for her personality.
Anything you say, try to avoid negative remarks about your former bosses or colleagues. For example, it’s fine to say that you didn’t fit well in the previous environment, that you didn’t match well with your superior or colleagues. But if you said that your last boss was a despotic pig, they would not hire you at Sephora. And it doesn’t matter whether your claim about the last boss was justified…
Can you please tell us more about your former retail experience?
Anything you say them, try to put emphasis on customer service. You can describe a situation when you went above and beyond for the customer, or just simply stress out that in your former job the most important thing was to please the customers.
You shouldn’t sound bitter or tired when talking about your former jobs, when describing the duties you had. Sounding bitter indicates that you are bored from working in retail, and apply only because you cannot do anything better at the moment, with your education and experience. If they got this impression in an interview, they would not hire you.
What role do beauty products play in your life?
They should play a huge role. And the hiring managers should see it immediately when you enter the store for the interviews. Be sure to wear your best clothes, and a full face makeup. Beautiful nails are also a must.
This is important, because it creates a certain sensation in the subconscious mind of the customers. Once they perceive that you wear the products yourself, that you take great care of your looks, they will trust your suggestions, and they will be more likely to buy the products you recommend.
At this point you can even name your favorite brands, for different beauty products. Ideally you should name some brands that Sephora has in the portfolio. Mentioning some innovations, some new products, also indicates that you are honestly interested in the field, try to stay on the top of the fame, and will enjoy your new job.
Imagine that a customers who bought a bottle of expensive perfume accidentally drops it and it breaks, just a few seconds after they paid for their purchase. What will you do as a sales associate?
You shouldn’t suggest refunding them or anything similar. While customer service plays a prime at Sephora, it also has some limits. The business must remain profitable, and it would hardly be so if you offered free replacements for broken products.
But you should not just let it go either. Customer who bought an expensive perfume may buy many other, expensive products, in the future. That’s why it is important to not let them leave completely upset…
Say that you will for sure talk to them, and show some compassion. You may offer them a small gift card, or the maximum possible discount you are allowed to offer, if they decide to buy another bottle of the expensive perfume.
One way or another, you will do everything withing your powers to see the client leaving the store with a smile on their face.
This job is repetitive, and the shifts can be long sometimes. What will you do to stay motivated?
You have several options for a good answer to this question. The best one is showing proactive approach to work. Shift seems long only when we have nothing to do. But you do not plan to sit on a chair or stair on the screen of your mobile phone.
Planning to actively approach the customers, trying to give them advice, time will go much faster. And when there are no customers in a store, you will take care of secondary duties, such as stocking the shelves, or doing some administrative work.
Another option is referring to your passion for this field. You love skincare and beauty products so much, that you can’t imagine how you’d feel bored while working for Sephora. You will either talk about the products with the customers, or you will explore the store yourself, trying to learn more about the new products, to be able to provide a great assistance to the customers.
Describe a time when you had to deal with an unhappy customer in one of your previous jobs in retail.
The key is to demonstrate a few things with your answer:
- That you keep your eyes open at work. As soon as you spot an unhappy customer, you will approach them and try your best to bring the smile back to their face.
- That you take the feedback from the customers seriously.
- And that it is natural for you to try to make the customers happy.
Now you can talk about different situations. One is when the customer actually complained about the service they got in the store. Ensure the hiring managers at Sephora, that you heard them out, and did not argue with them. Even if they were wrong, you tried to understand their point of view, and remedy the situation. And you also considered the situation afterwards, thinking what you could make better, and you learned your lesson.
Some other questions you may face while interviewing for in-store jobs at Sephora
- Describe a great supervisor and a bad supervisor.
- How important is teamwork for you? Do you consider yourself a team player, or are you more of a lonely wolf?
- What is your availability? What hours and days during the week can you work?
- Characterize the brand of Sephora with three words.
- What are your salary expectations?
- Do you have any questions?
Physical appearance matters in this interview
In order to give others advice on what they should buy to look better, and smell better, you should have the skill yourself.
It it is very important that you look excellent in your interview. Nice hair, clean and attractive clothes, full face makeup, beautiful nails, you name it. 90% of store managers at Sephora are women, so this has nothing to do with flirting or anything of that sort.
But you want to demonstrate that you love cosmetics, and know a lot about beauty products, and understand how important it is for the woman’s confidence to feel good and look good. It would be very difficult to do so if you came to the interview wearing no makeup…
Conclusion, next steps
Interviews for in-store jobs at Sephora belong to job interviews with average difficulty. Questions are quite predictable, and you can definitely prepare for them in advance. On the other hand, Sephora is a popular place of work among young women, and you will almost always compete for the job with other applicants. This makes your situation more difficult, because some of the candidates can have more retail experience.
Anyway, you should focus on things that are under your control–what the other job applicants do, and how well they interview, does not belong to this group… Try to prepare for the questions, and do your best to look good on the big day. We wish you good luck and hope to see you in one of the Sephora stores!
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling nervous? Or beyond nervous? Check our 4 strategies and tackle your anxiety.
- Salary negotiation tips – Can you get a better offer at the end of your interview with Sephora?