You walk a street of any American or European city and see a stylish young person wearing a backpack heading your way. The chances are high that once they pass you and you turn around, you’ll see Vans written on the backpack, or at least the logo of the company on their shoes. That’s how popular the brand is nowadays, especially with teenagers and people in their twenties. Vans as a company is growing rapidly, while trying to satisfy the ever-growing demand for their products, especially the backpacks. Which means that they are hiring, and, as many other American corporations, they use HireVue to help them streamline their hiring.
In this article we will look at 7 questions you will have to deal with in your Hirevue “interview” with Vans. I will explain why they ask each question, what they expect to hear from you, and I will also give you some sample answers (you should not copy them though, just use them as inspiration to come up with your own, authentic answer). Remember that the artificial intelligence behind HireVue watches your movements, facial expression, and other things. Try to be calm and enthusiastic about the job opportunity while doing the video interview. Your positive inner feelings will reflect on your face, and the AI will take notice of that–and give you good “employability” scores. Okay, let’s move to the questions you will face.
Here at Vans, we live our purpose to enable creative expression and inspire youth culture by celebrating and encouraging the “Off the Wall” attitude that comes from expressing your true self. We are passionate about our 4 pillars: action sports, art, music, and street culture. Tell us about your interests, hobbies, and values that drive your personal and professional life.
A rather long question, and in my view unnecessary long, but at the end of the day you aren’t the only one selling something in this interview. Vans also tries to sell you the benefits of working for the company, their culture and brand. That’s why they talk about “expressing your true self” and such stuff.
Anyway, they also help you a lot with the question, because they indirectly suggest what kind of people they are looking for, what type of life they should lead, what hobbies they should have. You have it right in the question: being yourself, having passion for action sports, art, music, and/or street culture. That’s what you should focus on in your answer. Try not forcing it with being too formal (be yourself), but at the same time remember this is an interview so you should avoid excessive slang or something similar.
Of course, you can tell them a bit about your life, whether you are still studying, what you aspire to achieve in the future, and so on. You can also use this opportunity to say how much you love their brand. Let’s have a look at a sample answer.
My greatest passion is art and music. I love searching for new artists, including ones from local scene in my city, going to concerts, getting to know people. In two years from now I will finally finish my studies, and I hope to pursue a career in fashion design, or perhaps start my own musical career. And I am big admirer of what you achieved at Vans, and your proud customer. The desire to learn new things and perhaps one day become a great artist myself drives me forward, and helps me deal with everyday challenges.
Please describe a time you had to adapt to a shifting environment.
Every job is challenging, and jobs with Vans are no exception. People come and go, sometimes there is nobody in the store and ten minutes later the place is brimming with people, and you do not know who to attend first. And the same is true with corporate jobs at Vans, since the company is expanding rapidly, people come and go, and you need to adapt to changes.
I suggest you to say that you actually thrive is such an environment. We grow outside of our comfort zone. To always face new circumstances and challenges, your mind gets sharper, and you become better in whatever you do. That’s what you enjoy, and perhaps you have this experience from the past job, or from school. And if you have not, simply say that you feel confident you will not only adapt to the shifting environment, but will actually enjoy it. Let’ have a look at a sample answer:
This is my first job application, and logically I haven’t had a chance to experience such environment yet. Having said that, I believe the world is like that nowadays–everything changes, with almost scary pace, and either you adapt or you are left behind. Just think about the recent pandemic, the recession hitting us now, the inflation, everything. However, I somehow enjoy these changes–they help me feel alive. I still feel young enough to deal with almost everything the world throws at me, and I have no doubt I will adapt to the shifting environment in my first job, hopefully with Vans.
Please describe a time you set challenging goals for yourself and what you did to achieve these goals.
In one way Vans doesn’t differ from any other bigger American corporation. They want you to work hard, set ambitious goals, and meet them in your job. They want to hire people who enjoy setting challenging goals and meeting them.
If this is your first job application, you can talk about some goals you set at school, or perhaps in sports–you wanted to do a challenging jump on skis, or no a skateboard, something that seemed impossible initially. But with persistence and dedication, you eventually managed to reach the goal. Needless to say, even a better example is from a job you had before. Setting challenging sales goals, working long hours, sacrificing something for your job, and enjoying the accolades later on… Check a sample answer below for some inspiration:
Well, they actually set such a goal for me in my last job in retail. They had sales goals for each employee, and, considering the economic situation in the country, I found them extremely challenging, if not impossible to meet. But I like to be challenged, and decided to give it my best shot. Worked long hours, tried to make good connection with the customers, went above and beyond whenever possible. Even though I did not manage to meet the goals the company set for us, I was pretty close, and I know I gave it my best shot. At the end of the day, things are never fully under your control, and certain variables you simply cannot change….
Tell us about a time when a friend or co-worker bent or stretched the rules. What did you do? How would you have acted in the same situation? When do you feel it is appropriate to bend or stretch the rules?
Let’s be honest. Everyone has days when they do not feel like working. We try to bent the rules, to escape, to somehow get through the day. As someone once said: “the rules are here so we can break them“. In HireVue interview with Vans, however, you should show the right attitude to this kind of situation. Which basically means that you didn’t let it go unnoticed. On the contrary, you talked to the person who broke the rules, and if it didn’t help you reported them to the manager.
When it comes to the second question--what you would do in their shoes, it is good showing some humility and empathy, and perhaps saying that you understand why they felt the way they did, and did what they did. And while you have integrity and everything, you cannot say with certainty that you would not act in the same way. Because, in certain cases, one feels like stretching the rules, or bending them, is the only way to deal with the situation.
I remember a situation from my last job in a clothing store. One of the rules was to keep the store always perfectly neat, which meant packing and taking back to place the clothes and shoes the customers tried on, but didn’t buy. I was at a cash desk that day, and, watching my colleagues sales associates, and the hordes of people in the store, I witnessed a mess. My colleagues just didn’t have time to bring the clothes back to their place, since there were many customers to attend to. Hence there were open boxes and clothes hanging everywhere. They stretched the rules, and I pointed that out, and tried to help them tidy the mess once I had no people at the cash desk. At the same time though, I understood that in this particular instance, it perhaps made sense to bend the rules a bit, since I believe attending customers and answering their questions has priority over keeping the store neat and perfectly clean. Hence if I was in their shoes, I would probably act in the same way.
Please tell us about a time you made someone happy in a difficult situation. What was the situation, how did you respond, and what was the outcome?
At this point you can talk about all sorts of situations. And you do not need previous working experience really. Perhaps a friend of you came to school crying, having just broken up with her boyfriend. Or your colleague faced a tricky financial situation, and you came and showed them support. Of course, you can talk also about situations from a job, for example when you managed to bring smile back to the face of an upset customer.
The most important thing here is to show that you care, that you are attentive to the feelings of people around you, that you enjoy making others happy. Because that’s exactly the or type of personality they seek at Vans, when hiring new employees. Let’s have a look at a good sample answer.
Such a situation happened to me just two week ago. On of my schoolmates looked terribly sad in the classroom. During the break I reached her, took her to the corridor, and asked what was wrong. She told me she broke up with her boyfriend, over a nasty argument. And she said she felt terrible. I immediately gave her a long hug and invited her to cinema in the evening. To enjoy a nice evening out, to get new thoughts, or perhaps just to forget. We had a blast that evening and, at least in my impression, it made her happy again… I know the world isn’t an easy place to live in nowadays, and that’s why I always try to be attentive to the people around me and to their feelings. Maybe it isn’t going to change the world, but making someone happy is always worth it!
Imagine you recently joined a well- established team that will work together in order to accomplish a common goal. You have a new way of approaching the goal that differs from the rest of the team’s viewpoint. How would you connect with your new teammates and communicate your ideas?
In my personal opinion, this one is the hardest from the Vans HireVue questions. The company certainly looks for creative people, employees who can bring new ideas onboard. At the same time though, I am not exactly sure what they expect from new members of the team–whether they should disrupt the established order, or rather blend in, especially if things are going well already? Needless to say, what they expect in this scenario determines the ideal answer to the question. And since I do not know what they expect, I cannot really tell what the ideal answer it.
Perhaps you can go with something neutral. Say that first of all, you will get to know the members of the well-established team, to understand their ideas, and their way of doing the job. Simply to see things from their perspective. Just then, once you know the picture, will you come up with your own ideas, trying to demonstrate how they can improve the work of the team, or at least the way you see it. But you won’t force the issue. You will simply present your ideas and suggestions, and be open for discussion with the team members. Maybe the team eventually won’t move forward with them. In such a case you should be ready to accept it.
Well, as a new person in the team, first and foremost I will try to connect with other people, talk about the goals, understand their viewpoints. Then I will present my ideas, and my viewpoint, trying to demonstrate how it can make our work better, and help us achieve the goal. But I won’t force anything. At the end of the day, if it is an established team and things work well in the team, perhaps they know more than I do… What I try to say here is that while we should not be afraid to come up with new ideas, at the same time it is important to stay humble, and accept that the team won’t always do the things the way we want them to be done…
Please describe a time you had to cope with a high-pressure or stressful situation at work or in school.
This one is relatively easy. When you struggle to come up with anything better, you can always talk about a difficult exam at school you had to prepare for, or other stressful situation you faced. If you worked somewhere already, you can mention busy times, when the workload was heavy, or when you found it hard to get along with some colleague, or faced other tricky situation.
As you can likely imagine, your attitude matters more than the situation you narrate. Show them that while the situation wasn’t easy, you didn’t crack under pressure. On the contrary, you saw things through, and perhaps with the mutual support of your colleague(s), you eventually overcame the stressful situation. Let’s have a look at one sample answer:
I remember the last exam period at the college. It was tough, since I was sick for a month, and could not attend the lectures, and I really struggled with some subjects. It was super stressful since we also had some family issues back home… I must admit that at times I considered escaping everything, but eventually my desire to achieve something in life won. I studied hard, paid for private classes, slept little. And I also tried to find support in people who truly wanted to help me, especially my best friend. Eventually I did it–I passed the exams. While I know many other stressful situation await me in my working life, I also believe I will be able to handle them.
So here you have it, the 7 questions you will face while doing your HireVue with Vans, and a guide on how to answer each one. Speaking honestly, compared to many other HireVue interviews, the one with Vans is quite difficult, especially for young people who have little working experience. Nevertheless, I hope that after reading this article you will find it easier, and will eventually get the job with Vans. Good luck to you!
May also interest you: How to overcome interview nerves?