Advice for getting hired at a shop
I might have a chance at working at a local outdoors/ski&board shop, with the help of a very good reference. I am going to meet the owner of the shop within the near future and am looking for some tips and advice on what to do, things to learn, and things to say to give me a better chance of him considering me for the position (which would be part time help, I am willing and eager to do anything). I have retail experience, but not any real sales or commission experience. I do however have plenty of experience with strict customer service an proper treatment of the customer, and the value of a good name and word of mouth. Ideally this is the industry I would like to start a career in out of school, and getting started in the industry is the main reason I am highly motivated to get this job. I am doing it for the knowledge, experience, and networking that will happen from working in the sales sector of the industry. I'm not expecting to make good pay either, I would work for basically minimum wage if I got 25 hours a week. My living expenses at the moment are fairly low.
SO, advice from the experts (you know who you are) would be greatly appreciated on things to know and say and general tips for when I go to meet the owner.
As long as you have no or minimal negatives, a few positives and additionally showing an ability, motivation and willingness to learn (which many canidates do)....then its up to who ya know. My daughter is going for some retail shop jobs and she is on the short list...getting an interview...to which she got because of having a relationship with the shop and knowing several folks that work there that can vouch for her skills, personality and perhaps reputation (which may or not help).
As a person that in the past interviewed and hired folks for relatively high pressure work. Its having excellent people skills, the ability to learn quickly...think analysis, synthesize/integrate and adapt/innovate in real time and a good reputation via the grapevine (not the professional references).
When you get hired do us all a favor: learn about your products and the products you don't carry, an informed sales person is not only helpful but builds repeat customers even if you don't make the initial sale; for the love of all that is good and holy don't be a brotard
Shop experience is where it all begins unless you work for some heartless, soulless, mega corporation that allows idiots that don't snowboard to run their marketing department.
Only advice I can give you is you either have what they want or you don't, a good shop will see something in you and hire you, a bad shop probably won't, and a really bad shop just needs a body to fill the position.
I've worked in a snowboard shop before and also worked in retail sales before I started working for myself and honestly interviews are pretty easy once you understand them.
It all comes down to 2 things:
1) Does the interviewer like you as a person
2) Do you stand out (in a good way) from every other person applying for the job
I've never missed out on any job I've interviewed for, so here's my advice:
1) Know your stuff.
You should already be researching and learning about the snowboard products that they carry. Use the internet if you don't know about a product, there's plenty of good information online.
Know which of their snowboards are good for what types of riding. Also, know how to recommend different gear and help customers pick their gear.
Aim to know things like how to size a snowboard correctly and which boots are typically wider than others.
Being knowledgable is something that shows, especially if you get asked questions on snowboard gear during the interview.
2) Show your passion and work ethic
If you get asked why you want to work at the snowboard shop, don't be afraid to show your passion for working in the industry.
Tell him you want to work in the industry. Tell him you're willing to work your butt off and that you want to learn and get more experience inside the industry.
Don't be afraid to tell him that you want it so bad that you've already been researching into the products the shop carries and that you want to learn even more and will keep learning more.
All of this counts for extra points and makes you more likable when they see you have passion and are willing to put in the work.
3) Try to be specific instead of giving generic answers
Nearly every retail job asks the same questions. Try to have non generic answers to these questions.
For example, everyone always asks something related to customer care.
Don't give the same boring generic answers that everyone else gives. "Customers should be a priority and are important" is not going to stand out as a good answer.
For example, here's how I used to answer any 'customer care' related question that would come up:
blah blah blah something to do with customer care
"Customer care is extremely important, especially in today's world where everyone has a Facebook account.
I read that the average person has over 140+ facebook friends, which means anything good or bad that a customer says will be displayed to 140+ people and that reflects back on a business' bottom line at the end of the day.
For example, Zappos.com proved that customer care affects the bottom line of a business by not only spreading word of mouth but by increasing repeat customers by giving amazing customer service.
Zappos.com actually outsold Amazon.com on identical products that were higher priced on Zappos.com and they did that by having better customer service than Amazon.com."
See what I did there? Now that whole spill on Zappos and Amazon may be overkill for you, but you get the idea.
So yeah, know your stuff, show passion and a good work ethic and try to avoid generic boring answers.
Thanks for all for all or the great replies!
Im pretty much hearing what I generally assumed were the key points. I will certainly review and learn the products they carry. I want this job to get as much experience as possible, so i would be the exact opposite of the generic shop douche kid.
I work retail now and certainly understand the value and levels of importance of customer service, and how word of mouth is the most important advertising, and that to the web is the brick and mortar shop's biggest enemy. I certainly am able to show passion for the job and the industry, so I have that covered. I would consider myself good at interviews, and am very confident.
I have the enthusiasm aspect covered, interview/confidence covered, customer service covered, and have some knowledge covered.
The one question I still have is what to say/ways to highlight skills to show my ability to make the guy money, which is of course an important thing to a shop owner, hiring an employee that can actually make him money. How do I give him cofidence in my ability to make him money other than my natural out going friendly nature and good people skills.
One thing over looked that is real key to any shop. Don't do meth!
So I've heard, stopped for gas there once scared me got back in drove to Utah.
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