(Photo: Mickael Denet)
Close your eyes. Think of your happy place. Let me guess: you’re thinking about Sephora, aren’t you?
Now, what if I told you that I have insider information that will help you get a job at your happy place? Cosmopolitan magazine writer Heather Wood Rudulph sat down with Yvette Nichols, Sephora’s vice president of talent acquisition, to get the scoop on the hiring process at everybody’s favorite beauty store. I’ve rounded up a list of the best tips and tricks from Cosmo‘s interview with Nichols and from a few other Sephora insiders. Read on to learn everything you need to know about getting hired at paradise.
1. You don’t need to have prior experience in the beauty industry
You don’t need to have beauty industry experience, but having worked any retail or hospitality jobs would be a huge advantage. Nichols told Cosmo that “passion, flexibility, a great attitude, and a strong inclination toward customer service,” are the most important attributes in prospective “cast members” (that’s Sephora-speak for “sales associates”).
2. Frequent the Sephora location you want to work at
According to makeup artist and YouTuber Jordan Mattice, you should be a regular shopper (or visitor, at the very least) of the Sephora that you want to work at. “Go into the store a lot and become friends and be really familiar with the employees that already work there. People like to hire people that they know,” she said.
3. Be prepared to devote a few weeks to the interview process
Many of the Sephora employees posting on Glassdoor.com (a website that shares job listings, salary expectations, and tips for getting hired at specific companies from anonymous employees) mentioned that the hiring process took three to four weeks. Getting hired at Sephora is not for the faint of heart, guys.
4. Not a team player? Don’t bother applying
Nichols told Cosmo that being a team player is essential for everyone at Sephora, including those who hold high stakes jobs at their corporate offices. “At the end of the day, no matter what the role, you need to be someone who enjoys working in a team environment,” she said.
5. You might have to demonstrate your makeup skills during the interview
Come prepared to demonstrate your makeup application or skincare skills. Several posters on Glassdoor.com mentioned having to do demos on Sephora employees, including one poster who said she was asked to find the perfect shade of lipstick for her “client.” According to this anonymous poster, “the key to this part is sanitation, engaging the customer, and strong closure. Make sure you ask lots of questions to the client and be super friendly. And when the client likes the product, make sure to compliment her and go grab the product right away.”
6. Customer service is key
Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a Sephora knows that the employees there are all about customer service. Nichols told Cosmo that, “We have an obsession with delighting our customers, and everyone needs to have that mentality.”
7. Stay on top of the trends
Nichols said that Sephora is a “trend-driven company,” so prospective employees should come to their interview prepared to talk about current trends in beauty and skincare.
8. Drop some insider knowledge
According to YouTuber Mattice, dropping insider information is a “do” during a Sephora interview. “Show that you know the ins and outs of Sephora,” she said. “The Beauty Insider card, the rewards program, samples–all of those things. If you already know a bunch of it, they’re not going to have to teach you.”
Click to the next page to read eight more tips and tricks about getting hired at Sephora, including one that will make college students very, very happy.
9. Be prepared to talk about your favorite products
Know your stuff! “I [like] to ask [applicants] whether they’ve shopped in Sephora recently and what their favorite products are,” Nichols told Cosmo.
10. Know someone who works at Sephora? Talk to him or her about job openings
Mattice was right: becoming friendly with Sephora staff could really boost your chances of being hired. According to Nichols, Sephora has an employee referral program, and the company will often hire people who have been vetted by cast members.
11. You might have to do a group interview
Another tip from the good people posting at Glassdoor.com: be prepared to do a group interview. Several of the Sephora employees at Glassdoor.com mentioned group interviews, although not all had to do one–with any luck, you’ll be one of the few who skip that step. I’ve done one in the past and they’re pretty much the worst thing ever–you’re constantly struggling to find a balance between making yourself stand out from the crowd and not coming across as a conversation-domineering jerk–so make sure you’re mentally ready to interview in a group before arriving.
12. You can apply online or in the store
Nichols told Cosmo that there are two different ways to apply for a job at Sephora. If you wan to work a retail position, you can apply in-person at your local store. Those who want to work at the corporate office should visit Sephora’s careers site.
13. Still in college? You can apply for an internship at Sephora
Here’s some great news for college juniors and seniors with GPAs of 3.0 or higher: Sephora has 10-week-long summer internship programs, and the internships are paid. Nichols said the company accepts internship applications from January to March, so hustle over to the careers section of their website if you want to be considered.
14. Be prepared to ask thoughtful questions of the interviewer
Nichols told Cosmo that job candidates will be given the opportunity to ask questions during their interview, so come prepared. “I like questions that demonstrate that they’ve put some thought into it, or that they’ve done a little bit of research,” said Nichols. But whatever you do, don’t ask something that you should already know. “When a candidate asks me things like how many stores we have or what brands we carry, it tells me they didn’t do enough of their own upfront research,” she said.
15. Take credit for your accomplishments
One final piece of advice from Sephora’s vice president of talent acquisition? Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. “I see it all the time in people without a lot of experience interviewing. They feel like they are bragging,” said Nichols. “It’s not bragging. It’s just communicating your accomplishments.”
16. Oh, and send a thank you note!
According to Nichols, even a thank you email will suffice. “Take the time to send an email. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it should be sincere and show that some thought was put into it.”