Monday, June 24, 2013

The interview bag

There are some basics on what to bring when interviewing in the fashion industry. While some people over-prepare, some under-prepare. On more than one occasion I have had a design candidate show up for an interview with me without a portfolio. Interview over. Every candidate should bring a couple copies of their resume, but every designer must have their portfolio. That’s a short list of must haves. The list of nice to haves can be much longer.

If you are a merchant candidate and really want to set yourself apart, maybe bring a market analysis. Something physical to show you understand the brand, the competition and the major challenges facing the market will show you are really excited about the position and company. This gives you a leg up on other candidates.

 For a production /sourcing candidate, perhaps bring a brand analysis. What is the major line of business for the company you are interviewing with? Where are they producing their products? How are their price points relative to competition? How could you do better? For example if you are interviewing with a denim company, have you looked in labels to see where they produce? What are the washes, quality of denim they are using? A report suggesting how you could do even better and what costing you could achieve is a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates.

For a designer, what could enhance your portfolio? I have had candidates bring large sample bags and set up presentations. I have also seen people go the extra mile with an additional digital presentation. When I see someone get that excited and take the extra step, I tend to get excited about them.
Of course all of the above nice to haves are above and beyond the call of the interview duty. If done incorrectly, an extra like this could hurt your chances of landing that job. If done well, you will be top of mind for the brand.

What’s in your bag when you show up for an interview? If you are really excited about a company, what could you do to go the extra mile? If you only bring must haves on an interview, what’s holding you back from doing more?

Learn more about the fashion industry from Career Coach Kate Kibler at

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