Getting a retail job can sometimes feel like you’re a contestant on the world’s toughest gameshow. It’s not just about turning up to the interview anymore, now you are expected to take part in roleplay, team tasks and presentations. Feeling confused? Read to find out what you can expect and how you can get what really counts, your dream job (and maybe a cuddly toy if you’re lucky).
It sometimes may seem pointless and frustrating, but due to the social nature of working in retail, many employers ask you to perform tasks if you impress them at the interview stage. Rebecca Tee , author of Successful Interview Skills, says: “Presentations and tasks such as roleplays are a lot more common these days as most jobs have an element of presenting, speaking to crowds or talking in meetings. So employers want to see how potential employees can deal with it – especially in customer service jobs like retail.”
So what should you expect?
If the interview wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, you’ve now been told you’ve got to attend a group interview and do some roleplay, it sounds daunting, but these tasks aren’t as scary as the sound.
Remember, the employer just wants to see how you act under pressure in the working environment, so relax. Take a deep breath and pretend it’s just another day at work.
Roleplay may sound like it’s just for drama groups, but believe it or not, it’s something you may encounter as part of your job interview.
Roleplaying will normally involve putting you in a work-related situation to see how you would deal with it. The scenario you are given may differ depending on the role you are applying for, so for example, if you were applying for a customer service job you may be faced with how you would talk to a customer or how you’d sell a particular product. However, if you were applying for a store manager job you may be asked to deal with a difficult customer or a complaint about the service.
Groups tasks are all about participating in problem solving, so be enthusiastic and work well with your teammates, it’ll make you stand out .
These tasks are just a way for the recruiter to see how you interact in a team and whether you have potential to be a leader and a valuable part of a team.
Again, these sounds scarier than they are. If the employer didn’t think you were capable of doing it, they wouldn’t have asked you back after the interview, so it’s all about showing you have the knowledge, the skills and the confidence to prove it.
Presentations are a great way for an employer to find out about your personality and compare and contrast candidates for the job. “A presentation gives the recruiter a chance to see how you deal under pressure. It’s also a way for them to get a good chunk of an interview out of the way” says Tee.
Often you will be given the topic for a presentation in advance, so don’t waste any valuable time watching tv, make sure you’re fully prepared and ready to impress them.
Try not to fall into the trap of giving a long, boring presentation, if you're bored by it, chances are so will your interviewer. Keep your potential employer interested by sticking to three key points and getting them across in a clear, creative and interesting way. Try making your presentation interactive, give them handouts, ask direct questions, and involve them whenever you can.
It’s all about standing out from the other candidates, so if you can go beyond what they’d expect, it's bound to impress. “If you are doing a presentation for a retail job then make sure you know about the company. Visit one of their stores and then get creative in the presentation – talk about how you would improve something, what promotions you loved etc …. It shows you’ve down your homework, and it isn’t just one of many jobs you have applied for,” says Tee.
Remember to be enthusiastic and friendly when performing tasks or delivering presentations; and most of all, enjoy it. If a potential employer can see you are happy to talk in front of crowds and that you confidentially interact with other people, then you will be on the right track to securing the job.
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