Will you be going on a placement year? Get some pointers from BA Retail Management student Kira’s experience working at fashion giant boohoo.com.
Acing your assessment day or interview
What type of selection processes did you go through for your applications and what was your experience of them? Any tips for students currently searching?
I found the idea of video interviews quite daunting at first. However, I prepared well for these and thought of some answers to questions that might be asked. My advice is to make sure you’re sat in a quiet room with no distractions and dress how you would for a real life interview. It might be worth videoing yourself first to do a practice run as then you won’t feel as nervous.
A lot of companies require you to do psychometric tests, which can be very time-consuming so don’t rush them and try your best to answer all the questions.
For telephone interviews, you may not be aware when you are going to be contacted - they may come as a surprise! After completing an application, I would take some time to prepare answers and questions for a potential telephone interview. My telephone interview for boohoo took place on a train which wasn’t ideal but I just focused on what was being asked.
How was your experience of assessment days/ interviews?
Prior to the assessment day at boohoo, we had to deliver a pre-prepared presentation. Next we took part in a challenge with the other candidates where it was important to question each other’s views and ideas and put forward your own. We finished with one on one interviews.
I really enjoyed the assessment day as I had the opportunity to meet new people who shared the same interests as me and passion for fashion! After learning more about boohoo, what my role would involve and meeting people who work for boohoo, I knew that it was the placement I would love to secure.
What are your top tips for impressing at an interview or assessment day?
I think the most important thing is to be yourself and show your true personality. An assessment day or interview can be really nerve-wracking but if you try to relax and really engage in all the tasks then you will find the day a lot more enjoyable.
Another vital thing to note is to be prepared! As soon as I received what I had to do my presentation on for boohoo, I made a start straight away. I would practice in front of my Mum every night and it really helped! It will also help to take time to research the companies thoroughly and memorise key facts. You will definitely be asked what you know about the company during an interview. In addition, try to think what you might be asked during an interview and how you would answer them. For example, you will probably get asked why you want to apply for the role and why they should hire you. If you know in advance that you will have to do a presentation, bring along a few printed copies so you can hand them out.
Lastly, at the end of an interview you will be asked if you have any questions so it is best to think of some prior to your interview.
Making an impression
Tell us about what you usually got up to in your day
At boohoo, in the mornings we all take turns to complete ‘morning checks’ of the websites for all regions to double check everything is working fine. Recently, I have been executing and implementing the promotional plan for the websites for Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. I am also responsible for ensuring that all the Privacy Notices are up to date for GDPR reasons. I create promotional codes, review and conduct ad-hoc research on competitors, attend meetings and create reports using web analytic tools. I also help out with the other brands from the boohoo group such as boohooMAN and Nasty Gal.
Highlights and challenges?
Highlights would definitely have to be the boohoo staff parties or meeting Josh and Wes from Love Island! But, it is also really rewarding when you have finished scheduling a website for a region you are assigned to and you see the finished look!
Another highlight would have to be working with everyone on my team and meeting all the other interns in different departments. I learn something new every day at boohoo which is amazing! In addition to this, boohoo provide training days for all the interns which help us improve our skillset for the future. Overall, it is the best experience and opportunity I’ve ever had and I always remind myself that I am very lucky to be working for a brand I love and such a successful, global company.
When I first started, there was a lot of information to take in such as new terminology and how to execute the promotional plan for each website. However, I soon got to grips with it all and everyone on my team is always willing to help me.
Looking to the future
How will your placement at boohoo impact your attitude and skillset for your final year at uni?
I have been at boohoo for just over 3 months now and I have already learnt so much. It will definitely motivate me to work harder and do all my work to the best of my ability. I have improved my skillset such as communication, time management, organisation and IT skills. This will be a great help when it comes to writing my dissertation. I will be able to use my experience from boohoo and apply it to my degree too.
What would be your top tips for a student to maximise their chances of securing a placement?
Here are my top tips on how to maximise your chance on securing a placement:
- If you haven’t already, get a part-time job and if you can, a job/work experience that is relevant to the field of placement you are applying to. I knew that I wanted to secure a placement in retail so I got a part-time job as a Christmas temp at New Look who then offered me a permanent role until I started my placement. Also, if you work for a company who offer placements it will increase your chances of securing a placement for that company.
- Ensure you have a full UK Driving License as some companies won’t employ you if you don’t have one. Some may require you to have a car too for when you start the placement.
- Attend all help sessions that your university provide on how to put together a CV/Personal Assessment and how to impress employers in interviews. My University offered these and they were a massive help.
- Applying for a placement is very time-consuming, so make sure you put some time aside from your studies as each one took me about 3 hours!
- Get different people to check over your CV/Personal Statement to ensure no mistakes have been made and take on board any advice they give you and make any necessary changes.
- It is important to personalise your CV to the brand/company you are applying to. This is your chance to demonstrate your interest in the brand/company. It’s great to include what positive attributes you have and how you have demonstrated these within the workplace.
- Only include relevant information in a CV, you don’t want it to be too long as you will lose the interest of the employer.
- Attend employer/placement fairs and bring some copies of you CV to hand out, as you may meet the person who will be involved in the selection process for successful candidates.
- If you are successful in securing a placement, make sure you reply to the brand/company straight away with your decision. If employers are left waiting they will look at offering the placement to someone else and you could lose out on the opportunity!
For more help on polishing your CV and getting interview ready, get in touch with our Student and Graduate Futures team.