14 September 2013

A Job at LUSH

Oh man is this going to be a long post, but hopefully it is very specific and helpful to others who want to go through the process of applying for jobs and interviews. And it's just something to blog about since I haven't in a while.

Even though this is specifically about my LUSH job experience, I've learnt a lot and feel so much more confident about who I am and what I want to do with my life (in the short term... To some extent. Like, who has their life sorted anyway?)

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The first stage was actually just finding out the job existed. I found out through social media, Instagram originally then I confirmed it by looking at their Facebook page. Just a christmas temp thing but a job is a job. What they asked was to send a cv and a cover letter to an email address. Simple enough. I have no trouble with cvs because I update mine after every new thing I do - something I would advise everyone to do. The worst thing about job hunting is finding an awesome job with a deadline for tomorrow and then having to spend hours trying to remember what you did and when for your cv. I know it's even more annoying when they ask for a CV then throw a lot more questions at you but that is just how the job market is. I prefer to be over-prepared.

What probably seemed appealing about me was the 50+ hours of volunteering I've done over the years at galleries and more recently concerning raising awareness for mammals in the North Sea. So I would recommend people going into volunteering roles and getting involved because it looks good on your cv for any job really. It's also something to talk about in interviews but we'll get to that. 

The cover letter was one of the hardest things I've ever written. I had a few paragraphs and they basically outlined products I liked in LUSH, why I wanted to work for them, why I would be good for the job and their ethics (which I agree with which definitely helps, if you want to work for a company who are big on values you should address them - of course don't just agree with them to look good, it will most likely bite you in the arse later down the line. It's cheesey, but stay true to you.). I also mentioned a painting I did to involve kids with the whole mammal awareness stuff I'd done so I added a couple of pictures on that and an article attached which mentioned my name so that probably looked great.

Something I am sick of seeing people complain about: experience! Oh I can't get a job in [insert popular high street shop] because I have no experience, how am I supposed to get experience if they won't give me a job. Simple. Get experience through either volunteer work or get a job at a less glamorous shop first. I'm so sick of people complaining about not being able to get a job when really they just go for the jobs that look good and everything else is out of the question. I know there aren't a lot of jobs and it's hard everywhere but if you are desperate you should be prepared to go anywhere in order to gain experience. 

Let's calm down and get back to the process, I had an email back the next day saying they would like to invite me to an interview in August but they'd get back to me with the date. I don't know how long it was after that until they emailed me again asking for a recent photo and to complete a general application form. This was phase 2.

For the photograph I used my Polaroid camera I'd got for my birthday but not used. I thought I should just take a new photo and maybe it would be somewhat original to do it with a Polaroid. In the photo I looked a mess since I was tired from work all day but I smiled in it. At the end of the day that is how I look and it was probably one of the worst photos of me ever.

The general application started fine, it asked basic details (name, address etc) and the times you could work in the week including any holidays booked. For time availability I looked at my provisional Uni timetable and said I was free for the time slots I wasn't at Uni. They won't expect you to work 6 full days a week so if you get uppity and want to always have Sunday off when you're not busy but expecting all those other shifts then that's not great. Fair enough if you have something constantly on your personal timetable but otherwise you look keen by ticking all those boxes and even if they ask me to do all those slots it's just for four months. I can suck it up. I think I'm a workaholic at heart.

However, the general application changed and asked questions like "why would you be good for LUSH" "Name three values LUSH stand for" and "what is you defining feature" - at first this was great. These questions sound like what you you expect at a one on one interview but with more time to think and structure your answer. But then the more I looked at it the more I struggled. They set a deadline to return this and on the first two days of having it I put bullet points under each question with how I would answer it. I figured it all out the day before the deadline. I struggled most with "what is your defining feature" - I had to ask what people thought so I wouldn't flake out with something so unoriginal like my creativity. My dad gave me two answers: my humour and that I'm adventurous. I picked the adventurous option and learnt, I really am adventurous. 

On emailing those parts back I received my interview date and time, was told to confirm my attendance and bring a pen.

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By this point this post is so long and dull and dreary so thanks for reading and I apologise! Lets continue shall we. It's about to get good.

I'd started checking out other blogs to see what they had wrote about when going for an interview at LUSH. A lot of people have said the same thing: group interview. This shouldn't scare you. It's a Christmas job and the other Christmas job I've had (at River Island) did the same. It's an easy way to get through a lot of applications in a short time period. At River Island there were about twenty people and I was expecting as much for the interview. Lo' and behold it was. I read a lot of blogs complaining about huge group sizes and bad conditions but they improved on this and at the end of the day an interview is an interview and you are going to feel sick with nerves before it no matter what it's like.

The interview had four stages to it. There isn't much point going into each stage as it will most likely change, my friend described her LUSH interview from years ago and mine was nothing like hers. The group of about 20 people were split into two smaller groups. Some parts were general like being a good sales assistant theme and others were personal as they wanted to know your passions etc. This particular group was described as the smallest they'd had so far that week and although it can be daunting just remember you are all clearly the best of the best with what they were looking for. They said they had tonnes of applications and then narrowed it down for the interviews.

Another great bit of advice I heard on a blog was: don't treat it like a competition. It's not, in this instance they were looking for 30 or so people to take on for Christmas. They got back to me the next day to give me a trial shift that was two weeks away. The longest two weeks of my life. Especially when I have no other plans. 

I was told to wear black or white so that's what I prepared first: my uniform. Since it was an afternoon shift I decided that I might score some points by buying a few goodies and I had a interview prep bath with the Phoenix bath ballistic and used some face stuff (BB Seaweed and Ocean Salt etc etc)

The trial was an hour and a half and quite straight forward. It started with a one on one with the trainee (interview style) then a brief walk around the store and I was set to it. It was quiet so a lot of them time I was just standing around smelling the products and seeing what was available but I jumped to interact with customers, it's something I'm just good at because I've had the practice. The general rule of thumb is to not be scared and just say hi. It's just a person, they do not have claws and sharp teeth. Always smile and be as helpful as possible. Just show the customer you are happy to spend time with them to help their needs. It was a very fun hour and a half and my hands smelled delightful at the end because I had stuck my hand in everything.

And then at the end of the shift I was told that I got the job. I'm over the moon. This post probably wasn't as helpful as I think it is in my head but at least I can look back at it and know what I mean. It was also painfully long. Apologies.

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