First Job Interview Tomorrow: Things to Keep in Mind?

ElitisElitis Member Posts: 50 ■■■□□□□□□□
So, after a month and a half of waiting, I finally got a call from Staples. My interview is set up for tomorrow. The only other time I've went through an interview was to get into my IT class at school. So, what should I expect from a job interview? I was thinking of wearing a white button-down shirt (no tie) and either khakis or black pants. Should I go with jeans and gym shoes instead? The position is for an Easy Tech (Associate, I think). Do companies really expect potential employees to know about the company? And I mean knowing things that aren't basic, general, or common knowledge? What should I say if I get asked, "why do you want to work for us?" I was thinking saying something like, "well, I really like technology, and I believe Staples is one of the best companies when it comes to tech". Does that sound too in-genuine? Anything else I should know?


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    ratbuddyratbuddy Member Posts: 665
    Dress to impress. Yeah, it's a crappy job, but if you're serious about landing it, you need to be serious about the interview. Your best pants, a button up shirt, and a tie. No perfume or cologne, and if you rock facial hair, make sure the edges are sharply trimmed. Jeans and gym shoes will scream 'I don't give a crap.'

    As far as learning the company history, don't go crazy, but at least learn when they were founded and what their core businesses are. Did you know Staples sells restaurant supplies now? It may not seem important that you know such things, but in an interview, it helps to have tidbits you can casually mention which will demonstrate knowledge of and interest in the company.

    Mannerisms are pretty important too. Don't cross your arms, and keep your hands out of your pockets. Actively listen to the interviewer, and don't start speaking until they finish, even if you already know how you're going to answer. Don't yawn, even if it means clamping your teeth together and yawning through your nose. At this level of interview, they're mostly out to see if you know how to communicate without offending people. They don't want someone who is going to annoy customers or coworkers, even if that person is the best technician ever.

    Why are you there? Well, they'll probably ask that, and they will know you're full of it if you go anywhere near 'Staples is the best.' Just be honest: you need a foot in the door and want to pay your technical dues in a busy sales-driven environment. OK, maybe not completely honest, but the better an understanding you show of the job requirements, the more likely they are to let you have the position.
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    dj_kenshindj_kenshin Member Posts: 26 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Agree with ratbuddy there. Just make sure you are ready for it! Know about the company some, go over potential questions you can get. Google has it all I swear! Dress to impress, but not too crazily! Full suit might be a bit much in the heat. A lot of companies are in the "Cool Biz" wear right now which is collared shirt, buttoned up but no tie. (Tie is a good thing to have though!)
    You are trying to show you want that job! Lying will kill you so just be you! Good luck :)
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    Hatch1921Hatch1921 Member Posts: 257 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Good luck with your interview.

    Great tips above... fully agree... slacks/dress shirt/tie

    Be yourself... if you do not know the answer to a question... simply let them know you have not had experience with "X Y Z" but you would be interested in learning more about it.

    Be personable. Casual conversation can be a good thing. Odds are you will get the "tell us about yourself" question. Spend some time before the interview thinking about how you would answer that question. Highlight your interests and some of your accomplishments which you are proud of.

    Interview answers .. use the STAR method.. Google/Youtube it if you haven't heard of it. It makes a difference...

    Another question you might face.... tell us about something you failed at and how it impacted your work or you.... or tells us what you didn't like about your last job. I think it's important to be truthful here.... we all make mistakes.. we all fail at something and we all dislike some aspect of our jobs. Whats important is how you spin it. I did this...this was the impact... and this is what I learned from it to avoid doing it again. Something along those lines... turning a negative into a positive.

    Have a couple questions about Staples to ask them. I agree with the comments above... know a little something about the company as well.

    Be positive... be personable...and just be genuine. I think these aspects about peoples character carry a lot of weight. They can teach you on the job... but... they need someone who is a team player and will play well with others IMO. At least this is the way I have approached interviews.

    Again... best of luck and keep us posted on how it goes. No matter.. learn from it if you get the job or not.. it will help you down the road in future interviews.

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    slinuxuzerslinuxuzer Member Posts: 665 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Stay calm and realize there are two main types of interviews, heavy technical and heavy personality. If you end up in heavy personality just relax and try to be likable, try to avoid giving the impression of arrogance or immaturity. You will do fine.
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    pinkydapimppinkydapimp Member Posts: 732 ■■■■■□□□□□
    all good advice above. the only thing i can add is go into the interview with at least 3 questions for them. Remember, you are also interviewing them. And by asking questions, it shows you are interested in what they do and that just like they are looking for someone good, you are looking for a good company.
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    papadocpapadoc Member Posts: 154
    This is my first post here. I'm an ISO for a major CPG company. I've been on countless interviews and one thing you always want to do is to pull the company's SEC 10Q or 10K report if the company is public or has publicly traded debt and obtain info from within there. Even though you may not know how to read a balance sheet, you can skip most of the financials and go directly to the details of the company. Many times the people interviewing you don't even know their own business structure as documented within the Quarterly Filings so you will be really well prepared when they ask you, "What do you know about Staples/company X." The 10K for staples has 7 pages of details on the company (non-financial) that anyone can understand. I'm sharing a bit of it below for you and providing the URL if you need more info. Hiring managers love IT candidates that can understand their "business model" and it helps to set you apart from other candidates.


    Grab their 10-K, all of the text I posted below is in the first 7 pages and there's a ton more data there as well.

    Item 1. Business
    Staples, Inc. and its subsidiaries (''we'', ''Staples'' or the ''Company'') is a world-class provider of products and services that serve the needs of
    business customers and consumers. We are committed to providing superior value to our customers through a broad selection of products, easy to use
    websites and mobile platforms, an integrated retail and online shopping experience and a wide range of copy and print and technology services. We pioneered the office products superstore concept by opening the first office products superstore in Brighton, Massachusetts in 1986 to serve the needs of small businesses and consumers, and we currently serve businesses of all sizes and consumers in North America, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. Our delivery businesses account for a majority of our sales and many of our delivery customers place their orders online, making Staples one of the largest internet resellers in the world. We operate three business segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial and International Operations.

    In 2013, we launched our new tagline "Make More Happen" to highlight our vision: every product your business needs to succeed. This reflects a
    multi-year effort to evolve our business to meet the changing needs of customers. We view the markets for the products and services we offer as large and diversified. We reach our customers through contract, online, catalog and retail sales channels that are designed to be convenient. Our businesses attract different customer groups with distinct purchasing behaviors. Our retail stores and public websites target small businesses and home offices. Our catalog customers are generally small businesses and organizations with up to 20 office workers. Our contract businesses target mid-size businesses and organizations with 20 to 500 office workers, as well as larger regional customers and Fortune 1000 companies. Our ability to address customer groups with different needs expands our market opportunities and increases awareness of the Staples brand. Serving different types of customers in a global business allows us to benefit from a number of important economies of scale, such as enhanced efficiencies in purchasing, distribution, advertising, and general and administrative expenses.

    Our top priorities are to expand our assortment in categories beyond office supplies, enhance our ecommerce platforms, evolve our Contract selling
    model and accelerate growth in our services businesses. We are also engaged in a multi-year effort to aggressively reduce costs to fund our growth initiatives. Additionally, we are focused on reducing our retail square footage in North America and restructuring our European operations to streamline our businesses, drive efficiency and improve profitability.

    North American Stores & Online
    Our North American Stores & Online segment includes the company's retail stores and Staples.com businesses in the U.S. and Canada. Our
    strategy for North American Stores & Online focuses on offering easy-to-shop stores and websites with quality products that are readily available and easy to find, and courteous, helpful and knowledgeable sales associates to support customers across all channels. Our goals are to continue to be a destination for core office supply categories like ink, toner and paper and to become an authority for products and services beyond office supplies, such as technology products and services, copy and print services, facilities and breakroom supplies, as well as a full assortment of industry vertical focused solutions to serve businesses like restaurants, medical offices, and retail stores. Our associates are trained to deliver excellent service by engaging with customers, focusing on solution selling, and encouraging customers to shop across channels.

    We operate a portfolio of retail store formats, tailored to the unique characteristics of each location. Our North American Stores & Online segment
    consisted of 1,515 stores in the United States and 331 stores in Canada at the end of fiscal 2013. In an effort to improve store productivity and effectively manage our cost structure, we are closing, downsizing and relocating stores. We recently announced that we will be closing up to 225 stores in North America by the end of 2015. In addition, over the past few years we have reduced the size of our store prototype from 24,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet. Our new smaller store format incorporates omnichannel features to better address changing customer needs, while generating over 95% of the sales we generate in a 24,000 square foot store.

    Staples.com and Staples.ca are designed to reach small businesses, home offices and consumers, offering next business day delivery for most orders
    in the majority of our markets. One of our top priorities is to rapidly expand our assortment beyond office supplies. We also continue to make investments ininformation technology to enhance our websites. Over the past year, Staples has three reportable segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial and International Operations. North American Stores and Online sells products and services to customers in the United States and Canada. North American Commercial consists of the U.S. and Canadian businesses that sell and deliver products and services directly to businesses and includes Staples Advantage and Quill.com. The International Operations segment consists of businesses that sell and deliver products and services directly to consumers and businesses in 23 countries in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia.
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    ElitisElitis Member Posts: 50 ■■■□□□□□□□
    So, I had my interview today, and it went pretty well. I usually impress people (employers at least) when we met face to face, and it seemed today was no different. Unfortunately, Staples doesn't want to deal with work permits, and the ridiculous child labor laws, so they don't hire anyone under 18. Honestly, I don't blame them for that. The interviewer advised me to re-apply in a year when I'll be 18, and apologized because he didn't know I was under 18 since he doesn't look at applications so he doesn't form a bias against applicants.

    So, with that, I think I'll just wait until I finish this last year of school before I go job hunting. I plan on having several more certifications by June next year, so I'll hopefully have a lot more IT job opportunities as well. Thanks for everyone's advice, it really helped.
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    N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    You sound like a very motivated young professional. Glad to see you focused keep up the hard work!
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    papadocpapadoc Member Posts: 154
    Good luck with your future interviews.
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