Inditex is one of the largest fashion retailers in the world, with nearly 6,700 stores in 88 markets. Its eight brands cater to young trendsetters—including Pull&Bear, Bershka, and Zara, which opened its first boutique in a coastal Spanish town in 1975 and has since grown to a global label recognized around the world.
Inditex looks at its new hires as potential company leaders, according to U.S. human resources representative Belén Quirós, who says nearly half the current sales, design, and promotions team leaders within the corporation once worked at the retail level in one of the company's stores.
"More than 85 percent of our employees work in our stores, which is one of our main sources to detect talent [for senior positions]," Quirós says. "There is a wide range of careers depending on the ambition of each employee. Inditex allows you to build your own path."
Quirós explains what the company is looking for in its future leaders.
What qualities do you look for in every candidate?
We are always looking for people with creativity, flexibility, initiative, enthusiasm, commitment, and passion for fashion. Inditex is a dynamic, global, and demanding company, in which there is no routine. Our people have to be able to adapt to changes and will be asked to have a strong sense of customer orientation, teamwork, very good communication skills, and, above all, common sense in everything they do.
Where are your jobs located?
Our jobs are located all around the world. We employ over 140,000 professionals worldwide, of which more than 5,000 are based in the U.S. The product department—which includes positions in design, purchase, and product management—and our headquarters are located in Spain, as are the majority of our logistics team. If you are interested in any of these departments, you must have complete geographical flexibility.
How many stores are there in the U.S.?
We have over 50 stores throughout 18 states and an employment center located in New York. The [corporate and recruiting] offices normally comprise various departments such as finance, communications, human resources, among others, providing administrative and managerial support across each country, with a continual offer of different career opportunities.
Do you offer relocation assistance for new hires?
We try to hire locally, giving priority to internal employees. But we are looking for talent all around the world, so in this sense, we will always try to give the best and most complete welcome pack to the candidate and his or her family.
How often do you hire new people?
From Feb. 1, 2014, through Jan. 15, 2015, the group created 8,741 new jobs around the world.
What areas of the company are growing fastest right now?
As a fashion retailer, our stores are the essence of our company. In 2014, we opened 343 stores in 54 markets worldwide, bringing the network total to 6,683 establishments throughout all our brands. In 2015, we're planning prominent openings in London, Barcelona, and a number of openings in the U.S., including three in New York.
What do you expect candidates to know about Inditex before an interview?
In general, we ask candidates to have an idea about our company: the history, the brands, the website, the stores, and the business. Inditex is a company for people who love fashion, so knowing fashion references is key, especially for those wanting to be part of the design and product departments.
Where do you recruit candidates?
Internal promotion is key for us, as 40 percent of our sales and design teams come from our stores. We also look for talent externally—through job sites, fashion shows, universities, business and design schools, job fairs, headhunters, workshops, and through social media. For example, in May, we are going to visit Parsons School of Design in New York. We also try to innovate and participate informally in other types of events. For example, we are going to attend the Hyères Fashion Festival [in Paris] to meet potential candidates. And we have been invited to the Spanish fashion shows in Madrid and Barcelona.
Do you have a presence on college campuses for recruiting?
We have built strong relationships with the best fashion and business schools around the world. Central Saint Martins in London, Istituto Marangoni in Milan, and ESADE Business School in Barcelona are some of the schools with which we partner very closely.
How can candidates interact with you on social media to stand out?
Social media has become a very important tool for us. Today, it is not only a recruitment source, but also a channel for us to communicate with our candidates and followers. [Inditex's recruiting arm] Join Fashion Inditex is present on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We publish our job offers and explain how we work. We also have conversations with our followers through our hashtag, #JoinFashion. [Those seeking retail jobs can apply at the individual stores rather than going through corporate.]
What types of jobs are available for recent graduates?
We have specific programs for recent graduates to join our product teams. We are constantly looking for fashion and graphic designers, buyers, product managers, controllers, stylists, or photographers who have just finished their studies and are willing to develop their professional career with us.
Do you have an internship program?
We have summer internship programs for some of our brands. These programs are offered to undergraduate students from universities and fashion schools. It is a win-win relationship, as for them, it is their first professional opportunity, and for us, it is a way to detect talent even before they finish their studies.
Are interns paid, or do they receive college credit?
The internship programs that we offer are always paid and, depending on the school's plan of studies, we also help them to relocate in the city in which they are going to start their internship.
Do you regularly hire interns?
Yes, we do. After they graduate, we usually hire them.
Do most full-time positions require a specific degree?
Inditex is a very open company in which anyone, with or without a degree, can develop professionally. Because we are a young, dynamic, and flexible company—which has been growing with the effort of every single employee—and because our core business is the store, we are open to any hardworking person who wants to grow with us.
What types of questions do you typically ask in an interview?
In general, we usually ask them about their degree, why they are interested in the fashion business, why do they want to work at Inditex, and we also try to maintain a conversation regarding their personal skills. More specifically, for candidates interested in product departments such as design or sales, we ask them about trends, their portfolios, and their personal fashion references.
Is it required that applicants be well-versed in modern fashion trends to apply for a job at Inditex?
As an international fashion retailer, we care about fashion. Of course, a deep knowledge of fashion is not required in general, except for our product departments. It's more about passion for fashion, interest about the business, curiosity about new fashion trends, and intuition.
What questions should candidates always ask you in an interview?
Ask us about our career paths, our culture, and our international growth. Also, ask us why we love working at Inditex and which things we enjoy the most.
Is it OK to bring up salary?
We believe that everything related to salary has to be clear and transparent, as well as many other benefits that the company offers, such as discounts in any product of our eight brands or flexible compensation for health care, among others. So, of course, we are open to this kind of conversation during the interview.
What's a mistake people make in interviews all the time and don't know it?
The most common mistake is not preparing for the interview. Some people simply do not visit our website or our stores, and do not know the brands. This is a clear lack of interest in our business. Also, during the interview, the biggest mistake is the lack of authenticity. Some people are not themselves. They try to demonstrate a knowledge they don't have or talk about people they don't really follow. We want authentic, honest, and sincere people, so the best thing to do is be yourself.
What is the interview dress code?
It depends on the area of the company. For example, finance usually dresses more formally. But in general, the dress code is informal and very fashion-oriented, according to the trends. Our employees love fashion.
Do thank you cards or emails matter to you?
First, the candidate should always think why, how, and when to send anything to the recruiter, and not be too insistent in his or her communication. But thank-you cards show interest and gratefulness from the candidate.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.