Recruiter Interview – Ashley Zernich
Tell us a little about yourself.
AZ: I’ve been a Talent Acquisiton Coordinator with JBCStyle on the Freelance Team for about 8 months. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and went to school at Temple University in Philly, shortly followed by fulfilling my lifelong dream of moving to NYC. The thing that drew me to NYC is the same thing that drew me to JBCStyle: the energy and go-getter vibe of the people. When I’m not at JBCStyle, I am running around the city in search of new restaurants, coffee shops, or art galleries. I spend as much time as I can outside of my apartment, and love walking aimlessly and taking pictures of the city.
How did you get into recruiting?
AZ: I thrive off of the energy of people, so I always knew I’d have a career with constant human interaction. In college, I studied Psychology and took on roles in Neurology, Hospitality, and Fashion Retail. I eventually found that I wanted a career that mixed certain aspects of all of these things. After working for a clothing designer for several years, I came to JBCStyle in search of my next career move, and was actually recruited into the company. It was the happiest coincidence that’s ever happened to me.
Tell us about JBCStyle
AZ: JBCStyle is a full-service staffing agency with a focus on the fashion and retail industries. Our expertise are in corporate, retail, and design roles across the apparel, accessories, footwear, beauty and action sports industries. We have 5 main offices across the US, 3 in Europe, with recruiters working remotely around the world- and we are growing! JBCStyle is easily one of the most distinctly fun and vibrant office cultures you will find. Our mentality here is work hard, play hard. Everyone is dedicated beyond measure to their craft, and our successes are always rewarded. A typical day here includes loud music, lots of laughter, and the office dogs running around!
Why would a fashion industry job seeker want to work at/with JBCStyle?
AZ: To begin, our recruiters! We put a tremendous amount of importance on our people and culture. We each bring a distinct style and skill set to the company, with a range of backgrounds and relationships in the industry. We offer personalized service and get to know every one of our candidates in person, so we can best assess their skills as well as culture fit. We make sure the relationship we build between our clients and candidates is a perfect fit that will last.
Tell us about the hiring process at JBCStyle?
AZ: The process is definitely non-traditional. While being casual, it is also extensive. As stated, being a culture fit is of the highest importance to us. Candidates meet with our CEO, EVP, and HR Manager, followed by meeting with the managers of each team. When I interviewed I met about 10 people within 3 hours, and it was super casual! We mostly just talked and laughed. We also deeply care about helping candidates find out what area they might enjoy and thrive in here. We want everyone to succeed, whether it’s with us or another company!
What types of fashion industry positions do you recruit for?
AZ: I specifically recruit for freelance, temporary, and temp to perm roles. Our team handles everything and anything in that capacity. I’ve found a particular interest for roles in retail, but also work on corporate and design roles.
What sources do you use the most to find fashion industry talent?
AZ: Social Media is big for us in terms of finding new talent. The social media team here is amazing with getting our jobs out on to various platforms, and the system they use allows all of us to automatically share every job within our own networks. Personally, I use LinkedIn and Velvet Jobs a ton. LinkedIn is great for both searching for candidates, and networking by posting jobs and connecting with others.
What are some common misconceptions job seekers have about your job?
AZ: A common misconception about recruiting in general is that we’re trying to sell or lure candidates into something- when really, we can only serve you to your advantage! At JBCStyle, we do everything to find that perfect fit for not only our client, but our candidates. Due to this misconception, I’ve had a lot of candidates shut me down before I’ve even had the chance to say hello- and I’m thinking, I could have the connection to your dream job!
What should job seekers know about your job as a recruiter?
AZ: That it does not serve us to try to force the wrong jobs on candidates or the wrong candidates on clients. We are experts in the job market, so we know the types of jobs are out there and what companies are looking for. Trust our judgment when it comes to knowing about requirements, skills, and the cultures of our clients.
What are some of the most common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make when looking/applying/interviewing/etc… for a job?
AZ: A common mistake that candidates can make is getting too comfortable too fast. Sometimes job seekers can look great on paper, and assume their resume is all they need to get the job, then they go into an interview assuming they already have it in the bag. Job seekers need to remember that every single step of the process, down to the post interview thank you note, is just as important. Being polished, professional, and doing your research before the interviews is vital.
What’s the craziest thing a job seeker has ever said to you?
AZ: At one time, a candidate responded to my e-mail entirely with lyrics from a rap song. I guess they thought it was creative!
What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume?
AZ: A badly Photoshopped picture of the candidate on the resume. Not only is there no need for photos on a resume (that’s what LinkedIn is fo!), but to have the photo very obviously edited- not a good look!
What advice do you have for younger job seekers?
AZ: Today I see a lot of younger job seekers expecting a lot very early in their career, but without the drive to put in the time or effort. My advice is to learn as much you can when it comes to your industry and job, and don’t expect someone else to do the work for you. Nothing is more impressive to me than a young job seeker, who is excited to work hard and put in the time for what they’re passionate about. Be resourceful, learn all that you can, and be confident in your ability to do this!
What advice do you have for older job seekers?
AZ: My advice for older job seekers is to refresh their skills with programs and systems that are relevant to their job or industry. A lot of times a role will require that candidates know a specific program that they use. Many younger job seekers are being kept up to date by learning these programs in school already, so it is best for older job seekers to stay abreast of what systems and programs are currently being used in their job market.
What are some common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make during the job search process?
AZ: Not changing your objective to hone in on the job you’re applying to. There’s nothing worse than applying for an administrative role and having marketing in your objective. I also think attire is a huge component. Doing research on the brand and knowing about their culture, and what may or may not be appropriate to wear, is extremely important. The sometimes not so obvious mistake I see in resumes is bad grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation. When in doubt, bring your resume to a professional to check for these mistakes!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
AZ: Job seekers should not be afraid to start at the bottom. If you put in the time, you will work your way to the top!
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