Recruiter Interview – Anne Lange
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
AL: I grew up in Duluth, Minnesota and attended the University of MN-Duluth where I graduated with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Human Resources. I have always had a passion for fashion and am fortunate to have combined that with my passion for connecting people to great opportunities. I am now doing both for a company that I LOVE! On a personal note, I am married and have 2 teenagers that keep me very busy (boy and a girl) and a great golden retriever, Ariel.
I love exploring new places, running, travel and trying out new restaurants!
Q: How did you get into recruiting?
AL: Believe it or not, I have known I wanted to be a recruiter in the fashion industry since my first job when I was 16! I lived in Denver for the summer and worked at a Department store. I will never forget meeting the woman who hired me and thinking—I want to do what she does someday! Whew knew?! I didn’t realize at the time that I was living in the hometown of an amazing company called maurices. During college, I met someone in HR from maurices and I knew right away that this is where I wanted to be. I started off in a temporary position filling in for a leave of absence and here I am 20 years later (after staying home with my kids for 9 years)!
Q: Tell us about maurices
AL: maurices is a billion dollar women’s fashion retailer with the core purpose of inspiring people to look and feel great – just as they are. We’re a visionary, collaborative, and fun brand operating 1000 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Our Values: People First -Be: Authentic, Curious, & Agile Work Smart and Have Fun! While we’ve grown substantially over the years – our first store opened in 1931 in Duluth, MN – we’re anything but corporate. Our design office is based in NYC where we have our design team, trend, CAD and Product Development. Our culture is INCREDIBLE—you feel it the minute you walk in the door—very authentic, positive and high energy! We definitely know how to work hard but have fun at the same time!
Q: Why would a fashion industry job seeker want to work at maurices?
AL: We are dedicated to helping women and girls put their most confident selves forward every day. Just as they are! maurices has a rich history having been in business for over 85 years yet we have evolved with the changing needs of our girl! We serve sizes 0-24, and we take pride in our ageless lifestyle, cherishing our intergenerational mother & daughter shoppers. We are part of a family of brands (ascena retail group) so have the ability to leverage best practices and have a strong foundation yet we are small enough to operate with an entrepreneurial spirit. We are passionate about the personal development of our associates and we have a very positive and high energy work environment. We are also dedicated to giving back to our community and to causes that are meaningful to women and girls.
Q: Tell us about the hiring process at maurices
AL: We are always networking and establishing relationships with industry professionals who may be interested in maurices. We conduct informational interviews whenever possible even if we do not have an open position. When we do have an open role–typically, most job seekers would apply for a position online through our website: www.maurices.com From there, we will often set up a phone interview (or in person if local) with the most qualified candidates to determine fit for a role. Often times, the hiring manager may do a phone interview as well (if the candidate is not local). Top candidates will then be brought to our home office to meet with HR, the hiring manager and possibly peers or other cross functional partners. We try to do this in one day and always do our best to ensure a good experience for the candidate.
Q: What types of fashion industry positions do you recruit for?
AL: I recruit for all types and levels of corporate positions—anything from Buyers, Technical Designers, Planning, Operations, Digital Marketing, and Ecommerce.
Q: What sources do you use the most to find fashion industry talent?
AL: We are always keeping an eye out for great talent—networking is a great resource. LinkedIn has been an incredible resource to find passive talent. It is a great platform for not only connecting with potential talent but also an excellent source for networking. Stylecareers has also been a solid resource for fashion focused talent especially for our NY design office.
Additionally, we develop relationships with the colleges and have an internship program that provides an opportunity for college students to gain work experience in their chosen field. It also provides us with a pipeline for talent for future openings with maurices.
Q: What are some common misconceptions job seekers have about your job?
AL: We don’t spend as much time interviewing as one would think. Much of our time is searching for candidates for an open role. And there is often that one tough to fill role that keeps us up at night!
Q: What should job seekers know about your job as a recruiter?
AL: We are matchmakers—to the company, job and team. We are passionate about finding candidates who are a great fit for the open position, will contribute to the success of our company and will fit with our culture. We also care very much about your experience as a candidate and work hard to ensure you have a timely, organized and positive experience. We appreciate your interest in our company and if we could talk with and get to know every single candidate—that would be amazing! Unfortunately, that isn’t possible so we make connections with those who are the closest fit for each open role.
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make when looking/applying/interviewing/etc… for a job?
AL: When someone is not focused in their job search. They may market themselves as being able to do everything—buying design, PD, etc. Most of our positions are very specialized and we seek talent that is focused on and passionate about a particular field. Having well rounded interests is fantastic but we want to know what your passion is so we can determine where you will best fit with us.
Q: What advice do you have for younger job seekers?
AL: Follow your passion! Spend the time doing the research early on. If you find yourself in a career that isn’t a fit and want to make a transition—be open to taking a step back in level and perhaps even financially. In the long run, if you are following your passion—you WILL come out ahead!
Also—if you know of a company that you absolutely want to work for, consider a temporary position as a way to get your foot in the door and gain experience. Temporary positions are a wonderful way for you to get to know us and us to know you!
Q: What advice do you have for older job seekers?
AL: Same advice I would give to all job seekers—be authentic—ALWAYS! You may be asked to describe a mistake in your career or something similar during a job interview. To be able to show candor, recognize your mistakes and own up to them is a great quality of someone who is self-aware. You also have an opportunity to turn a question like this into a positive by explaining what you learned and how you would do things differently now.
Q: What are some common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make during the job search process?
AL: Applying for many (and often unrelated) positions at the same time. This can come across as being unfocused and unsure of what you really want.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
AL: ALWAYS be yourself. We are real people too and love to make a connection with those that we meet with. It makes it easier for us to “see” you fitting with our company and culture if we get to know the real you!
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