Recruiter Interview – Christy Paoletti
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
CP: Professionally, I’ve been with Kohl’s Talent Acquisition team since 2007, in various roles. I’ve spent the majority of my time supporting creative teams and I love the dynamic personalities I encounter when connecting with Designers and Artists. On a personal note, I live in Milwaukee, WI (close to our corporate campus), I am an over the top proud Mom to my 5 year old son and am obsessed with helping animals.
Q: How did you get into recruiting?
CP: I feel like my response is similar to how most recruiters answer this question: I really sort of fell into it. I was in the IT space doing consulting and before I knew it, I was recruiting for IT. It seemed like the perfect transition. I could talk the technology talk and understand the platforms and the roles and thus it allowed me to be a successful recruiter.
Q: Tell us about Kohl’s
CP: Kohl’s is Big. It’s Complex. It’s an amazingly exciting environment. We’ve expanded our NY Design Office (Since opening in 2007, we went from 12 Associates to over 200 and from one small office to 4 floors in a high rise building) and we opened Kohl’s Technology Center in CA in 2012. We have over 140,000 Associates in our 1100+ stores, 14 DC’s/EFC’s and 3 corporate offices.
Q: Why would a fashion industry job seeker want to work at Kohl’s?
CP: You can be a part of something big and have a real impact (in your career but also for customers). You have an opportunity to work on brands, in some cases, that are over $1B. Imagine the amount of influence, collaboration and product you touch to make a brand that big. You also get to design for a group of customers who are super loyal and love our brands. You can help to attract and retain even more brand lovers through your designs (and they love coming to Kohl’s to see what’s new).
Q: Tell us about the hiring process at Kohl’s
CP: There are a few different processes through which we hire, but I will touch on the top 2. You can express interest in an immediate or future role through our kohlscareers.com site or we can find you (for those passive candidates out there, you know who you are) through LinkedIn or another networking site. From there, we engage with you over the phone and determine fit (for both you as a candidate and for us). Typically, following an initial call, we plan to spend time with you in person for 1-2 in person interviews . We usually make sure you have the opportunity to meet with colleagues/peers, cross functional partners and your potential new manager (and perhaps other members of the department’s leadership team). We try to make personal connections with you and the team quickly, as we know how important it is to form great relationships with them early on.
Q: What types of fashion industry positions do you recruit for?
CP: Mostly Designers and Artists, all levels. We do recruit for Product or Brand managers occasionally but our needs most of this year have been within Design & Art.
Q: What sources do you use the most to find fashion industry talent?
CP: Truly, our eyes and ears are peeled everywhere, all the time. Even if I am flying and I come across a name…I take a pic to capture the name and try to find out more about them. But the majority of success comes from LinkedIn and our professional networks (our leaders are very well connected). We also have great success at the StyleCareers events in Spring and Fall.
Q: What are some common misconceptions job seekers have about your job?
CP: They often might not fully understand how big our jobs are, just purely based on the size and complexity of being Kohl’s and of being a 19 billion dollar company. Every company has layers and levels of jobs, but not all of the titles equate to the same scope, as you look from company to company. Our Designer jobs are big in nature. It’s our job to help job seekers understand titles and levels within Kohl’s and make sure that we encourage them to apply for positions that they can truly be considered for. We aren’t trying to discount their experience or take away the title they’ve earned, but more so, just trying to make sure that they can be successful in whatever job they join Kohl’s for.
Q: What should job seekers know about your job as a recruiter?
CP: We care about you as an applicant. Always. We know you are a real person, beyond just your name and your resume. But we are real too. We always appreciate that you have an interest in our company and if we could spend time getting to know every single applicant, we would. Unfortunately, that’s not possible so we try to make connections with individuals that we feel we will have a mutual fit with. Also, we rarely sleep well because we always have a search or 2 that keeps us up at night.
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make when looking/applying/interviewing/etc… for a job?
CP: For me, I would say it’s not ideal when someone markets themselves as a person who can do everything. Literally everything. I’ve had people that tell me during an interview or an event, that they can do design, merchandising, buying, graphics, sourcing, etc. It’s hard for me to leave those conversations knowing what type of position to call them for. I prefer you tell me what your best at as well as what you are most interested in. You would hate to be too generic with things and not get a call when there truly is a job that could be a great fit.
Q: What’s the craziest thing a job seeker has ever said to you?
CP: The craziest thing is when someone offered to babysit my son. We started talking about all the things he was interested in and the work conversation progressed to some outside hobbies. He was certified in CPR and explained that he was a great babysitter and if I couldn’t get him a job, would I consider him as a babysitter. I said no, in case anyone reading this is wondering….
Q: What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume?
CP: Marital Status. I don’t quite get that one. And second to that, I’ve seen some interesting hobbies listed like drinking. Just drinking, not wine connoisseur or anything like that.
Q: What advice do you have for younger job seekers?
CP: Be authentic and be personal. I always remember people who moved beyond their resume and gave me just a little bit extra when explaining their experience. There are always ways to tie in other interests or experiences during a phone call or in person interview. Especially in the creative space, talk to me about your best vacations and how you were inspired. I love stories like that.
Q: What advice do you have for older job seekers?
CP: The same advice I have for younger ones 🙂
Q: What are some common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make during the job search process?
CP: Please try not to be too aggressive in your response to us sharing that you might not be the most qualified candidate for a specific role. We know it’s not easy to accept feedback that we aren’t moving forward with you for a position (trust me, we too have been there) but sometimes, candidate’s cross the line with their communication or response and then it’s tough to ever consider you for a position down the road (as we may question your professionalism and fit within our culture). I would say continue to stay positive throughout the process and the recruiter should be equally respectful of your time and energy to interview with their company. Also, make it easy for us to connect with you. If email responses take days, let us know it’s OK to reach you via text or whatever is easiest for you.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
CP: We would love for you to stay connected with us via Twitter (#LifeatKohls) and please join our Talent Network too (kohls.avature.net)!
Kohl’s Department Stores currently has 2 offices, see below for details.
Kohl’s Corporate Office in WI (Design team supports our private brands)
Kohl’s NY Design Office in NY (Design team supports our exclusive brands)
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