Recruiter Interview – Kim Betlinski
Tell us a little about yourself.
KB: I am from Chicago originally and moved out to CA only about 5 years ago. I spent a little time in MN before I moved out here. I can’t imagine ever leaving this state!
I also have the cutest little French Bulldog who is almost 6 years old and we are attached at the hip.
How did you get into recruiting?
KB: I started in the retail industry in the stores in management and worked my way up. I eventually became a District Manager with Skechers and then did really well with the recruiting piece so they created a position for me for a Regional Recruiter. A few years later I found a Recruiter job at PacSun as I always wanted to come out to SoCal, so I made the move out here!
Tell us about Pacific Sunwear
KB: It truly is an awesome company to work for. Our marketing campaigns, collections, and brands we carry have really transformed over the past couple of years and it’s been really exciting to see the changes happening.
We have an awesome culture here. We bring our dogs to work on a regular basis, and have some really great on site amenities right here in the office. We are constantly looking at how we can make this a better place for our employees. Just the other day we had an acai bowl truck out here out in the courtyard for everyone!
We are also looking at growing our EComm business. It really has grown over the last few years and we anticipate and are confident that this trend will continue in the future.
Why would a fashion industry job seeker want to work at Pacific Sunwear?
KB: We’re not really just that surf-skate brand that you think of from years ago, but have really transitioned into an amazing lifestyle brand. We have been and will continue to go towards a more fashion forward line, where there is something for almost anyone, who loves SoCal fashion.
Tell us about the hiring process at Pacific Sunwear
KB: In terms of hiring, all potential candidates have to apply through our ATS system. From there we will review resumes and then schedule a phone interview with one of us (in recruiting) and if they are a potential fit, we forward them over to our hiring manager. From that information, the manager decides if they’d like to meet the candidate for a more formal interview. We do utilize Skype as well at times whenever necessary. If we bring someone in for an interview we try to do it all in one day so that they do not have to come back and have it be more time away from their current job. Most times we can make that happen. We try to make is as positive of an experience for our candidates as possible.
What types of fashion industry positions do you recruit for?
KB: All corporate positions-anything from design, to ecommerce to buying to finance to IT-you name it. The corporate recruiters recruit for any and all positions at corporate and some at the DC which is cool because you are exposed to so much and are always learning something new!
What sources do you use the most to find fashion industry talent?
KB: We use LinkedIn’s database a lot and also our postings. We have a variety of job boards that we post and source on-including StyleCareers, so it’s a combination of actively sourcing on data bases as well as job board postings. Of course we are always networking with other recruiters and people we’ve met in our past as well.
What are some common misconceptions job seekers have about your job?
KB: I think some people think it’s a little more glamorous and easier than it is. It’s a lot of hard work and definitely a craft that takes time to learn. And yes we travel sometimes, but not a lot-at least our corporate team here. When I was a field recruiter I was always going out to the smallest little rural towns. A lot of times the only thing around was a Burger King or Applebee’s. On one particular trip I’ll never forget, I think I had Applebee’s 5 times in 1 week!
What should job seekers know about your job as a recruiter?
KB: They should keep in mind that even though we may have met you in person or had a phone interview or whatever the case was, we speak to and look at hundreds of candidates weekly. We also recruit for many positions at a time, so even though we left you a voicemail yesterday and you leave me your name on my voicemail, we may not know who you are right away. You always want to leave your first and last name, position you are calling about and your contact # again. Especially if it’s the first time you are calling back.
What are some of the most common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make when looking/applying/interviewing/etc… for a job?
KB: I’d say JUST reaching out to people on LinkedIn without applying to the position. Sometimes recruiters get a TON of messages but if we are specifically looking to fill a role asap, we’ll go straight to our req and start going through those resumes. Contrary to belief, recruiters DO read through candidates’ resumes who apply.
What’s the craziest thing a job seeker has ever said to you?
KB: At an interview, greeted me with: “Hey girl!” Followed by a high five. I guess that’s the most recent one I can recall.
What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume?
KB: Hmmm…not sure I can single one out, but I think the most memorable resume was a 6 page foldout resume taped together. Part of it consisted of a newspaper article on a particular exec in the company highlighted all over the place. It was kind of scary.
What advice do you have for younger job seekers?
KB: Do as much as you can as far as exploring and research early on in your career, because it’s really tough to transition careers as you get further and further into yours. We see this all the time at job fairs. Make sure it’s something you are passionate about, and if you have to take a small step back either financially or level-wise, DO it, because you might not get another chance later. Also, don’t ever tell a recruiter or hiring manager “I’ll take whatever position is available; I just want to get my foot in the door”. While it does make you sound interested and eager, it doesn’t really leave the best impression.
What advice do you have for older job seekers?
KB: Try not to come off too aggressive. That’s one of the more common things I’ve noticed with that demographic. Present your skills and what you can offer but in a calm, matter of fact way. Let your skills speak for themselves, and don’t get emotional about it. Express interest in the company and do your homework-for sure-but you want the company to always want to see and hear more of you, not be overwhelmed.
What are some common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make during the job search process?
KB: I’d say reaching out to EVERYONE at a company about a position. It comes off a little desperate and “stalker like”. Also applying to like 7 different positions at a single company. If you are more junior in your career and there are maybe 2 -3 that sound appealing and are somewhat similar or are more junior roles & that’s probably ok, but any more than 3 in my book makes you seem a little unfocused and unsure of what you want to do.
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