Recruiter Interview – Marisa Dougherty
Tell us a little about yourself.
MD: I grew up in Connecticut and eventually made my way to Baltimore, Maryland where I attended Loyola University. I graduated with a degree in Marketing/Communications and began working for a local advertising agency before deciding New York City was the best place to grow my career. I spent time at McCann Erickson and J. Walter Thompson before ending up at ANN INC. almost three years ago. I recently got married and am now living on the
West Coast with our new puppy, Reilly.
How did you get into recruiting?
MD: It’s an interesting story! I was working for an employment branding agency and ANN INC. was one of my clients. I built an incredible relationship with the client team and fell quickly in love with ANN’s culture and brands. I knew this was the place for me. A leader within HR took a chance on me and brought me in as a Contract Recruiter at first and the rest is history. The experience taught me to trust my gut and take risks in my career. I never expected to become a Recruiter but my background in creative industries has helped me understand the needs of our product teams and become a trusted partner to my business groups.
Tell us about ANN INC.
MD: ANN INC. is a subsidiary of ascena retail group and the parent Company of Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey. The Company operates 1,034 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT, LOFT Outlet, and Lou & Grey stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada as January 1, 2016 and are also available in more than 100 countries worldwide online at www.anntaylor.com, www.loft.com and www.louandgrey.com.
Why would a fashion industry job seeker want to work at ANN INC?
MD: Not only do we have an incredible history (ANN’s rich heritage dates to 1954, when founder Richard Liebeskind opened his first shop called Ann Taylor. Back then, “Ann Taylor” represented a best-selling dress style that had been gifted to the storeowner by his father. The “Ann Taylor” design embodied the well-dressed woman, and the legacy was born), but we also have transformed with the needs of women, and to meet her needs, we design pieces for her life and her changing roles to help her look and feel confident and beautiful. We create rich experiences that connect with her wherever she is, inspire her style and simplify her choices.
Our teams at all our brands have the opportunity to be creative, trend-setting and inspiring in bringing our clothes to our client. But it’s not just the product, it’s really the people. Being in a collaborative and innovative environment where work is a family makes working at ANN desirable. The company also does a tremendous amount to give back to not only our communities but really the world. You can learn more here – http://www.responsiblyann.com/.
Tell us about the hiring process at ANN INC.
MD: The process is thorough and standard. I would recommend following us on our career-related social communities to learn more about the brands, the culture and the opportunities we have (we are on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). From there, you can easily apply through our career site (www.anncareers.com) where our recruiters review resumes. We will reach out to set up a phone interview and a portfolio review as well depending on the role. If all goes well, we then bring candidates in to meet with leaders and peers on the team. While the process can seem long, we really take the time to really get to know each person, see how they will fit into the dynamics of the team and understand their experience. It also gives the candidate a chance to evaluate us to see if they feel a fit with our culture and our talented associates.
What types of fashion industry positions do you recruit for?
MD: I mainly work with our creative teams – Design, Merchandising and Marketing – but I also support other key areas in our business as needed.
What sources do you use the most to find fashion industry talent?
MD: We focus a lot of our energies into our social media channels for careers, especially LinkedIn. It’s a great platform where you can not only learn more about us (by following our company page or reviewing our job postings) but it’s also a great way to network with our associates and build relationships. We have been a client of Stylecareers.com for over ten years as well and enjoy knowing that the talented candidates we find on this site are fashion focused and ready for a career. We also have an amazing college recruitment program which includes Summer, Fall, Spring and International Internships. Internships are a great way for candidates to get their foot in the door and begin to build their careers here but they also serve as a rich talent pipeline for future opportunities within our teams.
What are some common misconceptions job seekers have about your job?
MD: The heart of our company is our creative teams. Some candidates may feel we are very “corporate” instead of creative but it’s quite the opposite. Whether you are walking past mood boards or swatches, a designer hand-sketching or a team collaborating on a new collection, the mood in our offices is really one of innovation and creativity.
What should job seekers know about your job as a recruiter?
MD: As Recruiters, we serve as ambassadors for the company and we are passionate about finding talented future associates who will be successful, thrive in our culture and contribute to our growth. We also care about your experience and work hard to keep the interview process timely, organized and positive.
What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume?
MD: I don’t think I have really seen anything inappropriate, but typos drive me crazy! Your resume is the first impression a company has of you so always put your best foot forward and make sure there are no typos in any of your communication.
What advice do you have for younger job seekers?
MD: If you are an entry level candidate, I would encourage you to really think about the career path that interests you the most. If you are still in school, sign up for internships and other development programs to gain relevant real-world experience and help you narrow down where you want to take your career. When it comes time to begin applying for jobs, be mindful in your approach vs. applying to multiple jobs in multiple areas. As recruiters, it’s hard to consider someone who doesn’t really know where they want to be. If you take the time to do some informational interviewing, networking and general industry research you’ll see that having a focused job seeking approach will help you find the right companies and types of roles where you feel you can be happy and successful.
What advice do you have for experienced job seekers?
MD: Know your value. You have so much to offer with experience and mentorship. We place a very high value on having people on our teams that really understand the industry in order to help us be better and drive our business forward.
What are some common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make during the job search process?
MD: Candidates should interview us as much as we interview them. Research the company, stop in our stores and engage with our brands. Not doing this is a mistake I often see. You should take the time to get to know us and how you feel about us before accepting a position. It’s as much about us liking you as it is about you liking us!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
MD: Yes – be yourself! I love to see genuine individuality, especially when recruiting for creative roles. Don’t be afraid to show your sense of style or tell us about your favorite Instagram obsessions. For us, a successful candidate is more than just what’s on paper. It’s about you, your ideas and how you can help us elevate and push forward.
** Update: Marisa is now Manager, Executive Talent Acquistion at Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (via LinkedIn) **
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