Recruiter Interview – Peter Garneau
Tell us a little about yourself.
PG: I grew up in Milford, CT and graduated with a B.S. Degree in Management & Human Resources Development from the University of Connecticut. I have lived in several different places across the US in my professional career including my current residence in Stamford, CT and also: White Plains, NY; Nyack, NY; Laguna Niguel, CA; and Miami, FL. I have an extensive background in Luxury Retail on both the Store Management and the Corporate sides. Sourcing and engaging top talent has always been a passion of mine. Through networking, I landed an amazing role here at SMCP USA INC in the Talent Acquisition space.
When I am not at work, you can usually find me at the Gym, entertaining with friends, or travelling. I am also an avid Roller Coaster enthusiast and frequent the Six Flags Parks and Cedar Point in Ohio very regularly. I also love live theatre and all types of music and concerts.
How did you get into recruiting?
PG: I started my professional career 30 years ago in Human Resources as a Generalist/Manager/Director which always included Recruiting. In 2011, I was presented with a unique opportunity to launch a Centralized Recruiting Center of Excellence model with a past employer as a result of my passion for identifying and landing top talent.
Tell us about SMCP Group
PG: The SMCP Group is a hugely successfully Paris based Contemporary luxury retailer with a footprint in 38 countries with over 1300 points of distribution across the globe. There are 3 brands that make up SMCP: Sandro, Maje, and Claudie Pierlot. Only Sandro and Maje are currently available in North America. There are 136 points of distribution in North America which includes Free-standing boutiques, leased concession businesses in side of Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the Hudson’s Bay Company, and Outlets in addition to the North America E-Commerce business.
Why would a fashion industry job seeker want to work at SMCP Group?
PG: Anyone who loves Retail should be considering a career with SMCP because we have a very compelling success story to tell! It all starts with our amazing Culture that starts at the top with our dynamic leader, Paul Griffin, the President and CEO of the North America Division. It is a positive culture that is reflective of our Core Values which include: acting as an entrepreneur,working with passion, cultivating creativity and innovation, developing a global mindset, and elegance as an attitude. We can also boast double digit like-for-like increases, incredible growth opportunities, and extremely cool, Parisian Chic product.
Tell us about the hiring process at SMCP Group
PG: Two key words – Fast and Simple. So important in today’s increasingly competitive talent market. Most Leadership roles involve 3 interviews and most field hourly retail roles involve 2.
What types of fashion industry positions do you recruit for?
PG: All Corporate areas and all Field positions starting with the Assistant Store Manager level and up.
What sources do you use the most to find fashion industry talent?
PG: Networking, social media, LinkedIn, De-brief sessions with new hires, employee referrals primarily.
What should job seekers know about your job as a recruiter?
PG: It’s all about establishing connections with people – same basic premise as how Sales Associates create lasting relationships with their customers. Recruiters are always on the lookout for top talent 24/7 – “Recruiter Mindset” as I call it!
What are some of the most common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make when looking/applying/interviewing/etc… for a job?
-Speaking negatively about a current supervisor or prior company during an interview.
-Typos on resumes drive me crazy.
-Answering questions too generally.
-Candidates who tell me they are not that familiar with our brands but did research on-line and still get it wrong when they share what they learned about the Company.
What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume?
PG: I would say that one of the most “surprising” things that I saw on a resume recently was a candidate’s baby photo. I would also add here that I despise resumes that are longer than 2 pages.
What advice do you have for younger job seekers?
PG: Be humble and gain as many different experiences as you can. Internships are especially good for this and here at SMCP, we have several in the following areas: Retail Operations, E-Commerce, I.T., Marketing, Store Planning & Construction, Visual Merchandising, and Buying/Merchandising.
What advice do you have for older job seekers?
PG: Be flexible and open to feedback! Stay current with technology!
What are some common mistakes fashion industry job seekers make during the job search process?
PG: Not having a resume that is concise and visually appealing which is a reflection of the candidate’s own brand.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
PG: There is nothing more satisfying than giving someone their first break in the industry and then molding, shaping, and developing them into future leaders and knowing that you played a key role in launching their professional career. One of the best compliments that I ever received was from a candidate who thanked me for “finding them” and how I helped to change their life as a result of it.
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