The global retailer hopes employees will grow within the company once they're hired.
H&M started as a little women's boutique in Sweden in 1947. Today it's a global fashion retailer with 132,000 employees around the world (16,000 in the U.S. alone). H&M has become more than just your go-to shop for fashion-forward apparel on a budget. It has more than 3,600 retail stores around the globe, which sell everything from eveningwear to home decor. H&M's U.S. president Daniel Kulle shares what makes the best candidates for the fast-growing company.
What qualities do you look for in every candidate?
We are looking for candidates that have an entrepreneurial spirit, jump into their job, work hard, use common sense, are a part of the team, and live our values. We believe in people, which means personal growth and internal development. This is why many of us have been with H&M for years and have worked in a variety of roles.
Where are your jobs located?
In the U.S., our corporate office is located in New York, but we also have [corporate] offices located across the country. We have 3,600 stores in 59 markets across the globe. We hire people from all over; as long as you are 18 and you have the H&M values, we see you as a potential hire.
How often do you hire new people?
Every day. We are always looking for new talent and bringing them onboard. Last year, in the U.S. alone, we hired 10,000 people.
What areas of the company are growing fastest right now?
Our stores are the core of our business so we are always looking for great talent to come in and help us drive our business, especially store managers. This is the best way to get your foot in the door. We are also looking for business controllers, merchandisers, and district managers, to name just a few roles. We strongly believe in promoting people internally, but are also looking for people to come join us and see how great our company really is.
H&M in Melbourne, Australia.
Courtesy of H&M
How often do you promote from within?
Our internal training programs and high potential for growth opportunities are a huge part of what makes us successful and attractive as an employer. In the U.S. alone, we will have had over 1,200 internal promotions by the end of 2015.
Where do you recruit candidates?
We recruit from all over, but most of our applicants find us on our career site. We also encourage people to find us on LinkedIn. We love networking with people who are interested in the brand. Just because you may not see something that fits you today doesn't mean it won't be available tomorrow.
Do you attend trade shows, conferences, or college career events where candidates might have a chance to network with you?
We have attended Style Careers and Women's Wear Daily events in the past, but we also attend lots of different school events across the country. We often have our own open houses and networking events, especially in new markets. Following us on social media is the best way to keep track of our next moves.
What types of jobs are available for recent graduates?
Store management, visual merchandising, finance, merchandising, marketing, PR, HR, construction, store planning — the sky's the limit. We are looking for great leaders who fit in with the company culture and can help us keep growing.
H&M in Madrid, Spain
Courtesy of H&M
Do you have an internship program?
We have launched many different internships [this past year], but the one we are most excited about is the in-store leadership internship. This really gives students an insight into the business and how it operates. Our intern population consists of undergraduates and graduate students. The requirements vary depending on the roles.
Do you regularly hire interns into full-time roles?
This year, 45 percent of the interns were extended offers.
What types of questions do you typically ask in an interview?
We don't have many set questions. Interviews should be about the candidate. It's their opportunity to sell themselves but also make sure the company is the right fit for them. If you're a culture match for H&M, there's no stopping you. I want to know if a candidate has our values, is willing to work hard, and is passionate about the company.
Is it required that applicants be well-versed in fashion trends?
You don't need to know what the spring collection for 2016 is going to look like, but you should have an interest in fashion. That is the foundation of our company.
H&M in Piraeus, Greece.
Courtesy of H&M
What questions should candidates always ask recruiters in an interview?
Candidates should ask about their experiences, their journey, and their challenges along the way. I would encourage candidates not to ask personal questions that are not related to the company.
Is it OK to bring up salary?
You may not get a specific answer about potential salary, but it's OK to talk about your expectations. I also encourage candidates to think about a salary range they are comfortable with.
What's a mistake people make in interviews all the time and don't know it?
Telling interviewers what they think we want to hear. You never know what an interviewer wants to hear.
Do thank-you cards or emails matter to you?
Not sending a thank-you is not a deal breaker, but [a thank-you note] is appreciated. Even if you don't get the job, you never know where your paths will cross again.
Interview Insider is weekly series offering tips for getting a job at some of your favorite companies. Check back every Thursday for the latest interview.
By Heather Wood Rudulph