Macy’s began in 1858 as a corner store about the size of a nail salon. The company, which now employs more than 150,000 people around the world, has become the iconic brand of red stars and Thanksgiving Day parades. Headquartered in New York City and Cincinnati, Macy’s, Inc., which includes Bloomingdales and luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury, is on a consistent hiring spree throughout the year — and especially during the holidays. And loads of new job opportunities exist outside of retail.
What qualities do you look for in every candidate?
Overall we want someone with intellectual curiosity and commitment to the job and to our brand. We are looking for somebody who is driven and understands that success comes from within. You should understand that the way the customer shops today is different from how they shopped even five years ago. We’re looking for you to be able to talk about how to evolve that experience.
Where are most of your jobs located?
Macy’s, Inc. operates stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Bluemercury, as well as the Macys.com, Bloomingdales.com and Bluemercury.com websites. We employ approximately 163,000 people around the world, mostly in the U.S.
How often do you hire new people?
We always have jobs posted, but we do a tremendous increase during the holidays. This year we hired 85,000 people just as seasonal help.
What areas of the company are growing fastest right now?
Definitely in our digital and technical areas. Macys.com is growing as fast as consumer-shopping habits are changing and moving more toward online purchasing. Our fulfillment centers are growing as well due to overnight shipping demands from customers. This growth also translates to new jobs for software engineers, graphic designers, and other technical positions. Most of our technology jobs for Macys.com are in San Francisco.
What do you expect candidates to know about Macy’s, Inc. before an interview?
We would expect that they would have done some good research first. I would expect a candidate to have spent time looking at the Macy’s, Inc. website, to have read recent press releases, and to understand the size of our company. They also should understand that we are Macy’s and Bloomingdales, which sometimes surprises people. What’s also impressive is if you’ve reached out to someone who works here, and asked them about their job and our culture. That way, you’re not just relying on what you looked up overnight.
Where do you recruit candidates?
Our Macy’s jobs website delivers a tremendous amount of candidates to us. We also utilize Indeed and Snagajob. LinkedIn is a phenomenal resource for us, particularly for executive recruiting. And referrals are absolutely necessary.
Can retail candidates apply within the stores as well as online?
You can go into a store and apply in person, but most people apply online. It’s about time efficiency. We may hire you over the phone and never even have an interview in person with you because if we like you, and your résumé is great, we want to get you working.
Do you attend trade shows, conferences, or college career events where candidates might have a chance to network with you?
We’re on over 60 campuses during the year, and career fairs are really important opportunities for us to meet students. We network through a lot of community-based organizations that work to get people employed, such as AARP, the Urban League, and the Salvation Army. The annualGrace Hopper conference is a terrific event for us to recruit technical talent.
How do you address diversity in the workplace?
We want our population of employees to be reflective of the population and communities that we serve. Women represent more than 75 percent of the workforce of Macy’s, Inc. and more than 65 percent of management-level executives are women. Ethnic minorities represent more than 59 percent of our associates and more than 35 percent of our management team. I personally make sure that the recruiting team is balanced as well. Different perspectives and thought process of how to reach out is important in recruiting diverse candidates.
Do you offer relocation assistance to new hires?
Yes. We try to help you make the connections that you need in a new city. For new college graduates, we set up LinkedIn groups once they’re hired, and they can meet each other and chat about things like finding roommates.
How can candidates interact with you on social media to stand out?
You want to be thoughtful and professional in your postings and inquiries. We do get inquiries on our Facebook fan page. We’ll DM back and get them hooked up with the right person to help answer questions. Using social media to learn about an organization is a good idea, but I don’t know if posting or commenting is going to get you a job. But talking about your social media engagement with Macy’s in an interview shows your enthusiasm toward the company.
Do you also have an internship program?
We hire over 300 interns a year. Internships are about eight weeks and the requirements vary depending on the role. For our stores, we’re looking for strong leadership. If you’re going into planning or buying, we’re looking for very good analytical skills. Our interns have exposure to the roles they want in the company, whether that’s product development, buying, store management, etc. Our intent is to hire our interns as full-time employees.
Do most positions require a specific college degree or previous internship experience?
It’s always good if you’ve had an internship, but what we look for overall is some kind of work experience where you’ve driven a result. In our merchandising department, we’re open to all majors. If you’re going into a technical job, we’re going to ask that you have a computer science degree or something that relates specifically to the work. Many retail positions do not require a degree, and you can absolutely move up without one. If you display the skills and ambition, you can move from associate to sales supervisor to store manager. We also have a sales manager training program for new hires.
What types of questions do you typically ask in an interview?
I like to ask questions such as, “Tell me about a time that you lacked the skills for the job that you had been assigned to.” “Tell me about a time when you were frustrated.” “Tell me about a time when you had to seek resources.” And then I stop. I don’t say, “Tell me how you fixed it,” or, “What was the result,” or, “What did you learn?” I want them to arrive at those answers. The other question I love to ask is, “Out of everything you’ve accomplished in your career, tell me about your greatest success.” An interview is not the time to be humble.
What questions should candidates always ask you in an interview?
What I’m very impressed with is when candidates ask questions that trigger a conversation. Don’t just ask questions to ask questions. Be thoughtful in preparing your questions and think about how they can be answered.
Is it OK to bring up salary?
It’s absolutely OK to bring up salary, but you don’t want it to be your first question.
What’s a mistake people make in interviews all the time and don’t know it?
One of the questions we ask on college campuses is, “What’s the best decision you’ve made recently?” If your answer is, “I took the summer off to party with my friends and now I’m ready to work,” that’s not going to stand up as well as the person who told me about their summer job. That may be very honest, and you may be more ready than the person who told me about their job, but you need to understand what your competition is saying.
What is the interview dress code?
I tell people that you dress to the business and probably a notch up. If you’re interviewing in a tech world and you go in a suit, you’re going to be the only one. But you don’t want to wear jeans and a T-shirt to an interview in New York. It depends on the job you’re interviewing for.
Do thank-you cards or emails matter to you?
We make decisions so fast that we may not see your thank-you note before moving you along in the process. However, I still get impressed by thank-you notes. You never know where you are going to meet that person again. It could leave a lasting impression.
Article by: Heather Wood Rudulph
Published: January 28, 2016