It is a great skill to have when you can approach a problem in a new way. Discuss with the interviewer your ability to approach a problem using new methods.
J. Crew Interview Questions
- When have you shown a willingness to learn a new method or new approach to solving a problem?
It is a great skill to have when you can approach a problem in a new way. Discuss with the interviewer your ability to approach a problem using new methods.
"When our company came under new management last year, many new methods and policies were implemented. As a result, I was able to learn many new approaches to our challenges in sales and customer management. Ultimately, they were very effective, and I enjoyed the process of taking a different approach and trying something innovative."
"Our company switched to an inventory system last year that I was not familiar with. I enrolled myself in a 4-week evening course at our local community college so that I could quickly learn the system without it affecting my performance at work. It helped a great deal, and my employers were impressed with my willingness to learn. In addition, I was able to share with colleagues new ways to employ the system to solve some of their day-to-day business challenges."
- What can you tell me about J. Crew's recent CEO transition?
The interviewer wants to see that you've done a bit of research and are familiar with changes in key leadership at J. Crew. Take some time before your interview to read through recent news releases from the company so that you can speak confidently to any significant changes.
"I did read that Chief Executive Officer James Brett stepped down recently after reaching an agreement with the board of directors. From what I can tell, it seems like this was an amicable split, with both parties realizing that, while Brett was the right leader for certain parts of J.Crew's development, the time has come for a different leadership vision."
"I respect the way J. Crew's recent CEO transition has been handled; while the outgoing CEO and the board of directors may not have agreed on the specific path forward for J. Crew, they all seemed aligned on wanting the very best for the company. I also think it is an interesting move to take the CEO position and break up its component parts into an "office of the CEO," manned by multiple executives. I'll be eager and curious to see what this means for the evolution of J. Crew's business and brand. I expect great things!"
- Who is your favorite fashion designer and why?
Display to the interviewer that you follow fashion design by discussing your favourite designer. The more you can assure the interviewer that you know what you're talking about, the better your chances of landing the position.
"My favourite fashion designer is Ted Baker. The designs are classic yet bold and unique. I love the use of pattern. When someone is wearing a Ted Baker piece - you know!"
"I am most attracted to the classic labels like Hermes and Balenciaga. They are true luxury brands that have remained relevant yet stand the test of time and tradition."
- What career path interests you the most at J. Crew?
This is where it is really important to have completed some research on the interviewing company. Be sure to envision where you can see yourself fitting, and growing, with J. Crew prior to your interview. Do some research on what a career path could look like with this particular company.
"What interests me most about J. Crew is that there are so many options when it comes to career growth - you seem to offer a wide array of challenging and creative paths. Ideally, I would like to earn my way into a Territory Sales role, then a Regional Manager position. Eventually, a Director of Sales or Marketing position would be ideal. Of course, I understand that this will take many years of dedication and hard work."
"I am interested in a variety of paths with your company. I could absolutely see myself working in your sales and marketing department as I further my knowledge on your product and collections. Overall, whether in your stores, your home offices or in your distribution or call centers, it seems that J. Crew offers multiple options for career paths, which is very appealing to me."
- Rate your communication skills from 1-10 with proper examples backing your given rating.
On a scale of 1-10, how skilled are you in communication? Why did you choose that particular rating for yourself?
"I rate my communication skills as a 9/10 as I will, on occasion, have times when I am not as clear as I would like to be. My supervisor and co-workers will attest to my clear and concise communication skills. Because I am an open leader, my team will let me know if I need to clarify anything."
"I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure."
- What kinds of things is J.Crew doing to support its communities?
The interviewer would like to see that you have at least a general knowledge of J. Crew's corporate responsibility philosophy. Take some time to research all the ways J. Crew works to support the communities in which it operates so that you can speak confidently to this question.
"From my research, I see that J. Crew supports a wide range of nonprofit organizations, both locally and around the globe - many of which appeal to my personal sense of social responsibility. For example, I see that J. Crew is a supporter of public education, which is a cause near and dear to my heart. I love the fact that since 2011 J.Crew has donated substantial funding to two core partners that support public education: DonorsChoose.org and Teach For America. If hired, I'd love to be part of expanding these initiatives."
"J. Crew has established a few programs that support various nonprofit groups in the communities J. Crew serves. Public education is a key focus for J. Crew, along with the establishment of the Garments for Good program. In addition, I see that the J.Crew Cares volunteer program invites team members to participate in group activities like revitalizing public schools, planting edible gardens and mentoring children. Since the launch of the program, thousands of associates have dedicated their time to making a difference, and I'd love to be part of that."
- How often do you discuss work with your colleagues, in order to think up new systems and styles of working?
Do you use your creative mind with your colleagues to discuss ideas and systems in the workplace? Talk to the interviewer about how you have used creative thinking in the workplace and how this will benefit J. Crew, if hired.
"I have a policy with my team that if they have an innovative and helpful idea they can bring it to me at any time. If their idea or system is something that I think could work, we then create a plan, and sometimes even a prototype, together to present to our head office. This policy has generated some powerful ideas in our office over the past three years including a work-share program and some health and safety initiatives."
"I think it is important to discuss work with colleagues in a collaborative nature to encourage all types of ideas to come forth. Often, when people put their heads together, they will create something better than one individual could have done alone. I'm a big fan of the improv comedy philosophy of 'Yes, and,' in which team members always say, 'yes' to one another's ideas and then try to build on them to make them more viable."
- When a major problem arises, what is your first reaction?
The interviewer wants to know if your reactions to problems reflect maturity and professionalism. How you react will significantly determine how you fit with their existing team at J. Crew.
Perhaps your computer crashes and you realize you may have just lost all of your hard work. Or maybe you are limited on time and have a deadline rapidly approaching. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you take a methodical approach to problem-solving, rather than reacting in an impulsive way when a problem occurs.
"When a major problem arises, my first instinct is to take a step back and absorb what just happened, define it and clearly articulate its consequences. I then go into 'brainstorm mode,' jotting down potential ways to resolve the issue. From there, I can generally use a pros and cons list to determine the best course of action for a fast and amicable resolution."
"I have taught myself to be as calm as possible with my first reaction when problems arise. I take some deep breaths, step back and review my options for solving the problem rather than allowing myself to become frustrated or panicked. I often can confer with my team and/or peers on worst-case scenario repercussions, along with how to mitigate them. We typically explore several different scenarios in order to make a collaborative decision on which path forward is best for the company."
- Do you consider yourself to be more creative or analytical minded?
Whether you consider yourself creative, or analytical - assure the interviewer that you are capable of providing both to the employer, if hired.
"I lean more towards being creative minded; however, I am very capable of being analytically minded as well. I feel this greatly helps me with my management skills as I am a creative yet well organized leader."
"I am more analytically minded; however, I do have a creative flair as well. The factors that make me analytically minded are my desire to get to the bottom of things. I am curious about process, and motives. I like to dig deeper than the surface of things."
- How does J. Crew work with local and international suppliers to promote responsible sourcing?
Show the interviewer that you've researched issues that are important to J. Crew and can speak knowledgeably about how the company is addressing them. Information about responsible sourcing and J. Crew's approach is on the J. Crew website for your reference.
"I'm encouraged by the fact that J. Crew is publicly committed to sourcing its products in a legal, ethical and responsible manner--that's why the company partners with suppliers who share this belief and works with them to promote better working conditions across the globe. To that end, J. Crew has a number of policies in place that address everything from use of Uzbekistan cotton to animal welfare, safe sandblasting and the use of conflict minerals. It seems like a comprehensive and responsible approach."
"From what I've read, J. Crew is committed to using the highest-quality materials to deliver the best possible products to its customers. This includes making sure that the materials used in J. Crew products are harvested and processed in line with the company's broader commitment to social responsibility. This includes having in place a Vendor Code of Conduct for suppliers to abide by, monitoring and improving of supplier conditions, and forging industry partnerships and collaboration that support responsible sourcing, like the Fair Factories Clearinghouse."
- Think about a difficult boss, professor or other person. What made him or her difficult? How did you successfully interact with this person?
Show the interviewer that you work well with most personalities even though you recognize there are some folks out there who are quite difficult to please.
Think about that one person at work who is seen as hard to please. Perhaps there is someone at work who tries to intimidate others. Talk to the interviewer about what made this person challenging and what their relationship was to you. Avoid speaking poorly of anyone and be sure to end your response on a positive note.
"I once worked at a locally owned shop where the owner was very demanding. When the owner would walk into the store, employees would announce over their headset system that the owner was in the building, so that everyone could be prepared for his entrance into their department. The owner had great intentions; however, his people skills were a little rough. I could see that he meant well, and I recognized that he wanted to do a lot of good things. When we interacted, I always took his feedback with the understanding that he didn't mean things as harshly as he might say them."
"I once worked with a peer who was very difficult in meetings and with interacting in groups of others. I took it upon myself to help this person interact better with others. When she would bark orders, I would reiterate what she was trying to say to the group in a more professional manner. It took some time, but she learned to behave in a way that made people want to work with her."
- What are your salary expectations?
The best way to discuss your salary expectations are to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000 and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
"I am currently making $100,000 per year with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides opportunity for growth."
- How do you handle communicating bad news to a fellow worker or subordinate?
One of the toughest parts of communication can be delivering bad news to people that you work with and care for. Whether it is delivering a less than positive work review or terminating someone - it doesn't come easy. Assure the interviewer that you can handle this type of task in a transparent, concise and professional manner.
"I believe no one enjoys sharing bad news with a co-worker, but I do have experience in doing so. When this type of task is required, I make sure, first, to practice empathy. Truth is always key, so I will be honest and clear when sharing the news. For instance, if I am to terminate someone's employment, I will not sugar coat the reasons. It's best they know so that they can learn from the experience."
"I try to be very direct with my communication skills. While showing empathy is always important, I try not to be over-emotional when sharing non-ideal information with team members - most news of this nature is fact-based and can be presented calmly and rationally. A sense of optimism can also help. Good or bad news, there is always a way to improve the situation and create something good from it. After delivering bad news, I will work with my coworker to find a positive solution."
- Our industry is fast-paced, competitive, and stressful. How do you cope with high levels of pressure?
Assure the interviewer that you are capable of handling the stressful and fast-paced world of fashion. Share how you cope with high levels of pressure and be sure to comment on your ability to handle stress in previous positions. You can also draw on your references.
"I have been working in fast-paced, stressful environments for the past 10 years. When I am under pressure, my performance is the best. It's like a runners high for me. My current references will attest to my strong ability to perform under pressure."
"I handle stress very well and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure to not get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
- What can you tell me about J. Crew's Garments for Good initiative?
This is a good opportunity to show some of the advance research you've done in preparation for your interview. Show the interviewer that you have a solid understanding about the way J. Crew uses its business for the greater good through this specific initiative.
"I'm really excited about the Garments for Good program. I read a bit about it, and as I understand it, J. Crew has collaborated with nonprofits--like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Xerces Society, the Skin Cancer Foundation and Teach for America--to bring consumers the pieces in your Garments for Good collection. These pieces both feature and benefit the nonprofits supported, which is an easy and stylish way for consumers to support causes that are important to them."
"Garments for Good is such a creative and fitting way for J. Crew to support nonprofit organizations. Designed in-house and available only at J.Crew, this collection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, rash guards and accessories is a stylish way to support a worthy organization, ranging from the Skin Cancer Foundation to Teach for America. Fifty percent of each item's retail price goes straight to the partner charity, which can make a real difference."