Rescu. speaks to recruitment and luxury industry expert Melinda O’Rourke to gain insider tips to find and land the dream job in luxury retail. It’s not always what you know…
RESCU: What does it take to land a dream job in luxury retail?
Melinda O’Rourke: Firstly, it takes motivation and being pro-active to seek out what opportunities are available. Secondly, it is important to speak to and connect via the right people.
At MO Luxury, most of our positions are in retail management and as we specialise in the luxury and premium industry for ‘talent’, landing your dream job could be closer than you think.
RESCU: Where is the best place to start?
Melinda O’Rourke: You need to be in the know when these jobs become available. We have a dynamic ‘Current Jobs’ page on the MO Luxury website that is updated each week, so it’s really about being informed as to what is available and then introducing yourself to us with your CV. To make things easy, we have provided a template CV on our website which has helped many candidates to-date.
RESCU: What kind of qualifications and experience does a candidate need?
Melinda O’Rourke: To work in luxury or high-end retail, it does depend which one of our luxury clients we are working on a brief with.
However, at management level, either Store Manager or Assistant Management level, if it is a large footprint store with 10-20 staff we are looking for managers with at least three years proven retail management and five plus in retail, which will mean they have hired, coached and developed teams and have an excellent understanding of the retail operations and most importantly the high level of customer service that is expected at this level.
Some of our clients require tertiary qualifications because at the store management level there are a lot of responsibilities. In addition to staff and client management there are sales budgets, re-forecasting, sales analysis and at times expense analysis and inventory management. So there is a requirement for a high level of intelligence, pragmatism and diplomacy.
RESCU: Is working in luxury retail different to normal retail?
Melinda O’Rourke: Yes, definitely.
Whilst you have the fundamentals of retail that don’t change with the move to luxury retail, there is a very high expectation from the client for product knowledge and service, service, service, so only patient and passionate people need apply!
Also, the environments are almost always spectacular in design and with store fit-out costs these days being in the multi-million dollar bracket, you’re certainly working in a pretty special place and that’s quite apart from the beautiful product!
There is a definite privilege associated with working inside a luxury store and those that do are proud of this fact and appreciate the opportunity.
RESCU: What if I have many years experience but just not in luxury- how do I break in? What are the typical career paths for people in retail?
Melinda O’Rourke: The luxury retail pool is quite small, so this is good news!
At MO Luxury we are always looking for passionate and dedicated candidates who are in ‘retail’ for a career. We mainly work with our clients on management positions, so as long as there is a career path shown from sales assistant, to supervisor and or assistant manager/2IC then this is a very good start for a move into luxury.
Apart from this experience it is also important to possess a strong attitude and proven experience in the service offering, excellence in grooming, written and verbal communication (very high) and finally if we believe the candidate is the right cultural fit for the brand, we will move forward an introduce them. We are all about expanding the pool of qualified retail managers and we mainly look outside of the immediate industry to introduce new people who are highly motivated to move into a luxury retail brand.
We are also interested in people who have worked in high level customer service positions which often come from hospitality and airlines. So a mixture of retail and hospitality, customer service is also very attractive to us.
RESCU: If someone has been out of the workforce for a few years and wants to re-enter the market- is retail the right place for them?
Melinda O’Rourke: It would depend on the brand and the position, if they have had previous retail experience yet been out of the workforce then the time out doesn’t really matter too much as long as they tick the most important factors as I mentioned above.
If they haven’t had retail but also tick all the boxes then there is certainly a possibility for us to consider them for a position. Eagerness and passion are never out of fashion in our book!
RESCU: Alternatively, if someone has moved around a lot to try and move up in their career, particularly early in their career, is this seen as a positive sign, i.e. ambition or negative and what would you suggest?
Melinda O’Rourke: We do come across this relatively regularly. Whilst we always applaud ambition seeing a lot of positions in a short period of time is a definite deterrent and we will hesitate to pursue discussions further because our luxury clients want stability and retail career focused staff. So to see multi jobs in a short period just shouts ‘instability’ and particularly for management positions, stability for both staff and clients is absolute key to sustainable success of each brand.
To contact MO Luxury or to view their current Luxury Retail Job Openings click here
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