Retail recruiting firms are always on the lookout for skilled and talented candidates to fill the various positions of their organization. From the managers on the sales floor to the executives looking to fill management and corporate or business positions, these people are looking for applicants who exhibit and display a number of traits—traits that will make any candidate stand out to retail job recruitment agencies.

Over the course of this article, we’ll discuss those traits and how you can best embody them to become the strongest possible candidate you can be. Just follow the suggestions and work on what is presented in this list, and you’ll soon find that you’ll be at the top of the short list when the fashion recruitment agencies come calling!

woman holding hire me sign

Dependability and Punctuality

There’s an adage that eighty percent of success is just showing up. If you ask the human resources staff of any company, they’ll be the first to tell you that spotty, late, or unreliable attendance is the main reason that people are discharged from a company or passed over for promotions. So, by simply making sure you show up when you’re expected to, on time every time, you’ll have a leg up over all your coworkers who don’t keep this in mind.

You can model this behavior before you’re hired at all, by taking some steps to impress upon your interviewers these qualities in your interview. Show up early, with plenty of time to spare before your interview—anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes. Make sure you can recall practical, concrete examples from your previous employment or extracurricular projects of your dependability.

Perhaps, when a colleague or team member’s commitment fell through, you were able to step in and fill the void they left? Or how about when your previous employer would always go to you first in the event they needed a replacement? Or when they would schedule shifts around you because they knew, without a doubt, that you’d be there? Anyone can say they’re dependable, but if you’ve got some of these verifiable examples up your sleeve, it will go a long way toward showing employers that you’re the real deal.

male model in suit

Communication Skills

The ability to concisely and accurately convey what you want to say is of paramount importance in the world of fashion. So often you will find yourself in a situation where providing direction to an associate, client, customer, subordinate, or superior is necessary, and making sure your instructions come across clearly and correctly will save time, money, and headaches.

You’ll want to appear personable and friendly to your interviewers and hiring managers. Make sure that you can enunciate clearly, and plan your answers to likely questions ahead, so you can give a polished and cogent reply, making you seem like a great communicator.


Employers in the fashion industry aren’t going to want to hire someone whose hand they have to constantly hold. Impressing upon your interviewers and potential bosses that you’ll be able to keep yourself busy all day, even during down times, will make them much more likely to hire you.

They’ll be on the lookout for ambitious, eager applicants, so make sure to ask questions about things like any opportunities to advance in the organization, any investments or profit-sharing— things of that stripe. Show them that you’re looking for more than a place to punch a clock and pick up a check.

man cleaning table

Team Spirit

No employer is going to hire someone who is spiteful and doesn’t play well with others or someone who doesn’t respect and defer to authority and chafes in a hierarchy. They’re definitely not going to want to hire someone who is grumpy all the time and has to drag themselves to work every morning.

Make sure to provide examples for your interviewers and hiring managers of times you got along with a difficult coworker, made sure to go above and beyond the expectations of your superiors, and how you’ve made contributions to the team as a whole.

Don’t forget to make good eye contact, and keep your arms off your chest for an open and inviting body language, to come off as friendly and engaging. The ability to work with and motivate a team is of critical importance if you’re planning on trying to enter some kind of management role, as your employees and subordinates will constantly be looking to you for guidance and leadership.

team collaborating

Adaptability and Problem Solving Skills

The ability to think on your feet and think through the difficult problems and challenges you’ll face day to day is a highly prized trait among those looking to staff retail positions. They need the kind of people who can bounce back from adversity, and who are eager to approach a problem with the fresh willingness to take it on and conquer it.

Telling your potential employer about times in which you overcame a significant, unexpected obstacle or were able to tackle a particularly difficult problem that presented itself will help you to land a new job.

Prioritization and Multitasking

Valued employees can look at a sheet of tasks for the day and quickly figure out in what order to accomplish what tasks, and the best can even arrange it so that they can take on one agenda item in the downtime of another, thus crossing off two scheduled tasks at once. Make sure to tell the interviewers about times you worked well under pressure and about any times you’ve accomplished an entire day’s worth of work in record time.

male model holding camera

Digital Experience

In today’s workplace, the effects of social media and globalization on the ability to perform work, and the changes those have brought to today’s worker, have changed the game forever. The fashion industry is no different.

Today’s employees are expected to be able to perform in the physical world and have expertise online as well. Being able to compete in multiple arenas will get you in the door that much faster and take you much further than your competition will go. Being able to help manage the online presence of the retailer you work for will definitely give you a leg up and increase your opportunities for advancement.

group collaborating on computer

Computer skills also come in handy for today’s inventory and retail management systems. Many, if not all, point of sale machines are computerized, replacing the simple adding machines that used to handle transactions.

Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom in fashion. Retail is a great entry point into the larger world of fashion, and, if you’re ready, willing, and able to work, you can get ahead by seizing every opportunity that comes your way.

Starting as a sales assistant, working directly with customers and stocking and restocking inventory, can one day lead to a job working as a buyer or merchandiser, where you’ll be deciding on what products to buy and on inventory in the store. From there, you could rise into a management position, where you direct the sales and work flow of the store, deciding on staffing and running shifts as you see fit.

fashion designer taking notes

From a management position, you could soon thereafter be moved into a corporate position, where you work in the head office or one of the satellite offices, overseeing the direction of the company as a whole, or of entire regions of the country where stores are located.

Just make sure to embody the traits that you know managers and executives in the retail industry are looking for, and you’ll be able to get started on your journey into the world of fashion.

Categories: Employment