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Thread: Help with Dressbarn job interview

  1. #1
    Silver Member Sometimes Steffi's Avatar
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    Help with Dressbarn job interview

    In this previous thread I asked for advice on applying for a job at a local Dressbarn. A couple of days after I applied, I got an email asking me to apply for a Lane Bryant job practically next door to the Dressbarn.

    I didn't really think the whole process through, but there's a real possibility that I may get an interview.

    I'm an engineer by training and vocation, and I know how to conduct myself in an interview for an engineering position. But, I've never worked a retail job, even going all the way back to high school. I mostly worked as a stock boy or in shipping and receiving at a warehouse. I don't even know what kind of questions to expect, and how I demonstrate any qualifications for the job.

    Anyone have any ideas what kind of questions that I might be asked at an interview? Can you give me some idea of what good answers might be?

    Is there any way I can turn my lack of experience into an advantage? What about turning my TG status into an advantage? I was thinking of saying that I haven't been doing this (crossdressing) that long, so I might bring a different perspective to it. Maybe help women get out of their comfort zone. Maybe try on styles or colors that they normally wouldn't even think of because of preconceptions (not my color, not age appropriate.

    How do I handle questions about working in a dress? How will I handle customers who identify me as a CD and don't want to work with me? How do I deal with any question about professionalism on the job?

    These are just questions that popped into my head overnight. I'm sure that there are many more. I'm sure that many of you girls have worked retail jobs, maybe even selling women's apparel.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Hi, I'm Steffi and I'm a crossdresser... And I accept and celebrate both sides of me. Or, maybe I'm gender fluid.

    Gender fluid (adj.) - Describes a person whose gender identity is not fixed. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel [more] like one gender some days, and [more like] another gender other days.

    Ref: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/LGBT-Glossary_March2016.pdf

  2. #2
    Silver Fox Sheren Kelly's Avatar
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    Not an expert, but I would expect questions on how you interact with others and your views on customer service and satisfaction. Expect them to ask of your specific experiences in resolving issues that arise in dealing with difficult situations.

    In this day and age, one thing that is valuable (particularly in retail) is the ability to commit to a schedule and be dependable. Showing up for work is a large part of success.
    Warmly,
    Sheren Kelly

  3. #3
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    Yep - customer service angle - even as an engineer you likely had “internal” customers so you can relate based on that experience. But yeah being dependable is the #1 qualification they want outside of being helpful and pleasant to customers

    as for all the rest I would be 💯 honest... express willingness and ability to learn.
    Kelly a.k.a. VS Fan

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tracy Irving's Avatar
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    Rather than helping women get out of their comfort zone you could offer suggestions with (help them find) a new style or color choice that they might not have gravitated toward yet would still work for them.

  5. #5
    Member Kelli_cd's Avatar
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    I was going to say this same thing. As an engineer, you've dealt with many customers, internal and external. They just weren't "retail" customers. You probably have lots of people experience and problem solving skills. These carry over, you may need to convince your interviewer of this.
    You may be asked why you want to work retail after being an engineer. You'll need an answer for this.
    Greatest strength, biggest weakness?
    Why should I hire you?
    A customer comes in and she's very upset about a purchase she made last week. The item doesn't fit now, or the color clashes with her skin tone. She doesn't have her receipt but you recognize the item. What do you do?
    Work on your listening skills. Women tell us what they want without "telling" us.
    I hope this gives you more ideas.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Micki_Finn's Avatar
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    WELL, I happen to know a thing or two. I’m a specialty retail manager and I do all my own hiring. The first thing I can tell you is that there are no surefire answers. Every hiring manager looks for different things. Be honest, and mostly, DON’T be nervous, or at least don’t let it show. Your job is essentially going to be interacting with complete strangers and if you can’t be comfortable with the interviewer, then how are you going to be ok with customers?

    Also, your engineering degree/profession might come up. This is actually going to be a strike AGAINST you. 1) You’re way overqualified for a retail job and 2) with such a big important other job, the hiring person will likely have concerns that you might not take this job seriously. You need to make sure that the interviewer knows why you want an entry level job (i.e. they wanna make sure you didn’t go to jail or rehab and have to start all over), and also that you’re committed to the job and will take it seriously. Other than that it’s mostly just about being friendly and showing good communication skills.

  7. #7
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    Be honest in your answers and don't try to say what you think they might want to hear. That's a sure way to be turned down.
    Offer that you, as a crossdressing male, have a unique perspective in women's fashions. You bring the view of the woman and the view of the man.
    As for dressing for the job and working in a dress, why do you need to wear a dress? Women have such variety in clothing. Use that advantage. If you mean being femme while working, well you must be comfortable with yourself when dressed for others to be comfortable around you.
    As in any position there will be those that will appreciate what you offer and those that don't.

  8. #8
    Gold Member Alice Torn's Avatar
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    It would be sure that some women customers would be uncomfortable with a CD SA. Some would not be, and some would be just ok, but there will be a few who will be taken aback . Just be kind and helpful and patient and smile.
    IT TAKES A REAL DRESS TO WEAR A MAN.

  9. #9
    Silver Member SherriePall's Avatar
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    You mentioned that you had worked as a stock boy. Well, the clothes don't magically appear on the sales floor. Your stocking background would be helpful. And from there you could move to other jobs in the store, etc.
    Sherrie Lynn Pall

    Sometimes I make sense and that frightens me.

    Please don't let me be the last post on this thread

  10. #10
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    I applied for a job at a local Cabela's sporting goods store and did it enfemme because when I go in I am usually enfemme.
    Filled out the form and had a few interviews about the ladies clothing sales and stocking.
    I explained I just wanted something to do part time and really didn't need the money.
    Never got a concrete answer why I didn't get the job but they did hire a very cute 20 something girl and she is fabulous IMO for the job.
    I still go in there and the check out girls always say hi and want to chat a little if they can.

  11. #11
    Member Joyce Swindell's Avatar
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    Do know what your job will be specifically? Seems to me you might be too worried and I know the stress of that can derail me sometimes. So I say relax, and go over in your mind the positive points about you in filling the position. You're selling yourself so stay positive, smile and sell.

  12. #12
    Aspiring Shopaholic BTWimRobin's Avatar
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    I'm a corporate dropout with an engineering degree. I've been working in the resort industry for the past 10 years. It's all about customer service. Be yourself, display good communication skills. They may ask you questions on how you woud handle certain situations. Think about how you would want to be treated if you were the customer.

    Good luck and have fun

  13. #13
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    They will be looking at how you dress. either drab or fab. They will want to know if you can put together an outfit. and weather style is inline with their image. If you go dressed, dress in or like they what they carry.
    PS my sister use to manage a Torrid. She had 2 guys work for her. They were her best SAs. One came dressed often and the other wasn't a CDer.
    Good luck
    Sara

  14. #14
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    All the above recommendations are really great. Mine will deal with crossdressing at work. First, is that the why for applying for this job? Do you plan to work dressed as a woman every work day? They need to know that and also see how you dress. This is where position appropriate dressing comes in because you will be the face of the company every time you interact with a potential customer. Is that what you want and do you have the appropriate work wardrobe for that? If you plan to dress as a woman, I would tell them that you are transgender, not a crossdresser. Transgender carries more positive weight and external influences. They legally have to treat you correctly, respect and support you if they hire you.

    I think that it is a great idea and I hope that it works out well for you.

  15. #15
    Silver Member Micki_Finn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllieSF View Post
    They legally have to treat you correctly, respect and support you if they hire you.
    Sadly this is only true in certain states.

  16. #16
    Member Joyce Swindell's Avatar
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    In any case I know I can hardly wait to see how it went for you!!

  17. #17
    Danielle cdinmd206's Avatar
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    My daughter worked in retail while going thru college. Most clothing stores she applied to would ask her to put together 3 outfits ad see what she came up with. At the time she was definitely girly girl and knew her stuff when it came to putting together outfits. As most have said relax and be yourself.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Allison Chaynes's Avatar
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    Everything is about customer service, period, so all answers should reflect in how you will positively impact ALL customers. Also show that you have a solid moral code and understand how waste and loss are terrible and tell about ways you have eliminated both. Be willing to work the hours they need!

    I say this as a former Lane Bryant manager. They don't really care about your experience with women's attire, it's about getting a solid hire who will help drive customer sales.
    Life is too short to be boring.

  19. #19
    Silver Member Sometimes Steffi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyce Swindell View Post
    Do know what your job will be specifically?
    Our Stylists (Sales Associates) are professionals who not only have a passion for current fashion trends but enjoy personal satisfaction of building long-term relationships with customers. At dressbarn, we empower our associates to control their own career growth.

    Quote Originally Posted by AllieSF View Post
    All the above recommendations are really great. Mine will deal with crossdressing at work. (1) First, is that the why for applying for this job? (2) Do you plan to work dressed as a woman every work day? (3) They need to know that and also see how you dress. (4) This is where position appropriate dressing comes in because you will be the face of the company every time you interact with a potential customer. (5) Is that what you want and do you have the appropriate work wardrobe for that? (6) If you plan to dress as a woman, I would tell them that you are transgender, not a crossdresser. Transgender carries more positive weight and external influences. (7) They legally have to treat you correctly, respect and support you if they hire you.

    I think that it is a great idea and I hope that it works out well for you.
    Allie - Thanks for identifying some of the "challenges". I hadn't considered many of them in much depth.

    I numbered them above and responded to them below.

    (1) Yes, I'm applying for the opportunity to crossdress more frequently in the RW

    (2) I would plan to work as a woman every day in a dress or blouse/skirt/pants, unless I was doing some dirty work, in which case I would ask permission to wear jeans instead.

    (3) I know the manager at Dressbarn from several previous shopping trips. She knows I'm a CD and she has seen me shopping both en femme and en drabbe. She encouraged me to apply. In the job application, I was asked for my legal name, for which I provided my legal male name. The was also a section for alternate name. In there, I put Steffi Randolph (which is not my male legal last name). I would also do the FtF interview en femme.

    (4) Yes. I want to interact with (female) customers.

    (5) Yes. I have enough work-appropriate clothing, much of it from Dressbarn. I have enough changes of clothing to make it through a full week. The trick will be cycling the dirty clothes through the dry cleaners.

    (6) You're right. I'm TG.

    (7) The company has an explicit policy on non discrimination for both gender identity and gender presentation, although a man working dressed as a woman may stress their avowed policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joyce Swindell View Post
    In any case I know I can hardly wait to see how it went for you!!
    I still haven't gotten a call for an interview. I'm waiting with bated breath.
    Last edited by Sometimes Steffi; 08-21-2019 at 09:18 PM.
    Hi, I'm Steffi and I'm a crossdresser... And I accept and celebrate both sides of me. Or, maybe I'm gender fluid.

    Gender fluid (adj.) - Describes a person whose gender identity is not fixed. A person who is gender fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel [more] like one gender some days, and [more like] another gender other days.

    Ref: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/wp-content/uploads/LGBT-Glossary_March2016.pdf

  20. #20
    Isn't Life Grand? AllieSF's Avatar
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    Thank you Steffi for the detailed reply. I know that you are ready and hope that they hire you. You will be great because you want to work there for them. It is not just a job but in a way a life confirming opportunity that most may not have. Good luck again.

    Allie

  21. #21
    Seasoned Member Rhonda Darling's Avatar
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    Steffi:

    First off . . . . R E L A X. You WILL do fine. Let them know that you know you have a lot to learn, then convince them that your background means that you are a quick learner AND that you are anxious to learn. Be prepared to tell them about your super power —- that charistic you possess that sets you apart and that lets you be the best. Just preparing a super power answer will build confidence. You will do fine. BE SURE YOU TELL THEM THAT YOU WANT THIS JOB. Many applicants don’t express a desire to land the job.

    USE THE CONFIDENCE YOU PROUDLY WEAR AT THE SOIREES AND OTHER GATHERINGS WHERE YOU’VE PRESENTED STRONGLY FEMME!

    Best,
    Rhonda
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Be all the woman that you can be!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    . . . and now, On With The Show!

  22. #22
    Silver Member JenniferR771's Avatar
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    You will do fine, Steffi.
    Remember many high end retail sales associates are on commission. Put some thought into how you would help women put together an outfit for a special occasion or career outfits. Be ready to flatter them. Be ready to guess their size. Be ready to convince them that you are selling the newest style trends.
    Read a few websites and tutorials online about "Fashion Merchandising" principles. Or an online course.
    And put your computer skills to work so you can upgrade their marketing savvy.

  23. #23
    Gold Member alwayshave's Avatar
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    Steffi, I have no direct retail experience, but in interviewing the question usually directs you to the correct answer. Best of luck at the interview.
    Please call me Jamie, I always_have crossdressed, I always will, "alwayshave".

  24. #24
    Connie Connie D50's Avatar
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    I wish you all the luck in the world in the interview and getting hired. Please keep us posted I can't wait to hear how it goes.

  25. #25
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    Good luck Steffi. Lots of great advice has been given. Just be yourself and be honest.

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