Everyone has to face interview while trying to start a professional life or to escalate their current position. To face an interview is a big panic for many of us. It’s called interview phobia. Interview question types & candidate assessment policy may vary from case to case or person to person interest or ideology of organization but this time I am going to compile some sequential questions to grow up your confidence level before facing an interview especially for apparel merchandising job. Most of the questions what we have amalgamated here who has a few years of practical working experience. Beside this interviewer may ask you some IQ base general questions to judge your IQ level:
Please take preparation before inserting the interview room just visualize you’re on the hot chair in front of interviewer:
- Interviewers may ask you from a different angle on your personal life, educational background, present working activities/responsibilities, gathered knowledge, interest, test etc. to check your nervous breakdown but be gentle and reply politely to the point.
- Try to explain whatever you know well and don’t argue with the interviewer regarding any point of view.
- Try to use simply “no” at your answer whichever you are not clear, don’t try to establish any point on which you’re not confident enough.
- Be honest and calm in the entire session & try to deliver the real facts whatever you know otherwise you will fall on a confusing situation with your false answer.
- Before facing viva please try to get some information about new company regarding establishment history, organogram and salary structure, total number of employee, product or service category, business volume, future plan etc. from a reliable source or online platform.
- Be cool and don’t be overthinking to get the job while you’re on interviewers.
- Be formal in manner & approach, not only in dress-up.
- You’re presenting yourself, so be conscious of any unusual manner that can abuse your personality to the interviewer.
- Be positive in thinking & try to feel enjoy for the entire session very lightly to grow up your confidence level.
Most Common questions for a merchandiser in interview room:
- Please introduce yourself in brief or describe your working arena.
= Start with your name and deliver your present task/responsibility, educational & personal background (family/home district) in a couple of sentences but in short.
Suppose, my name is Mr. X. I am from Comilla. I have completed master degree and Management is my major subject. I am married and I have a boy.
My initial job was in a logistics company. In garment sector, my job tenure is about 14 years. From 2004 to 2010 I was a garment merchandiser but from 2011 to till now I am engaged in backpack industry. Now I am working in Rider Leather bags & luggage factory. Currently, I am looking after Woolworth buyer. It’s a German buyer. I Have to coordination with buyer’s representatives and ensure that all of their requirements are met successfully.
- Why did you choose merchandising as your profession?
= Merchandising is one of the Top rated prestigious jobs in the current world. I have a dream. I love to work with fashion industry from my early life because someone can get vast knowledge regarding human fashion trend, culture, fashion cycle etc. through merchandising. Thus, I have keen interest to be a fashion merchandiser.
- What is the strongest and weakest area of your character?
= You may be asked about your strengths and weaknesses in one question, or you may be asked about them in two separate questions. Whatever it is, please first brief your weakness so that you can end on a positive view. In the contest of negative point, you may say, I am much sensitive to compromise with the product quality and always hate hypocrites.
My major strength is my curiosity. I like to do research through modern equipment to solve my issues. I have always been a natural leader. I’m very collaborative and like to work in groups. I have strong writing skill. I can cope up with new environment. I never miss a deadline. I’m highly organized, and I’ve applied my natural skill for organizing people and projects.
- Currently which buyer you are handling and let us know yearly business volume?
= Currently I am looking after Woolworth buyer. It’s a German buyer. Yearly business volume is about 12 million by exporting 2 lacks products.
- How do you manage your assign task/responsibility?
= Success rate of assign task mostly depends upon how much attention or dedication has paid to gain it. I always try to complete my assign task every day and never keep pending task in my desk. I strongly believe that effective follow-up process is the key weapon of a merchandiser to do his work smoothly.
- How do you keep your record for daily follow-up/tracking?
= I always keep a notebook to make my to-do list. I like to cross check my list regularly and try to complete my assign task every day. I also maintain an excel file to make fruitful this process. Besides this, I like to use my cell phones app to remind me of upcoming appointments.
- What are the required qualities to be a good merchandiser?
= A good merchandiser should have some necessary qualities such as language skill, analytical skill, leadership, coordinator, pro-active, problem solver, decision maker etc.
- What are the most used commercial & shipping terms?
— I.e. FOB, C&F, CIF, L/C at sight, deferred, PI, CI, BL, HAWB etc.
— FOB – Free on Board (or Freight on Board). FOB means seller has to bear delivery cost of the goods to the nearest port which is included in cost sheet but buyer has to pick it from sellers nearest port to his warehouse at his own cost.
— CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight. CIF means seller has to bear sea freight charges and insurance to deliver the goods to buyers nearest port. But buyer has to pick it from the port point to his warehouse at his own cost.
— CNF – Cost & Freight (or Cost, no Insurance, Freight). It’s almost similar to CIF only this time insurance cost is not included with the freight charges.
— L/C means letter of credit which is one of the common popular payment methods in home and abroad.
— L/C at sight is one sort of letter of credit that is payable immediately – within five to ten days after receiving the goods by buyer. It is one sort of quickest payment method for sellers who are often selling to overseas buyers.
— Deferred L/C is a type of Letter of Credit in which a conditional undertaking is taken by the bank to pay the seller on behalf of the buyer on a specified future date after completion of the transaction.
— PI means proforma invoice. PI is an initial invoice before issuing final invoice. It is issued by the seller to buyer before step into production to check item name, value, quantity etc. Once buyer confirms PI then seller will start production and issue final invoice before dispatch.
— CI means commercial invoice. It will issue before goods dispatch to buyers destination.
— TT means telegraphic transfer. It’s one sort of quickest payment method at home and abroad.
- What is the lead-time of your product?
= Lead-time means how many days supplier require for producing a particular item i.e. after getting order to dispatch period of any item. Lead-time is variable for different products. You have to answer it based on your product. Suppose, 60 days require for knit items, 90 to 100 days require for denim/woven bottom etc. Lead-time mostly depends upon your product category. Usually, lead-time for backpack is about 90 days but for trolley bag requires about 110 days to execute a bulk order.
- What is the sampling process?
= Sampling is a common practice in merchandising section. Product development and innovation are going on simultaneously through sampling process. Various kinds of sample have to be made by merchandiser like as proto sample, fit sample, PP sample, production/gold seal sample etc. Usually, merchandisers develop a sample from sketches or reference sample through sampling process.
- What do you mean by trim sheet/BOM? Or how do you take your order specification/clarification?
= Based on the development records, merchandiser has to clear all necessary queries regarding fabrication, accessories, color approval reference, styling/fitting, packing/folding reference & take confirmation/understanding from respective buyer. Then merchandiser has to compile all of the items description, color, unit consumption, supplier name etc. in an excel format that is call BOM. Just multiply all item consumptions with order quantity then you will get a BOM sheet.
- How do you define a successful PP meeting?
= PP meeting means preproduction meeting. Before step into bulk production merchandiser has to organize it to deliver all the necessary discussion on PP comments, technical issues, requested quality guideline, production plan, shipment plan, forecasting possible issues etc. Merchandiser has to ensure that all related concern people i.e. production technician, QA team has a clear understanding of everything to step into production.
- What do you mean by T&A plan or critical path & do you think this is necessary for your order follow-up?
= In the context of garment merchandising, time and action plan (TNA chart) or critical path is a sum of plan schedules or framework to execute a particular order. This Plan schedule is expressed with an excel format i.e. spreadsheet which is well known as time and action calendar. Merchandiser likes to use this chart to carry out a particular order. It is very important for a merchandiser because this sheet helps to manage daily or weekly tasks easily. But as per my understanding-someone can get a sound idea of his running order by watching this chart at a glance. You have to answer this based on your own gathered knowledge or working experience. This is really very necessary tools as it is a total framework for your daily follow-up process which includes your planning/forecast & working towards hitting the plan for keeping your order on track.
- Which items you would like to handle or produce as bulk order?
= In my long tenure of service life, I have to handle all sorts of Woven Jacket, Vest, Shirt & Pant, Bib pant, Shorts, Pullover, Overall, waterproof Items, Fleece item of Men & Women, sleeping bag, rucksacks, Backpack, CWS features etc. But I like to handle backpack than all other items.
- What are the necessary points for costing?
= Merchandiser has to count all necessary cost to accomplish an order i.e. Fabric or relevant yarn count, consumption, accessories, print/embroidery/ wash/any other embellishment cost, knitting price, dyeing price, size ratio, quantity, fabric & trims source, commercial, transport, tax, testing or any other charge, CM (cost of making), lead-time of product.
- Interviewers may show you some products to know its price, consumption, lead-time, fabrication, print/embroidery/wash/any other embellishment, and CM/SMV value etc.to check your gathered knowledge?
= You have to answer this based on your own gathered knowledge, competency or working experience. Please try to deliver straight forward information what you know. Don’t try to make puzzle interviewer.
- Interviewers may show you a particular product to make rough consumption & costing.
= If you know manual consumption that will be well and good. Please do manual consumption through measuring tape and count all accessories as well. Please write down all items consumption in a paper and multiply with each item price then you will get an approximate costing of that item.
- Interviewers may ask you on fabric lead-time, accessories lead-time, and transit time for some imported fabric, yarn, and accessories.
= Please provide exact information from your long tenure of gathered knowledge. Don’t be over smart.
- What type of folding or packaging process?
= Flat pack, Shirt fold, Roll pack, Hanging method etc.
- Write a mail to manage one-week extension from buyer?
= Due to rough weather in sea and port transit time we can’t in-house all raw-materials especially Lejjo fabric on time. Thus, need one-week extension of July buy. Kindly consider unwanted situation cordially.
- How do you manage your customer for any approval (based on any particular case like fit rejection, PP rejection or any other submission rejection)?
= If any submission becomes rejection, please try to know the actual reason clearly from buyer. Then deliver a satisfactory answer to buyer and inform them to improve new submission date.
- How do you plan yourself for best adoption of new customer/account?
= Each customer exist individual working process to carry out garment order. At first, should note down new customer necessary requirements and make an effective follow-up plan where will ensure customer’s requirements clearly.
- What types of testing parameter your existing customer follows for base & bulk?
= Azo free, lead-free, cadmium free, phthalate free etc.
- How do you take commercial acceptance on testing?
= To make commercial acceptance on testing should be done at internationally recognized testing lab.
- How do you get confirmed of care symbol/instruction for your product?
= Care symbol/instruction must get confirmation from the customer.
- You need to be aware of testing parameter for what types of product?
= It’s also variable based on your product range. But for an idea like shrinkage/recovery for rib fabric(especially on lower GSM), pilling for CVC, wash fastness for pigment coverage AOP, wash fastness for lurex content fabric etc.
- What is the required percentage of fabric wastage which needs to be considered while booking?
= 3% loss percentage is considered as fabric wastage to become safe to carry out bulk order.
- What is the usual width of woven fabric? Or what is the open width for knit fabric (S/J, rib or any other)?
= 58” – 60” width is usual for woven fabric. Cuttable width is about 58”. Knit fabric width is about 36”.
- Can you please tell us about some renowned supplier for woven/denim fabric?
= Lejoo, Formosa, Mitsui, kolon,, FJF, UJOIN
- Do you know the change of weight after wash (both for woven/denim & knit fabrics)?
= It’s a little bit complicated question. Sorry, I don’t know clearly.
- What will be the per day output of a product (knit basic tee shirt, vest, fleece hoodie, woven, backpack/denim bottoms for men’s or any other kids item or anything)?
= Per day output from a particular line will depend upon product specification, workers skill etc. If the item consists of several operations then SMV will increase which indicates low output but easy item indicates high output.
- What are the types of zipper? Or how do you measure button size?
= Three types of zipper commonly we use i.e. Vislon zipper, nylon zipper & metal zipper.
As we know, 1 ligne = 0.635 mm and If button die is 14 mm.
Button die (in mm)/0.635 = button ligne
14 mm/0.635 = 22 L
As we know,
* 12 Pieces = 1 Dozen,
* 12 Dozen = 1 Gross,
* 12 Gross = 1 G.G (1728 pieces)
- Types of wash, print, embroidery (varies from case to case)?
- What are the types of poly/carton- you’re using for your consignment?
= I usually use 5 ply carton box and 0.3mm poly bag in my existing order.
- What are the types of vessel? I.e. feeder, mother vessel
= Mother vessel is big vessel moving between continental but feeder vessel is small vessel for supporting mother vessel.
- Can you please share some DC/Port name for UK/any other importer country?
= There is a lot of port exist in UK i.e. Dundee, Belfast, Cardiff etc.
- How do you manage yourself in a critical situation like as air shipment at your company’s cost or any other alarming issue?
= Air shipment is always expensive for owners. We should avoid air shipment from the beginning. If somehow arise critical situation to do air shipment we should seek attention from seniors and do according to their advice.
- How do you avoid issues in your working area?
= If any critical issue arises what can’t be managed by yourself then you should inform your superior first and seek his attention to solve it. You should voice out early otherwise later it will create much panic to you.
I think to flag out the thing at the very beginning & to put the thing on table not keeping on pocket at your own risk.
- How do you define risk assessment?
Risk assessment is an overall process or method where someone can measure hazards and risk factors through some particular parameters in advance to make sure safety. The main object of risk assessment is to eliminate hazard factors that cannot be eliminated.
- Do you quit this job after a few months?
= If I say no then it will be wrong. Actually, job quit is depending upon several issues like working environment, on-time salary, promotion etc. If I get good environment why do I quit this job?
- How long will you work for us?
= If I say I will work for you next ten years it will be false. But if I get a better chance I must quit this job.
- Why do you want to quit existing job?
= My home town is far from my existing job. It’s very tough to maintain my family life.
- Tell us about your existing boss or your existing organization? Or why are you looking for a job? Or why do you want to leave your current job? Or why are you looking for a job?
- What is the total export value from BD garments last year?
= $30.61 billion in the fiscal year of 2018
- What do you mean by brand?
= It’s like an identity to expose through a motto. A Brand is a Set of Associations. A brand name is the name of the distinctive product, service, or concept.
- What is the top class fashion brand all around the world i.e. Europe, USA, UK?
= There is a lot of fashion brand in the world and topmost fashion brand in Europe, USA, UK are Adidas, Nike, Puma, jack wolfskin etc.
- Do you think you are perfect/confident & what’s your strength behind to make you perfect than others?
= Before starting any task I usually do some work-out to accomplish it perfectly. It’s my strength behind to make me perfect than others.
- What’s your thinking about BD garments trade or what do you think of this trade- after ten years?
= BD garment owners hope to increase their business from 30 billion to 50 billion in the coming years. But we are weak in negotiation with the buyers. They should emphasize to improve the working environment to keep up this growth.
- What do you want to see you after 5 years? Or what’s your future planning? Or what’s your motto of life?
= I want to be a good executive after 5 years through implementation of my long tenure of gathered knowledge, expertise etc. My motto is “Live long, Happy strong and grow young.”
- Do you think as a positive thinking person & why?
= I always do self-analysis before taking any task considering practical situation. It will help me to make positive thinking.
Conclusion: I have tried to compile all of the relevant questions to make you easy in front of interview board. From my point of view, this is my simple attempt an overview of an interview. You may go through the same way to match with these questions. I think someone should little bit tricky to handle bunch of odd questions in interview board. I believe that everyone is an individual person and has their own job experience and strategy to present them or make them ready to face any challenge in interview board. I will be pleased if someone can get help from this bunch of questions. Again thanks in advance & wishing for all of your better future and bright career.