The Student Room Group

first job interview help

I have an interview for a cafe assistant at M&S this weekend. it's my first interview and would be my first job so I have no work experience to talk abt. does anyone have any tips? what kind of clothes should I wear? also, the email said that they will ask me 3 things in-store that can improve customer experience, what should I keep an eye out for??
tips: be your self , be honest, talk about the thing you enjoy doing and any passions you have if asked.
not every job needs a wealth of experience. Try not to be too nervous if you are that doesn't matter either most people will be nervous.

take time while your there to consider if this is a company you want to work for can u get along with the staff ect, its all well and good getting a job but nobody wants to be stuck with people they don't like.

clothing- Just dress sensibly the jobs i interview for need safety equipment so its slightly different for me, wear some thing comfortable but not too extravagant black shoes if you have them.

as for the last question i am unsure, on the day before the interview i would think to my self if i was a customer here what would make my shopping experience more enjoyable/ relaxing
Original post by jem222
I have an interview for a cafe assistant at M&S this weekend. it's my first interview and would be my first job so I have no work experience to talk abt. does anyone have any tips? what kind of clothes should I wear? also, the email said that they will ask me 3 things in-store that can improve customer experience, what should I keep an eye out for??

does anyone have any tips?
Practice talking about yourself prior to the interview. What you say needs to roll off your tongue.
I would use practice questions (find common interview questions via Google) and prepare answers for them.
Be prepared that the interviewer might ask questions that might be unexpected. However, if you know your stuff and know how to articulate your ideas, then you should be fine.
Keep your answers focused on quantifiable results, and you need to be able to explain the situation, tasks, and what you did (STAR framework). Anyone can bluff their way through a question, but that means squat all if it's not quantifiable. For example, I could easily say that I am a brilliant writer in my spare time, but unless I have produced any writing or won any awards for my work I'm just talking out of my rear end.
As you don't have any experience, I would try to draw out experiences you had in your past e.g. did you work at a tuck shop? What did you do? When volunteering at a fair/charity, what did you do? It's not likely that M&S decided to invite you for an interview purely because you just went to X school and you got certain grades/qualifications. If you had some sort of experience in a customer facing situation, I would draw from it where possible.
I would also try to remember what you put on your application form/CV when you applied to M&S. They will be using your CV/application form when interviewing you and they will draw out more indepth answers from you based on what you put in your application/CV.

what kind of clothes should I wear?
Be smart. Ideally you shouldn't be more formal that the person interviewing you, but go in a suit if you don't know what to expect. At least go in a shirt/blouse, trousers, and formal shoes. If you are flying blind, go in a suit.
The idea is to keep things formal and professional, even if it's for a job that wouldn't require you to wear a suit or wear anything formal. It's more about being presentable to the person interviewing you and leaving a good impression.

the email said that they will ask me 3 things in-store that can improve customer experience, what should I keep an eye out for??
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. What criticisms do you have about M&S catering's customer service?
Is it timely? Are the assistants knowledgeable? What other things do you want?
Your suggestions need to be practical, suitable for M&S's needs, and something relatively cheap e.g. not something like rolling out a red carpet for customers or getting assistants to fly to far away places to buy or pick rare ingredients for customers.
I haven't shopped in M&S in a long while and I am not you. Your suggestsions should be personal and you need to be able to justify why your suggestions are valid.
Reply 3
Original post by MindMax2000
does anyone have any tips?
Practice talking about yourself prior to the interview. What you say needs to roll off your tongue.
I would use practice questions (find common interview questions via Google) and prepare answers for them.
Be prepared that the interviewer might ask questions that might be unexpected. However, if you know your stuff and know how to articulate your ideas, then you should be fine.
Keep your answers focused on quantifiable results, and you need to be able to explain the situation, tasks, and what you did (STAR framework). Anyone can bluff their way through a question, but that means squat all if it's not quantifiable. For example, I could easily say that I am a brilliant writer in my spare time, but unless I have produced any writing or won any awards for my work I'm just talking out of my rear end.
As you don't have any experience, I would try to draw out experiences you had in your past e.g. did you work at a tuck shop? What did you do? When volunteering at a fair/charity, what did you do? It's not likely that M&S decided to invite you for an interview purely because you just went to X school and you got certain grades/qualifications. If you had some sort of experience in a customer facing situation, I would draw from it where possible.
I would also try to remember what you put on your application form/CV when you applied to M&S. They will be using your CV/application form when interviewing you and they will draw out more indepth answers from you based on what you put in your application/CV.

what kind of clothes should I wear?
Be smart. Ideally you shouldn't be more formal that the person interviewing you, but go in a suit if you don't know what to expect. At least go in a shirt/blouse, trousers, and formal shoes. If you are flying blind, go in a suit.
The idea is to keep things formal and professional, even if it's for a job that wouldn't require you to wear a suit or wear anything formal. It's more about being presentable to the person interviewing you and leaving a good impression.

the email said that they will ask me 3 things in-store that can improve customer experience, what should I keep an eye out for??
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. What criticisms do you have about M&S catering's customer service?
Is it timely? Are the assistants knowledgeable? What other things do you want?
Your suggestions need to be practical, suitable for M&S's needs, and something relatively cheap e.g. not something like rolling out a red carpet for customers or getting assistants to fly to far away places to buy or pick rare ingredients for customers.
I haven't shopped in M&S in a long while and I am not you. Your suggestsions should be personal and you need to be able to justify why your suggestions are valid.


thank you for a detailed and helpful response!
Reply 4
Don’t show up, the cafe is a hellhole
Original post by Blem101
Don’t show up, the cafe is a hellhole


Please share your experience
Reply 6
Original post by Henrycollinson
Please share your experience


Poor upper management, always completely understaffed, pay is good but customers are awful. Any sense of self esteem you might have will be gone within the first week
Original post by Blem101
Poor upper management, always completely understaffed, pay is good but customers are awful. Any sense of self esteem you might have will be gone within the first week


Shame. I work in removals and love it !
(edited 1 year ago)
i worked at m&s as a customer assistant last christmas and i got asked that question! i mentioned things like removing rubbish off the shop floor, making sure shelves are always stocked up, remove the cages from the shop floor, have more customer assistants available. just always keep the customers in mind really when your answering your interview questions. good luck :smile:
Reply 9
Original post by jem222
I have an interview for a cafe assistant at M&S this weekend. it's my first interview and would be my first job so I have no work experience to talk abt. does anyone have any tips? what kind of clothes should I wear? also, the email said that they will ask me 3 things in-store that can improve customer experience, what should I keep an eye out for??


Did you get it?

I have an interview with them this Thursday.

Anyway I know if you are flexible with the working hours then you have a high chance of getting it. Considering you managed to get an interview with no work experience I say it’s pretty easy to get in. 😏

In my confirmation email it did mention that I would also be considered for other roles that are available so that’s good to know and that’s the same for everyone else that applied to them and got an interview.

My advice to everyone who has upcoming interviews is when they ask for the hours you can do just say you are totally flexible. The job is yours. 🤣

But seriously the downside to applying to M&S is if you fail your interview, you have to wait 6 months before you can try again.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the job role you applied for. Make sure you get your foot in the door and whenever internal vacancies arises then you can go for one of them.
Reply 10
Original post by Kim4ever
Did you get it?

I have an interview with them this Thursday.

Anyway I know if you are flexible with the working hours then you have a high chance of getting it. Considering you managed to get an interview with no work experience I say it’s pretty easy to get in. 😏

In my confirmation email it did mention that I would also be considered for other roles that are available so that’s good to know and that’s the same for everyone else that applied to them and got an interview.

My advice to everyone who has upcoming interviews is when they ask for the hours you can do just say you are totally flexible. The job is yours. 🤣

But seriously the downside to applying to M&S is if you fail your interview, you have to wait 6 months before you can try again.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the job role you applied for. Make sure you get your foot in the door and whenever internal vacancies arises then you can go for one of them.

Hi, I didn’t get offered the job but they did say they would contact me if any positions open up (I doubt they will though lol). The interview was actually better than I thought it was but the woman who interviewed me could tell I was nervous, she kept telling me not to be anxious, and I think that impacted my interview. In my interview they didn’t ask to do any of the role play stuff that I’ve seen other people talk about on here btw in case you worry about that
Reply 11
Original post by jem222
Hi, I didn’t get offered the job but they did say they would contact me if any positions open up (I doubt they will though lol). The interview was actually better than I thought it was but the woman who interviewed me could tell I was nervous, she kept telling me not to be anxious, and I think that impacted my interview. In my interview they didn’t ask to do any of the role play stuff that I’ve seen other people talk about on here btw in case you worry about that

Sorry to hear that but hopefully something good will come up for you soon.

Just did the interview today and it was more of a friendly chat. No role play and didn’t even ask me the three things that would improve customer service.

Literally asked me 2 competency questions. A time I have given great customer service and what makes me ideal for the job.

Then she asked for my availability, when can I start and what my clothes sizes were. I took that as an indication that I got the job.

Still have to wait back from them as she won’t tell me then and there if I have got it or not.
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 12
Original post by Kim4ever
Sorry to hear that but hopefully something good will come up for you soon.

Just did the interview today and it was more of a friendly chat. No role play and didn’t even ask me the three things that would improve customer service.

Literally asked me 2 competency questions. A time I have given great customer service and what makes me ideal for the job.

Then she asked for my availability, when can I start and what my clothes sizes were. I took that as an indication that I got the job.

Still have to wait back from them as she won’t tell me then and there if I have got it or not.

Thank you for sharing your experience :smile:. Its very helpful as i have a interview on Friday for a temporary role. Hopefully they came back to you with a job offer.
Reply 13
How did your interview go? Did you get the role

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