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How Beauty Leaders Interview for Job Openings

Top female leaders in beauty share the questions they ask during job interviews.

Ask any leader the secret to their success, and the answer is invariably the people behind them. To find out how top marketers have built their teams, we asked some leading women in skin care to share their must-ask questions when they’re meeting with potential hires. Here, their responses.

“I always try to ask about people’s shopping habits, but with food rather than beauty. I think knowing what someone puts into their body and the choices they make really tells you about the wider philosophy of a person.” — Vasiliki Petrou, executive vice president, Unilever

“The question I always ask is ‘What are you looking for next in your career?’ Because Tatcha and its people are values- and purpose-driven, it helps me understand what the person I’m interviewing prioritizes as markers of success and determine if they align with ours.” — Vicky Tsai, founder and CEO, Tatcha

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“The most interesting question I’ve ever been asked in an interview is ‘What is the biggest misconception people have about you?’ and so now I always ask it of every hire I meet with. It’s an unusual question, so candidates have to think on their feet since they don’t have a prepared response and, most importantly, it is an opportunity to test the degree of self-awareness and humility someone has.” — Savannah Sachs, CEO, Tula Skincare

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“It’s important the candidate does most of the talking; I like to see the hunger. What do they think they can bring to the brand?” — Noella Gabriel, cofounder and president, Elemis

“I love to ask, ‘Tell me about a non-beauty brand that you admire which is at the forefront of creativity and innovation?’ The answer to this question often reveals a lot about a candidate’s mind-set, values and their ability to tap into the cultural zeitgeist.” — Sandra Main, global brand president, Bobbi Brown and La Mer

“It’s a simple one, but we really focus on asking every candidate why they want to work at Golde specifically. Our brand runs on ultra-high engagement and loyalty, and it’s critical that we see that enthusiasm from folks who are coming on board. We look for candidates with meaningful personal investment in the future of our business.” — Trinity Mouzon Wofford, cofounder, Golde

“I love asking questions around leadership and culture. I always ask, ‘How would you describe your leadership style, and can you give me an example of your leadership in action?’ Leadership is all about inspiring the team, so I’m looking for someone who can inspire their team to accomplish more than they might believe is possible. I also ask, ‘Please describe the type of work culture where you feel enabled to thrive.’ I’m probing to see if they can succeed in an entrepreneurial work environment, with high levels of independence and unpredictable days.” — Mandy Fields, chief financial officer, E.l.f Beauty

“Two of my favorite questions to ask are how would you describe your leadership style and how would your team describe you as a leader? It’s essential for candidates to have the right skills for the role, but it’s even more important that I’m able to identify a true leader. I want to know that you can motivate and inspire a team, work collaboratively, understand how to delegate and coach at the same time. Do you have respect for your team members? These are the qualities that set candidates apart.” — Ali Goldstein, president, L’Oréal Paris USA

“Where do you look for inspiration? I find it a more interesting angle than standard interview questions, and it’s also more personal.” — Shani Darden, founder, Shani Darden Skin Care

“I always ask about their views on work/life balance. We’re working on a brand that’s been growing 100 percent [year-over-year], so it’s important we have a team that’s dedicated and holds the same vision I do. That said — it’s not all work. I make sure to show my gratitude with complimentary facials, free counseling sessions, annual donations to a charity of each employee’s choice, happy hours — the list goes on. I hire people that want to be here, and to hold up my end of the bargain, I go the extra mile to ensure it’s an uplifting company culture that builds employee loyalty.” — Rachel Roff, CEO and founder, Urban Skin Rx

For More Words of Wisdom, See:

Words of Wisdom From Women in Beauty

Words of Wisdom: Beauty Execs’ Key Learnings From 2020

Beauty CEOs Share Their Words of Wisdom