Prep for Your Target Interview with These Tips from Our Recruiters

August 31, 2018 - Article reads in
Six team members sit around a table with laptops and notepads

Thinking of applying to become a Target team member or intern? You totally should—and a great place to start is our Careers and Internships pages, where you can learn more about our available positions and programs and apply online.

Another great way to meet our team and get the ball rolling is to find us at career events across the U.S. Our recruiters visit colleges in the fall and spring, and attend career fairs and events all year long, talking with candidates and even conducting interviews onsite. You’ll also find us at upcoming networking events including the National Black MBA Association Conference and the Grace Hopper Celebration.

Once you score an interview, things get really exciting. Want a few prep tips? We asked five of our recruiters—Pam (who recruits for technology roles), Darielle (supply chain roles), Morgan, Greg and Amanda (store and distribution leadership roles)—what they look for.

You interview prospective interns and team members all year long. That’s a lot of people! What makes a candidate really stand out?
I love to hear about what candidates choose to do outside of work or the classroom, whether that’s personal projects, or volunteer work like tutoring youth or other students. I’m always fascinated by the amazing work being done, and it shows not only a commitment to developing new skills, but also the passion and curiosity the candidate has for their craft.

Darielle: Candidates that really shine are able to clearly articulate the scale, complexity and impact of their work. They know how much time or money they saved an organization. They share how they collaborated with multiple partners to get a job done. They can walk me through the steps they took to accomplish a goal or project. Knowing these details will impress an interviewer and demonstrates you can do the job through past examples.

Greg: A friendly attitude goes a long way with me. That quality is right up there with leadership skills, because having a friendly, positive attitude is such an important part of Target’s company culture and how we serve our guests.

Amanda: I always love when someone brings up a current Target event or asks a question that shows they did their homework to learn about our company. Going in with some strong questions for the recruiter is also impressive.

Morgan: Strong candidates share experiences in ways that not only help the interviewer understand the positions they’ve held, but also provide specific examples of how their skills and experiences are useful and relevant to the position they’re interviewing for.

What advice would you give candidates to make their answers to interview questions stronger?
Pam: Don’t forget to tell me about the things you personally accomplished. It’s easy to start an answer with what ‘we’ or ‘my team’ accomplished instead of stating what ‘I’ did, but hearing about the individual role you played in the work helps me understand more about your personality, leadership style, how you might work in group settings and other factors.

Darielle: I recommend starting with some brief specifics about what you did, how many people you partnered with and how your role fit into the group. Then walk me through your analysis. What tools and data did you use? What adjustments did you make? Know the numbers and outcomes—like how many people came to your event and was that an improvement from the previous year? Did your process improvement save time and if so, how much? These details show an interviewer that you did what you said you did.

Amanda: Whenever I ask a question like, tell me about a time you provided exceptional customer service, I love to hear the details. For example, how your actions made people feel and what the outcome was—the more specific, the better.

Morgan: Before the interview, take time to list out the things that get you most excited about the internship role you’re applying for, and be ready to talk about them. That lets the recruiter know you’re genuinely interested in the role and understand it.

Your all-time favorite interview tip for candidates. And, go:
Have five to eight ‘power stories’ ready to go for interviews or to highlight at a career fair or networking event. These should be your top accomplishments or most difficult projects or experiences that will highlight your skills. Practice telling them, know them up and down and you’ll always feel prepared.

Greg: Show me your energy, that you truly want the job or internship you’re interviewing for. One great way to do that is to research the company ahead of your interview. For example, check out Target’s corporate site, A Bullseye View, and read about our latest news and projects. Talk to your college’s professors and career services team for their insights; read up on Target in the newspaper, magazines or online; and reach out to your friends, alumni and others who work here and ask about their experiences.

Morgan: Practice your storytelling. It’s always best to give just enough background so the interviewer can easily follow along. We love to hear about the steps you took in each example and the process you worked through to get to the outcome.  Make sure to share what that outcome is, including any quantitative results or important lessons you learned.

Pam: Take a moment right before your interview to pull up the job posting and compare your skills and qualifications to the listed requirements. It’s a great way to remind yourself which of your skills are most important to highlight, and a chance to think about how you’ll address any gaps and the actions you’re taking to overcome them, so you won’t be scrambling for answers on the spot.

Amanda: Don’t underestimate the experiences you’ve had in college. Tell us about your experience as a tutor, serving tables, being in a sorority or fraternity—activities like these show great leadership capabilities.

Tell us about a time you were really blown away by a candidate or a connection. Why was it so memorable?
Once, someone asked me about a time I made a mistake and how my boss and team responded to it. It  was a great question and I could tell the candidate wanted to learn about Target’s culture, and to know if our company knew how to learn from mistakes. It would have been easy to ask, ‘what’s Target’s culture like?,’ but I was impressed that she asked such a thoughtful question to find out.

Morgan: I once had a student reach out on LinkedIn to connect with me ahead of a career fair, and tell me how excited he was to meet us at the Target booth and learn more about a specific role. He found me at the event and introduced himself, and he came prepared and ready to share his background and all he had to offer Target. And he followed up after to say thanks. These may seem like small gestures, but the follow-through made a big impression on me.

Pam: I’ve had some great moments meeting students through classroom presentations and at our career fair booth. I love when someone gets really excited to learn about opportunities we have for sophomores, like the Women in Technology Symposium and the Diversity Leadership Symposium. It reminds me how Target is bringing differentiated experiences to campus.

Amanda: When I was on campus as a brand new recruiter, a candidate named Chris approached our table full of energy and very interested in learning about all of our opportunities. He came prepared and had a great interview, got an internship, did a standout job and eventually earned a full-time role as an executive team leader. He was the first person I led through that entire process, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Greg: Recently, three of our interns posted on LinkedIn about the amazing internship experiences they had, along with their thanks. Reading those posts just made my day. No matter what stage you’re at, from interviewee to intern on the job, a thank-you note or message is always a great way to stay in touch with your connections and let them know you appreciate the time they took to help you.

Want more info about internship opportunities at Target with a chance to develop new skills and build your career journey? Read more about available roles in our stores, distribution and fulfillment centers and headquarters locations for details and to apply. We can’t wait to meet you!

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