A job audition with Benefit

I might not have mentioned it but I recently applied to work on the Benefit make-up counter and attended an “audition” yesterday.


The phone interview was very brief, I would say no more than 10 minutes and it was very basic questions like “Why do you want to work for us?”, “What do you know about the Debenhams brand”, “Tell me about a time when you have gone above and beyond for a customer” etc.

They called me back a whole 9 minutes after the phone interview to invite me to the audition.  I know from reading other blogs that they aren’t always so quick and I guess it would depend on where the Benefit store you applied for is based i.e. in Boots, Debenhams or elsewhere.

I was advised to arrive early and to wear all black and so that is exactly what I did.  I also started to Google for any information that might help me get the job!  There were a few blogs and they were very useful although some were a few years old.  I decided I would blog my experience of the audition process to help any other applicants out there feel a little more at ease with the process they would be going through.

When I arrived 4 other girls were already waiting at the stand.  Through chatting while we waited we discovered who had applied for what store and what their current/last job was.  At this point I realised 2 already worked at other make-up counters in the store (YSL and Dior) and a third was a make-up artist currently out of work as the last store she was working for had closed.  There was also one no show.

The area manager brought us all up to a training room where we spent approximately 90 minutes learning about traffic stopping, some products and an application routine to use to demonstrate the products to potential customers.

With the traffic stopping she showed us how she would stop people and what she would say.  She then went on to go over peoples reasons to not want to try make-up on from “I don’t have much time” to “I have the children with me” and “I have sensitive skin”.  Having read up on the audition process online I expected 4 items that lots of people mentioned but we actually were given 6.

  • It’s Potent
  • Porefessional
  • You Rebel (in 2 shades)
  • Benetint
  • High Beam
  • They’re Real

The manager wanted to bring a member of her sales team up to demo the make-up process but as she was busy I volunteered to let her do it on me.  We learned a few facts about each item to talk about while applying them to customers e.g. that It’s Potent contains vitamins A and E and that the skin around the eye area is actually 40% thinner than the rest of the face.  She also showed us how to apply it and told us the importance of using the disposable applicators (which if you study beauty you know why it is important but as it is not a requirement to have a make-up background to do the job I guess that is why they go into these details).

Once she was done showing us how she would do it we took time to do it on each other in pairs.  This was a good time to repeat and go over what it was we needed to know for the floor.  My partner and I actually quizzed each other a little on each product asking what its features and benefits were.

When she felt we were ready she advised us we would be going to the shop floor and should we feel uncomfortable and like the job was not one we would enjoy we could stop our audition and leave at any point but equally they would stop us if they felt we were not what they were looking for.  After this we were all taken down to the shop floor and advised we had 45 minutes to an hour to go out and traffic stop.  We could pick whichever item we wanted to bring with us to use to demonstrate and encourage the shoppers over to the stand.

I started with Porefessional while most of the others went for They’re Real as it came with a laminate sheet showing the full effect of the mascara.  I managed to get a shopper over to the stand very quickly as I spotted a girl from my class at a till with her mum.  She kindly agreed to come with me to the stand to help my “bums on seats” figure.  I did the routine on her while one of the girls who worked on the stand took her mum to another seat and showed her some items too.  Although I knew she wouldn’t be buying anything just having her sit down built my confidence up to go out to find the next person.

All in all I had 6 people come over to the counter with me.  I reffered 2 of these onto the counter staff as I suggested one would benefit from a brow powder (we could not demo or sell anything we had not been trained in and so had to pass them on) and the second wanted a full coverage foundation rather than a tinted moisturiser.  Although I passed 2 clients on both went on to purchase items and I also sold a mascara to one of the other shoppers who sat with me.

After what felt like it could have been an hour I went to ask how long we had left and was advised that it was time for my interview as I had passed the audition process.  Yeay me.  I was also advised that 3 of the other 4 had been sent home and thus only 2 of us would be having the interview.

The interview was very similar to the phone interview with a few extra questions such as what pay I would be hoping for and did I feel the job would be one I could do on a day to day basis (it is).

They advised that I would hear back by Monday at the latest but hopefully by today.  Needless to say I have not heard from them today but as I have read that they can take their time with letting candidates know either way I am not too shocked.

I am hopeful that when I do hear from them it will be good news but if I am turned down at least it is because I was beaten by a girl who already works for Dior and that I got further than the MUA and the girl who works for YSL.

Since I was invited to the interview I have been asking myself “Do I really want the job?”  Well yes, it should pay better than I receive at the moment and there is also commission.  The contract hours are also more than I have with my current employer and they are aware I am going to resume my studies and happy to work around them come September.  It was also give me a great opportunity to be applying make-up to people on a regular basis.  So here’s keeping everything crossed that they call me on Monday with some good news and of course I will keep you updated on which way the axe fell.


5 thoughts on “A job audition with Benefit

  1. This is so helpful! I’ve been looking for a new job on a make up counter for a while but as I am only a make up enthusiast and not actually trained in make up, I had no idea what to expect when I apply to a make up brand! I had no idea this is the process they follow and now I know what to expect (that and that fact they don’t want someone for experience.. unless of course if having a beauty blog and owning more make up than most brands have in their whole collection counts as a experience). I actually feel so much braver now! I’m going to go job hunt now! Thank you for the help!

    • Go for it! I know one girl who applied at an open interview and has her qualification in make-up qualification but was turned down without even getting to audition stage due to the fact she had no sales experience. So you actually stand a better chance of getting the job if you have worked in a shop rather than doing a course in make-up. Good luck 😀

  2. If I’m honest I felt the whole Benefit recruitment system is a complete joke. I went along to a recruitment day at my local Debenhams store with high hopes as I had researched the company to within an inch of it’s life and I regularly use the products and also get my eyebrows shaped with Benefit, so I felt confident that I know the brand very well. When I got there I saw that there was at least 30 girls waiting to be interviewed, so they took us five at a time to the nearby Starbucks to interview us (very professional…) When I was called forward to be interviewed I felt that the woman interviewing me had grown bored, and had already decided the ‘type’ she was after before even coming to do this. When she asked me what I knew about the product and brand I reeled off about where the company started, what it was called before it was called Benefit, the name of the founders, the fact that their daughters have joined the company, and the fact they made the first ever fake its to enhance your natural features. I then went on to talk about how the company doesn’t advertise and relies on the amazing products, which come for everything you need, to sell themselves. On her sheet of paper the interviewer wrote that I knew ‘little’ about the brand… Are you kidding me? I almost said to her ‘honey, if I know little about the brand then I don’t know what you expect from someone who knows a great deal’. Anyway she went on to ask why I wanted to work for Benefit, so I told her I loved the whole ethos that the company says “Make up doesn’t have to be so serious so grin and wear it”, and I talked about how it was a fun loving company that reaches out to all ages, that started small and is now global and that it would be an honour to work with such a thriving company. She just nodded. Anyway after the painful interview she told me I had passed this stage and invited me back for an audition. We were taught how to sell products and what not and the interviewer said that if we felt it wasn’t for us we were free to leave at any time, but if they thought we weren’t right they would ask us to leave. Because around 25 girls got through to the audition, they sent 5 girls to the very busy, thriving counter in Debenhams, and sent the other 20 of us to the quiet, dead, boring counter in House of Fraser, which is so dead there was only one girl serving on the counter. The Debenhams counter is constantly bustling with customers, the HoF counter is always dead and empty. So we were sent off to traffic stop. This was impossible given that there were hardly any people to traffic stop… in three hours I had managed to bring two people to the desk, and in this time about four girls were sent home every half hour. After a long and soul destroying time wandering around asking customers who had already been asked about five times, the interviewer came over and very condescendingly said to me “Do you remember that deal we made earlier? Well I’m afraid we don’t think you’re right for the job honey so we need you to leave.” So after collecting my stuff and realising that three quarters of the girls in HoF had been sent home, I decided to pop into Debenhams, to find that all five girls were still there. I kind of put two and two together and felt that they had chosen the girls they liked the most and put them in the better environment. Also, one of the girls in Debenhams didn’t know what the products were even called, and when asked what her favourite product was she said “Ummm, well, erm… I like the mascaras… and the powders are alright.” Well Benefit, if that’s what you’re looking for then fine. And never have I gone past a Benefit counter and been stopped by a member of staff to come over and try out products. Word to the wise, don’t bother researching the company or being bright or intelligent, go in there knowing nothing about it or the products and you’ll succeed with flying colours.

    • Ouch, I can see why that would irk you. It’s sad that their recruitment process isn’t exactly as fair as it should be. Hopefully you will get another counter interview soon or checkout stores like Lush 🙂 – good luck x

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