Last week Condé Nast College welcomed Gregory Daines, People and Organisation Manager for Fashion, Watches & Fine Jewellery at CHANEL. MA Fashion Media Strategy student Alexa Carolina Chacón reports…
Introducing Gregory Daines
When you first see Greg Daines’ CV you would not imagine he would become a key figure in the development of one of the biggest fashion houses in the world. He started his professional journey as an engineer with a degree in Automotive Engineering and MSc in Computational Dynamics from Leeds University.
That systematic and analytical way of thinking attributed to a mathematical engineer’s mind, combined with his passion for working with people, landed him a role at Abercrombie & Fitch on an MIT Scholarship, and then at Harrods as Retail Manager. At Harrods Greg was directly responsible for 45 luxury brands, including Carven and Helmut Lang, and hiring a top-class team that made an annual turnover of £25m in the Designer Studio.
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For the next four years, Greg was Consultant at Christian Bassett recruiting for leading luxury brands including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Stella McCartney. Greg joined CHANEL four years ago as HR Recruitment Manager, proving that the most valuable asset a company has is its people.
For Daines ‘knowing your why’ is essential in landing your dream job. To answer this big question, Greg recommends diving deep into understanding our purpose and answering honestly if it is aligned with the company we are applying to. It all starts by asking ourselves:
- What is personally important to you?
- What makes the company different from its competitors?
- What is the personality of the company you are speaking to?
Even if the answer to these questions is quite personal, seeing it through the lens of the company you are applying for will help in getting the confidence boost you need.
CV preparation: focus on what you have achieved
The importance of a CV should not be underestimated. Reflecting on CV preparation, Greg busted our preconceived ideas. Although it is important to note where you went to school and what you are passionate about. The crucial part of the CV, which will help guide the conversation during the interview stage, is what you have achieved in your professional path.
Greg presented three very simple examples. Focus on the facts. What did you pull off? What numbers went up? How did the company grow with you in that position? The clearer the CV, the most likely they will understand who you are without you having to explain every single part of it. This should be an extension of yourself, something that can speak volumes of your capabilities. Interview prep is vital. Personality is key. You should present yourself with “pride and confidence”. He recommends starting with the basics: “who are you meeting?” Learn everything you can about the person that’s conducting the interview. Investigate what is their professional background, what are they aiming for, and of course what’s their job? Then, look up the history of the company you are trying to work for and empathetically ask yourself “why this company?”.
Key tips for interview success:
- Never ever be late
- If you land the interview you want, make it happen. Try your best to clear your schedule. Never answer just “I can’t make it that day”. Give some options of dates and hours so they know you are interested Dress Appropriately: know what company you are trying to work for and present yourself in the best way possible.
- Answer the question being asked. Do not go off on a tangent.
- Know your CV, so when you get asked something about it, you know exactly what they mean. Have a clear answer for every part of it.
- Try your best not to discuss money in your first interview, you do not know enough about the job at this stage.
- Be authentic. When asked tricky questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?” don’t try to impress beyond who you really are. Say a weakness, act with authenticity.
Purpose is key
Besides giving major insights on how we should prepare for an interview, Greg presented an overarching piece of advice: act with purpose. Being clear in your intentions is a key factor when delivering a great first impression and making sure whoever is on the other side knows you are compromised with the position you are applying for. “Why this company?”, “why this job?”. Ultimately, you need to know the ‘why’ of the company matches your own. This is the best starting point to make a good first impression and secure a second interview.
- Lead with results, not your passions.
- Does the “why” of the company match to your own?
- Be prepared for the interview. Answer the question being asked.
By Alexa Chacon, MA Fashion Media Strategy