Getting Into the Beauty Industry

Well friends I have intact not disappeared off the face of the planet I got myself a new job as the Retail Manager for MAC Cosmetics and given the time of year I landed myself slap bang in the middle of the silly season so have either been working hard or sleeping since my last post! The last few months have been an amazing rollercoaster and I definitely couldn’t be happier in my new role and I’ve only just got started!


I thought I would just give a little bit of info on the recruitment process to get a job with MAC which is quite similar for many other premium cosmetic brands as I get asked all the time how to get into it. For anyone thinking of trying to get a job within the industry this (or something very similar) is the standard procedure.


First you would apply online and fill out an application form or drop in a CV, secondly you would usually get invited in for an interview for management expect management questions relating to business and your team and for artist and brand consultants expect more trend and inspiration questions and customer service style questions, if you are successful at this stage you would then be offered a make-up trade test (or dependent on the brand usually some kind of practical stage.) This is your chance to show you have the skills required for the job- A clear strong technical ability but also to be able to comfortably engage with your customer and build a good rapport. For this stage you are required to bring a model and your own brushes (any brand.)


After this dependent on your position (but at management always) you will generally be invited in for a store approval if the brand send you forward which is the stores chance to see if you are the correct fit and find out what they wish to about you too. This stage is still quite interview like (again all my retail roles have been at management level so I imagine are slightly more formal than other roles) so be prepared. For my first job as a cosmeticAccount Manager I turned up with my passport and national insurance number thinking that it was just a formality and I got the shock of my little life at the time. Lesson learned.

If you are looking to enter at management level don’t be shy before your interview and store approval to go and ask for information relating to the business to prepare you, think about a SWOT analysis so you have some material and think about not only how you would manage the business for the customer but also for your team too, think like a gardner with a garden of seeds you want to grow into beautiful flowers.

For my trade test I took my mum. I was asked to create a base look so I chose products I knew would work for her but I also went by the information I got from her during my investigation about her skin and her preferences. Asking the right questions as a make-up artist I believe is one of THE MOST important elements of your service whatever scenario you’re in. This was you are building the picture in your head of what you want your end result to look like from what your client has told you. Don’t ever be shy to dig deeper as no two people are the same and this is tailored to them for their needs with your expertise to recommend the right products. Try not to ask closed questions either as you will get less information. This entire process was timed, I can’t remember exactly but I think I had 5 minutes for consultation/ investigation and I think 20 minutes for the whole base I included everything skincare, primer, foundation, concealer, blusher, bronzer and highlighter. Then after this stage she asked me to finish off with a bold lip which I believe I was given 5 minutes for. The whole process is conducted by a trainer and I had to travel to Cambridge for. I was quite nervous to begin with but she was just so lovely as were the team in store I felt right at home. My feedback was provided after the day by the area manager.

I can’t recall if I was asked to wear all black or whether I did out of choice but as a very trend-focused company you most definitely want to show your sense of style. I also made sure my make up was totally different to my interview too to show I’m not a one trick pony. Super important. BE YOURSELF. Mac is a brand which prides itself on ALL AGES. ALL RACES. ALL SEXES and they completely embrace diversity. One of the many reasons I’m so happy to be there <3


If anyone is thinking of joining the cosmetics industry good luck and feel free to get in touch for any advice or questions. This is my sixth year in beauty retail management and I have worked for a variety of brands and store groups and I have lots of experience in applying for roles and in recruiting across different positions so hopefully can answer most questions.

Thanks for reading and being so patient in my break!

Love Holly x


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