Hey guys, I graduated from makeup school a few months back, and I'm freelancing a bit and looking to get hired at a counter.
I'm going to put applications in at many places, but Friday morning I'm going to a MAC store and taking my resume, cover letter, and portfolio.
I had to do a mock interview at school with a company of my choice and I chose MAC, so my instructor ran through a typical MAC interview (I hope he's current on how they go haha) so I feel pretty prepared, but I'm still freaking out.
I have read up on the history of the company, it's various charities and programs, and am trying to get more acquainted with the products.
I have a few in my kit, and use some myself but I guess I need to browse more before I go in just in case.
What are some MAC products you completely stand by?
Also, how does this process work? I take in my info, will they call me to set up an interview? Or will I need to call them again and again and inquire?
I'm going to wear all black, but how should I do my hair?
How should I wear my makeup? Someone told me to wear a full face of foundation...but what else? Natural? Or should I go a little wild with it?
And how much of my makeup should be MAC? I only own their lipstick and blush.
Is there one interview or two?
Sorry for all the questions I just really want this job and want to be prepared.
Aug 30 12 12:07 am Link
Hereford, England, United Kingdom
I found my phone interview with MAC very bizarre (in England, you have a phone interview, then an in-person one). They are basically focused on sales and if you don't have that experience, don't even bother applying.
From what I can remember, they asked me if I have any sales experience, about the history of MAC and what MAC products I liked and why. They then put me on hold for about a minute before coming back and telling me that I was unsuccessful. TBH, I found it bizarre because they gave the impression that it's not about makeup and offering a good service in that respect but in giving the hard sell (I was very naive about MAC back then). They also gave no mention to seeing my portfolio and I don't think that they care.
Anyway - about your hair. I personally would wear it tied back but don't be afraid to put your own style into i.e. if you usually wear a quiff, then wear it to the interview or if you prefer more of a 50's style, then go for it.
Makeup wise - go with your usual style. Make sure that they can see that you are wearing makeup, maybe go for coloured winged eyeliner. Just make sure that it is applied well and isn't too 'natural'.
If they ask what products you are wearing, then tell them that the blush and the lipstick are theirs and say why you like them and how they compare to other brands.
Basically MAC want you to be smart, approachable and representative of the brand but also individual. Don't be afraid to also represent yourself at the interview.
Aug 30 12 01:44 am Link
It is very difficult to get a position as full time makeup artist in a Mac store... VERY
99% of the time they hire people as free lance mua who only come in when they need extra help or When they need help on events. If you want to get your foot in the door with mac I suggest doing the interview (spoken And then they test your make up skills). But if you don't get the position you want I suggest going to a Mac counter in a mall.. Macy's, nordstrom and they will most likely hire you.
Also they will probably ask you about what make up you're wearing so please wear all MAC products. And you better know all MAC products like the back of your hand if you want to get a position as a MAC makeup artist in a store!
Aug 30 12 05:58 am Link
Washington, District of Columbia, US
+1 this cuts to the chase.... MAC and other counter sales positions are keenly focused on retail sales experience... without tenure in retail sales you are not going to make a favorable impression...
Aug 30 12 06:00 am Link
A MAC Mua who works at a counter is different from a MAC mua who works in a MAC store.
Counter mua need to be more experienced in sales.
Store muas have regular clients as well as weddings, events and runway shows.
Aug 30 12 06:05 am Link
Ok thanks guys. I do have many years of retail experience so that will help.
Well there is a makeup counter AND a store at this mall so I'll apply at both.
They posted online that they have job positions open at both the counter and store a few days ago, so that's why I feel I have a shot.
I'll keep all of your advice in mind.
Aug 30 12 09:43 am Link
Aug 30 12 12:02 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
when you do your timed makeup application... remember they like it heavy...
study their style....
Aug 30 12 01:53 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
I think it's going to be the same for ANY makeup counter, they are all focused on sales...it's a business. Expect anti-mac comments here.
Some of the comments are right on, they want you to look polished, have knowledge of products and sales, and honestly? Be charming
For the timed interview, just be clean. Skin is important.
Aug 30 12 11:48 pm Link
San Francisco, California, US
In the states if you're applying for MAC whether it's their store or at a counter they originally hire as a freelancer as opposed to full time/ regular employee. They care more about sales experience than your portfolio. Also since the focus is on sales you need product knowledge. Know the different options & ways they use thier primers, know the differences in their liners, know the difference in eyeshadow types (pearl vs velux vs etc etc), know the Viva Glam lipsticks at least, their brushes... Anyway, 3 main bullet point from this: if they hire you it'll be pt time freelance, have a sales background, & know thier products. Their pigments & gel liners are pretty popular so I'd purchase a couple of those for yourself at least & get familiar w thier application.
Aug 31 12 05:31 am Link
I currently freelance at a MAC store (I was a perm employee) and I don't believe it's that hard to get into a store. There has to be a position open of course but they look more so for skills yes, but personality. You will be dealing with a different kinda of clientele in a store vs a counter.
Come dress in all black, as if you already work for them. Yes were all MAC products and know Viva Glam history, that's very important to them. And smile.
Aug 31 12 08:24 am Link
R Reilly wrote:
This isn't always true.
Aug 31 12 08:25 am Link
I wasn't saying that you need that experience. I was saying that's the kinda work youll be doing v.s counter girls.
Aug 31 12 09:31 am Link
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
I've got an interview for mac on friday! I'm so nervous about it! Good luck!! x
Aug 31 12 09:41 am Link
R Reilly wrote:
Actually not really. lol
I didn't mean that in a negative way .
Aug 31 12 11:16 am Link
R Reilly wrote:
Oh no! I didn't take it that way!!! Not at all. *eHug*
Aug 31 12 11:54 am Link
San Francisco, California, US
Good luck to both of you!
As mentioned before, sales is very important (MAC is a business, after all). Make sure you're dressed in trendy, well tailored black clothes, and your hair should be neat and contemporary (doesn't matter if it's up or down).
You should be prepared to name all of the products you're wearing (and you need to say that everything you're wearing is MAC), but they probably wont ask you.
Talk about Viva Glam ($250,000,000 raised for people affected by AIDs and HIV worldwide is amazing) and other programs like B2M or Kids Helping Kids.
They're big on educating the client and investigating their needs. You should be approachable and knowledgeable about key ingredients. (This is key when it comes to your makeup demo).
You have to think about why they should pick you over the next person. Just relax, and smile, and take a second before you answer the questions to collect your thoughts.
Hope that helps. Message me if you have any other questions.
ETA: Prep and Prime Natural Radiance (great product, shows you're current with new launch), Oil Control Lotion, P+P Line Filler, Mineralized Charged Water, Mineralized Moisture Gel Creme, Pro Longwear Concealer, Mineralized Skin Finish Natural, Pearlglide Eyeliners (as eyeshadow bases), Penultimate Eyeliner in Rapidblack, Prep and Prime Lip, Pro Longwear Lipcreme, Haute and Naughty Too Black Mascara...
Aug 31 12 04:42 pm Link
Thank you EVERYONE for the input. I went by three counters and a pro store yesterday. I got very positive responses, but that doesn't mean anything
We'll see what happens.
On a positive note, I walked past a Chanel counter and the lady working at it complimented my makeup and we got to talking and when she found out I was looking for work and have been trained, she gave me the personal phone number of the woman who does their counter's hiring.
So that was nice. I called her too.
Again, we'll see what happens
Sep 01 12 10:25 pm Link
Princeton, New Jersey, US
I work for MAC as a freelancer for almost a year. I love freelancing b/c i choose the Jobs/days i want to work. Most applying want the counter position. iI'm feeling overly busy and lazy these days so I won't type it all out here...but if you message me, we can exchange #'s if you want and I'll tell you how it works, what the no-no's are, dress, hair, even the shoes and jewelry come with guidelines. I'll also explain about freelancing, on call, pt/ft counter jobs and such. You can even share the info here if you want after we talk. No worries if not..but if we do, I can't chat until Tuesday
Sep 02 12 12:03 am Link
Pensacola, Florida, US
I've never had a good experience with the employees at MAC. I would suggest somewhere else.
Sep 04 12 01:31 pm Link
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sep 09 12 08:49 pm Link
Coronado, California, US
I'll give you a pro store owners perspective if that helps you.. So far I have done about 75% of the hiring in my store.....When it comes to the makeup artists/counter sales....I like to do this hiring myself because this is what I feel the most important job in the store. I'm going into more detail then you asked for but I think this will be helpful for some to hear.
1) Product knowledge... You need to know everything about the products you're selling....and if the interviewer is like me they are probably looking for someone that has done their homework before they are interviewed... It's easy to see who’s done their homework.... I want the person I'm interviewing to dazzle me with their knowledge of everything I sell. If I ask them for a list of what I sell they should be able to give that to me without even looking at notes, it should be memorized.... Nobody has ever done this yet but when that happens, I'll know I have met my new Customer Service manager for life. A person like this would be worth very good money to me.
2) Personality.... I prefer confident, well spoken, friendly people... smart is nice but if I have to choose, I'll take personality over brains at the makeup counter.
3) Makeup skills... This matters to me very little because I will train the employee on application if it's necessary.. I can't train someone to take on a different personality or how to develop character
4) Drama.... NO THANK YOU! If I see even a hint of drama in someone it's a no go.... When I ask about past employment and get just a hint that you had a problem with anyone... done, interview over.... Even if you had the boss from hell, don't ever mention conflict with anyone. Managers like drama free conflict free employees. My number one reason for letting people go is attitude, even really good people I hate to see leave. It's the one deal breaker for me because it brings the morale over all down.
5) Collecting unemployment? been unemployed awhile? DONT MENTION IT! employers would rather hire someone sought after then someone who has lost a job...FOR ANY REASON. I would rather walk into a makeup store and take someone else’s great employee then take an employee someone else gave up on. (and no I don't really poach employees but I sure am tempted at times) This is not fair...but life isn't fair. (analogy) A guy with girls lined up is more attractive then a guy that can't get a date right?
Also, I get scared when I hear the place you last worked at went out of business.... Sorry, I know that happens but this is a red flag for me and others I'm sure. I figure it's probably not true (because everyone says this, It's on just about every application I look at) If it is true, did you have anything to do with the company going under? Just telling it like a store owner may see it....Again, not fair....life isn't fair.
6) Your appearance... Really is not super important.... I don't care if you're fat, skinny, pretty, not so pretty, old, young... You just need to be clean, dress appropriately and respectfully and look like you care about yourself. If you have body art, it needs to be covered as a sign of respect until you know how management feels about this....Once you get the green light, uncover. I always tell people after I hire them that tattoos are fine, no need to cover but I don't want to see them at an interview because that shows a lack of common sense in my mind.
7) Clean up your face book page if you need to....Managers will go there! Make your info on line private... If you're future boss sees you flipping the camera off while drinking with your friends, she or he may not be as impressed as your friends are...Your policital opinions? don't even go there...Chances are 50/50 that your hiring manager is going to disagree with your point of view on politics, religion, gay marriage, Obama, abortion and everything else. No need to share this at the hiring stage. Probably 30% of the people I don't hire is because of what I find on line....even people that seemed perfect When I narrow my search down to a few people, I start doing on-line searches....it usually makes my decision a lot easier.
Sep 10 12 12:53 am Link
Mary, thank you SO much! It's fantastic to hear what a manager is looking for. I am going to follow your advice. I feel very confident in my people skills and customer service, so it's the product knowledge I REALLY need to work on. I'll start my memorizing now.
Sep 18 12 07:52 am Link
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Hallo, I have an Interview with Mac next week and they asked me to bring my own model. Sadly, the model I had can not come and now I can not get any model.
I do not know, what should I do? Should I go without model, and see...? Or should I write the manager that my model can not come?
Aug 29 13 02:50 am Link
London, England, United Kingdom
sona benyoova wrote:
You can ask if you can rearrange the interview (although it won't give a great impression). Can you hire someone? Definitely don't turn up without a model if they've asked you to bring one along.
Aug 29 13 03:30 am Link
Los Angeles, California, US
You have to act like your already on board
to get aboard ..........
Aug 29 13 09:10 pm Link
Coronado, California, US
ooops, just saw that I already responded to this...Sorry
Aug 30 13 12:19 am Link
São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
I had a MAC interview here in Brazil a few years ago, MAC stores were trying to get nicer people to the stores here because of many complaints about it.
I didn't get the job because they said that sales knowledge was more important for them than make up knowledge (they would prefer to hire someone who sells well and give them make up lessons, what makes sense because I don't really think everyone can make a good sale ahhahaha), and for YSL was the same here!
Sep 01 13 03:32 pm Link
Oakland, California, US
I use to freelance for MAC. If anyone tells you it's easy to get a position with them their lying. I feel like there are 3 parts that truly make up the interview.
1. Your artistry abilities: Know the line backwards and forward. Also consider getting your makeup done at one of the counters and chit chatting with the artist doing your makeup about how she got her position. The MUAs can offer SO many amazing insider tips.
2. Your appearance: I'm talking beyond your own makeup. They almost only choose girls that are dressed chic from head to toe. Too much is probably just enough.
3. Politics: There are a ton of politics when it comes to working for MAC. They love girls and guys that are ultra fun and kind; yet if they get the wrong vibe from you don't expect to be offered a position. You have to be memorable but not obnoxious. Friendly, yet still slightly intimidating.
My time at MAC was very fun and it was something I was proud to say I did. But at the end of the day it was just like working for any other counter. You have sales goals, slow days, crazy clients, odd work shifts. Was it fun? Absolutely! Did I learn a lot? Yes. But I now realize that there are SO many other incredible brands out there outside of the MAC world.
Sep 04 13 10:39 am Link
Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
I agree with Janine ' MAC is fun. But at the end of the day it is just like working for any other counter....'
I have two different stories. I went for MAC interview in Dubai, I applied very nice gentle makeup, nice foundation, strong red lipstick, beautiful eye liner. They said this is too easy for them, and that they are looking for some heavy very strong makeup.
I went for MAC interview in Germany, I applied very strong heavy makeup with lot of layers strong colours. They said it is too heavy strong and they are looking for some gentle makeup.
:)It is always worth to try, I had a nice chat with them and I left with positive feelings.
Sep 09 13 02:36 am Link
Arlington, Texas, US
One thing you could look into is becoming an Account Executive for a cosmetic company. I worked for a contemporary store and we sold about 40 brands- AE's travel, generally get paid more, and seemed to enjoy it more. You get to do makeup and, yes, you're obviously going to focus on sales, but then you also have a team of the people that work for the brands to help you out.
My roommate is an AE for a makeup brand after working for a counter for a long time and she prefers it much more. She can still do her freelance work, but gets to run events and pretty much is her own boss.
Sep 24 13 02:25 pm Link