Buying - Hiring Process and Pay
Our contacts say that the interview makes or breaks prospective buyers. Because most employees will begin as associate or assistant buyers, a good rapport with the senior buyer is crucial. One contact in the field says he looks for the following when hiring an assistant: "I want someone who is smart. This person doesn't need to know everything, but they must be able to learn and to learn quickly. I want someone who takes notes. It's no good telling someone a piece of information only to have him come back a few hours later unable to remember it. Write it down!"
The number of interviews for any buying position will depend on several factors: experience level, job title, and the interviewer's impression of the candidate, among others. Because buying is often quantitative in nature, interviewees should expect to receive math problems. "Don't be afraid if you can't do the problem in your head," reveals a source. "My company hired one woman after she explained she wasn't very good at math and pulled out a calculator. As you can see, the ability to think on one's feet is essential." Of course, traditional analytical and "fit" questions also apply. Explains another insider, "I always ask my applicants, 'What is the toughest decision you have ever had to make?' I don't care very much about the answer, but I do watch to see how they react, how they think things through." ~
Pay and Perks
A buyer's salary will range depending upon experience level, company, product category, and location. In New York, a seasoned worker may earn $60,000 to $80,000, while a first-time buyer may only make $50,000. Outside of "the fashion capital of the world," however, buyer salaries may be substantially lower. Perks in buying are often generous. One insider claims he receives "company discounts of 50 percent (and even more at warehouse sales), as well as free watches, umbrellas, and other accessories."