Williams-Sonoma Interview Questions & Reviews in San Francisco, CA US
Getting an Interview
- Popular Job Titles:
- Seasonal Sales Associate (17)
- Sales Associate (11)
- Assistant Manager (6)
- Stock Associate (5)
- General Manager (4)
- Assistant Store Manager (3)
- Intern (3)
- Part Time Sales Associate (2)
- Sales (2)
- Project Manager (2)
- Associate Manager (2)
- Analyst (2)
- Marketing Manager (2)
- Gift Wrap (2)
- Manager (2)
- Copy Manager (1)
- WAREHOSUE (1)
- Association (1)
- Casual Associate (1)
- Supply Chain IT Manager (1)
- Inventory Planning (1)
- Stock - Hourly (1)
- Junior E-mail Designer (1)
- SALES- (1)
- Holiday Temporary Sales Support (1)
- Merchandising Planner (1)
- Full Time IT (1)
- Senior Marketing Planner (1)
- Visual/Sales Associate (1)
- Photo Art Director - Pottery Barn (1)
Very Easy Interview
Visual/Sales Associate Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied in-person and the process took 1+ week - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in November 2010.
Interview Details You will fill out an application and meet with the hiring manager. Most new hires happen in the month of October for seasonal work. After the season is over they usually select a few of the "great" seasonal workers and add them to the regular staff.
Interview Question – Availability. This is tricky because they will not guarantee you any hours, so if you want this to be your only job, better have a second job just in case you get "no" hours View Answer
Negotiation Details – My hiring was conducted in a group setting. All of us were hired for the season. Then I was selected to be a permanent employee after the season was over.
Finance Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma.
Interview Details I was referred by an employee. Interviewed with hiring manager and 2 vice presidents
Interview Question – they asked me details on my relationship with a specific vendor View Answer
VP-Finance Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in November 2013.
Interview Details I was contacted by a retained search firm about this opportunity. I talked with that firm via video conference and had a phone interview with a WS executive. Then, I went to S.F. for an office visit as a finalist for this position. I interviewed with six execs in S.F. Since I had connections here, I had been made aware that the senior finance leadership had been "mentored" by the prior CFO, advanced more quickly than you would expect, and weren't likely to leave anytime soon. I wasn't impressed by the CFO as she seemed more focused on highlighting perceived negatives about the opportunity than she was in getting to know me. This is a company that has some very outdated ideas about people movement and is really cheap. For example, the internal executive leadership conference is held in Arizona in July because the room rates are cheaper then. They asked a secretary to drive me from one building to another elsewhere in the city in her personal vehicle rather than calling me a cab. She was really nice but I felt badly for her. Also, one of the people with whom I met was telling me about how they were chasing down an explanation for a $500 variance. A company this size has better things for their people to be doing than that.
Interview Question – Nothing was difficult but the CFO seemed to try to find negativity to discuss. And, she didn't seem to care that I had visited stores including their smallest concept. This was very off-putting. However, they did keep on time throughout the process. View Answer
Copy Manager Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied through another source and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma.
Interview Details It was long, hard. There were writing tests and multiple interviews with multiple people. Process dragged out for months, not weeks. HR and others were variously assertive and then would disappear. Don't take this personally! Now that I've been here for some time, I understand that it's part of the company culture. It's the first place I've been where emails often go unanswered.
Interview Question – Questions are standard, but expect to be asked about the brand itself and about your awareness of the competition. They may try to get at who you are as a person by asking about what brands YOU respond to - and why. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – They would not budge on salary. I took a pay cut to work here. They were unapologetic and said those are the kinds of decisions one makes "for the privilege of working" for the brand.
Contractor IT Role Interview (Negative Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in January 2014.
Interview Details had an interview setup by the recruiter. The funny part is we don't who the interviewer was. She said she had worked at the company for years yet she had no linkedin profile or evidence of her. She may have been a contractor interviewing another contractor
Interview Question – iT was a phone call. She called with no formal introduction of herself. It sounded like a call from a restaurant that my order was ready. Seriously, that was the most unprofessional call in my career. She had 2 specific questions and I answered them and then she abruptly said "sure well have next steps ready", then the recruiter called to say she was not interested because I did not specific skillset of XYZ but the interviewer did not ask any questions about XYZ.
Basically, whoever she was, she was dismissing candidates and then just saying they don't have the experience. This was truly irresponsible!!!! IT just seemed like she was not the decision maker. She was taking notes for the decision maker. Amateur interviewer!!!
Whoever is interviewing they must have the patience to interview a candidate. She does not have the right to dismiss candidates from the applicant pool..Good candidates are being dismissed which could benefit the company. View Answer
Project Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in April 2013.
Interview Details Nice, clean, simple, stylish environment. Pleasant reception and people. Offered me coffee, restroom use, etc. upon arrival. Easy parking and commute. Well organized interview schedule. Provided all names, titles. All interviewers were prompt, professional, knowledgeable and well spoken. Each began and ended on time. Pleasant experience. Firm handshake. Only one mid-level manager wasn't real warm (didn't smile much)
Interview Question – All questions were normal and expected. Questions were open-ended, encouraging details and specific skills and accomplishments. Asked for most challenging situation and how I resolved it. What did I enjoy about my work most and what I least enjoyed. Answer Question
Reason for Declining – The quieter one that didn't interact warmly with me didn't ask very many questions. But, provided criticism that didn't seem based upon anything observed either in person or on my resume. She may have wanted someone else for the job.
Technical Project Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in December 2013.
Interview Details WS being part of the eCommerce space, I was expecting a dynamic and engaging process (I have worked in eCommerce for the past 2 years and have >15 years of field experience). Just to start, the job description was confusing and laboriously written, trying to make the obvious sound more complicated or elaborate than it needed to be, a bit like serving meatloaf on a large platter with lots of decoration around it. I had 2 phone interviews. The hiring manager, was apparently the author of the job posting. The second interviewer, while smart and nice, preferred to *interview me based on their needs* rather than to elaborate on the responsibilities and key attribute of the position they needed to fill. With so many requirements, it was difficult to get a sense of what the key needs were.
I was struck by how traditional and encumbered the interview process was.
In most instances, the compensation level speaks more loudly about the level of the position than the job description. At $130K/year, I thought I could much better and this was a backup position and fortunately, I did.
Interview Question – Very basic project management questions about scope management, project planning, status reporting, communication and budget management. The hardest part was around budget management: WS manages projects within very narrow budget bands (+/- 5%). This requires a significant amount of administrative work just to track expenditures. Add forecasting to that.
Without emitting an opinion as whether this is good or bad, it is certainly very water-fall (traditional), to the extent that most companies today balance administrative overhead with the imperatives of delivery, quality. and time-to-market. View Answer
Very Easy Interview
Seasonal Sales Associate Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
I applied in-person and the process took a day - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in October 2009.
Interview Details Easy - back then they just needed help. No training though.
Interview Question – There really weren't any. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – There was none.
Photo Art Director - Pottery Barn Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through another source and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in June 2013.
Interview Details I was made aware of the opportunity through a private email from an individual within the organization sent to a network of professional colleagues outside of the Williams-Sonoma fold - photographers, producers, stylists, etc. with whom that person works regularly.
I forwarded my CV and cover letter directly to that individual. There was a 1-2 week lapse; they travel frequently for work. Upon following up a second time, the WSI employee put me in touch with a hiring manager within the organization who was already in possession of my CV/letter. She and I emailed a couple of times back and forth at which time a phone interview was arranged the following week.
My phone interview with the hiring manager lasted about 60 minutes. It was a thorough interview with many questions asked of one another. I felt the hiring manager was genuinely interested, engaged, curious, asked thoughtful questions. I was very interested in the position. The interview concluded with the hiring manager inquiring as to my salary requirements. I explained that I wanted to conduct some due diligence on the compensation front and that I would be back in touch with her within 48 hours. She was receptive to this request.
Two days later I followed up with both email and a phone call with my requirements. The hiring promptly returned my call and explained that they were very interested in me as a candidate, and that my salary requirements were perfectly in line with what the position pays. In that call, we spoke for an additional 15-20 minutes, where she asked additional pointed, detailed questions about my experience and thoughts regarding the position with Pottery Barn. At the conclusion of the second phone call/interview, the hiring manager explained that position's direct report (who I learned at that time was the individual who circulated the initial email re: the position) would be in touch with me within 1 week to conduct a third interview.
A week passed without hearing back from anyone. I called and emailed the hiring manager explaining I hadn't heard from the direct report; she replied immediately and explained she would track him down and ascertain what was happening with regard to the search. She called me back later that day and explained the individual was traveling and would be in touch within 3-5 days.
Another week passed without hearing any word. I again followed up with the hiring manager but heard now word. I gave that call and email a week, and followed up one last time with the hiring manager and never heard back.
Interview Question – I didn't find any question particularly difficult or unexpected. If forced to chose one it was when she asked how I would react to C-level executive/s shooting down a concept I developed for a seasonal campaign. View Answer
Very Easy Interview
Project Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Very Easy Interview)
The process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in May 2013.
Interview Details 3 phone interviews + 1 onsite 4 hours
Interview Question – how would manage a project with contract development assigned to vendors selected by less costly offer? Not always the best quality Answer Question
Reason for Declining – for the questions I was asked