Williams-Sonoma Interview Questions & Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated Mar 23, 2014
Updated Mar 23, 2014
14 interviews

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14 Candidate Interview Reviews Back to all interviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    VP-Finance Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. 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 This is a company that has some very outdated ideas about people movement and is really cheap.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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  2.  

    Contractor IT Role Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. 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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  3.  

    Technical Project Manager Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. 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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
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  5.  

    Photo Art Director - Pottery Barn Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through other source. 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 Questions
    • 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
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Senior Marketing Planner Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through an employee referral. The process took 1 week - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in May 2012.

    Interview Details

    Was an employee referral so got to talk with HR pretty quickly who reviewed my qualifications over the phone and then set up an in-person interview with the Director. The Director was smart, honest (as honest as she could be and still remain PC) and easy to talk to. Would have loved to work with her but it seemed that there was some internal politics going on which is why I think I did not get the job. I would be interested in other opportunities at this company if they arose.

    Interview Questions
    • Nothing too difficult or unexpected but they were concerned with my lack of retail experience and emphasized the fast-paced nature of the business.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Assistant Buyer Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma.

    Interview Details

    Contacted by HR after applying online to come in for a 1st interview. I met with 2 different area buyers as I was interviewing for two positions. I was asked to come in for a second round in which I met with several more people for the position of Assistant Buyer of Bakeware and Cookware.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Finance Director Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma.

    Interview Details

    Interviewed by VP, and it was a very generic type of interview. I did get the feeling that the VP thought I was much too senior for the role and continued to challenge me on my willingness to get involved hands on in the role and whether I would be willing to work in an environment that could be unpredictable.

    After this interview I was taken to a second interview with a person who would be a peer to this role. This person had not looked at my resume beforehand and we spent the first 5 minutes of the interview in silence whilst they read through my resume. As they had not prepared at all for the interview, it was all down hill from here as they had no idea what to questions to ask me and we stumbled through for 30 mins.

    I left the premises thinking there is no way I'm getting this job, and guess what.

    I was spot on.

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Marketing Planner Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 1 week - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in May 2010.

    Interview Details

    The first step in the interviewing process was me going to Williams-Sonoma website and filling out multiple applications for marketing positions. Then I got a call from a local recruiter asking if I would be interested in interviewing for a Marketing Planner position that they had open at that time. As a side note, I did not apply for this role but they have found my resume in their database and thought I was a good candidate. I have accepted an invitation and we got the interview scheduled in SF headquarters. The main offices in San Francisco are located close to the Bay, with main conference rooms facing Alcatraz and the water. Stunning view, nice office décor. Marketing planners have working areas grouped in cubes but it’s easy to walk from one side of the office to another if you want to talk to someone in person.

    First time I got called-in I met with a person in the same role I was applying for – Marketing Planner and her direct boss. Both interviews lasted for about 40 minutes and I was able to get a good understanding of what my future role would include. One interesting thing about the company culture is that there is more female employees in the marketing department than men because of the nature of their business (WS sells cookware and kitchen supplies). Their questions were pretty high level and they were asking me primarily about my background and why I would be the perfect candidate for the job. After these 2 interviews were done, I was supposed to meet with the Marketing Director who was unavailable, so my recruiter had to schedule another on-site meeting.

    When I came-in for a final interview, the Marketing Director was very detailed in her questions, she was primarily interested in my technical skills such as ability to work with spreadsheets and synthesize big amounts of data. At the end, I did not get an offer. As my recruiter shared with me, they have selected a candidate with more analytical background and a few years of experience in corporate while I was fresh out of college grad with a few internships on the resume. It was a good interviewing experience but the base compensation offered can be a bit higher.

    Interview Questions
    • One of my interviewers said that day to day job duties can get pretty mundane, so she asked how would I cope with stress and relaxation?   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10.  

    Holiday Temporary Sales Support Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed in-person. The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in October 2012.

    Interview Details

    Large group interview, mostly walk-ins. The flow was somewhat awkward to questions. Somewhat vague answers for the types of positions and hours available for hire, what each department is looking for, etc.
    Prepare for information about your favorite department, product, and thing to cook.

    Interview Questions
    • Prepare best/worst customer service experience stories, apply to your current experience and strengths.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Merchandise Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 1 week - interviewed at Williams-Sonoma in August 2012.

    Interview Details

    I was contacted by a recruiter over the phone and we went over the open position. I indicated my interest and was set up for two thirty minute interviews with two separate people. I ended up coming into the interview and sitting for an hour with three people. The questions were very personality and work style based. Though speaking with the three different personality types made it difficult to connect with each person.

    Interview Questions
    • We only have one hour to get to know you so tell us about yourself.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

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