CPI (Missouri) Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Studio Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied in-person and the process took 3 days - interviewed at CPI (Missouri) in February 2009.
Interview Details – Submit application either online or in-person at the studio. Studio Manager or District Manager receives them in their inbox or in person, reviews them for qualifications. Once they are called in they are asked a series of questions related to the position applying for. A background check is performed.
Interview Question – Explain a difficult customer situation you have dealt with in the past. Please give a specific example. Answer Question
Project Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and interviewed at CPI (Missouri).
Interview Details – Had a short phone call with HR first. Interviewed with VP, my direct manager and finally with the CEO
Interview Question – How many gas station are in the US? View Answer
Negotiation Details – No negotiation
Very Easy Interview
Studio Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Easy Interview)
The process took 2 months - interviewed at CPI (Missouri) in September 2011.
Interview Details – I applied online, and was called within a week for a phone interview. She asked basic questions (reason you left last job, sales experience (not photography), etc...). After the phone interview I had a 1:1 interview with the district manager. It was very informal and basically the same as the phone interview. Spent a month waiting for response from DM (!), then we spent the next 3 weeks negotiating pay. Hired after background check was cleared. They do not drug test.
Interview Question – Why do you want to work here? View Answer
Negotiation Details – I was initially offered 12.00 per hour. I asked for 15.00 and after a LOT of back and forth, we settled at 14.00. Just stay firm and hold your ground. The turnover is high, and they get desperate for good help.
Studio Manager Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
The process took a day - interviewed at CPI (Missouri) in April 2011.
Interview Details – Applied online, interviewed with District Manager, Hired
Interview Question – No complicate questions asked. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Negotiate for more pay
Very Easy Interview
District Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Easy Interview)
The process took 2 months - interviewed at CPI (Missouri) in December 2009.
Interview Details – I answered an ad for a District Manager's position. Apparently, no one (or almost no one) is hired directly into this position. You must first start out as a photographer at $7 or $8 an hour (plus a negligible commission) and work yourself up to the DM position. The position I accepted was as a photographer but I am not sure if I'm in a training position or I am just expected to fight and claw my way up or if I am to expect some sort of guidance and a structured training program. Very confusing. I'm smart and a hard worker and I have an extensive background in District Management with a very refined skill set in multi-unit management and people skills. Seems a waste of my talents to start in this position but I am willing to follow the path... if there is one.
Interview Question – I don't recall that there were any questions in the interview. It was more of a session to spell out the compensation plan and expectations of the company. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Negotiations are not relevant. You will be assimilated.
Sales Associate/Photographer Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at CPI (Missouri) in October 2009.
Interview Details – The interviewer first asks questions like, why did you choose to apply for sears portrait studio? And questions relating to why you want to work there. Then, he or she will ask you questions regarding your previous work experience, and then give you hypothetical scenarios involving customers and ask you what you would do if you were the sales associate. At the end, the interviewer hands you a pen and asks you to sell it to them. And lastly, I don't know if this goes for every Sears Portrait Studio interview, but he or she will ask you what your favorite animal is and then ask you to imitate it. Overall, the whole interview lasts about 30 minutes.
Interview Question – (Hands you a pen) Pretend I am a customer, and you are the sales associate. Sell me this pen. Answer Question
Photographer Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at CPI (Missouri).
Interview Details – I emailed the district manager and spoke to her on the phone initially. I came in for a 2-on-1 interview and got the job! They asked a lot of hard questions, but I kept on my toes and they hired me on the spot! It was really hard to get a hold of the district manager at first. Wherever I was told to call she wasn't there. I think they liked that I was persistent and kept trying to get a hold of her.
Interview Question – The only one I can remember is: "How would you up sale efficiently?" View Answer
Negotiation Details – There was none, I was told my pay. The only way to get a raise is to work there for at least 6 months to a year. That was what I was told at least.
Studio Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at CPI (Missouri).
Interview Details – If you have experience in portrait studio management you will most likely be hired. They used to be very selective with the interview process and use an interview guide that was about five pages long. Now the questions are pretty simple because the quality of people that they can afford to hire has reduced the difficulty of the questions. The opening question is almost always "Why do you want to work here?" and then the interview digs into sales, photography, kid, team and general work experience. It's all pretty formulaic. The questions for management and associates are very similar because the managers are essentially glorified associates.
Interview Question – "Sell me this random item" View Answer
Negotiation Details – No negotiating.