BY K. KENNEDY
L’Oréal Paris Office | officelovin.com
L’Oréal has gone from strength to strength since its formation in 1909 becoming the world’s largest cosmetics company, with over 89,000 employees across the world and boasts an annual revenue of more than €26 billion a year. With a focus on innovation and diversity, the company leads the industry in terms of its rich and innovative product range so it’s no wonder L’Oréal is amongst LinkedIn’s list of top companies for 2018.
As one of the biggest players in the retail & luxury market, we thought it essential to provide an insight into this global corporation. We spoke with Fahd Rami, an intern within their Environment and Society department in Paris and he gave us his advice, experience and ideas about working with L’Oréal.
First of all, tell us a bit about yourself, your background your interests etc.
My name is Fahd, I’m 22 and I’m currently enrolled in a Masters degree studying Political & Public Communication. I started off with a two-year degree (that I think only exists in France) called a “Technical University Diploma” in Business Techniques in 2014 and graduated two years later. I realised during this degree that I only chose this subject because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I just randomly followed what the majority of my high school friends were doing. Thankfully, this degree helps you to prepare for applying to higher institutes. So, that’s what I did and managed to get into the Higher Institute of Communication for a 3rd year in a Bachelor of Public Relations and stayed in the same university for my masters.
1. What was it that inspired you about L’Oréal to apply there in the first place?
The final year of my Masters is supposed to prepare us for the labour market and help us gain corporate & professional skills. So, most people will work as an intern for the year, with one day in class per week. I really wanted this experience to open some doors to my future career. I haven’t always been ambitious, but I thought I should at least try to know how it feels like to work for such a big group, so I can give my own personal opinion. I hadn’t really looked in L’Oréal before applying but the position sounded like something I would really enjoy and of course, their reputation precedes them, so I thought that I might as well see how it goes and apply.
2. Could you tell us a bit about the recruitment process? Were there some aspects you found particularly difficult, easy or different, even?
The recruitment process was quite thorough, actually. I applied through an apprenticeship offer I found on my University’s internal database. I was then called by a member of L’Oréal’s HR team who let me know that my profile was interesting and that they wanted to know more about my objectives and my personality. We set up a time to have a more official interview, which was the first step for the recruitment process. This first interview was pretty standard fare; they asked me about my studies, my previous work experience – the usual!
After this, the lady who I met during the first interview asked me for a second, that would be more focused on my personality and behaviour. I had to analyse some internal communication elements, and answer a couple of questions, which, looking back were a little strange. So, for example, they asked what kind of animal I would have been if my natural environment was a forest, a desert and a mountain, etc. During the second interview, I felt like there was no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer, they were just trying to figure out what kind of a person I am and I what I would be like to work with on a day-to-day basis. I couldn’t really tell what they thought about me either. The interviewers were nice, but very cool, calm and collected which made it kind of hard to read them. So, if you do get to this stage, don’t be too disheartened if they seem a little cold, I think that’s just their style.
After all this, they called me a week later to let me know that I’d got the job!
3. Do you think there are any particular qualities that L’Oréal is looking for specifically in an applicant?
I think the main qualities they look for are discipline, rigour and organisational skills. But, whilst working here I’ve found that creativity and leadership are equally as important, and they actually give you a lot of opportunities to work on these skills. I have never really considered myself as much of a leader, not even close, but it turned out I found a lot of qualities I had never known before!
4. What role do you currently hold at L’Oréal? Could you tell us a bit about it?
I work in the Environment & Society division, and we work towards raising awareness on important topics such as global warming, animal testing, women in the labour market, ableism in the professional field, and things along those lines. My main responsibilities include event management, design thinking and public relations. I help to find and organise special events that are related to these topics, such as the European Week of Waste Material Reduction. There are a lot of different elements that go into these events such as games, conferences or employee contests which is great as I’m always working on something different.
5. What does the average day look like for you?
One thing is clear, there is genuinely no routine here. I don’t think I’ve had one day here that was the same the last. I usually spend part of the day using Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign for some technical things related to promoting an event or raising awareness for a certain issue. Otherwise, I’m usually interviewing potential partners, or handling the logistic part of an event, as well as the operational & strategic elements. I am also in charge of the internal communication within our campus (around 2600 people), so I’m certainly kept busy!
6. What are your favourite things about your role or working within L’Oréal in general?
One of my favourite things about working at L’Oréal is the enormous quantity of responsibilities I am in charge of. That sounds quite negative, but I think it really boosts your motivation when you’re trusted enough to oversee so many important tasks. I definitely value a workplace that places that much trust in me as it shows that they really value you and your work and also gives me the best chance to develop my skills. We also have a very delicious canteen, a lot of advantages such as access to employee sales (way cheaper than the real prices), a very important consideration and of course a very important network.
7. What three pieces of advice would you give to hopeful applicants at L’Oréal?
I think the key is to dare to try. They like strong personalities and outgoing people who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there.
To explain them why you and not someone else. What is your unique selling point? What makes you stand out from the rest of the competition? You have to be self-confident (but not too much) and give them concrete examples of why it is better for them to hire you.
It might sound very cliché, but be yourself, you can’t be successful in a fake environment and that is the most important part of it.