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The hiring process is underway for Uniqlo's King of Prussia Mall location, which is scheduled to open this spring in the lower level of The Plaza. Per the Japanese clothing retailer's job listing on Craigslist, open interviews are taking place this week and next at the KOP Mall's Cafe Court, calling for potential sales associates and store managers. (Job listings have yet to be posted for Uniqlo's Center City store, which opens this fall.)
While the positions only require a GED and commonplace retail requisites (excellent communication skills, basic math know-how, a flexible schedule), there is one qualification that has us scratching our heads: a thorough grasp of the UNIQLO Fundamental Principles and the 6 Standard Phrases, which is essential whether you're a store manager or behind the cash wrap.
According to NY Mag's 2010 article on Uniqlo's company culture, a job at Uniqlo requires extensive training to create a customer experience that goes way beyond what those schlubs over at Hollister or Forever21 are offering. A full assimilation into company culture is expected: "Always follow company direction. Do not work in your own way," reads the poster that hangs in every Uniqlo manager's office.
Dissension is unwelcome from Uniqlo's "advisers" (what the company calls employees on the sales floor), as well. Sales associates are required to reflect the Japanese concept of "kaizen" — the pursuit of perfection. Clothing should be perfectly folded (it should take you no longer than one minute to expertly fold six shirts, by the way), your name badge should take no longer than five minutes to apply, and interactions with customers require Stepford Wife-levels of eye contact and smiling.
Circling back to those 6 standard phrases you'll need to know to ace your job interview, they are as follows:
1) Hello, my name is ____, how are you today?
2) Did you find everything you were looking for?
3) Let me know if you need anything. My name is____.
4) Thank you for waiting.
5) Did you find everything you were looking for?
6) Good-bye, we hope to see you again soon.
To be a star Uniqlo adviser, you'll need to recite at least four of these phrases to each customer who walks through the door. "Did you find everything you were looking for?" gets thrown in there twice, apparently, because it's required both on the sales floor and at checkout.
Are you surprised to read of Uniqlo's strict employee standards? Will you apply to work at the KOP and Center City stores anyway? Sound off in the comments.
· Uniqlo [Official Site]
· Uniqlones [New York Magazine]
· All Uniqlo Coverage [Racked Philly]