Getting a job with M.A.C Cosmetics | Pt.1 The Interview Process

how to get a job with mac cosmetics

For some very strange reason, I often get emails from aspiring make-up artists asking me for my advice. The one question I get asked time, and time, and time again is: How do I become a make-up artist?

 This is strange for two reasons:

 1) Surely, you should already know how to become your choice of career, because if it was your life time ambition, you would have done all the necessary research before even beginning a make-up course, no?

2) I am a NOBODY in the make-up industry, so god knows why you guys email me asking me for advice. It is rather flattering none the less.

To answer the question, I always reply saying something along the lines of, and including: Get experience on a beauty counter. Why, you ask?  You will gain hands on experience dealing with different people from all walks of life daily, learn the art of make-up application in the “real world” and not just in a school environment, and of course the discount.

The ONE beauty counter every girl mentions is M.A.C Cosmetics.

So here I am today, writing to share my experience of this infamous brand, in the hope that you guys stop pestering me… I joke.. but really though.

Split into two parts, today’s post will be on “Getting a job with M.A.C Cosmetics” and part two will cover what to actually do when you get the job. Kapeesh? Enjoy.


how to get a job with mac cosmetics

Online Application

You will need to visit the Estee Lauder Careers website (click here) to check on whether or not there are jobs available and what types of jobs they have on offer. This website is updated frequently so I would advise to keep checking for the position you are most keen on applying for.
With Estee Lauder, you can only apply for one job within the “umbrella” of brands at any one time,  so make sure you haven’t already applied say for Tom Ford or Bobbi Brown before writing your M.A.C application.
Now then, you need to be yourself in this application. Yes, you will probably want to write what you THINK they want to hear, but remember, if you get chosen for a face to face interview, you will need to relate back to your answers. Be honest.
Most of the time, people make the assumption you need to be qualified or trained in beauty to apply for M.A.C Cosmetics. I can tell you now that is not the case. I have ZERO official qualifications, and any training I have got doesn’t say much on paper. What you DO need is a strong portfolio and experience. Be that from a school, or simply your own passion for make-up, learning at home. If you have talent, M.A.C will pick up on this.
Application sent off. Wait for a telephone interview
how to get a job with mac cosmetics

The Telephone Interview

When I got an email to say my application had been successful, telling me to contact *insert number* to arrange a telephone interview – to be blunt, my heart fell out of my backside. Instead of being over joyed, I was absolutely bricking it.

Having had no official school training, I had never been tested before or questioned on my knowledge, and all of a sudden felt beyond scared. What if I shouldn’t be a make-up artist? What if I am not good enough?

It took me 3 days to call up for my telephone interview. In those 3 days however, I sure as hell made sure I was going to fly through my interview, and so I did my research. To save you guys all the time and effort I went through, here is what I put together:

Possible Questions On…


Retail Experience

Why are you good for this role?

M.A.Cs Background & History

How are they different from other brands?

Why do you want to work for them?

Why are you suitable for working at M.A.C?

Describe your personal image

Favourite  M.A.C Products

What are your strong points?

You MUST know the following:

M.A.C Cosmetics was founded in Toronto, Canada 1984 by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo.

5 M.A.C Programmes: 

MAC Pro, Aids Fund, Kids Helping Kids, Back to MAC Recycling, Cruelty free beauty.

 Honestly, the notes I am copying off for this blog post, are the notes I had in front of me during the telephone interview. I did know my notes inside out and in greater detail than I am listing here – this post would go on forever if I went through EVERYTHING. I was shaking like a leaf throughout the call and was told I would have to wait a week to find out whether I had made it through to the next stage…

how to get a job with mac cosmetics

Verbal Interview & Make-up Test

So. One week later, I got a phone call from Nick. Nick is the most wonderful man and he can often be seen over at the Met Quarter free-standing store in Liverpool. Nick is the Regional Manager for where I used to live up north, covering areas such as Liverpool and Chester. He invited me along for the next stage of the interview process: The Verbal Interview. 

Again, I had mixed feelings of extreme excitement and those awful belly flipping nerves. I had just under a week to prepare, which looking back was plenty of time, but I didn’t feel ready.

I decided to go into the store and have a look around and get used to where everything was. Luckily, I knew a girl from school who worked at the store and I began to pester her for advice. Charlotte, in the MetQuarter store, is an absolute sweetheart and if you ever go into Liverpool she is the girl to go to.

Having recently moved back from Mallorca, the next thing on my list was to find something black to wear. I owned nothing black, well, nothing suitable for an interview. I wouldn’t recommend rolling up in you favourite LBD.

Styling is key to M.A.C. You want to dress to represent your personality, express your own individual style. Of course, everything must be black – from head to toe. Jewellery can be black, gold, silver or of natural sources – wood?

Hair and make-up naturally need to demonstrate your skill and flair. This is not a case of putting on absolutely everything  in your make-up kit. I would recommend making the most of your favourite features, maybe your eyes, bone structure, lips, or even all 3! Don’t go over board – remember you want to look like you are already working for M.A.C, not like you have been dragged across their counters. 

The above photograph shows how I wore my make-up for my  Verbal interview, a natural smokey eye with a bit of pink gloss. I did want to wear my hair down, big and curly, but I simply had no time. I was running late on account to my nerves.

So what do you need to know for the interview? 

What questions could you be asked? Here is my list that I put together whilst prepping for the interview:

Why do you want to work for M.A.C?

How would I describe my style?

How do you get inspiration?

Favourite thing about make-up

Beauty icon

What do you know about M.A.C?

Describe your personal make-up style?

How do you keep up to date with current trends?

What is your idea of good customer service?

How will you meet your targets?

Dealt with an unhappy customer – how?

What can you bring to M.A.C?


I wrote a further two pages, but you get the jist.

how to get a job with mac cosmetics

I felt my interview went really well and I walked out of there feeling confident in my answers. This will be the same for you if you are passionate about make-up, have a degree of talent and do your homework! I had to wait 2 whole weeks to find out whether I got through to the dreaded make-up test. By the end of the second week,  I had nearly lost all hope of hearing from them, but sure enough I got a phone call.

Nick rang me again, and said they had loved me and wanted to get me in for a make-up test. I had a week to find a model and prepare myself.


Make-up Test

 One model, one shaky make-up artist – that would be me and 45 minutes later, my make-up test was done. I simply got given a face chart to replicate, a time allowance of 30 minutes to do the face, with an extra five minutes prior to beginning the look to collect any products I needed. The trainer, being super gorgeous, Zara, was very intimidating, not only that, I had to do my make-up test in front of every one already working at the store, with Zara watching my every move.  Zara prepped all the make-up I had chosen – M.A.C have a very specific way of cleaning make-up, everything needs to be sharpened, wiped, sterilised and wiped again. Luckily, Zara took this stress away from me.

I HATED doing the make-up test.

I had never felt pressure like it. I had to pretend my friend was a customer, which was a challenge in itself, and my hands were shaking so much that I completely messed up the make-up. I got way more negative feedback than positive and I felt like I had royally screwed up. I had another “mini interview” which took a total of 10 minutes. I then walked out looking like a miserable old git.

A further two weeks later. I got the job.

Amanda, the manager over at Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols in  Liverpool called me with the good news. She offered me the job, and I was over the moon. Amanda, if you happen to read this, you will never know how happy you made me that day.

I will talk more about Amanda and the beautiful team of girls I had the pleasure of working with over the Christmas period in my next post. I think it is just as important knowing how to be a part of a new team and to fit in, as it is securing the job in the first place.

NOTE: The website I found most helpful whilst prepping for my interviews was Specktra. Highly recommend you check this out. 

Did this post help any of you? Do let me know in the comment box below.



  • Hi Zoe (my name is Zoe too),
    This post is very helpful, thank you!
    Could you tell me please when you call the EL recruitment team was it for arrange an interview or it was directly for the interview?

    Thank you!

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  • Zoe … Thank you for your ever so helpful advice. Amazing article! You’re not only a make up artist but also have amazing talent of delivering a good piece of writing as a blogger! I have taken a lot of your points. I wish I would have read your article even before applying. Luckily, I got through and am at the stage to go for a face to face interview soon next week. I atm really really nervous! !!! This is probably going to be the most nerve wrecking job interview ever. Also because how passionate I atm about Make Up and that hoe much I would love to work for MAC. I had been preparing myself to have the standard of a competent applicant over past 9 months. I really hope I get it.

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