After our stories last month detailing American Apparel's photo-based hiring policy, picky beauty standards, and pissed-off work force, we wondered: Have things changed at AA? According to a recent job applicant: not a bit.
Late last month—well after our stories had run—our tipster went to apply for an administrative position at AA's downtown Los Angeles headquarters. The job involved normal office tasks like filing invoices and making sure shipments reached retail stores correctly. Here's what her job interview entailed:
So about a week ago I had an interview at AA in their downtown headquarters for an office admin position. First of all the guy who interviewed me only asked me 4 questions one of which was "what are some of your favorite blogs?" Fucking irrelevant. Then he says he's taking me upstairs for a test, which I assume is a computer literacy test and pretty standard for most office/admin positions. So I get up there, and it's the area they have photoshoots...The test they gave me was putting on their ugly clothes and doing an impromptu photoshoot! No computer literacy test! HOW IS THIS OK?? I'M APPLYING TO WORK IN UR OFFICE! [The photographer] was cold and it was so uncomfortable. She made me put on some tank and skirt with ugly shoes. Physically I was DEF not prepared for something like that. It was so god damn awkward. She made me model in front of some stupid white backdrop and pose for her. God I wanted to die.
How the fuck can they make you do that? It's not even for a retail position!! I heard all that shit about them and now I experience it first hand. ..God I'm so livid and embarrassed and annoyed that I wasted my time going all the way over there. Also, EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE was in no way over the age of 30 and every one looked like a glorified AA model. Really man, these are the people you trust your company to? People who were on So You Think You Can Dance? (my interviewer was). Maybe the company should stop hiring unqualified, unprofessional people and hire people who know what they're doing(clearly no one does since stock shares were down to $1.84 last I checked). [The interviewer] called me back 2 days later saying he liked me and wanted to offer me the job... at 11 dollars an hour. Yeah right. I said I'd think about it but I never called him back. No thanks man. And he also said they would email me all the pictures they took and they still haven't sent me anything. The whole thing was just gross and sleazy.
We emailed AA spokesman Ryan Holiday to ask if the photo-based hiring policy was still in place. We'll add his reply if we hear back. UPDATE: Ryan Holiday responds:
Actually, our retail hiring procedures weren't relevant for such a position. This young woman said she was interested in modeling opportunities during her interview and so when the interview was over the interviewer walked her over to factory photography studio which is all in the same building. We're pretty surprised to see this post, because not only was she offered the job but her test shoots were just approved too. Not to mention, all models sign what is called a "Model Release Agreement" before they are photographed and that happened in this case as well.
Life at American Apparel: The Employees Speak
American Apparel: The Complete 'New Standards' Dress Code Manual
American Apparel's Complete Guide to Grooming
American Apparel: Internal Documents Reveal Uglies Not Welcome