Expert Insights: Fabrizio de Fazio

Country Human Resources Manager at Massimo Dutti

With a Liceo Classico high school degree and a Bachelor Degree in Law, Fabrizio de Fazio starts his professional career in retail at Decathlon, working closely with the customers. As Sales Manager at Ikea Group from 2009 to 2015, Fabrizio takes up the challenge to enhance the value of his team for the realization of company objectives by keeping pace with customers’ needs. From the sales sector he moves to Gruppo Inditex as Human Resources Manager. Combining his passion for fashion with his commitment towards the Human Resources area, in 2016 Fabrizio joins Massimo Dutti as Country Human Resources Manager.

As Country Human Resources Manager for Massimo Dutti, could you briefly explain us what you are in charge of?
Every brand of Inditex Group has a Country HR Manager, starting from Zara, which is the core business of the group, up to the so-called “chains”, meaning all the other brands, such as Zara Home, Oysho, Stradivarius and Pull and Bear. Being the HR Director for the Italian Market at Massimo Dutti I manage all activities related to “people”: the selection of managers, the analytical management of costs and expenses, the dynamics and processes of new stores opening. On a daily basis I collaborate with the Commercial Director, with whom I more specifically deal with and carry out the stores security task. When we visit Massimo Dutti stores we have a precise checklist to follow meticulously. Of course, the core of my job is people, employees and customers: my role is to optimize the management of both of them.

How do you lead a job interview and which steps cannot be missed? What are the elements and characteristics that can surprise you during an interview? Why?
For the selection of new candidates, collaborators of the HR Department do the initial screening: whenever there is an open job position in Massimo Dutti, I share with colleagues the information about the position and the characteristics of the desired profile in terms of academic formation and seniority. Based on a first telephone interview, I receive potential CVs, contact candidates and hold the first interview alone: would the profile seem interesting, I fix a second interview with the support of the Sales Director.
Normally, the recruiting process does not take more than one month. Candidates, exactly like clients, deserve to be respected and I therefore believe they must always receive a feedback, should it be positive or negative.
I start interviews with an “ice breaking” moment to put the candidate at ease: I present the company and my role, I explain what are the next steps of the recruiting process and what skills I am looking for. During the interview I take notes and at the end I leave room for the candidate questions. If the interviewee shows a powerful leadership, I propose him/her a more stressful, “under pressure” interview. Leadership is not the only characteristic I look for during interviews, managerial skills and specific expertise are certainly important.
I think HR job should be filled with passion: if not, it could be difficult to face its rhythms, dynamics and unexpected events. For this reason, emotion and passion that I feel during interviews still amaze and surprise me even after so many years.

To evaluate candidates’ profiles do you use also social networks and specific digital tools?
Social media are very important when scouting for new resources, I often use LinkedIn with positive results and outcomes.

What are your tips for newly graduates who want to enter the world of fashion?
For newly graduates who want to enter the fashion industry, I recommend to study foreign languages, be informed about dynamics and brands on the market. While on the personal level I strongly believe they need to be passionate.

What does working as HR in the fashion industry mean? What are the differences in comparison with other industries, according to your personal experience?
The fashion industry is a “parallel world”: in the past I had various experiences in companies related to sport or home furniture and I can guarantee that they are not at all comparable to the fashion industry. To successfully achieve HR job in fashion, you need a great deal of organization and outstanding problem solving capabilities, together with connection and adjustment skills.

Standing out today is very important (not only in the fashion world): what are your recommendations to stand out during a job interview?
To stand out during a job interview, candidates must remember to remain themselves, be humble and have patience. It is very important to study the company in order to be ready for any questions and to approach the interview as a moment of learning, exchange and personal enrichment. Being able to listen even during a job interview is very important for both parties, candidates and HRs.

What are the main characteristics you look for in candidates entering Inditex group, in particular in Massimo Dutti?
The passion for fashion above all. Differently from the other brands of the Inditex group, Massimo Dutti has a direct relationship with customers. While Zara or Bershka are stressing on product exhibition, focusing on visual merchandising and product placement, Massimo Dutti, is working on the establishment of a direct contact and relationship with customers: a structured sales code and specific training staff procedures mirror this strategy.

What are the future developments of the fashion industry, particularly in the retail sector?
As more and more people buy online, the virtual store is entering the fashion retail sector. Nevertheless, the physical store is still very important and its concept is continuously evolving under the driver of creating a real shopping experience. According to this trend, Massimo Dutti is closing small stores to open bigger flagship stores that can fully represent the brand concept and is enhancing the experience in the fitting rooms, turning it into a sensory experience. Thanks to new technologies we can offer a much more engaging service to our customers: color combinations, sizes and much more. Technology can certainly support us in the physical shop, which will remain at the heart of our core business. Great investments in training our store staff, main brand ambassadors, are currently being undertaken. I believe very much in this concept for the Italian market, especially for Milan, unquestioned fashion capital.

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