Monday, April 17, 2006

Job Interview at HEB

This morning, I had an interview with Human Resources at HEB. I ran into them at the job fair at UTPA. I have a follow-up interview tomorrow morning, so I was doing some reading up on the industry. Invariably the question always comes, "Why do you want to work at XYZ, Corporation?" I thought I'd prepare for that.
There is some difficulty in coming up with something more substantial than "because you are hiring and I need a job". I've been researching the industry. One of the benefits of going to school at UTPA is that there is plenty of information lying around waiting for you.
I can't compare HEB to other grocery stores directly because HEB is a privately held company. All I can assume is that they follow the industry norms for grocery stores. This would mean that HEB has roughly a 30% Gross Margin, 6.5% Operating Margin, and a 2% Profit Margin as compared to national retailers such as Kroger, Safeway, and Albertson's. One thing to bear in mind however, is that HEB does not have any serious competition in the RGV except for Wal-Mart Supercenters and, if Target dares, Target Supercenters. I don't give K-Mart serious consideration because of their tendency to try to fool the public on prices. You can't raise the price on an item and then discount it to call it a sale.
Wal-Mart falls under a different type of retail industry segment. Their gross margin last year was 24%, with a operating margin of 6.6% and a profit margin of 3.6%.
The reason I mention this is because if you look in the History of HEB, you'll notice that they list the 2004 opening of the HEB Plus in San Juan, Tx as a major event. The future of HEB is going towards more general merchandise. I can understand the reason why. That extra 1.5% profit margin makes the endeavor worthwhile for the company. The way I understand the dynamics, grocery and general merchandise are considered different projects. So, the company is due for some growth in the coming years with the addition of their new product lines. Of course, where there is growth, there is opportunity for advancement. So, I'm going to get my foot in the door as an overnight stocker (which is the best starting pay for entry-level). Hopefully, with the retail experience I have, I can get a little bit more. It should help me stay in school and finish my degree as well. Also, they have an in-house management training program, for which I intend to apply repeatedly.
I wasn't expecting to find this opportunity for advancement at HEB. I'm glad I took the time to investigate what's going on. With any luck, I'll have good news tomorrow.


denise said...

I hope you get a good response. I've known several people that worked their way up the H.R. ladder while working at HEB, and they're doing pretty good for themselves.

It's a pretty good company, albeit the ruthless way they wiped out the mom & pop grocery stores in parts of the valley.

...and I wouldn't discount the idea of SuperTargets. They're moving south at a rapid pace.

I still think there should be a weekly farmer's market somewhere nearby. It's always fun to buy your veggies straight from the farm.

Hector said...

if memory serves me correctly, it was Wal-Mart Supercenters and Albertson's that pretty much wiped out the mom and pop grocery stores. HEB did a pretty good job of co-existing with stores like Carl's and M. Rivas.
In the long, or short run really, it was Albertson's who couldn't compete with HEB that pretty much drove those stores out of Texas entirely.
Shaine, I've known people who have worked with HEB as well, and Denise is right on that front, if you play your cards right, HEB is definitely a smart career move.

Writer said...

I'm a bit frustrated. I waited 1 hour for the first interview. Then I waited another hour for the second interview. Now, I have to wait to be called for a third interview with Bob, the big boss at the Ware Rd HEB. I don't know where I took a detour. I applied for a position at the Mission #2 store and they are trying to shanghai me into their store. If I don't get called by Tuesday, I didn't get the job.

At this point I am really put off by the runaround. It's inconsiderate and needless. I dressed up out of respect for the managers, and now they think I am averse to hard work.

Door to door is looking good right now. I'd have decisions within 30 seconds and cash on the same day.

Hector said...

I'm not pro-HEB or anything, but keep the faith. This runaround is just the higher ups "psyching" you out. i.e. you're on their time, not the other way around. If you can handle that type of action, the pay will make it worth it. If you're not, the ace in the hole you've got is the fact that you're a college grad. Something else will pop up, if you're patient.

Writer said...

I figure they are probably messing with me. I'm not a grad yet, so no ace in the hole. I'll just have to work a couple jobs this summer or pour everthing into odd jobs.

jaime22 said...

Hey guys I see that you are all talking about carrers in HEB. Where would you go to aplly for a job?

Anonymous said...

I went to the HEB in McAllen on Pecan. That's where their HR office is. Be sure to stop by Ware and Pecan.

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