Decision Makers: When Whole Foods Shops for Employees
It used to be healthy, organic food could only be bought at small local shoppes owned by semi-capitalistic hippies. And it was expensive. Really expensive. Now, many communities boast farm markets with local offerings. But the mack-daddy bringing local growers, gourmet food, organic and healthy options together and also seems to cater to every food allergy is Texas-based Whole Foods Market.
The company has more than 51,000 employees (they call them "Team Members"), and 87% are full time workers. If you think you're seeing stores on every corner, there are more than 280 stores in 38 states, DC, Canada, and the UK.
Whole Foods Market ranks on FORTUNE's "100 Best Companies to Work For." If you're wondering why, the average salaried employee rakes in more than $70,000. But it takes more than a paycheck to make that storied list. The company values diversity, with more than 40% of its employees women and/or minorities. Telecommuting? Check. However, if you're a cashier, telecommuting is likely not an option. But a big benefit to working there is that Whole Foods covers 100% of health care premiums and provides subsidies if you join a gym.
Use our Salary Calculator to compare your salary to the average, salaried Whole Foods Market.
In Search of the Whole-y Grail of Whole Foods Employment
One thing that separates Whole Foods from some other companies is that if you applied to work there and didn't get the brass ring, you're not necessarily out of luck. The company does not blacklist rejected applicants, so try, try, again. "Each applicant is evaluated on a number of factors and we look for the right fit for each specific job," says Mark Erhnstein, Global Vice President of Team Member Services for Whole Foods Market. "We are fortunate that we usually have a large candidate pool for any number of positions and recognize that many of our applicants will re-apply for other opportunities, and we encourage them to do so. Many of our Team Members have landed jobs with us after applying multiple times."
While you're sending that résumé, you're spell-checking it, right? You'd be surprised how many resumes with typos end up on Erhnstein's desk. Maybe one was yours and you didn't get a call back. "I think this shows an obvious lack of attention to detail," he says. "If this issue shows up on your résumé, how will it show up on the job?"
Most companies don't want "average." Every hire could impact the company brand or the bottom line in large and small ways. Companies look to complete or complement their corporate culture. You might call it the "it" factor. For consumer companies that you can experience, sometimes you get a sense of the "it" factor when you walk through the door. For Whole Foods, that means you've got to be positive and engaging, and understand that customers are number one.
See average salaries for jobs at Whole Foods Market, Inc.
Do it the Old-Fashioned Way
A study conducted by the Radicati Group in August 2008 estimated that 210 billion emails are sent each day. Don't let your gratitude for your interview be one of them, especially if you just met someone from Whole Foods Market. Sit down and write a thank you note. This one thing could make or break your chances at getting a job at the company. "A note can make a difference especially when there are several good candidates for a position," says Ehrnstein. "The one who writes a note often can stand out, all other things being equal." But don't send flowers, that's over the top.
We can't guarantee that you'll be a stock person shelving soy milk soon or ordering organic oranges as a buyer with these inside tips, but you'll be better prepared for wherever you apply.
Carol Berman, an award-winning journalist, writes the blog, The Scribble Lounge, a unique take on current events and pop culture. She's New York bred and now lives outside Philadelphia.
Over more than 15 years, she spent many years in broadcast journalism as a producer, followed by a short award-winning stint in public relations and now makes a happy return to journalism. An avid news junkie, Carol is also a runner, a recovering triathlete, and dog lover. She loves to bake for friends and family and volunteer with different non-profits.