An inside look at The Home Depot in-store experience

By Lottie Watts
Published Oct 1, 2020

This week on NRF Foundation All Access, The Home Depot’s Senior Director of In-Store Experience Jalal Hamad shares how he has grown his career over two decades, his advice for building a career in retail and what excites him about his job.

Here are just a few of the questions students at universities nationwide asked – along with Hamad’s answers:

What has been the biggest challenge in your career, and how did you overcome it?

I was 22 years old, and I was promoted to be a store manager. Leading an $80-million business and 400 associates was overwhelming. It was exciting and exhilarating, but the challenge was – and the truth was – I was leading people that were three times my age. They just had a ton more experience than I had. It was a bit daunting.

I overcame this challenge by grounding myself, by listening, learning and adapting – and addressing issues that mattered most to my associates.

How much time do you spend on the floor of The Home Depot stores for research purposes?

As much as I can – which never feels like it’s enough. I am a firm believer that the answers to most – if not all – of the questions and opportunities or problems that we’re trying to solve in the business, the answers are in the store.

We have 400,000 associates. They’ve got firsthand experiences on what’s working and what’s not. And better yet, they’ve got ideas on how to improve and keep engaging our customers.

How much of your job is executing art versus science?

When you’re in the digital world, you have a clear picture of the path to purchase. Where did they come from to get into The Home Depot landing page? How long did they dwell? What products were they looking at? What are the things they may have interacted with as far as how-to videos on the website? What did they put in their cart? What did they take out of their cart? Did they abandon their cart?

We’ve been trying to turn this corner on enabling capabilities so that we can understand the consumer journey inside of the store. When you’re standing in front of a product category, what are you thinking about? Is it color? Finish? Price? We want to make sure that we’re figuring out the best ways of doing that.

What makes a resume stand out to you?

This is the very first test in visual merchandising. We spend most of our time on developing strategies that are focused on attracting customers, engaging customers and converting customers. The same can be said about your resume.

What does it look like? How are you leveraging shapes, and colors and formats? You want me to read more. Make it compelling, clear and concise. Focus on the important information you want me to know that’s relevant to the job that you’re excited about.

What’s the best way to connect with someone who works where I want to work?

A cold email can be effective – but only if you’ve done your homework. You need to be creative in finding ways to make your email stand out.

Walk the store and find an opportunity. Pull together a one-pager on your thoughts on how you would think about addressing the opportunity. It’s a great way for a person to see how you’ve thought through things and how you’ve articulated it. Express your interest and the value that you can bring to the organization.

Now is your chance to submit your question for our last two “20 Questions” guests this fall: P & G’s Chief Communications Officer Damon Jones and Carol’s Daughter’s President and Founder Lisa Price. Email your question to by Oct. 2 so we can add your questions to our list, then tune in for the answers on NRF Foundation All Access.


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