Retail Job Interview Questions and Best Answers


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Alright, you have a reliable strategy for tacking retail interview questions and answers. Now it’s time to see some examples.

But first, it’s crucial to understand that some of these questions might seem really challenging. That’s actually a good thing! Employee satisfaction actually goes up when interviews are a 4 out of 5 on the difficulty scale. So, you should actually be worried if the questions are too easy, not the other way around.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s a look at the top three retail interview questions and answers:

How to Answer RetailInterview Questions

Nailing your retail interview is important; there’s no doubt about that. But how do you set yourself up for success? It’s simple…with proper preparation, of course.

Getting ready means not just being familiar with retail interview questions, which we’ll dive into in a second, but also with how to answer them.

Retail hiring managers need to make sure you have the fundamental skills for the job. In most cases, this means customer service, communication, and cash handling skills.

Additionally, they’ll be looking for candidates with specific traits. For example, can you imagine a retail worker being successful in their job if they weren’t patient? What about if they weren’t calm under pressure (aka, when a customer isn’t happy and wants a retail worker to fix their problem)? Yeah, we can’t either.

So, how do you show the hiring manager that you have the right skills and traits? By combining the STAR and Tailoring Methods.

We’ve covered the STAR method in detail before. But, if it’s new to you, here’s a quick overview:

As you may have guessed, STAR is an acronym. The letters stand for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. To put it simply, it’s a way to structure a story. And, during an interview, stories are your friend, especially for behavioral interview questions.

How can a story help you shine like the diamond you are? Because a story is compelling and engaging. The approach is more narrative, making it much more interesting than a list of skills, traits, or facts.

As you prepare answers to common retail interview questions, begin by setting a scene. Let the hiring manager know what the situation was; give them context.

Next, summarize your responsibilities in regards to the scene. Then, discuss the actions you took, including details about why you made certain decisions or went in a particular direction.

Finally, wrap it all up with a strong closing that showcases how things turned out.

Okay, so now you can tell an effective story. That’s it, right? Wrong. It just means it’s time to take it up a notch; it’s time for the Tailoring Method.

The Tailoring Method really is about what it sounds like it should be. It’s all about customization, ensuring your interview answers concentrate on the retail company’s needs, preferences, and priorities. You want to position yourself as a solution to any problems the hiring manager is trying to fix by bringing in a new employee.

Essentially, you want to present a tantalizing value proposition. You want to make sure that the hiring manager is doubt-free when it comes to hiring you.

How do you pull that off?

When you select the stories you’re going to share, choose accomplishments that speak directly to the prospective employer’s needs. Make sure your answers are all about what you can do for them and not what they can do for you. If you do, you’ll be speaking the hiring manager’s language, and that helps you stand out.

We also wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions along with their retail specific questions!

Click below to get your free PDF now:

Retail job interview questions and answers include:

What makes you suitable for this retail job? Why should we hire you?

  • Focus on specific experience and training in your career history.
  • Identify things you have done that match the job you are interviewing for.
  • Emphasize what qualifies you for this particular job and how you can add value to the job and company.
  • What transferable skills have you gained in your previous jobs?
  • Look at the job tasks such as buying merchandise, customer care, and highlight your experience in performing these.
  • If there are areas of the job function that you do not yet have experience in then highlight what skills you have that will facilitate learning and succeeding in these tasks.

    For example your ability to remain calm under pressure and listen carefully will help you in a customer complaints function.

    What qualities do you consider most important in this retail job?

    Generally these qualities are key to success in a retail position:

  • good communication skills
  • flexibility
  • a strong customer service orientation
  • a high energy level
  • Go into more detail by expanding on these qualities. For example, good communication includes:

  • excellent and active listening skills
  • the ability to ask the right questions to get clarity on what the customer is asking
  • to be able to respond to the customer in a concise and easily understood manner
  • What interests you about selling to customers?

    Try to be specific in your interview answer to these type of retail job interview questions. Avoid generalizations such as “I enjoy people”, rather say something along the lines of:

    “I enjoy talking to the customer and finding out exactly what they are looking for. I like the challenge of meeting the customers needs, making useful suggestions and making sure the customer leaves satisfied.”

    How do you go about familiarizing yourself with the products you sell?

    Product knowledge is key to providing good customer service. There are a number of ways that product knowledge can be learned such as:

    Focus on your proactive attempts to learn about the products including asking questions and reading up about the products.

    Why are you interested in a position at this company?

    Detail why you want a job with this specific company. Base your answer to this retail job interview question on what you have learned about the company from your interview research.

    Find out the information you need before your interview at preparing for a job interview.

    Find out and highlight the following information:

  • How does this company differ from the competition?
  • What about the way it operates attracts you?
  • What interesting innovations have the company introduced such as customer loyalty programs and on-line services?
  • The company will expect you to have done your homework. Know their main competitors and be aware of current industry trends. The internet is a useful source of information. You can find good online resources to help you with this.

    Trade magazines, such as “The Grocer” or “Marketing Week” also carry a great deal of useful information.

    Describe a time when you had to handle a difficult customer.

    The interviewer wants you to provide an example of how you dealt with a demanding customer in the past.

    You need to give a clear description of a specific situation when you did this. Describe the circumstances, the actions you took and the outcome. Sample interview answer

    Describe your working hours in your previous position?

    Most retail positions require flexibility with regard to working hours. It is important to assure the interviewer that you are able to accommodate different schedules.

    Give examples of how you have been able to meet the demands of a typical retail schedule in the past.

    If this is your first job in retail sales make sure your answer emphasizes that you do not have schedule restrictions.

    A number of retail jobs are part-time. Find out how to answer part-time job interview questions.

    Behavioral interview questions that often come up in a retail job interview include:

    Give me an example of when you went the extra mile for a customer.

    Tell me about an improvement that you made to the customer service process.

    Describe a situation in which you had to remain calm under great provocation from a customer.

    How have you dealt with angry customers previously?

    Tell me about a time you received positive feedback from a customer.

    For help in answering these type of behavioral retail job interview questions go to the customer service behavioral interview questions and answers guide.

    Find out how to answer the frequently asked retail interview question:

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