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Posted June 18, 2021

Retail Interview Tips

By Grace Tino

Just like in any other industry, interviews are a pivotal step in the hiring process for retail jobs. Retail positions often require workers to be friendly, communicative, and knowledgeable. While a resume offers a snapshot of a job seeker’s background and expertise, an interview provides a personal experience that can make or break the hiring process. Think of an interview as your time to shine; this is your chance to sell yourself to the hiring team and demonstrate your value as a candidate. While an interview sounds intimidating, landing the job is as simple as coming prepared and enthusiastic.

The first thing to do when you have finally landed an interview is prepare your materials. Take another look at your resume and go over it for any errors you may have missed and print out several copies. Oftentimes, the hiring manager will not print out your resume, so bring these copies with you in a neat folder. Even more importantly, leaving interviewers with copies of your resume gives them a key snapshot to refer to when they make final decisions. In addition to reviewing your resume, take another look at the job description and the company. Print out the listing and highlight key words- phrases that are repeated through the listing- so you can think of ways to incorporate them into your own answers. Investigate the site you will be interviewing at as well. Are you applying to a warehouse, store, or office position? Culture will vary depending on the aspect of retail you are trying to work in. Double check if the hiring team requested you bring any other materials and pack them in your folder as well.

Though most retailers are back open and functioning at full capacity (and of course, eagerly looking to fill their new positions), there is also a chance that you may be interviewed online or over the phone. No matter what form your interview is, always dress for success. Even wearing an interview outfit for a phone call can be beneficial as it helps to increase your sense of professionalism and confidence that can be detected even in your voice. Look in your mirror and make sure your appearance is put together before heading to your interview. That includes neat hair, wrinkle free clothes, and no flashy accessories. For some potential bonus points, try to dress in the company’s brand colors; this shows an enthusiasm for the opportunity to join the team.

If your interview is in person, plan your trip as well. It never hurts to review the drive to the site. Write down the time, date, and location so you do not forget. Consider the time of day when deciding when to leave, since there may be traffic if you must leave during lunch or rush hour. It is best to arrive at least 15 minutes before an interview. If you hit unexpected traffic, or have another delay, always call hiring contact to let them know what is going on- while a delay might be understood, showing up without an explanation will not be.

A large part of your interview will be spent discussing your relevant experience. Many hiring managers may simply ask how you feel your experience translates to the job you are interviewing for. Incorporate as many examples as possible of your transferable and position-specific skills throughout your responses. Real life experiences, such as the time you helped an unhappy customer, or solved a shipping dilemma, are excellent ways of demonstrating how your skills can be actively support the team. Some common retail interview questions to prepare answers for are listed below:

  • What makes up good customer service?
  • Why did you apply to work here?
  • What is your problem-solving strategy?
  • How does your experience translate to this position?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is your favorite aspect of our company?

Keep your body language and personality in mind throughout the interview. Most retail positions involve working amongst a team daily. Therefore, personality goes an extremely long way during a retail job interview. Many retail hiring teams agree that a friendly, communicative, and calm character can be more valuable to a successful retail worker as opposed to previous experience. Smile, engage the interviewers with eye contact, and keep your energy up through the conversation.

Once the interview is over, you will probably be feeling a lot of relief- but your work is not done just yet! Follow up with the interviewers later in the day, or at least the day after. Thank them for their time and consideration and use this as an opportunity to reiterate your enthusiasm and fit for the position. Remember, an interview does not guarantee you the job, so stay vigilant in your job search while waiting to hear back. Apply to the best jobs in the industry with us on AllRetailJobs!