Performance incentives can be very motivating, and you may have the opportunity to take advantage of such incentives at Barnes and Noble. Talk to the interviewer about your feelings regarding performance incentives.
"I think performance incentives are a great idea -- they keep me motivated to do a great job, and I like knowing that I'm contributing to making sure our team is on top of our KPIs. I'm extremely motivated by being rewarded for my successes."
"I've never worked in a position that offers performance incentives, but that's never stopped me from staying motivated. However, small perks are always nice to have!"
Do some research to determine how you can expect to be compensated at Barnes and Noble, and use your current earnings to talk about your salary expectations. Be open and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"I currently make $15 per hour and work between 25 and 35 hours per week. I'm hoping to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
"I currently make minimum wage, and I'm happy to begin a position at Barnes and Noble in that same range. I'm hopeful that my hard work and dedication to the team will earn me a promotion or pay increase after some time. Does Barnes and Noble have any merit-based bonuses or pay-scale increases?"
The management team at Barnes and Noble wants to know how best to motivate every member of their team. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you find motivation on the job.
"I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a leader board -- I like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well."
"I am very much self-driven and self-motivated. As long as I am being treated with respect and feel appreciated, you will get the best work from me."
A job search isn't just a one-sided hunt. You must also feel like a job at Barnes and Noble is the right fit for you. Tell the interviewer about your ideal employer. Be specific, and be sure to keep the conversation positive. Avoid speaking poorly of any previous managers or organizations.
"My ideal employer is one who brings charisma and passion to their work. I work best with organizations that encourage learning and promote their employees based on performance."
"My ideal employer is reliable, has a good reputation, and treats me like a unique individual versus just a number."
Being a Barnes and Noble team-member means being reliable and consistent. Make sure the interviewer knows that you respect your coworkers and managers enough to always show up for your assigned shifts. You can be honest about a time that you had to miss a shift; be sure to mention that you followed all of the protocols for calling off of work.
"I know that my coworkers and managers rely on every team-member to show up for their shifts on time and prepared to work -- if one person doesn't show up, that means everyone else has to work harder. I've never skipped work without a good reason, and I always make sure to call in with plenty of advance notice so that my managers are prepared to cover the shift. I've never had an unexcused absence from work."
"I am very committed to my employer and am only absent in events of sickness or the odd family emergency. I do my best always to be available and present when expected. When I got the flu last year and had to be absent from work for three days, I made sure to inform my managers as soon as I could and bring a doctor's note with me when I returned to work."
An interview isn't just determining if you're a good fit for Barnes and Noble -- it's also about making sure that the environment at Barnes and Noble is right for you. Are you pretty flexible in your ability to work in most environments? Have you experienced a position where the atmosphere wasn't conducive to your productivity? Make sure you're familiar with the environment at Barnes and Noble.
"I can be productive in most work environments, so long as the energy is positive and teamwork is encouraged. I cannot work in an environment that feels negative or toxic."
"I've spent a lot of time in Barnes and Noble stores, and I've always appreciated how the sales associates work together, treat each other with respect, and always seem to be having fun! That's the exact kind of environment I'm looking for at work, and I'd love the chance to add my positive attitude and attention to detail to the team here."
Your personality will play a part in whether the interviewer believes you are a good fit for the Barnes and Noble team. Talk to the interviewer about your personality traits -- such as introverted, energetic, or confident -- as opposed to your character traits -- such as honest, hard-working, or reliable.
"I would describe my personality as approachable, light-hearted, and positive. I believe that, if asked, my colleagues and supervisor would say the same about me."
"I'm a confident communicator, and I'm very friendly! I love engaging new people in conversation. My last boss, Joaquin, always described me as a go-getter; I enjoy challenges and pushing myself to achieve new goals."
The environment at Barnes and Noble is fast-paced; though supervisors have the best intentions, some information may fall through the cracks. Describe your communication preferences, and tell the interviewer how you have handled interactions with supervisors in the past.
"Whenever I have had a supervisor who does not properly communicate with me, I try to learn their style of communication and emulate it. Sometimes you have to relate to others in their style to be understood."
"I have had great supervisors in my previous positions; however, if faced with a communication challenge like this, I would ask the supervisor how I could improve communication between us. Rather than placing blame, I believe it's always more effective to ask for growth recommendations."
Managers at Barnes and Noble work hard to ensure the health of their team, which starts with supporting individual employees. The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and understand the type of manager or employer that brings out the best in you. Some individuals prefer a close working relationship with a lot of accountability, while others prefer space and autonomy. If you are unsure of your preference, try to make your answer as open as possible.
"I have worked with a wide range of personalities and management styles with great success. If I could express a preference, I feel that I am best with a manager who allows me autonomy while still investing time in me through mentorship and training. Can you describe the management style here?"
"In the past, I have worked best with managers who are strong mentors but also offer autonomy when it comes to the tasks they know I am well-versed in."
A position at Barnes and Noble will provide you with plenty of benefits in the present while also allowing for opportunities to move up in the company in the future. Discuss with the interviewer why you are looking to make a change and how this particular role fits well with the changes that you want to make. Be thoughtful and draw upon the research you have done on the company.
"I have been interested in seeking a new position for quite some time but haven't jumped on anything yet because I want to make sure it's the right fit. I feel that this job is right for me, especially at this point in my career, because it offers an opportunity for me to utilize my recent education in Communications while giving me an opportunity to advance in my management skills."
"This job will fit perfectly surrounding my school schedule. I hope once I complete my education that I can be given full-time hours for the summer. I am excited to work for Barnes and Noble because of the flexibility you offer students, as well as the growth potential."
Retail environments like Barnes and Noble may offer opportunities for friendly competition with your coworkers and with other stores in the district and region. Tell the interviewer about your experience in competitive environments, whether you were racing others to achieve the highest sales, working towards a promotion, or eagerly trying to win a new contract. Show the interviewer that you rose to the challenge and that you were excited to push yourself to be the best. It is a definite plus if you have cheered on your competitors and helped them along the way. Be sure to mention any successful outcome.
"My current sales position is highly commission-based, so my colleagues and I are quite competitive. Even when we're competing, we have a great work environment where we help each other when someone is struggling to meet their quota. We coach each other on sales techniques and share success stories. The result has been a positive work environment with healthy competition."
"Last year I worked at a high-end jewelry store where sales goals were intense and the rewards were high. I am geared for healthy competition, so our monthly sales contests really motivated me. I ended up winning 7 of the 12 contests! I won an iPad, cash incentives, and concert tickets. It was great."
The most successful organizations are always growing and adapting to better serve their customers, and Barnes and Noble is no exception. In addition to being able to handle change, can you also recognize when change is required and be confident enough to present that to your organization? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were able to suggest a change in the workplace.
"Last year when I was managing our weekend shift, I noticed a pretty solid opportunity for us to save on overtime hours. I created a presentation and gave it to my manager who took it to upper management. The changes were implemented, and I was very proud of the suggestion that I made."
"When I began my most recent job at a family-run shop, the owners operated based on trust and didn't have a loss prevention plan. I suggested that we install a couple of cameras inside the store to deter anyone from stealing. So far, we have seen a 56% decline in the overall loss."
Retail positions like sales associates at Barnes and Noble require a wide range of hours that may include evenings, weekends, holidays, overtime, and split shifts. Assure the interviewer that you can commit to a wide range of hours. If there is anything in your schedule that may hinder your availability, be sure to address this.
"I am happy to offer a flexible schedule and to work overtime as needed. I do take an evening college course on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I would not be available those days after 5 PM."
"I understand that this role will include working evenings, weekends, and holidays. I am available to work anytime and am happy to work overtime as well."
At Barnes and Noble, customer service always comes first. The Barnes and Noble customer expects to be greeted with helpful, positive sales associates who do their best to help them find exactly what they're looking for. Display to the interviewer that you can do more than the bare minimum. Show that you can react appropriately when you see that your employer has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations.
"Last week I noticed that my manager had not completed the schedule for the following week. Some of the staff were complaining that they didn't have their work schedule yet. Rather than going to my manager with the complaint, I offered to take on some of her workload so that she would have the time to complete the schedule. We worked together for a couple of overtime hours that day and were able to catch her up on everything. It felt good to help but also benefited me by way of organization."
"Just yesterday I had a customer make a purchase, and I noticed that she was struggling with her belongings. She had a stroller, a couple of kids, and a lot of bags to carry. I offered to help her out to her car, and she gratefully accepted. It felt excellent to go above the call of duty that day."
From books to media to the cafe, Barnes and Noble strives to create great customer experiences. Walk the interviewer through your career history in retail and highlight your favorite and most challenging positions. If you don't have any retail experience, that's okay! You have likely gained the experience and skills needed to make customers happy in your other professional and personal relationships -- and you can let the interviewer know that you are excited to make the transition to retail.
"I have worked in retail for the past eight years. My most challenging position was with Company ABC. I found it so challenging because it was a different industry than I was accustomed. I learned a great deal during that time. This position was also my favorite because it was such a great challenge. I like to be pushed beyond my boundaries. It keeps me motivated to be better."
"While I haven't yet worked in a retail environment, I'm really excited to get started! I love learning new things, especially when it comes to working with and serving other people. In college, I worked in a writing lab where I helped younger students correct their essays and prepare for English exams. It was a challenging job, but I learned so much about listening to other people's needs, practicing patience, and helping frustrated students feel more at ease. I think that experience set me up for success in the retail world."
Having a deep knowledge of the Barnes and Noble brand and customer is extremely important -- any information you know about the company's values will set you apart from other candidates. Spend some time exploring the Barnes and Noble website and becoming familiar with their core values.
"I've been a long-time Barnes and Noble shopper, and I love their attention to detail and the huge variety they offer. Their sales associates are always knowledgeable, prompt, and so helpful."
"Yes, I have researched your company, and I feel that my retail marketing education, as well as the fact that I am bilingual, makes me a solid candidate for this role."
Honesty is incredibly important when you are working in a retail environment like Barnes and Noble, where employees handle a multitude of cash transactions. Assure the interviewer that you can be trusted by speaking about your character. Draw on the opinion of others to solidify your answer.
"I would never steal from any store, especially my place of work! I know how important it is that my coworkers and managers can trust me with the merchandise and cash. During my exit interview at my last job, my manager, Ricardo, told me that he found me extremely trustworthy and would hire me again if I ever wanted to return to the company."
"My most recent team-leader, Emma, told me multiple times that she considered me to be a person of integrity and honesty, which is feedback that I really appreciate. I always want to be a person who my coworkers and managers can trust."
Employees at Barnes and Noble must be adaptable and flexible. Assure the interviewer that you are a team player and would be happy to step in if your manager needed a shift covered at the last minute.
"I am more than willing to cover a shift for a co-worker if I am able. I don't mind accepting overtime hours, and I consider myself to be a team player."
"I'm in a position right now where I have plenty of free time, and my schedule is very flexible. As long as I'm available, I'm always happy to cover a coworker's shift if they're unable to make it. In the past, I've also volunteered to stay late to help cover shifts that coworkers didn't show up for, and I'd almost always be able to do that at Barnes and Noble as well."
In a service-focused job like a sales position at Barnes and Noble, you will likely encounter customers who make your job less than pleasant. Retail and customer service based roles will often require diplomacy when it comes to working with the public. Discuss with the interviewer how you would handle an aggressive customer.
"If I had a customer who was being aggressive and disrespectful, I would calmly but firmly ask them to calm down. If security needed to be called, I would do so. Everyone needs to remain respectful, and I would not hesitate to ask a customer to offer that respect in return."
"I know that customers are just people like the rest of us -- sometimes we all have bad days! If a customer was upset, I would be sure they felt heard and understood, and then I would let them know that I would do everything I could to address their concerns. Sometimes people just need to know that their problems are important to someone else. I would be sure to maintain my calm disposition and positive attitude about the problem."
Before your interview, take some time to find out more about what Barnes and Noble looks for in an employee, and find ways to honestly demonstrate how you meet those needs. For instance, Barnes and Noble sales associates must 'Greet and establish rapport with customers, engaging them in conversations about all our products and services' and 'Ask questions to identify customer needs, providing recommendations using your product knowledge to connect our customer with the right solutions.' Describe how you are uniquely suited for some of the job requirements.
"Jelisa, my team-leader at my former job, recently told me how much she appreciated my hard work and my willingness to do tasks that other team-members weren't excited about, like taking out the trash or offering to come in for early-morning shifts to do inventory. I have a generally sunny disposition, and I love meeting new people -- so connecting with customers would come naturally to me!"
Many seasonal or entry-level employees at Barnes and Noble to on to explore other career options such as store management, district level leadership and even corporate opportunities. Talk to the interviewer about any interest you have in gaining a leadership role down the road.
"I would be very excited about obtaining a role in leadership within Barnes and Noble in the future. I'm confident that my hard work, attention to detail, and strong communication skills will make me well-suited for a leadership position in the future as you feel I'm ready to take on more responsibility."
"I have been in an unofficial leadership role for the past three years of my career, so I think that a management role with Barnes and Noble would be a great next step in my career."
If offered a position at Barnes and Noble, you may be asked to contribute to the design or construction of displays. Do you have examples of displays that you have created? Do you have unique ideas that you can share with Barnes and Noble in regards to their current merchandising? Let the interviewer know if you are interested in the creation of store displays and if you have any special skills to contribute to their design or construction.
"I have a strong creative flair, and I think I would enjoy creating displays! I think I have enough experience in retail to understand what attracts a customer and what prompts them to purchase, and I'm eager to learn more. The displays I have seen in your stores are fascinating, and I would love to be a part of those creative projects."
"I believe that with some training, I could very easily create some attractive displays. I have a natural flair for the creative and look forward to exercising that."
At Barnes and Noble, it's important for customers to know who they can turn to if they have questions about a product or need help finding an item -- and uniforms are an important part of accomplishing that task. Talk to the interviewer about any times that you have been required to wear a uniform. What are your thoughts on this? Be sure to keep your answer positive and avoid speaking poorly of the practice surrounding uniforms.
"I have worn a uniform for work at restaurant XYZ and when I was a retail manager for company ABC. I have seen the uniforms worn by the retail employees at Barnes and Noble and see that it adds a strong level of professionalism."
"I think that uniforms are a great way to provide a feeling of unity in the workplace, and it makes getting ready for work that much easier! May I see what your uniforms look like?"
Strong math skills will be an asset in a position at Barnes and Noble. Assure the interviewer that you are comfortable with the skills associated with math-related tasks.
"I did very well in math during high school and am comfortable with the skills required when it comes to accepting cash, balancing a cash float, and performing inventory-related tasks."
"My math skills are strong, and I am confident that I can meet your expectations when it comes to accepting payment from customers."
Barnes and Noble takes loss prevention and employee theft very seriously. Loss prevention initiatives are an important part of ensuring that Barnes and Noble stays competitive in their market. Discuss with the interviewer how you would handle a situation surrounding employee theft.
"My reaction to employee theft would differ if I were a retail associate or a retail manager. If I were a manager and caught an employee stealing, I would terminate them immediately. If I were an associate, I would report the incident according to company protocol. I would avoid approaching the employee as I would not want to make it a personal issue."
"I once had a coworker who asked me to help him steal, and it was so uncomfortable! I would never steal something for any reason, so it was easy to say no to him. Even though it was hard to tell my manager and know that my coworker would likely be terminated, I knew I had to do the right thing. What is the process for those kinds of situations at Barnes and Noble?"
As a Barnes and Noble employee, you will come across customers who want to argue with store policy. Assure the interviewer that you can handle a situation like this with poise while making the customer happy and keeping the needs of the company in mind as well.
"Return policies are meant to be followed; however, there may be some exceptions allowed from time to time. I feel that having a satisfied customer is most important, and sometimes refusing a return is not worth the bad word of mouth or risk of negative online review. There is a fine balance between being accommodating and being a pushover. If I were unsure of the best decision, I would ask my supervisor for clarification."
"I know that return policies are set for a reason, and being a good team-member means abiding by all of the rules and policies of the company. I've been in situations in the past where customers were angry with me about policies I had no control over. When this happens, I just have to listen patiently, not take their criticism personally, and work with them to find a solution to their problem that aligns with the company's policies."
It's important that you understand the mission and aesthetic of Barnes and Noble. Spend some time on the Barnes and Noble website, take a look at their different departments and offerings, and get a feel for their brand. Interviewers will be impressed with any knowledge you have about their seasonal promotions or ongoing events. What did you find in your research that made you excited to work for Barnes and Noble?
"I've been a Barnes and Noble customer for years -- I'm an avid reader and am working on getting my degree in English! With over 1 million titles to choose from, they're my one-stop book-buying shop. I would love to work at a company where I can share my love of books with other Barnes and Noble customers!"
"I want to work for Barnes and Noble because I shop here all the time. I love your product, and your company culture seems great too."
Like most retail environments, Barnes and Noble competes with other companies in their industry -- which means that business can go down with one honest mistake. Discuss with the interviewer how you ensure that your customers receive the best service from you.
"I have a rule always to treat my customers how I would want treatment in a store or establishment. Customer service is vital to a company's success."
"I ensure that my customers' needs are met by actively listening to them and also asking the right questions. If I'm working on a task and a customer interrupts me with a question or request, I always stop and help them before going back to my task."
Barnes & Noble, Inc. is a Fortune 500 company, the largest retail bookseller in the United States, and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products in the country. The company operates 658 retail stores (as of November 1, 2014) in all 50 U.S. states in addition to 714 college bookstores that serve over 5 million students and more than 250,000 faculty members across the country. Barnes & Noble also operates BN.com.
Barnes & Noble operates mainly through its Barnes & Noble Booksellers chain of bookstores and the company's headquarters are at 122 Fifth Avenue in the Ladies' Mile Historic District in Manhattan in New York City. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers is headquartered in Basking Ridge, NJ.
After a series of mergers and bankruptcies in the American bookstore industry since the 1990s, Barnes & Noble stands as America's last remaining national bookstore chain. Previously, Barnes and Noble operated the chain of small B. Dalton Booksellers stores in malls until they announced the liquidation of the chain. The company is known for large retail outlets, many of which contain a caf? serving Starbucks coffee. Most stores sell books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, graphic novels, gifts, games, music, and Nook e-readers and tablets. Video games and related items were sold in the company's GameStop retail outlets until October 2004, when the division was spun off into an independent company.