At Burlington Coat Factory, you may have opportunities to take advantage of performance incentives. Talk to the interviewer about your feelings regarding performance incentives.
"I think performance incentives are a great way to keep employees motivated and on top of their KPIs. I'm personally very motivated by being rewarded for my successes, so I think I'd respond very well to performance incentives."
"I've never worked in a position that offers performance incentives, but that's never stopped me from staying motivated and focused on my work. While it's always nice to receive small rewards for a job well-done, it's not at all essential for me."
Do some research to determine how you can expect to be compensated at Burlington Coat Factory, and use your current earnings to discuss your expectations. Be honest and open. 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 that same range or slightly higher."
"I currently make minimum wage, and I'm happy to begin a position at Burlington 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. Are there any merit-based bonuses or pay scale increases here?"
The management team at Burlington Coat Factory wants to know how best to motivate every member of their team. Talk to the interviewer about the ways that you find motivation at work.
"I am wired for healthy competition, so I'm very motivated by any chance to outperform others. Even when I don't win, the competition itself pushes me to do more and work harder -- and when I lose, that just means I have room to improve so that I can do better the next time."
"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 that a job at Burlington Coat Factory is a good fit for you. Tell the interviewer about your ideal employer. Be specific, and keep the conversation positive. Avoid speaking poorly of any previous managers or organizations.
"The best employer I ever had was charismatic and passionate about her work, which made me feel passionate about the work as well. Her enthusiasm and dedication was infectious; my coworkers and I all wanted to do our best work because we saw how hard she was working."
"My last boss, Nyisha, was the best manager I've ever had. Whenever she hired a new sales associate, she took them out for coffee to get to know them better outside of the store -- and she scheduled coffee meetups twice a year with each of her employees just to catch up. The only rule about these meetups is that we weren't allowed to talk about work: the whole point was to get to know each other better. She also had an open-door policy; if anyone was having trouble with their workload, with a policy they were confused or frustrated by, or with one of their coworkers, we were always welcome to go to her with our concerns and talk it out. I would love to work with a manager with that kind of integrity and generosity again."
Being a Burlington Coat Factory 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 you had to miss a shift; be sure to mention that you followed all of the protocols for calling off of work.
"I've never had an unexcused absence from work. At my most recent retail position, many of my coworkers were eager to pick up extra shifts, so it was usually easy to find someone to fill in for me on the rare occasions I was unable to make it in for a shift. There has only been one time in the last several years where I had to miss a shift, and that was when I had an unexpected family emergency. I of course called work as soon as I found out and let them know I would be unable to come in for my next two shifts."
"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 the rest of us have to work harder. I've never missed 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."
The interviewer wants to see that you are self-aware and recognize the kind of environments where you do your best work. You can also spin your answer to focus on the positive. Make sure you're familiar with the environment at Burlington Coat Factory.
"I've found myself to be productive in a wide range of environments -- I'm very self-motivated and don't become flustered easily. The only environment I've ever found difficult was at a retailer where the managers and many of the sales associates were unhappy, and their toxic complaining about the company and about each other was too much for me. It ended up being very distracting. I did learn how to compartmentalize internal drama from my daily tasks and customer interactions, so now I feel that I would be more capable of handling a similar environment without any trouble -- it just wouldn't be my first choice to work in an environment like that again."
"I do best in a supportive environment where there is room to grow, the ability to ask questions, and healthy co-worker relationships."
When you work at Burlington Coat Factory, you are one part of a larger team, and your personality will play a part in whether the interviewer believes you would be a good fit for that 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'm a very confident and self-assured person -- I know my strengths and feel empowered to use them to do my best work. I'm extremely friendly and have a knack for engaging even the most disinterested customers in conversation. My boss always described me as a go-getter; I enjoy challenges and pushing myself to achieve new goals."
"Even though I'm an introvert, I really enjoy meeting new people and feel comfortable getting to know strangers. I love to organize things: information, products, people, you name it! I'm also really loyal. When I care about someone or about an organization, I become an advocate for them, which I think would make me a great addition to the team here."
The environment at Burlington Coat Factory is fast-paced; though supervisors have the best intentions, sometimes information may fall through the cracks. Describe your communication preferences and tell the interviewer how you have handled interactions with supervisors in the past.
"When I first started out in the retail industry, I had one supervisor with whom I had a communication problem. As with most things in life, we both thought that the issues were the other person's fault. Finally, I scheduled a time to meet with my supervisor outside of work so that we could find a way to improve communication between us. the conversation was incredibly fruitful, and our communication started to steadily improve."
"By and large, I haven't experienced many situations where my supervisors forget to relay important information to me, but it's happened from time to time. I know that my supervisors never intentionally withhold information, so there's no reason to become upset or frustrated when honest mistakes are made."
Managers at Burlington Coat Factory work hard to create a healthy team, which starts with supporting individual associates. Show the interviewer that you are self-aware and understand the type of manager who brings out the best in you, whether that's a close working relationship with plenty of accountability or a more hands-off approach where you have more autonomy.
"I prefer to work with a mentor who has a commitment to mentorship. While I'm certainly capable of independent work, I want to work my way into a leadership position and hopefully find a place at the corporate offices -- and I know I need a mentor-like relationship in order to be most successful. What is 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 sales position at Burlington Coat Factory could be the launching pad for a long-term career with the company or the stepping stone to another career. 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.
"I've worked in a restaurant and more recently as a receptionist, but I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for yet. I'm hoping to find a position that strikes a balance between the fast-paced setting of a restaurant job and the focused customer service and relationship-building of my current job. I think a sales position at Burlington could be the right fit -- I'm excited to work in a dynamic customer-service role again and also use what I've learned at my current job to build relationships and create repeat customers."
"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 Burlington Coat Factory because of the flexibility you offer students, as well as the growth potential."
Retail environments like Burlington Coat Factory may offer opportunities for friendly competition with your coworkers and with other stores in your district and region. Tell the interviewer about your experience in competitive environments, whether that means racing others to achieve the highest sales, working towards a promotion, or trying to win a new contract. Show the interviewer that you rose to the challenge and that you were excited to push yourself to do your 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.
"I'm not a very competitive person, so sales contests have never motivated me much -- but I'm a very disciplined, self-motivated person, so that's never been a problem for me."
"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."
Successful organizations like Burlington Coat Factory are always growing and adapting to better serve their customers. 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 business, the owners operated based on trust and didn't have a loss prevention plan. We were having some problems with theft because of it. 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 Burlington Coat Factory 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 anything in your schedule may limit 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 Burlington Coat Factory, going above and beyond for your coworkers and your customers is essential. Display to the interviewer that you can do more than the bare minimum. Show that you can react appropriately when you see that your employers has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations.
"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."
"Last month, our display coordinator at the store where I currently work was feeling really overwhelmed by the number of projects she was working on. I asked her if I could help her do any of her smaller tasks around the store once I got off work so that she could stay focused on a huge new window display she's designing, and she was so grateful for the help. It was such a small thing for me, but it made a huge impact on her stress levels that day."
Even if you've never had a retail position before, knowledge of the retail industry is important for applicants at Burlington Coat Factory. If you have retail experience, walk the interviewer through your favorite and most challenging positions. If you don't have experience in the industry, that's okay -- display your knowledge of the industry by highlighting some of the transferable skills you've gained during your employment history in other industries.
"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 the retail industry, 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 essays and prepare for English exams. That job was really challenging, but it taught me so much about listening, practicing patience, and helping frustrated students feel at ease. I think that experience will set me up for success in the retail industry."
Spend some time getting to know that values and environment at Burlington Coat Factory by stopping by a store or doing research on their website before your interview. Why do you think you would be a good choice for a role at Burlington Coat Factory?
"The retail industry can be brutal, so I'm really picky about the kinds of retail positions I apply for. As a customer in your stores, I've noticed how much fun and enthusiasm the employees bring to their work. I really appreciate that kind of energy in a workplace and think I would fit in really well with the team you have assembled."
"I've been a shopper here for years, but I only recently learned about Burlington's partnership with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light The Night program. My mother is a cancer survivor, so it would mean a lot to me to work at a company that is doing it's part to join the fight against cancer."
Integrity is one of the most important qualities that a Burlington Coat Factory team member can have. Assure the interviewer that you can be trusted by speaking about your character, including what your past employers would say about you.
"I would never steal from any story, especially my place of work! I know how important it is that my managers and coworkers can trust me with the store, merchandise, and cash. During my exit interview at my last job, my manager told me that she found me to be very trustworthy and would hire me again if I ever wanted to return to the company."
"My most recent team leader told me how much she appreciated my diligence and honesty. I have a reputation for doing the right thing, even when it's hard or uncomfortable. I always want to be a person who my coworkers and employers can trust, so I work hard to prove that I am an honest person with strong moral fiber."
In a retail environment like Burlington Coat Factory, staff turnover is often high and you may be asked to step in at the last minute if a coworker suddenly quits or doesn't show up for their assigned shift. Assure the interviewer that you are a team player.
"I'm always happy to pick up extra shifts for any reason, especially if it means helping my managers and coworkers out of a bind when someone doesn't show up for their assigned shift. Being a team player is really important to me."
"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 past my shift to help cover shifts that coworkers didn't show up for, and I'd almost always be able to do that here as well."
Customer service-based roles like positions at Burlington Coat Factory will often require a diplomatic and calm demeanor when you are faced with upset customers. 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."
"People can be unpredictable, so it's always important to treat customers with respect and discernment -- if someone is having a hard day, sometimes all it takes is one interaction to tip the scales in one direction or another. I'm very sensitive to emotional energy, so I have a bit of a radar for customers who enter the store in a frustrated or aggressive mood, and I make sure to let my team members and managers know that the customer may benefit from some extra attention or elevated service."
Before your interview, take some time to investigate what Burlington Coat Factory looks for in a sales associate, and find ways to honestly demonstrate how you meet those needs. You can be creative about your '3 qualities': let the interviewer know what makes you unique and well-qualified for the responsibilities of the job.
"I always strive to be adaptable and flexible -- I know that being in a customer service role sometimes means being interrupted or needing to suddenly pivot to a new task. I've had managers in the past tell me that I'm a great listener and make customers feel at ease. I'm also pretty witty and bring a lot of fun, positive energy to a workplace."
"I'm naturally a very confident person -- self-assurance is one of my greatest strengths. My friends and coworkers have described me as considerate because I'm always looking for ways that I can do more to serve whatever team I'm on, whether I'm a pickup game of basketball or I'm at work. I'm also a pretty resourceful problem-solver. When I encounter a new problem, I enjoy the process of figuring out the most efficient and best way to solve it."
Burlington Coat Factory storefronts are an important part of the success of the company, but there are also vast employment opportunities in other areas of the corporation: from distribution centers to the corporate offices. 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 Burlington Coat Factory 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'm a natural manager with a sixth sense about finding the right task for the right person. While I don't have much retail experience at this point in my career, I think a sales position here would be a great first step in a career path that leads to management or leadership."
At Burlington Coat Factory, it's important that everything is clean and tidy so that customers can easily find what they're looking for. No one wants to shop in a dirty or disorganized store. Talk to the interviewer about your experience with cleaning and organizing in the workplace, and assure them that you can confidently contribute to creating a clean and orderly environment.
"Before I worked in retail, I made extra cash in college by cleaning houses. I really enjoy cleaning and organizing, actually -- I find it very meditative. Whenever there's downtime at the store where I currently work, my manager can tell you that I'm the first to grab the broom or duster and get to work on tidying up the store."
"During my exit interview at my most recent retail job, my supervisor told me how much she appreciated my hard work and willingness to perform cleaning tasks around the store that my coworkers weren't excited about, like taking out the trash or vacuuming the whole store at the end of the night. I don't mind cleaning, and I know that putting in the extra effort makes a huge impact on how customers feel in the store."
At Burlington Coat Factory, it's important that customers know who to turn to if they have a question about a product or need help finding an item, and uniforms help accomplish that goal. Talk to the interviewer about any times that you have been required to wear a uniform.
"I have worn a uniform for work at restaurant XYZ and when I was a retail manager for company ABC. In my experience, uniforms help create an atmosphere of professionalism and cut down on unnecessary distractions."
"I personally love the practice of wearing uniforms at work. It helps me get into the right frame of mind on my way to a shift, and it makes getting ready for work that much easier! After all, they say that the most successful people wear the same thing every day."
Strong math skills are an asset in any position at Burlington Coat Factory. 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 math required to accept cash, balance a cash float, and perform 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."
Burlington Coat Factory takes loss prevention and employee theft very seriously. 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 overheard a coworker bragging about how they had been stealing small items from our store for years, and it made me so angry and uncomfortable. Even though it was hard to go to my manager and tell her what I had overheard, I knew it was the right thing to do. What is the process for those kinds of situations at Burlington Coat Factory?"
As a Burlington Coat Factory 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.
"I've been in situations in the past where a customer was angry with me about a policy I had no control over. When that happens, I just have to patiently listen to their frustrations and work with them to find a solution to their problem that aligns with company policy. In extreme situations, I would consult with my manager to determine if a one-time special-case return or 'peace offering' could be made -- that way, the disgruntled customer who came into the store leaves satisfied with a story that paints Burlington Coat Factory in a positive light."
"I have some dispute resolution training from my previous retail position and fully believe that flexibility needs to be offered in extreme situations."
It's important that you understand the mission and aesthetic of Burlington Coat Factory. Spend some time on their website and get a feel for their brand. What did you find in your research that made you excited to work for Burlington Coat Factory?
"I've been a Burlington Coat Factory customer for years and have always appreciated their dedication to being a one-stop shopping experience with great labels at unbeatable low prices. When I walk into a Burlington store, I always know what I'm going to get: a huge variety, the latest fashion and apartment trends, and excellent customer service."
"The company culture at Burlington Coat Factory seems really great -- I can tell that the business really values its employees and puts people first. I appreciate any company that dedicates so much of their time and resources to helping their community -- Burlington's community initiatives like Warm Coats & Warm Hearts and their yearly toy drive really make me excited to work here."
Like most retailers, Burlington Coat Factory competes with other businesses in their market -- 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.
"My customer service approach changes based on the attitude and nonverbal cues of the customer. If I sense that the customer wants space, I give them time but let them know that I'm available if they have questions or requests. I always stay close at hand if I know a certain customer always has a lot of questions. I think it's important to treat every customer as an individual with different kinds of sales needs."
"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 what I'm doing and help them before returning to my task."
Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation (now commonly referred to simply as Burlington Stores, Inc.) is an American national off price retailer, with 523 stores in 44 states and Puerto Rico, with its corporate headquarters located in Burlington Township, New Jersey. In 2006, it was acquired by Bain Capital in a take-private transaction and in 2008, Tom Kingsbury became President and CEO. The company went public again in 2013.
The company was formed and incorporated in 1972 when Henrietta Milstein convinced her husband Monroe to purchase a former factory outlet in Burlington, New Jersey for $675,000, using money she had saved from her job as a librarian for most of the $75,000 down payment. Monroe and his father, Abe Milstein, had been running a successful wholesale and retail outerwear business together since 1946. Initially, the Milsteins sold coats and jackets wholesale, but in order to become less dependent on the seasonal coat business, they gradually began adding additional clothing items and accessories, eventually expanding into linens, gift items, a baby department and shoes.