We believe that healthy competition can lead to an even stronger team, and we want each of our employees to feel challenged to exceed their own expectations at work. That's why we have points programs and service awards to encourage our employees to bring their best to work. How do you feel about performance incentives?
"I'm a competitive person by nature, so I'm excited about the chance to compete for points and awards in my role here at Sears. Can you tell me more about these incentives?"
"I do not require performance incentives, to do a great job; however, small perks are always nice to have!"
At Sears, we don't stop at bring our customers a WOW experience: we think it's just as important to wow our employees with a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. We go above and beyond to create programs and resources that do more than just meet the needs of you and your family. What kind of salary and benefits expectations do you have?
"I expect to start out at minimum wage with opportunities to earn promotions and advance in my career here as I prove my dependability and excitement about this company. I've spent some time looking over the benefits package here at Sears, and it's one of the most comprehensive plans I've found. It would make me feel good to know that I'm working for a company that values its employees enough to provide them with the best benefits possible."
"I am currently making $22/hour with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you find motivation on the job.
"I'm best motivated when I feel like I can be my authentic self at work: where I can let my fun, easygoing personality and love of interacting with new people truly shine. When I feel like I am seen and valued as a whole person instead of just a cog in a machine, I'm always willing to go above and beyond."
"I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well."
There's a lot to love about a job at Sears: from our commitment to caring for our employees with a competitive salary and benefits package to our dedication to giving back to our local communities and to the world. What do you look for in an employer? What kinds of companies get your attention?
"I want to work for a company that takes active steps to take care of its employees by promoting from within, by providing comprehensive physical and mental health care, and by creating a company culture that values innovation, teamwork, and respect."
"I was really impressed by reading about Sears' partnership with organizations like March of Dimes and St. Jude's. My sister had leukemia as a small child, and St. Jude's was a huge part of her recovery and becoming cancer-free. Any company that does its part to support an incredible organization like St. Jude's immediately gets my attention."
A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my Doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"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."
Retail environments are fast-paced and ever-changing, and we need associates who can stay on their toes. The pace and activity level inherent in a sales job at Sears is not for everyone, so talk to the interviewer about any work environments you've had trouble with in the past.
"I'm definitely looking for something with a fast-pace that's active and energetic. I've been working in a cubicle for the last few years, and I've found that my energy level and drive to do my best are far lower than they are when I'm on my feet and getting to interact with people all day. That's why I'm hoping to make the transition to retail, and why I'm especially excited about a job at Sears: in a store this size, I know I'll have lots of opportunities to do new things, talk to new people, and stay active and energized about my work."
"I can be productive in most work environments, so long as the mentality is positive and teamwork is encouraged. I cannot work in an environment that feels negative or toxic."
At Sears, we strive to build a team of engaged associates who are genuine in all of their interactions with customers and their team and who feel safe and confident enough to ask questions. Describe a bit about your personality to the interviewer. What about your personality would make you a strong fit for a job at Sears?
"I'm a very loyal person by nature: when I feel like I'm on a team -- whether that's a friendship, partnership, or work team -- I become a brand ambassador and cheerleader for that team. When I'm working for a company whose values and vision align with my own, I work even harder to make sure that vision comes to life."
"I'm a really energetic, friendly person -- I love meeting new people, so customer interactions always feel genuine and authentic to me. I think it's important to be hospitable and open in any customer-facing job, especially a role in sales. I'm looking forward to bringing my fun, bright personality to my job at Sears so that I can give every customer a WOW experience."
We have high standards for our management team here at Sears, and that includes being honest, open, and respectful in all of their communications with their team. Great communication is a foundational skill to lead a successful team, but information falls through the cracks from time to time. Talk to the interviewer about how you have responded to situations of miscommunication between you and a manager 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."
At Sears, we believe that our leaders should lead by example, which means that they fully embrace and embody our Pillars of Success. They are open and respectful communicators, and they're passionate about every aspect of their job, from customer interactions to leading their team to success. Talk to the interviewer about positive relationships with managers you've had in the past. What made these relationships so successful? What do you look for in a manager?
"In the past, I've really responded to managers who take the time to get to know me on a personal level. When I feel like I have a connection with someone, I naturally want to exceed my own expectations so that I can do my very best work. I had a manager a few years ago who regularly took her employees out for coffee breaks -- these were scheduled 20-30 minute meetings where the only rule was that they couldn't talk about work. I really appreciated this approach; it didn't take a lot of time, but it added up to a real connection and a strong team."
"My last manager was so passionate about the work and the company -- her vision and attitude were infectious! I wanted to do my best work for her because I knew that she was working hard, too. She really inspired a shared vision for our team; it was a really unique, wonderful experience to work for her."
At Sears, we're committed to developing our employees at every level so that we can help them achieve their career goals. We don't stop at creating a WOW experience for our customers -- we want to consistently WOW our employees as well by offering opportunities for growth and development as well as the potential to move into management in our stores or positions in our corporate offices. Talk to the interviewer about your career goals and how a job at Sears can help you achieve those goals.
"I'm truly looking to begin a career with the next company I work for -- I'm not interested in just another job. Sears is an incredible company with a great reputation -- and it's been around forever, which makes me feel like my career would be stable and secure. I'm very interested in pursuing a job in merchandising; I'm hopeful that a sales position here will set me up for success as I hopefully move up in the company."
"I have been passively seeking a new position for quite some time and 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, at this point in my career, because it offers an opportunity for me to utilize my recent education in Communication while giving me an opportunity to advance in my management skills."
This question is designed to determine if you can function well in a competitive environment. Think back to a time when you were racing others to achieve the highest sales, were 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. Finally, be sure to mention any successful outcome.
"My current sales position is highly commission based, so my colleagues and I are quite competitive. Despite being competitive, 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 when we had contests, it greatly motivated me. I ended up winning 7 of the 12 contests! I won an iPad, cash incentives, and concert tickets. It was great."
At Sears, we encourage all employees to embody our value of constant learning and innovation. If an employee has an idea of how we can innovate and improve, we want to hear about it! Talk to the interviewer about suggestions you've made to your employers in the past. How were your suggestions received? What was the result?
"When I first started at my current job, I noticed that our waste levels were through the roof, and we didn't have a system in place for recycling things we use every day. I did some research on local recycling programs and then put together a plan to get my coworkers involved in recycling at the store. I came up with a points and rewards system and schedule, then took my proposed plan to my manager, who was thrilled with the idea. We implemented it and almost immediately saw our waste levels decrease. My coworkers were excited about the friendly competition, and I think it made us a stronger team."
"The store where I currently work is a family run shop where they 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."
Most retail positions 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."
One of Sears' Pillars of Success is 'Own It': we want our employees to take accountability for the success of the store. Strong achievers will go above and beyond the normal call of duty to help us take our business to the next level, through every customer interaction and new challenge. How would you take ownership of your role here at Sears?
"At the home furnishings store where I currently work, I recently had a customer come in who had just bought her first home and was at a loss for how to furnish it -- she had always relied on roommates and partners for home style. I took some time to get to know her interests and personality -- she's super warm and loves to travel, paint, and hike. Then I went around the store and put together a 'mini-display' for her: several items that I thought would suit her personality and interests that would get her started on building her own unique home aesthetic. She was really appreciative of the time I spent tailoring items to her interests, and we had a great time!"
"Just yesterday I had a customer make a purchase, and I noticed that she was struggling with her bags. 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."
At Sears, retail experience is highly preferred though not required. Walk the interviewer through your career history in retail. Be sure to highlight your favorite, and most challenging, positions. Discuss what made them so challenging and rewarding.
"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."
"My most challenging position, and also my most favorite position, would be my current role. I would not normally choose to leave; however, I need to find a position related to my newly acquired degree. In my current position, the hours are great, my co-workers are nice, and I receive fair compensation."
As a roadmap to achieving personal and shared goals, we ask each of our associates to understand and embrace our pillars of success: Members-First, Own It, Embrace Feedback, Show Pride, Learn & Innovate, Earn Trust, and Be Authentic. Which of these pillars stands out to you? How would you embody these values as a Sears employee?
"Embracing feedback is a personal value of mine, and I'm excited to see it listed among Sears' pillars of success. I think it's important to always be learning and growing, and that means not only passively waiting for feedback but actively seeking feedback from managers and coworkers. That's the best way to become better and overcome challenges, in my opinion."
"I like that Sears lists authenticity among its measurements for success because genuineness and authenticity are very important to me. I want to work somewhere where I can truly be myself and don't have to worry about asking questions, addressing conflicts, or putting on an inauthentic show."
It's important to us that our employees earn the trust of their customers, coworkers, and supervisors by consistently displaying strong character, values, and ethics in the workplace. Talk to the interviewer about how you have earned the trust of your employers in the past.
"I absolutely agree that trust is something that must be earned. I have consistently earned the trust of my supervisors and managers in the past by being diligent, respectful, kind, and generous toward my customers, coworkers, and managers. By establishing loyal relationships with my managers, I've consistently earned leadership responsibilities in my former roles and am confident that I can prove my trustworthiness to the management team at Sears as well."
"My most recent employer and all others would say that I have strong character and always choose honesty first. I have solid references who will attest to that as well."
Being flexible in your schedule is valuable as a retail-based employee. How would you handle it if your co-worker did not show up for their shift and you were asked to cover? Assure the interviewer that you are a team player.
"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 do consider myself to be a team player."
"If a co-worker failed to show up for their shift, I would pick it up if possible. I always strive to be a team player."
At Sears, we strive to deliver a WOW experience to each customer by understanding their specific needs and offering them the right products and services. How would you bring this WOW approach to an interaction with a customer who was being rude toward you or a coworker?
"I think it's important to always remain calm and collected in situations where a customer is upset. The way to bring a WOW experience to that interaction is to remain patient and kind while a customer is upset, and also try to see things from their perspective. It depends on the situation, but I would use my natural intuition and personal commitment to extraordinary customer service to guide my interactions."
"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."
Our sales associates are the face of the company for our customers, and we have high expectations for them. After all, our customers are the reason we're all here, and we want to give every single customer in our store a WOW experience. Tell the interviewer about three qualities you possess that make you well-suited for a position where you constantly exceed customer expectations.
"First, I would describe myself as an achiever: I love to set myself challenging goals. My friends always describe me as a great listener, which I think is a vital element to building solid customer relationships and helping customers find exactly the right product to suit their needs. I'm also really positive and energetic, and I have a great time getting to know new people, so talking to customers would come naturally to me."
"If I had to choose three qualities about myself, I would say Adaptable, Efficient, and Positive. I can adapt to many different environments and find it easy to switch tasks quickly if a more important need arises. I love finding the most efficient way of doing things because my mind is very strategic. I also think it's important to bring a lot of fun, positive energy into a workplace -- I think everyone does their best work if they're in a friendly atmosphere."
We're looking for natural leaders to join our team at Sears, especially sales associates who embody our values of taking accountability, embracing feedback, and showing pride in their work. Talk to the interviewer about any interest you have in pursuing leadership or management roles here at Sears.
"I really appreciate that Sears is looking for employees who take initiative to solve problems and close gaps when we see them. I consider that a leadership characteristic, and it's something that I strive to embody in every retail role I've had. I am looking to start a career with a company I believe in, so I'm definitely interested in pursuing a leadership position here 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. I believe that a management role with Sears would be a great next step in my career."
Our sales associates at Sears need to have great organizational skills -- there are plenty of opportunities around the store to keep things organized, clean, and easy for our customers to find. Some of your responsibilities will include stockroom organization, replenishment and restocking, and pulling and staging merchandise both in the stockroom and on the floor. Talk to the interviewer about your organizational skills and if you have any experience in merchandising products.
"I would definitely describe myself as an organized person -- I even have a habit of organizing merchandise in stores where I'm just shopping because I can't stand a disorganized store! I've also helped out with displays in the past, so I feel confident that I could contribute to merchandising and displaying products as part of my role here."
"While I don't have any direct experience, 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. Organizing the stockroom and sales floor wouldn't be a problem for me. I'm a perfectionist, so if you tell me how you want an area to look, I won't stop until it looks exactly right."
At Sears, we want each of our employees to exude professionalism to our customers, so we require that our associates adhere to a simple dress code: black or khaki pants or skirts; black or white tops; and closed-toed shoes. Do you feel confident that you can adhere to this policy?
"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 Sears 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. May I see what your uniforms look like?"
At Sears, we expect our employees to Earn Trust -- it's one of our foundational values that determines how we behave as a company and as individuals at work. How would you respond if you suspected that a coworker was breaking our trust by stealing product or cash from the store?
"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 value honesty so if I saw a co-worker stealing; I would tell my manager immediately. Do you have a process in place for reporting these types of situations?"
At Sears, our return policy is in line with standards across the retail industry. We accept returns within 45 days of the original purchase date, in stores or online, with a proof of purchase. Though this is a standard policy, customers may argue that they should be allowed to return an item outside of this return window from time to time. Talk to the interviewer about how you would deal with a customer who was upset about our return policy.
"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 have some dispute resolution training from my previous retail position and fully believe that flexibility needs to be offered in extreme situations."
Since its creation nearly a century ago, Sears has been innovating and growing according to customers' shopping habits and behaviors. We always do our best to make sure our company policies and actions are aligned with what customers really look for from a shopping experience, both in stores and online. What about Sears attracted your attention? Why are you interested in joining our team?
"I'm mostly interested in Sears because of their reputation: they've been around forever, and that makes me feel confident that I would have job security here. The company culture sounds amazing, and I'm excited to find out more about what it's like to work for Sears."
"I want to work for Sears because I shop here all of the time. I love your product, and your company culture seems great too."
At Sears, we are committed to serving, delighting, and engaging each customer to give them a WOW experience. We're looking for associates who provide extraordinary service by understanding customers' individual needs and offering them the right products and services. Our associates have a natural ability to make genuine connections with our customers. How would you incorporate the WOW factor into your own personal customer service strategy?
"I definitely believe that it's important to exceed customers' expectations when they come into a store. My goal as a sales associate is to go above and beyond in every interaction, whether it's a friendly, engaging greeting when they walk through the doors or taking the time to really understand what the customer is looking for and walking them through product knowledge about their different options. I always want my customers to leave a store feeling like they were cared for."
"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."
Sears Holdings Corporation (Holdings) is the parent company of Kmart Holding Corporation (Kmart) and Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Sears). The Company is broadline retailer with 2,235 full-line and 1,284 specialty retail stores in the United States operating through Kmart and Sears, and 402 full-line and specialty retail stores in Canada operating through Sears Canada Inc. (Sears Canada), a 73%-owned subsidiary. During the fiscal year ended January 1, 2009 (fiscal 2009), it operated three reportable segments: Kmart, Sears Domestic and Sears Canada.