This question offers you the opportunity to show off your love for local business! Focus on the sense of community and personal touch a local bookstore provides as opposed to a big-box corporation. What separates may include local events, customer care with a personal touch and community involvement.
"Your store is one of the major attractions of this community. As a regular shopper here, the management is great, and your team does a fantastic job at making each customer experience memorable. This experience is not something you can find in a larger, corporate retail store or even when shopping online."
"A sense of community is an important value to me. This is not something that larger big-box stores, or e-commerce, can provide."
"I see that you hire with discernment. This discernment means that each employee in your store in knowledgeable, an avid reader, and an incredible resource for your patrons. This experience makes all the difference for me. Also, your coffee shop offers decadent treats, and I appreciate that you give 10% of your profits back to the community."
Interviewers like hearing that you read and look forward to learning from books! Share what book you last read. Did you read a great fiction book on the beach during your last vacation? Or, maybe you read an excellent business book this past month. Perhaps you and your spouse have been reading a marriage book together. Just share what book you last read!
"I love reading and am currently reading through the Harry Potter series. It is a different genre from the books I typically read, but I have great respect for the author and wish to challenge myself as a reader. My spouse is also reading it, and we enjoy sharing our perspectives on the series."
"It seems the only books I have been reading are my university textbooks! I recently purchased 'When Breath Becomes Air' by Paul Kalanithi. I plan to read this during reading week."
"I usually have three books on the go at one time. Fiction, personal development, and historical. Currently, I am reading John Grisham's 'The Whistler,' 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle, and 'Killing the Rising Sun' by Bill O'Reilly."
The interviewer wants to hear that you are passionate about working for them. Think of the aspects you like most about this bookstore. Perhaps you have a friend who works there and loves it. Maybe you are looking forward to a significant discount on books. Just share what you like most about the company, and share that this is a big part of why you want to work for this organization.
"I am a passionate shopper of your store and an avid reader who loves to share that with others. As an inspiring writer, I would love to surround myself with up and coming authors and readers. As a customer, I believe in your store's values around customer care and the services you provide to the community."
"I have a friend who works here in the summer months, between semesters, and he said it's the best job he's ever held. He recommended that I apply here because I am equally passionate about research and reading. I would be a great resource for your customers."
"I have worked for larger big-box book retailers which makes me value, even further, the worth that small business brings to our community. I want to be a part of the movement that gets kids off of their phones, and interested in books again! I have some great ideas for community reading initiatives."
The interviewer will be interested to know what type of books you like to read. Take the opportunity to relay information about some of your all-time favorite reads within that genre. It's a great idea to ask the question in turn so that you can get to know your interviewer on a more personal level."
" For example: "
"I enjoy learning more about the environment. Subjects such as environmental sustainability and global warming interest me. What is your favorite genre?"
"I enjoy a wide range of genres; however, if I had to choose a specific genre I would say science fiction. I love how I can get lost in a sci-fi book for hours at a time."
The interviewer would like to know that they can trust you to report theft and dishonesty in the workplace. Some businesses have trouble with employee theft, and they need to make sure that they are hiring someone who is honest and trustworthy. Talk to the interviewer about the steps you would take if you caught a co-worker stealing.
"I am sure that you have an internal policy for employee theft so I can assure you that I would follow the required steps to report the theft. I am a trustworthy person with a strong track record of honesty with my previous employers."
"If I caught an employee stealing, I would report the incident immediately. As a previous manager, I understand the value of employee honesty."
"When I work for an organization, I take pride in the work we are doing. With focus on delivering value to a company wherever possible, I would feel obligated to report a co-worker stealing from the company. I will refer to any policy or guidelines available and speak to the manager about the incident."
The interviewer will be interested in learning more about the transferable skills from your last role. Here is your opportunity to focus in on customer service in a retail environment. You will want to position your job change as positively as possible. Perhaps you needed more hours, or the business closed.
"My last role was in a retail clothing establishment. In my previous role, I enjoyed building relationships with customers and making the shopping experience memorable with a personal touch. While fashion is fun, I value surrounding myself with like-minded people. As a lover of books, this place speaks to me like home."
"My last job was working as a cashier in a movie theatre. I enjoyed the work, and the perks were great; however, the late hours were not conducive to my school schedule. I look forward to bringing my customer service skills to work for you."
"I worked for a fashion retailer that recently closed their doors. Now, I am looking to grow professionally and reach my personal goals of being a writer. Working in a bookstore would provide me with the experience and platform to work towards those goals."
In addition to compensation, there are many other factors to a fulfilling career. Talk to the interviewer about other factors that are important to you when considering a new job.
"Salary is important to me because I know that I am skilled and well educated. With that said, I do look at the full picture which includes factors such as benefits, employee discounts, commission opportunities, and workplace culture."
"At this point in my career, I value fit and hours more than I do compensation."
"Several factors are important to me when taking a job. Compensation is a driving component of that along with company mission, culture, benefits, and location."
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 those were accompanied by a note from my doctor. Once I was late due to a terrible snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"I cannot recall the exact number, but I think it was around three days total. All absences were excused and with notice."
"I think I missed ten days, counting vacation time. Of those, five were for my vacation. For three days, I was excused under a doctor's note. The other two absences were pre-approved family days."
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 the management style of the interviewing company, try to leave your answer as open as possible. You can certainly ask the interviewer to describe their management style.
"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?"
"I prefer managers who give me an assignment and let me run with it. I don't like to be micro-managed. If I need help or need to provide regular updates, I certainly will do so on my own."
"I work best with managers who are highly communicative and approachable. I don't enjoy working in a hierarchy based environment as I find it does not offer room for new ideas and creative thinking. How would you describe your management style?"
Display to the interviewer that you can do more than just the bare minimum. Show that you can react well 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."
"I enjoy going above and beyond with my work. In my last position, I regularly called customers just to let them know that we had a new product coming into the store, or a great sale coming up."
"I often go above and beyond what is expected of me. Most recently, I agreed to cover for a co-worker who was on short-term medical leave. I worked 10 hour days for two weeks so that our work did not suffer any setbacks."
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from what is written on your resume. You are not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate! Focus on special non-work related skills or hobbies. For example, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)
"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
"I am bilingual in Spanish and have some proficiency in French and Italian, too. I also am a huge Harry Potter fan and could pretty much quote each book to you."
"I am a certified yoga instructor, and I spent those three months after college traveling and doing yoga. I spent six weeks in Asia and another six weeks in Latin America, and it was a fantastic experience that helped me to grow as both a yogi and a person. I am currently writing a guide for yogi's traveling through Asia."
The interviewer would like to know what motivates you to be an over-achiever in the workplace. We all like to be recognized in some way for our accomplishments in the workplace. Share with the interviewer how you would want recognition for your hard work. Through gifts? Financial perks? Public recognition? Kind words? Title promotions?
"I am very much an over-achiever and find that the best way for me to be recognized for a job well done is to be given words of kindness and recognition. I am easily encouraged, and the best reward for me is to know that my hard work is being noticed."
"I am very simple. I do not require any formal recognition, but kind words from my coworkers and superiors will keep me motivated and working hard."
"I am in sales, so I obviously love competition and winning, not to mention the financial reward. Beyond that, I love accolades given, in sincerity, by those whom I respect."
This question is an excellent chance for you to share any specific leadership experience you have had and if this is something you aspire for in your career. Be as accurate as possible to include details on the type of activities you participated in and what the results were.
"I have approximately one year experience in retail leadership, in my current role. I help to train new employees, set sales goals, and create the schedule. If a team member is not performing, I will meet with them to encourage them and find out what their roadblock to success may be."
"At this time, I do not have formal leadership experience; however, I do lead by example every day in my current role. I help new team members and will pitch in often before being asked. Part of my career aspirations are to land a role in leadership, and I welcome the opportunity to work closely with or grow into a management job in your bookstore."
"Yes, I have worked closely with previous leaders in a retail environment. As one of the store's top performers, I was often called upon by the leadership team to run daily huddles for our team, participate in training or mentoring new hires and assist with management responsibilities for the store."
Here is your opportunity to highlight any specific sales goals you have accomplished in the past. Where applicable, mention particular sales goals and what your results were. You can also share any methods for maintaining or exceeding these goals on a frequent basis. Be sure to ask about the sales goals and targets present in this role.
"All retail jobs that I have held came with sales goals. I enjoy exceeding the goals set for me. In past roles, I have been measured by my average sale for each transaction and my ability to add on specific items that were in an accessory category. What are the sales goals in this role?"
"Although I have not had specific sales targets in any job, I understand the importance of knowing how to track sales and upsell a customer. Do you provide clear sales goals for this role?"
"In my current position, I am measured based on the number of memberships I sell. To help myself, and my team to succeed, I came up with a script that was customer friendly and non-invasive to share the features and benefits of having an annual membership. It is an effective method, and I am always #1 in sales memberships for our group."
The interviewer would like to know that you can create alternate scenarios that will help the customer, and create a sale, at the same time. Show that you can think critically, actively make new book recommendations, and upsell.
"There are a few customer care techniques I apply to keep a positive customer experience. First, I will compliment the customer for their interest in such a great book. If I have read it, I will make a personal recommendation for a similar book. Next, where applicable, I will custom order this book for the client online, delivered to the store or their home."
"If a customer were looking for a particular book that we did not have, I would let the customer know that we could order the book with a small deposit. This way, the sale is secured, and the customer leaves feeling that they have been taken care of."
"I have a two-part solution when a customer wants a product that we do not have in stock. I would offer to order the book for them. Then, I ask the customer what they are currently reading and how far into the book they are. If they are nearing the finish, I will recommend a similar book to that one and suggest they purchase it. This way, the customer leaves with something to read while they await their special order. I have upsold the customer, and the customer leaves happy. Win-win, in my opinion!"
The interviewer wants to know that you are comfortable, and experienced when it comes to handling sales transactions. If you have experience with a particular type of program, you can indeed mention the names of the programs.
"Customer sales support is part of the role as a customer service representative in a retail setting. I take pride in ensuring accuracy in all transactions and am comfortable handling registers. I have experience with POS and the use of Moneris."
"Although I am new to the workforce, I am confident in my ability to manage cash and credit card transactions. With just a little bit of training, I will be good to go! Is there any program that I can begin to study, to get a head start?"
"Handling sales transactions was a large part of my last role in a fashion retail store. Every day included cash transactions and settling the till at the end of the shift to make sure all purchases were accounted for. Many times, my manager relied on me to transfer the funds to the bank or pick up deposit slips for the store."
Here is your opportunity to share with the interviewer if you have a favorite author and why. There is no right or wrong answer; however, be sure to show some excitement and be prepared with a well-researched answer. For example "Hands down, my favorite author is Tony Robbins. I am currently reading his book, 'Unshakeable.' His enthusiasm for personal and professional development excites me. He writes on a relatable level and shares experiences that resonate with me."
"Hands down, my favorite author is Tony Robbins. I am currently reading his book, 'Unshakeable.' His enthusiasm for personal and professional development excites me. He writes on a relatable level and shares experiences that resonate with me."
"I quite prefer to read a book by more classic authors. My favorite author of all time is Ernest Hemingway. I just finished reading 'The Sun Also Rises,' which I have read three times. Next, I am going to read one of his newer books, 'A Moveable Feast.' "
"I have many favorite authors across a few different genres. I am a very avid reader, so it's difficult to choose. My top favorites are Elizabeth Gilbert and Paulo Coelho. Which authors are your favorite?"
This question will show the interviewer more about your customer service style. Highlight how you will treat their customers and what your communication style looks like. Share how you can engage with them by asking probing questions about their intended purchase or getting to know their literature related interests.
"Customer service is everything, and I am excited to transfer my passion to each customer who walks through the door. To keep a customer engaged, I welcome each client into the store, offer them coffee, and get to know them based on the books they enjoy reading."
"I am here to deliver excellence in service and provide customers with the space to explore the store on their own. I am certain your customers will find it a positive experience to meet me!"
"I keep customers engaged by getting to know their likes, making book recommendations based on their previous purchases, and also inviting them to author readings and other events. Also, I am great with social media and can create an engaged following on Facebook and Instagram if you would like."
Here is your opportunity to explain to the interviewer why you believe their store will continue to prosper, despite online competition and big box stores. Show your knowledge of the industry and express the value you see in small, independent retailers.
"I believe that bookstores will always be around because most dedicated readers are committed to reading physical books, rather than digital versions. Also, consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of supporting local business. It's become an entire movement that I do not think is going away."
"Bookstores have to compete with online shops and larger retailers, but they offer something special that you cannot buy from its competition: Community. People value a sense of community and connection."
"There are aspects that online stores cannot capture which is why I believe that brick and mortar bookstores will always have a presence. Your store holds weekly events, author readings, and a personal touch that keeps your customers excited about their experiences here. You create raving fans with every transaction, and that is invaluable!"
Share with the interviewer the ideal work schedule for which you are looking. If you have restrictions on your schedule, this is the time to mention these. Typically, interviewers will look for someone with flexible availability. If this is you, take the opportunity to showcase your willingness to work whenever needed.
"I would like to work as many hours as possible! My availability is flexible, and I am ideally seeking a full-time position."
"I am currently attending school but my class schedule is fairly flexible, and I would be willing to work as many hours as available."
"I am seeking a part-time position, as advertised. I would like to work my hours around my kids' school schedule but am flexible with some notice."
The interviewer just wants to know what type of books you like to read. There is no right or wrong answer here. Take the opportunity to relay information about some of your all-time favorite reads. This is an excellent opportunity to start a conversation by asking the interviewer about their favorite reads as well.
"I am an avid reader and am known for always having a book in my purse. I have too many favorite books to list but a few in my top five include Walden, The Razer's Edge, How to Make Friends and Influence People, and Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I follow many world leader book recommendations and expand my reading list as often as possible. From Bill Gates to Oprah, I am always looking for a recommendation on new, great reading material!"
"My all-time favorite book is Sense and Sensibility. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and have read about 12 of her books so far. Some of them multiple times!"
"That is a great question. It's hard to choose, but I would have to say that my all-time favorite book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. What would you say is your favorite book?"
Working as a cashier in a bookstore is one of the best jobs you can find if you are an avid reader and love being around books. Your exact duties and responsibilities may vary depending on how big the bookstore is and whether it is part of a large chain or a bookstore run by a single owner. In general, bookstore employees perform various clerical and cashier duties. They make sure all books are properly categorized and placed on the right shelves and help customers find what they are looking for.
Bookstore cashiers are also responsible for receiving payments, entering sales in the cash register, processing membership requests and issuing refunds. In addition to the various financial and administrative related tasks, bookstore employees also make reading recommendations to customers who are not sure about which book to pick up. A high school education is often enough for anyone who would like to work in a bookstore.
At your interview for a job in a bookstore, the bookstore owner will ask you all kinds of questions to assess your passion for the job. For a bookstore owner, this is most important. Expect to be asked questions about why you want to work in a bookstore. Which is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author? What book would you recommend to a customer looking for a book on X. Before going to the bookstore interview it is most important to spend some time thinking about your answers as this is key to getting the job. Bookstore mock interview questions has several questions to get you on the right track.