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Retail Interview
Questions

20 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 17th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 20
You are scheduled to leave at 6 pm. Your replacement worker doesn't show up. What would you do?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know that you have no trouble when it comes to filling in, working overtime, or staying a bit late when unforeseen circumstances arise. Give an example of a time when you were a team player, offering assistance if your replacement does not show up for their shift.
20 Retail Interview Questions
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  1. You are scheduled to leave at 6 pm. Your replacement worker doesn't show up. What would you do?
  2. What do you like most about working in retail?
  3. Why do you want to get into retail?
  4. Tell me about your experience working in retail.
  5. On a scale of 1-10, how well do you handle customer complaints?
  6. Are you a people person?
  7. How often are you late for your responsibilities, such as school or work?
  8. Describe a time when you disliked company rules in your last job.
  9. Describe a time when you had to sacrifice quality to complete a job.
  10. What do you like least about working in retail?
  11. How would your references describe you?
  12. How are your customer service skills?
  13. Why would you like to work at our store?
  14. How do you expect to make a difference at our store?
  15. What is your best personal trait?
  16. The credit card machine is broken. What do you say to the customers?
  17. What is your favorite product or service, from our store?
  18. What do you know about our store?
  19. A co-worker is rude to customers, what would you do?
  20. What would you do if a coworker asked you to help them steal?
15 Retail Answer Examples
1.
You are scheduled to leave at 6 pm. Your replacement worker doesn't show up. What would you do?
The interviewer would like to know that you have no trouble when it comes to filling in, working overtime, or staying a bit late when unforeseen circumstances arise. Give an example of a time when you were a team player, offering assistance if your replacement does not show up for their shift.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"If my replacement did not show up for their shift, I would try to reach them and then find someone else who could take the shift on short notice. I am certainly willing to pull a double in extreme circumstances. Whatever is best for the company is the decision that I will make."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"It's important to me that I have reliable coworkers so this type of situation would not happen frequently. If this were to happen, I would be sure to stay at the store until they showed up. It's important to be a team player."
2.
What do you like most about working in retail?
What makes you LOVE your career in retail? The interviewer would like to know what keeps your fire lit, on a daily basis, even on the toughest of days. Your reply should be happy, confident, and enthusiastic. You can also ask the interviewer this question in return! Asking them what their favorite part of this job might be, will start a great conversation and give you further insight into this role and the workplace culture.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"There are many things I appreciate about working in retail; however, my number one pick would be the fact that I get to meet new and interesting people every day. I am a social person so working with the general public is very fulfilling for me."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I think what I will like most about working in retail is the fact that I will be able to work with all of your beautiful products, and sell them to other people! I am a huge fan of your store, and what you stand for, and I look forward to introducing other people to your products. I would love to know - what is your favorite part of working here?"
3.
Why do you want to get into retail?
The interviewer would like to understand what is driving you to a career in retail. Perhaps the hours are great for your current situation, or you have a genuine passion for sales and customer service. Whatever your reasoning, be sure to show the interviewer that you have a real interest in working for them and their store.

For example "I want to be in retail because I love being in a fast-paced, customer-service based role. It's a thrill to me to help, and meet, so many different personalities in one day!"
Rachelle's Answer #1
"I want to be in retail because I love being in a fast-paced, customer-service based role. It's a thrill to me to help, and meet, so many different personalities in one day!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I want to be in retail at this time because the work, location, and hours, are a perfect fit for me while I complete my 4-year arts degree. I like the flexibility offered in a retail environment and the fact that every day will be different. I am not one to enjoy a 9-5 type of gig where I am sitting in a cubicle. I want to be walking around, helping people, and making sales!"
4.
Tell me about your experience working in retail.
The interviewer would like for you to bring your experience to life for them. Take a few minutes to walk the interviewer through your overall experience, being sure to highlight any significant wins, your most substantial sales, or other accomplishments that will make you a stand-out candidate. There is no need for you to go more than ten years into your work history unless the experience applies to the role for which you are interviewing.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have five years' experience working in retail. Starting with Company ABC, I was a commissioned sales rep, always landing in the Top 3 for weekly sales numbers. For the past three years, I have worked with Company XYZ as an assistant manager. I have seen great success here; however, I am now ready to jump into a full-time store management position."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am new to the retail industry but have researched a great deal in regards to customer service and sales. I am currently reading 'Brilliant Selling: What the Best Salespeople Know, Do, and Say" by Tom Bird and Jeremy Cassell. I feel that this book, and my other research, will ensure that I have a strong start with your company."
5.
On a scale of 1-10, how well do you handle customer complaints?
Do you feel that you are as good as can be when it comes to dispute resolution, or do you have room for growth? This question could be a tricky one as nobody is always 100% perfect in situations involving conflict. Answer to the best of your ability and back your reply by speaking about any formal training you may have received when it comes to complaints and dispute resolution.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I put a heavy focus on listening and problem solving when it comes to my customers, as well as in my personal life. Because I strive for complete understanding in times of conflict, I will rate myself as a 9/10. My skills are solid."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Although I have not had experience in customer service based conflict situations, I am confident in the fact that you offer strong training opportunities on this topic. I understand the non-verbal cues that people give and would also apply the type of treatment that I appreciate as a customer. I would rate my current skill level in dispute management a 7/10."
6.
Are you a people person?
This question should be pretty simple for you to answer. If you want to work in retail, then the answer is YES - you are a people person! A people person is someone who does not find it draining to be around others all day. Someone naturally helpful and approachable. Does this describe you? If possible, give the interviewer an example of a time when your people skills were impeccable.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Yes, I am certainly a people person. I love being around others, meeting new people, and helping where I can. I have been in customer-facing roles for a few years including my time as a bartender. I have always proven to be a friendly face to my customers."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am 100% a people person! My friends and family know that I am a social butterfly and have never been shy. I look forward to delivering excellent customer service to your customers and being a friendly face for them."
7.
How often are you late for your responsibilities, such as school or work?
The interviewer would like to gauge how important being on time is, to you. Your answer should be that you are NEVER late! But we do know that, truthfully, some of us fall behind from time to time. Let the interviewer know that you are known for being responsible, and reliable. Express that; if you were to be late, you would handle the situation with the utmost professionalism.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Timeliness is important to me, and I do everything in my power to always be 10 minutes early for my shifts. My previous employer will attest to the fact that I am very punctual."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have been late to school a couple of times, but generally due to a snow storm or city transit running behind. In those instances, I am sure to let someone know my whereabouts and ETA. I am on time if not early, 99% of the time!"
8.
Describe a time when you disliked company rules in your last job.
The interviewer would like to know how you handle a situation when you do not agree, or are uncomfortable with the rules or expectations on the job. Be sure to show that you are a team player, but will stand up for yourself if asked to do something that is unethical. If you do not agree with a rule because you don't want to play along, that is a different story. Show the interviewer that you have the maturity and wherewithal to understand you will not always agree with your boss, but you will still professionally do your job.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My last company changed our return policy quite dramatically, and I did not agree with the changes because they did not emulate the great customer service for which we had become known. The changes were from the corporate head office and, having been there for three months; I didn't feel empowered to say anything. I followed the new rules, explained the new policies to my customers, and continued to be a reliable employee for my duration of employment."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If I were to dislike a company rule, but it wasn't hurting anyone, I would choose to leave the situation alone. I am new to my career and know that there is always a bigger picture present. Rules are in place for a reason, and I would respect that."
9.
Describe a time when you had to sacrifice quality to complete a job.
This question is a bit of a trick question because your answer should be that you would never sacrifice the quality of your work, right? To answer this question, discuss a time when you were under a tight deadline and at risk of not completing a job on time. Rather than sacrificing quality, talk about something else that you sacrificed to get the job done, without quality suffering. Perhaps you put in overtime hours, worked off the clock, or enlisted a co-worker to help you out.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I would never sacrifice quality to get a job done on time. Last week, our store was at risk of not completing the inventory counts on time, for head office. To get this task done, I chose to stay late, and off the clock, for a couple of hours. My boss was very appreciative of the sacrifice that I made so that we could hit our inventory deadline. He even let me leave early that Friday to enjoy a half day off."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I do not think that quality needs to be sacrificed to complete a job. Likely, if this situation were to occur, it would mean that I did not apply my time well enough. I am firm in my time management skills. All of my school assignments have been on time, if not early, and I plan my days very well."
10.
What do you like least about working in retail?
The interviewer would like to know the areas of retail employment that do not interest you so much. When giving your reply, avoid complaining about parts of the job; instead, discuss what you do to make the best of an unpleasant situation. You also do not want to seem nit-picky or like a complainer who plays the "woe is me" part. Choose something relatable that is not too serious.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"woe is me"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I think that the part about retail that I would enjoy the least is dealing with a customer dispute. I know that with the appropriate training, I will be great with this kind of task; however, right now, the thought is a bit intimidating because I am so new to my career. I am confident in my ability to pick this up quickly, though."
11.
How would your references describe you?
You have likely given the interviewer a list of references already; however, if you have not, be sure to bring a list with you to your interview. You should provide the names of at least two people who can give you recommendations, preferably individuals to whom you have reported. If you do not have any work experience, you can also refer to professors, high-school teachers, a pastor, a mentor, or even the parent of a friend who may know you well and can provide a character reference. If you have volunteer work, you can point the reference towards that experience as well.

Some ways that your references may describe you:

- High-integrity
- Accountable
- Reliable
- Punctual
- Accepting of feedback
- Confident
- Well-educated
- Honest
- Results-driven

Rachelle's Answer #1
"In my references list, I have included my three most recent managers. I believe they would all describe me as highly-driven, commission motivated, and willing to help. I put a lot of effort into teamwork, ensuring that my teammates feel supported while we work together to achieve a common goal."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"My references include my two top professors and my career advisor. All three of these references have recently commented on the fact that I am self-driven, motivated to achieve and, honest. I agree that these are my top traits when it comes to my personality and character."
12.
How are your customer service skills?
The interviewer would like to know that you understand the importance of fabulous customer service skills when working in the retail industry. Use a few unique words or phrases that will make you a stand-out candidate for this customer-service based role.

Some descriptive words may include:

- Attentive
- Understanding
- Problem-solving focused
- Approachable
- Friendly
- Honest
- Communicative

Rachelle's Answer #1
"My customer service skills are well-honed as I have had a lot of training in the past. My skills are honest, attentive and geared to problem-solving."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Although I am new to my career and do not have any solid customer service training, I am very in tune with the needs of others. I can listen carefully and problem-solve based on the information provided to me. Being a naturally friendly person, I can make quick connections with others."
13.
Why would you like to work at our store?
The interviewer wants assurance that you have a keen interest in their store. Show that you are not just applying to any store that will hire you, by expressing a few reasons why you are interested in this company, specifically. Be sure to tie in why you would be an excellent fit for them!

Your reasons may include:

- Great workplace culture
- The work hours are great with your school schedule
- You have read great reviews online
- You have had a memorable shopping experience at their store
- You know someone who works for their company
- Their mission statement resonates with you

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have shopped at your store often, over the past couple of years. Every experience is better than the last, and so, when it came time for me to start applying for work post-graduation, your store was the first place that came to my mind. I have a true appreciation for what you do here."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I would like to work at your store because my best friend has worked here for the past two years and she always talks about how amazing the workplace culture is, and how much she loves the team and customers. I appreciate her referral on my behalf, and I look forward to delivering exceptional experiences to your clients."
14.
How do you expect to make a difference at our store?
The interviewer would like to know how having you there will benefit their business and their team. Think back to the significant achievements and contributions that you have made to your current, or most recent, employer. Discuss with the interviewer the ways that you will implement those activities to your new job. If the interviewer has discussed with you their current pain points, be sure to bring up the ways that your work ethic and experience will benefit them in that area.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I expect to make an immediate difference in your store by being the reliable manager you mentioned that you need. I am always on time, I lead by example, and can set high expectations for my team members while gaining genuine buy-in from them."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am newer to my career and very keen to learn when it comes to customer service and product knowledge. I will make a difference by being an eager addition to the team and being an example to your other employees."
15.
What is your best personal trait?
Personal traits differ a bit from your workplace traits. If you have never taken a personality test, it's a great idea to do a free one like the one on www.16personalities.com. A tool like this will generate some fresh thoughts for you on the personality traits that you may bring.

Some personality descriptive words are:

- Amiable
- Considerate
- Diligent
- Exuberant
- Generous
- Persistent
- Resourceful
- Sensible

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I believe that my best personality trait is the fact that I am a sensible person. I can think clearly and see all sides in a situation. This trait helps me a great deal when it comes to customer dispute resolution."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am fond of a few of my personality traits; however, my top trait would be my exuberant spirit. I have a lot of contagious energy, which I bring to the workplace. My friends and family often mention that they appreciate my brand of excitement for life!"
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