Retail Job Interview
Questions & Answers

Which retail job interview questions can you expect in your interview? Know the commonly asked retail interview questions and use the sample interview answers to prepare for success in your retail sales job interview.

Communication skills are key to a retail position. Be well prepared and answer typical retail job interview questions fluently and with confidence.

We show you how to impress as the right candidate for the retail job opportunity.

Retail job interview questions and answers include:

What makes you suitable for this retail job? Why should we hire you?

  • Focus on specific experience and training in your career history.
  • Identify things you have done that match the job you are interviewing for.
  • Emphasize what qualifies you for this particular job and how you can add value to the job and company.
  • What transferable skills have you gained in your previous jobs?
  • Look at the job tasks such as buying merchandise, customer care, and highlight your experience in performing these.

If there are areas of the job function that you do not yet have experience in then highlight what skills you have that will facilitate learning and succeeding in these tasks.

For example your ability to remain calm under pressure and listen carefully will help you in a customer complaints function.

What qualities do you consider most important in this retail job?

Generally these qualities are key to success in a retail position:

  • good communication skills
  • flexibility
  • a strong customer service orientation
  • a high energy level 

Go into more detail by expanding on these qualities. For example, good communication includes:

  • excellent and active listening skills
  • the ability to ask the right questions to get clarity on what the customer is asking
  • to be able to respond to the customer in a concise and easily understood manner

Retail Sales Job Description

What interests you about selling to customers?

Try to be specific in your interview answer to these type of retail job interview questions. Avoid generalizations such as "I enjoy people", rather say something along the lines of:

"I enjoy talking to the customer and finding out exactly what they are looking for. I like the challenge of meeting the customer's needs, making useful suggestions and making sure the customer leaves satisfied."

How do you go about familiarizing yourself with the products you sell?

Product knowledge is key to providing good customer service. There are a number of ways that product knowledge can be learned such as:

  • informational material
  • on-line information
  • other employees
  • training

Focus on your proactive attempts to learn about the products including asking questions and reading up about the products.

Why are you interested in a position at this company?

Detail why you want a job with this specific company. Base your answer to this retail job interview question on what you have learned about the company from your interview research.

Find out the information you need before your interview at preparing for a job interview.

Find out and highlight the following information:

  • How does this company differ from the competition?
  • What about the way it operates attracts you?
  • What interesting innovations have the company introduced such as customer loyalty programs and on-line services?

The company will expect you to have done your homework. Know their main competitors and be aware of current industry trends. The internet is a useful source of information. You can find good online resources to help you with this.

Trade magazines, such as "The Grocer" or "Marketing Week" also carry a great deal of useful information.

Describe a time when you had to handle a difficult customer.

The interviewer wants you to provide an example of how you dealt with a demanding customer in the past.

You need to give a clear description of a specific situation when you did this. Describe the circumstances, the actions you took and the outcome. Sample interview answer

Describe your working hours in your previous position?

Most retail positions require flexibility with regard to working hours. It is important to assure the interviewer that you are able to accommodate different schedules.

Give examples of how you have been able to meet the demands of a typical retail schedule in the past.

If this is your first job in retail sales make sure your answer emphasizes that you do not have schedule restrictions.

A number of retail jobs are part-time. Find out how to answer part-time job interview questions.

Behavioral retail job interview questions

Behavioral interview questions that often come up in a retail job interview include:

Give me an example of when you went the extra mile for a customer.

Tell me about an improvement that you made to the customer service process.

Describe a situation in which you had to remain calm under great provocation from a customer.

How have you dealt with angry customers previously?

Tell me about a time you received positive feedback from a customer.

For help in answering these type of behavioral retail job interview questions go to the customer service behavioral interview questions and answers guide.

Find out how to answer the frequently asked retail interview question:

What does excellent customer service mean to you?

Don't miss these customer service interview guides

Success in a retail position includes demonstrating a good understanding of customer service and what it means in retail. The interview guides will help you prepare for customer service interview questions and answers.

This definition of good customer service will help you answer frequently asked interview questions around customer service.

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What do you wear to a retail job interview?

Woman in yellow pantsuit holding laptop

This really depends on the level of the position you are interviewing for and the type of retailer.  It is important to find out beforehand what the expected interview dress code is.

Generally speaking the large retail companies would expect a candidate for a general retail sales position to wear casual business clothing to an interview.

Women interviewing for retail positions can find casual business interview attire suggestions at the right job interview clothing

High-end retailers and major department stores often expect more formal business attire from job candidates.

Smart retail interview questions to ask the employer

Successful retail job candidates will have a number of smart questions ready to ask in the job interview. Some examples include:

What are the priorities in this job for the first 3 months?

What are the immediate challenges in this job?

What are the essential qualities for an employee to succeed in this position?

How is performance measured in this job?

What sort of management style can a recruit expect?

What are your company's biggest challenges currently?

What are the opportunities facing this department right now?

What do you enjoy about working for this company?

Questions to Ask in the interview

List of 6 questions to ask in your retail interview in text

Retail job interview tips

Retail interviews may take the form of a group interview. Find out how to stand out in a group interview.

Your retail job application

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Sales Job Descriptions

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