Retail Job Interview Questions and Answers

Working in a retail environment can be fun, rewarding, and often profitable. You may find that the retail establishment where you wish to work gives employee discounts, rewards, and praise that are not available anywhere else. Realize that working retail is not just a “job,” it is adventure in public relations. Make sure you understand that you will be expected to be a part of a customer service team, a design team, and just possibly a “feel good” team.

  • When you apply to work in a retail establishment, the interviewer will definitely ask you why you want to work in this store. Your answer will be the catalyst that ultimately gets you the job. Knowing that you will be asked this question, think about your possible answers. You may inform the interviewer that you always shop in this store and have always wanted to work here. Another answer may concern your goal of working with the shopping public, to help customers find what they are looking for, and to have these customers leave the retail establishment happy about their purchases. You may want to let the interviewer know that you are creative and ultimately want to work designing displays. If you have worked retail in the past inform the interviewer about your experiences working retail, and how you would welcome an opportunity to work in this exact store. You feel this particular retail business is exactly what you are looking for; a store that is organized, high quality, and can present you with a step up the retail ladder.


  • The interviewer will always ask you questions concerning your greatest accomplishment. Your answer will provide insight into the way you work with the public and how motivated you are to be working retail. Be concise, professional, enthusiastic and above all honest when answering this question. For example, you could paint a picture concerning the time you helped a mother and daughter team that came in looking for a special prom dress. The daughter was not the ideal weight and shape, and you could see right off that this young lady was very self conscious. You sensed that they had been arguing and your sympathies were engaged. After careful searching and encouraging, you were able to find the perfect dress, teach the daughter how to best wear the dress, and what accessories would be flattering. Both mother and daughter left blissful, and you just developed returning customers.


When talking about successes, let the interviewer know what profitable contributions you have made in your past positions. Acknowledge that you were able to create award winning displays, or fold and showcase products to draw the customer to that particular product. You are experienced in managing and rotating stock. In your last job you maintained the inventory to exactness and were able to let the manager know when stock was low and what items sold the best.

  • There will always be problems with co workers not being able to work their shift, or they may come in late to relieve you. What will you do in this situation? If you are a manager, it is your responsibility to make sure the shift is covered at all times. This may force you stay and work the shift until an additional employee can be located. Let the interviewer know this. As an employee, express that you would be willing to stay until someone else can work the shift. Let it be known that you may be willing to work the extra shift yourself. Do not in the interview however voice your opinion that you would want extra money or time off to work a co-workers shift. This will be an issue that can be determined when you are hired.


Before working the additional shift however, call and discuss the problem with the tardy co-worker. Talk to your supervisor. Emphasize that you are willing to help to keep the floor staffed.


  • A hiring manager has the responsibility of making sure employees will be available long term. If you are asked the question, “how long do you plan on working here?” be honest and upfront. Express your desire to stay long term and to advance with the company. Give reasons why you would like to work at this establishment and express these reasons. You may like the flexibility, available growth opportunities, and/or valuable experience potential. These are answers that interviewers like to hear.


  • Hiring managers often will ask questions about former co-workers or supervisors. A major mistake would be to criticize or belittle those former colleagues. Instead give examples of how you worked well with your supervisors. “The best supervisor actually showed me how to close a sale or how to provide excellent customer service. My last boss taught me how to help a belligerent customer without getting angry and upset at the customer. Working with difficult customers to help them find the perfect outfit has always been of tremendous satisfaction to me, and my last supervisor always gave me the difficult customers.”


Express that a supervisor is one who recognizes the strengths in an employee, and who will go to great lengths to praise and reward that employee. Your best employer was one who would teach without criticism and reward without favoritism. Give examples of that type of manager with whom you directly worked. Communicate to the interviewer that you desire to be the type of employee who will always be upbeat and give the customer a good impression of the business. Never let a customer leave the retail establishment unhappy. Give an example of how a boss taught you the value of projecting your vibrant personality to customers. Interviewers will be impressed and recognize that you have learned and know the value of excellent customer service and loyalty to a company.