7 Top Retail Interview Questions and Sample Answers

It’s not easy to push past the dozens – or even hundreds – of other job applicants out there. In fact, TopResume found that 75% of resumes are rejected before ever reaching the hiring manager.

It’s harder than ever to stand out in a crowd, and getting a fair shot is far from the last step. You still have to battle it out during the interview process and simultaneously show confidence and the ability to remain humble.

If you’ve made it to the interview stage – congratulations!

Here are 7 of the top retail interview questions, along with some fresh insights into why they’re being asked and how you can respond.

1. Why do you want to work here?

Here’s why they’re asking:

Employers want to know that you have good intentions and that you’re not solely here for a paycheck. They hope that whatever drives you will help you outlast the long hours, difficult customers, and sore feet. Ultimately, they’re looking for someone who is in it for the long haul.

Sample answer:

It never hurts to share your love for the brand, the company, or the occupation. Sometimes a little honest flattery and admiration go a long way. Another great answer is to express your genuine desire to better yourself, hone your skills, and move up through the company.

2. What do you see as your greatest strengths?

Here’s why they’re asking:

Interviewing is a lot like dating. They’re looking for a perfect match that fits the description of their perfect candidate. They’re going to ask question after question until they understand if your retail skills match their needs.

Sample answer:

Lead with communication skills. They’re always in high demand in retail and serve you well when creating relationships both internally and with customers. Attention to detail is highly valued as well since you’re often dealing with inventory, and loss of inventory means lost profits.

That said, don’t lie about skills that you don’t consider your strengths. If you think your greatest strength is something else, say that, and be sure to tie it back to how it will help you in the role.

3. Why are you leaving your current job?

Here’s why they’re asking:

They’re wondering if the circumstances for leaving are likely to happen if they hire you here as well. They’re wondering if it was an amicable split. Did the employer do something wrong? Were their expectations too high?

Sample answer:

The best answer to this question is a truthful one, but it’s also good to keep it professional and refrain from bad-mouthing your previous employer – even if they deserve it. Hiring managers are seeking people who are positive, empathetic, and professional. Talk about seeking greater opportunities for career growth or lean on your desire to work for their company.

4. Do you shop here?

Here’s why they’re asking:

The exact wording of this question will vary widely, but the intention is still the same. They want to know how much you know about their brand. A fan of the brand or someone who fits their culture and empathizes with their target market will likely bring more enthusiasm to the role. It also helps convey to the interviewer that you’re here for reasons beyond compensation.

Sample answer:

Tell the truth if you don’t, but since you’re reading this, you might still have time to turn this around. Go experience their store, buy some products, and get a feel for what they do. If you haven’t shopped there, then tell them why and pair it with the research you’ve done about their company to show you still care.

5. If a customer tries to use an expired coupon, how would you handle the situation?

Here’s why they’re asking:

Handling upset customers is a part of retail work that isn’t going away. They need to know you are calm under pressure and can handle any situation with grace and empathy.

Sample answer:

Tell them that you’d lead with empathy and take the time to hear the customer out. When they’re finished, you’ll calmly explain the expiration date in a professional manner and let them know about other sales or offers they could take advantage of instead. If they persist, offer to have them speak with a supervisor if they’re still unsatisfied.

6. Tell me about yourself

Here’s why they’re asking:

They’re trying to get a feel for your core values, interests, and hobbies. There may be overlap in what you do for fun and the job you’re trying to get.

Sample answer:

The question may seem innocent and easy to answer, but don’t take it lightly. The answer here could be what separates you from the rest of the candidates. Hiring managers will naturally hire people who are qualified and whom they relate the most with.

Highlight the extracurricular activities that most align with the role you’re seeking. Talk about your interest in fashion if you’re applying to a high-end clothing retailer. Focus on making a connection with the interviewer or tying it to the role somehow.

7. What do you consider your greatest weakness?

Here’s why they’re asking:

They’re looking for weaknesses they can work around or help you work through. They’re also gauging your level of transparency and honesty.

Sample answer:

Try to pick a weakness that is either common for the role or doesn’t affect the day-to-day. If you share a weakness that has the potential to affect your performance, be sure to address how you’re working to improve it and how you’ve handled it in the past. This will let them know that you are self-aware and are continually striving to improve, which are desirable traits in and of themselves.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there are no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter answers for each of the top retail interview questions. The depth and quality of your answer largely depend on your experience, your research, and your communication skills.

Focus less on memorizing exact answers and more on the major points that you want to bring up. You’ll find the rest of your answers naturally throughout the interview.

What’s another top question you’d expect in your retail interview? Tell us in the comments below:

JD Spinoza

JD enjoys teaching people how to use ZoomShift to save time spent on scheduling. He’s curious, likes learning new things everyday and playing the guitar (although it’s a work in progress).