Retail Interview Questions to Ask

A retail store associate helps a customer.

When interviewing retail associates, asking the right questions is the key to getting to know candidates and making better-informed hiring decisions. Your retail interview questions should help you uncover which candidates are dependable, detail-oriented, and can multitask while boosting sales and creating memorable experiences for your shoppers.

In this article, we share questions that will reveal critical information about your candidates’ experience, skills, and personality, such as:

  • job-specific skills and knowledge
  • customer service and sales skills
  • teamwork and communication skills
  • problem-solving and decision-making skills

Ready to find great-fit candidates for your store? Here’s what to ask.

Job-Specific Skills and Knowledge

When hiring retail workers, candidates should be familiar with the specifics of the position, such as knowledge about the merchandise, methods for tracking inventory, and how to work point-of-sale systems. For example, if you own an herbal shop that sells handmade bath supplies and tea, you might need to hire someone who knows how to properly weigh plant material and calculate cost based on volume.

The skills-based questions you ask will vary based on the business, but they should reflect the job-specific skills and knowledge you require in a new hire, such as:

  • What experience do you have with selling our products and services?
  • Can you explain your familiarity with inventory control?
  • Can you share an example of a time you resolved an issue with a register or point-of sale system?
  • What skills or knowledge make someone a great fit for this role?

These questions will help you find someone who ticks all the boxes on your hiring checklist. It will also ensure your new employee jumps in and gets started quickly.

Customer Service and Sales Skills

Customer service and sales play vital roles in the retail space. Employees must provide exceptional service and ensure customers are satisfied while meeting sales targets. When interviewing candidates, ask retail interview questions that show their ability to handle a variety of customer service and sales situations, such as:

  • Can you describe a time you went above and beyond to assist a customer?
  • How do you handle difficult or irate customers?
  • If a customer hesitates to make a purchase, what would you do?
  • Tell me about a time you exceeded your sales targets. How did you accomplish this?

With these questions, you will understand the candidate’s sales techniques and ability to build rapport with customers.

Teamwork and Communication Skills

In a retail environment, teamwork and communication are essential for creating a cohesive and efficient work environment. Employees need to collaborate effectively and communicate with each other and customers.

To evaluate these skills, ask behavioral-based questions that show how candidates have handled a range of past scenarios:

  • Can you describe a time you worked as part of a team to achieve a common goal?
  • How have you handled conflicts or disagreements with coworkers?
  • When you’ve needed to communicate important information to a customer, how did you do it?
  • When is a time your team failed to hit its goals? What did you do?

The goal is to empower candidates during the interview process to showcase how well they work with others and handle various types of conflict.

Problem-solving and Decision-making Skills

In a fast-paced retail environment, you want to hire employees who can think on their feet and make effective decisions quickly. To assess these skills, ask candidates the following retail interview questions:

  • Describe a time you had to make a split-second decision in the workplace. What did you do?
  • How do you prioritize tasks when you have multiple demands on your time?
  • Give an example of when you had to make a quick decision with limited information. What were the results?
  • What would you do if your manager made a decision you disagreed with?

These questions will help you understand how well the candidate performs under pressure, which is essential for handling problems well in a retail environment.

Other Useful Retail Interview Questions

Don’t forget to structure your interview with a beginning, middle, and end. For example, you could begin the interview with a few icebreaker questions such as, “How did you hear about the open position?” or, “What excites you most about working for our store?” This gives candidates a moment to ease into the interview and yields a more genuine interview experience.

Also, close your interview by asking if the candidate has questions for you about the position or next steps. This way, they get the information they need while you close your interview on a positive note. Creating an interview checklist will help keep your interview focused and flowing smoothly.

Find Your Next Great Hire

Now that you know which retail interview questions will help you find great-fit hires for your store, it’s time to get started by advertising your open position. Create your job posting with a free trial on Monster to reach qualified candidates today.