Sample retail interview questions

Retail sales is an art, so when you’re hiring a retail salesperson you’re really looking for an artist. To identify your next retail sales artist, you have to get the right information.

One way to identify them early on is by making sure you’ve tailored your interview process to find them. That means making sure you’re properly prepared for the interview and know the right questions to ask. Here are some sample retail interview questions to help you find your next hire.

Interview questions to cover the basics

The interview should include questions about the candidate’s skills and experience as described in your company’s retail salesperson job description. Foundational retail interview questions include:

  • Tell me about your previous work experience as a retail salesperson.
  • What type of products and merchandise have you been most successful with selling?
  • What do you know about this company’s products and services?
  • What makes you a great candidate for this job in particular?
  • What do you enjoy about working in retail sales?
  • What have you done at your present/last company to increase revenues, reduce costs, or save time?
  • What type of retail sales systems have you used in the past?
  • What was the management structure in your previous retail sales jobs?
  • Did you work on a sales commission basis?
  • What have you done to become a better retail salesperson?
  • What type of schedule are you looking to work?
  • Would you be available to work additional shifts?

One of the challenges with strong salespeople, however, is they’re often very competitive. In your retail interview questions, then, you’ll want to find out how the candidate handles that part of the business.

Retail interview questions to cover compatibility with company culture

A successful interview process should include a range of questions that clarify the candidates’ attitude, which can help you determine whether they’re likely to be a good match for your company culture. Questions may include:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses when interacting with customers?
  • Do you prefer to work with other salespeople, or do you work better alone? Why?
  • Tell me about an experience where you felt you did your best helping a customer.
  • Talk about a time when you were challenged in the sales process — why was that, and how did you handle it?

Naturally, the answers to your retail interview questions will separate the average salespeople from the best ones. But if a candidate has sold you, that’s a good sign you found a true artist.

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