Interviewing

how to answer the interview questions to get a position

You decided to work in retail. Oh, that’s great. Schedules are often flexible, managers are more likely to be cool and you could get some in-store discounts. Before you can dream in colour, you have to get the job. Specifically, you need to stand out at the interview. So, what do you do if you’ve never worked in retail? Besides your love of shopping, what else do you have to offer? Don’t panic. Here’s how to answer the interview questions.

Do you have retail experience?

Suppose you don’t have one. Of course, you might just want to run away from the store, but in reality, all is not lost. If you go back a bit, you’ve probably already sold something to someone (like convincing your parents that you were going to the library on your way to a party). If not, you’ve probably found yourself in situations that are very reminiscent of retail, such as an oral presentation at school. It’s not something you’ll want to share in an interview, but it should be enough to give you confidence for the job.

When answering the question, focus on the skills required for the job. Refer to the summary of the required experience included in the job description on the job posting.

Not yet, but I think my interests and personality fit well with this position. I’m a sociable person and I have a lot of interpersonal skills. I’m also very fashionista in every sense of the word. I keep up to date on blogs and try to keep up with the latest trends. I think I have great taste in colour and style. My family and friends ask me to advise them on their clothing. Fabrics and fits hold no secrets for me; I’ve been sewing my clothes since the third grade.

Can you work a minimum of 16 hours a week?

This clearly depends on the job requirements and your situation. Are you looking for a full-time job? Would you prefer a part-time job? Are you still a student? All of these factors are relevant to your answer. Be honest and realistic about what you really want and what you can commit to, but keep in mind that they don’t just assess your availability, but also your level of interest and commitment. They want to hire someone reliable.

If there is any reason why this might be a problem, try to formulate a professional response.

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During the summer, I want to work full-time, but when the session resumes in September, I have to work part-time. Studying is very important to me, but I take all my commitments seriously and I would be happy to work according to the schedule available.

Can you work late night and early morning shifts? On weekends?

As with the previous question, they want to know how serious and committed you are. They especially want to know if they can count on you when it’s busy. Again, it’s about knowing what you want and being honest (in the interview and with yourself). Does working on the weekends bring you to the top of your depression? Does early morning rhyme with torture?

Take time to think carefully before committing to anything.

I don’t have a problem with shifts, but I have a bit of driving to do and I’m more of a night person, so I’d prefer evening hours rather than early morning hours. I can also work weekends if necessary, but my preference would be during the week.

Why do you want to work in retail/for our company?

As in any industry, the famous “why” question will always be on the recruiter’s mind. It is particularly relevant in retail because despite all the advantages mentioned above, it can pose some difficulties. You are on your feet for long periods of time and are usually at the mercy of the whims of your clientele. To say the least, it’s not for everyone.

To gain points for this question, focus on the company itself, an aspect of the job or a learning opportunity.

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I’ve been a fan of the brand and its designs for a long time and it’s important for me to work for a company I believe in. Your company has always done a great job with merchandising and I would love the chance to learn more about it.

Or

I would like to work in retail because I like the human aspect of it. Shopping makes people happy when they find the right shoe and I would like to be a part of that.

Why should we hire you?

Fortunately, by the time you get to this question, you will have already answered it during the interview. If not, take the opportunity to provide a summary of your CV. If you have experience, it’s time to brag. If you don’t, you can always charm them with a concise and punchy conclusion. Put forward your interests, skills and ambitions and dare to use a bit of humour.

You should hire me, because I’m really into fashion and your brand. I’ve also always been a very outgoing person and can’t wait to learn more about sales and customer service.

So you’ve got some basic tips to help you answer the interview questions for a retail job. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t throw away the other basic interview principles in favour of these (let’s say more specialized) tips. Be confident, dress appropriately, look the recruiter in the eye and smile…a retail job is waiting for you!

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