5 Most Important Tips to Nail a Retail Job Interview

... and get you hired!

Congratulations! You've beat out the hundreds of other retail job applicants and landed the all-important interview. Now what? How do you ace the interview and actually land the job?

We've all been there: sweaty palms, fast heart rate, dry mouth; interviews makes us nervous and no matter how experienced you are, feelings of anxiety degrade our performance and prevent us from showcasing our very best. But with these 5 tips, you'll be well on your way to getting the job offer.

1. Preparation

Know about the company you're interviewing for – and I don't mean just knowing that they are a company that sells clothes – but research the company so you can demonstrate knowledge and passion for their brand. Their company website and Wikipedia are great sources to turn to.

Know their customers:

A company like Oakley will likely not have the same customer base as Forever 21. Demonstrating your understanding of their customers and the industry will earn you valuable points.

Know their competitors:

Learning who their direct competitors are will help you improve your ability to sell and differentiate the brand's product line when talking with customers. Interviewers love to see that you've done your homework.

Visit their store:

This is a great way to observe the sales process and customer interactions. At the interview, you can point out observations you've made, but keep them positive unless asked specifically about areas you think could improve. You should be prepared with a few ideas. This kind of proactive approach will show that you're an employee who will add value right from the start.

2. Exemplify the right attitude

Studies show that specific attitudes correlate to work performance. So it's no surprise that companies want people with the right attitude for the job – and nowhere is that more important than customer facing jobs like in retail. Don't forget to be sociable, conscientious, and relatable throughout your interview. Those are key characteristics retailers look for.

3. Dress appropriately for the interview

We've all heard it before: how you look is the first impression you make. That is especially true when you're representing their brand to customers. It is not to say that you should go into an interview decked out in clothing from the company, but rather, wear something that reflects the company's overall fashion style. More importantly though, don't wear a competitor's brand that is conspicuously labeled. That's a huge no-no. When in doubt, veer on the conservative side or stick with business attire.


Suit, tie, dress slacks, button down shirt, dress shoes


Dress with a jacket, dress slacks, blouse, closed toe shoes

4. Prepare answers to common interview questions

It's inevitable that you will be asked these questions or at least similar ones, so figuring out your answers in advance will ensure a smooth and confident delivery.

Tell me about yourself.

Here is when your elevator pitch comes in. Keep it focused and short, ideally within one minute. Mention a couple of expertise highlights from your professional experience that has led you to this opportunity. You can also throw in a personal tidbit, but don't inundate your interviewer with unnecessary details.

What makes you suitable for the job?

Identify the work you've done previously that fit the job in front of you. Emphasize your strengths and propose ideas to show how you will add value their company. I don't mean of course, that you have to come up with a detailed strategic blueprint to double their market share in the next fiscal year - nor do the ideas even have to be novel. Just some suggestions on process improvement for example, is enough for the interviewer to appreciate your earnestness, and helps them easily picture you as a future contributing team member.

Describe a time when you had a difficult customer. How did you handle it?

Here the interviewer really wants to know your thought process in a stressful situation; whether you can keep your composure, think dynamically, and all the while still deliver good customer service. So go ahead and give a clear description of the situation by describing the circumstances, the actions you took, and the outcome - which ideally meant a happy customer in the end.

5. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

Finally, don't forget to prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. Here are some questions that show you're engaged and genuinely interested in the role and in the company. And it's also your chance to learn about the next steps in the recruitment process, if it hasn't been covered already.

  • What does a successful initiate in your company look like?
  • What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
  • What opportunities are there for advancement and training?
  • What are the next steps in the recruitment process?

Job interviews needn't stress you out. And they are an inevitable part of life, so you might as well learn the skills to get good at it. Master these 5 tips and you're well on your way to acing your retail job interview. Anxiety and shaky nerves will be a thing of the past as you say hello to your new job in retail.

If you have friends who are also nervous about interviews, help them out by sharing this article. And if you want help finding jobs or know someone who's looking for a great job, go to JobGet.com. It's the fastest way to find a job in retail and food services.