5 Common Assistant Store Manager Interview Questions & Answers

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: September 28, 2023

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You’ve built the perfect resume and professional cover letter to land an interview for the assistant store manager position. Now, it’s time to get ready for your first interview. Remember to highlight your customer service, personnel and inventory management, interpersonal skills and merchandising expertise. 

In this quick guide, you’ll find:

  • 5 common assistant store manager interview questions & sample answers
  • Tips to prepare for your assistant store manager interview
  • Resources to help you in your interview process
Still applying for assistant store manager positions? Find the right resume format to highlight your strengths and use our guide on how to write a resume to write a professional document to pass the ATS test. Our resume examples and resume templates can help you build the perfect resume to advance your career.

5 Assistant Store Manager Interview Questions & Sample Answers

Questions asked in an assistant store manager interview will go beyond your resume. Hiring managers seek to know if you are a good fit for the company through your possible day-to-day as well as other important tasks on your way to management. 

Remember, if you have experience in retail or management, use real life examples to illustrate and back up your answer. 

Are you able to handle long hours and stress?

With this interview question for an assistant store manager position, hiring managers want to know more about not only your availability but your physical endurance and ability to maintain quality service. 

Sample answer: I understand the numerous responsibilities that come with being an assistant store manager and am capable of handling the stress associated with it. At my last job, it was not uncommon for me to work 10-hour shifts where I had to constantly be on my feet. One way that helps with handling everything is being able to delegate tasks efficiently. I would never want my colleagues to think I am simply unloading tasks on them, so I always express my utmost gratitude to the people who help me maintain the high level of quality of the store.

How would you handle customer complaints?

In this interview question for an assistant store manager position, hiring managers seek to know more about how you handle conflict without affecting customer service and maintaining retail policies. If you have experience, use a real life example to back up your answer. 

Sample answer: Having worked as an assistant store manager in the past, I know how to handle difficult customers. Once I had a customer come in with a blender he said was broken, but it almost looked like someone had dropped it. The customer was really causing a scene and demanding his money back. I did not want to make other customers in the store uncomfortable, so I offered the difficult customer store credit, which seemed to resolve the situation. Should a complaint come up that I could not handle, I would likely ask for the assistance of the manager.

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Do you have experience with firing or hiring personnel?

Management roles require an eye for personnel, what works and what doesn’t. With these assistant store manager job interview questions, hiring managers want to learn more about your ability to discern future talent, how to maintain employee morale and how to handle both situations without affecting employee retention and satisfaction. 

Sample answer: I have quite a bit of experience in the hiring process. At my last job, I would usually sit in with the manager any time she was interviewing a potential employee. She usually gave me an opportunity to ask a couple questions, and after we had interviewed everyone for the day, she would consult with me about my opinion regarding who was most qualified. I have only ever fired one person, and I only had to do it because the manager was out for the week and my employer wanted the employee in question gone immediately. It was difficult, but I managed to handle it successfully.

Are you comfortable dealing with both low-level employees and upper management?

As an assistant store manager, you would be acting as liaison between your everyday employees and higher ups. In this retail assistant store manager interview question, your interpersonal skills should be front and center, highlighting your leadership and communication skills. 

Sample answer: I understand that as an assistant store manager, I will be required to interact with different individuals on a daily basis. When the employer gives me information to communicate to the entry-level employers, I am able to convey all of the material without leaving out a single detail. When issues come up at the store, I am the one who has to let upper management know.

How would you handle a difficult employee?

With this retail assistant store manager interview question, hiring managers seek to know how you handle employee relationships, what your decision-making process is as well as your ethical skills.

Sample answer: If issues came up with an employee, the first thing I would do is bring it to the attention of the manager. Once we had an employee constantly show up late. I brought it to the attention of the manager, who did not realize because he had other duties to attend to, and he was particularly upset because the employee in question was marking that he was showing up on time on his time card. The first thing I did was speak with the employee and tell him that if he ever showed up late again and lied about it, there would be much more severe consequences. The worker continued arriving late, so we ultimately had to terminate his employment.

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Assistant store manager interview tips

  • Research the company — Use official channels like the company website and the news and, if possible, ask current or former employees about their experience. This will help you prepare for your interview questions for assistant store manager. 
  • Use keywords from the job description in your answers — Save the job description and use its information to answer the questions. Mention your experience with tools, like inventory software, POS systems, KPI goals and other skills mentioned in the description. 
  • Practice with others and in front of a mirror — Use these questions and check other commonly asked interview questions to prepare for your assistant store manager interview. 
  • Use the STAR  method to answer your questions — Separate your complex answer into four areas with the STAR method. This method will help you answer complex questions and keep track of your thoughts during your assistant store manager interview. For example: 
    • Explain the Situation — “The issue we were facing…” 
    • Define your Task — “I was responsible for…”
    • Discuss the Actions — “We decided…”
    • Share the Results — “As a result,…”
  • Prepare questions for your interviewer — This is your chance to interview the interviewer. Prepare at least three questions to ask during or at the end of your assistant store manager interview. Think about what you’d like to know before continuing the interview rounds and also showcase your interview research with these questions. Feel free to bring a notebook or paper with your questions written down.
  • Bring hard copies of your resume and cover letter — Highlight your preparedness by bringing in a hard copy of your documents. You’ll leave a good impression by arriving at your assistant store manager interview ready to tackle any issues, even if it’s a finicky office printer. 

Key takeaways assistant store manager interview 

  • Practice before your assistant store manager interview using common questions and answers, like the examples on this page. 
  • Use the job description to build the answers for your interview questions for assistant store manager.
  • The STAR method can help you answer in an organized manner and keep track of your response to ensure you’re not missing any points. 

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