5 Common Retail Sales Associate Interview Questions & Answers

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When you get a call that you’ve been invited for an interview, you might be equally excited and nervous. You have every reason to celebrate, but you should also be prepared to answer the questions that might be asked. Your resume and cover letter indicated that you have the right qualifications for the job, so in your face-to-face interview, you just need to confirm that you are the right fit. To accomplish this, you can study what retail sales associate interview questions are commonly asked.

Once you know what to expect, you’ll be far likelier to ace the interview and snag the job. You should research what general questions might be asked, and you should also look at some specific retail sales associate interview questions. When it comes time for the big day, you can be confident in your ability to demonstrate your skills and value to a recruiter. Spend time practicing and preparing so that you can land the job. But first you might be wondering something like:

What should I wear to a job interview for a retail store?
If you are interviewing for a job in a high-end retail store, consider business attire, like a dress shirt, slacks, and dress shoes for men, and a skirt, blouse, and dress shoes for women. If you’re interviewing for a job at a more casual retail store, consider dressing in business casual attire.

Bonus: If you’re applying for a clothing store, wear something that the store sells. Your interviewer will notice!

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7 Retail Sales Associate Interview Questions & Answers

1. Can you provide an example of a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?

I can certainly recount individual instances in which I went above my call of duty to take care of a customer’s needs. I think it’s important, however, to make that the norm rather than an occasional occurrence. I approach retail customer service with a commitment to customer satisfaction that supersedes my basic obligations. An example of this in action is a time when a customer needed a product that was unavailable in our store. Rather than leaving it at that, however, I found it at another location and ordered it for her. By doing this, I saved the sale and demonstrated my customer service skills.

2. How do you define good customer service?

You answer this question by saying something like: “Great customer service can take many different forms, and it ultimately depends on the context, but I view it as the commitment from an associate to value and acknowledge every customer. In retail, this means that every person who enters a store should be greeted, helped and served during their shopping.”
When the customer needs additional service, an associate provides it with enthusiasm and competency. It is less about a precise set of actions and more about listening to the unique needs of customers and responding with the service they need. This allows me to engage with them on a genuine level and provide them with truly great customer service.

3. How do you make sales and promote a high-value average transaction?

I know that retail is driven by sales and performance, so I strive to prioritize it in my interactions with customers. The best way to accomplish this is to offer customers the full package rather than single items. A customer often comes into the store looking for something specific, and the person might not consider what other things might complement it or also be useful. I interact with customers to understand their needs and make genuinely insightful suggestions that boost their purchase’s overall value. This serves to improve interactions with customers and promote better sales in the store.

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4. If a customer is rude, unruly or confrontational, what do you do?

I approach every customer with the same respect and acknowledgment, but if I am dealing with a customer who is hostile, I handle the situation carefully. Rather than reacting to his or her dissatisfaction, I try to deescalate it and determine the source of the upset. In doing so, I can formulate a solution and help. Above all else, I express empathy to show that I care and truly want to help. By doing this and remaining focused on a resolution, I can typically handle complaints and find a way to satisfy needs without worsening the situation and causing more upset.

5. When a customer is looking for a product or service you cannot provide, what do you say?

Occasionally, a customer will need something that we simply don’t have, but it is poor customer service to say this and end the interaction. Instead of responding negatively, I handle this situation by positively framing the options I have that may closest fit the person’s needs. I also acknowledge the fact that I cannot offer the exact item needed and apologize.

6. Why should we hire you for this position?

When responding to this interview question, focus your answer on the skills and abilities you possess that tie most directly to the job’s requirements and needs. Also, emphasize any past work experiences you have that relate to the job. Drive home the fact that you’re “the one” for the job, and do so in a manner that doesn’t sound conceited.

7. How do you exceed a customer’s expectations?

To answer this interview question thoroughly, use the following formula:

  • Explain how you identify the root of the customer’s concern
  • Describe how you come up with a solution
  • Detail how you would take the solution a step further
  • Lastly, tell your interviewer about a time that you exceeded a customer’s expectations.

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