27 Retail Interview Questions (+ How to Answer)

November 16, 2023

10 min read

An Asian woman in a red sweater scans her credit card to complete a purchase

Retail is a very popular industry to work in. It’s fast-paced and full of social interaction, which many people love. If you have an upcoming interview, be sure to start by practicing some common retail interview questions. It’s one of the best ways to prepare. 

Check out more ways to prepare for the interview, as well as which types of retail interview questions to expect, and 27 specific questions to practice. 

Prep Work for Answering Retail Interview Questions

Putting in a little time and effort to prep for answering retail interview questions is always worth it. You’re more confident and at ease when you’re prepared, after all. 

To get ready for an upcoming interview, check out the four best ways you can prepare.

1. Practice answering common retail interview questions out loud.

Although it might not be the most exciting thing, the most surefire way to prepare for your upcoming interview is to practice answering common retail interview questions aloud. One of the easiest ways to do this is with an online interview simulation like Yoodli, which you can download directly to your desktop.

Yoodli uses generative AI to provide users with a realistic interview scenario for free. It’s also completely customizable, so you can change the tone of the interviewer from friendly to serious for a different practice. 

You’ll be able to select pre-made questions from Yoodli’s interview question bank or you can create your own. For example, you could practice solely retail interview questions or you could branch out to more specific technical questions or behavioral queries. 

Depending on the company you’re applying to, you could also take a crack at specific branded questions, like Target interview questions or Coca-Cola interview questions. It’s totally up to you.

A list of retail interview questions provided by Yoodli
Yoodli is the perfect place to practice answering specific retail interview questions.

Once you begin answering this AI interview simulator’s questions, Yoodli can then provide you  with personalized suggestions based on your speaking patterns and speech. Instead of wondering where you might need to improve, you’ll know exactly what to improve and how. 

Learn more by checking out our overview on how you can use Yoodli to practice retail interview questions:

Learn more about how to practice retail interview questions via Yoodli.

2. Take a deep dive into the company and the position you applied for.

Before your interview, you should not only be familiar with the role you’re applying for, but also with the company. 

Review the job description and make sure you know what qualifications they’re looking for and think about how your experience and skills relate to what the position requires. Even if your experience doesn’t relate directly, you can pick out individual skills and describe how they’re applicable. 

Be sure to do some research and read about the company, too. Check out the website, its about page, the mission statement, and other information available. You can also explore the company’s social media sites, like LinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Instagram. 

You can also explore the reviews on a site like Glassdoor to see what other employees say about the company. 

3. Be positive and enthusiastic.

With retail interview questions, your attitude matters. Whereas some jobs don’t necessarily require lots of social interaction, retail jobs typically do. 

The interviewer is going to be looking for someone who’s positive, enthusiastic, and genuinely excited about the opportunity, so make sure to channel all your positive emotions to the forefront. 

Retail involves lots of interactions with guests and customers, so they need to know you’re fit for the job and care about the customer. 

4. Reach out to others in retail for advice or guidance.

You can also network with people in the retail industry to gain some insider knowledge and insights. LinkedIn is a great place to do so, since it’s a social media platform tailored to networking and connecting with professionals. You can even direct message people on LinkedIn to send a personal invitation to chat or introduce yourself and pose a few questions. 

If you have any friends or family members who work in retail, that’s another great place to gain some advice or guidance. They can speak on their experience and give you tips and tricks you might not have thought about before. 

One of the more straightforward ways to connect to retail employees and managers is to go up to them directly, such as in the store. As long as they’re not actively helping guests or customers, chances are, they’ll be more than happy to answer your questions. 

Types of Retail Interview Questions

Believe it or not, there are multiple types of retail interview questions. They usually span anywhere from general, basic queries to more industry-specific questions, like customer service-oriented questions. 

Here are the most common types of retail interview questions you’re likely to face in your upcoming interview. 

General retail interview questions

It’s likely that you’ll get a few general retail interview questions, especially to begin with. Questions like “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” are especially common. They can be broad, but are meant to illuminate who you are and who you might be as an employee. 

Customer service-oriented retail interview questions

Interacting with customers is usually central to retail positions, so it’s pretty likely you’ll get a few customer service-oriented retail interview questions during your conversation. This type of question will help the interviewer get a better idea of how you deal with tricky situations with customers and what your customer service might look like. 

The goal with these questions is to weed out any candidates that might cause a negative customer experience.

Teamwork and problem-solving retail interview questions

Similar to customer service, both teamwork and problem solving skills are popular themes in retail interview questions. The interviewer wants to make sure you can be an active team player and also think critically to solve problems, even when you’re under stress or pressure. 

Teamwork and problem-solving retail questions ensure that the candidate can work well in a team and adjust their work style to the situation at hand. 

Company-specific retail interview questions

Usually, these interviews also include company-specific retail interview questions, which is why it’s so imperative to research the company ahead of time. These questions are meant to gauge an applicant’s knowledge of the company, including its culture, services, products, customer demographics, and other information. 

27 Retail Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

To help you practice, we’ve compiled a list of 27 retail interview questions, including a few sample answers to give you a better idea of what to expect

Here are some of the five most commonly asked retail questions and how you can answer them.

1. What do you know about the company?

This is where your previous research comes in. When asked this question, you could respond in a way like: “I’m very familiar with [the company] and have researched its mission and company values pretty extensively. In particular, I’m impressed with [something specific that you like about the company, such as a commitment to DEIB]. I’m also interested in [something you’re interested in about the company, such as new products or services].”  

2. What is your favorite thing about working in a retail setting?

With this question, the interviewer is trying to get an idea of whether or not you’d truly enjoy working in a retail position. 

A good answer to this question could be something along the lines of: “My favorite thing about working in retail settings is probably the opportunity to help people on a local level through customer service. I also thrive in a fast-paced environment, which is usually prominent in retail settings.” 

You could also include that you appreciate the unique challenges that can crop up in retail settings. 

3. How would you describe your work style?

This retail interview question is meant to gauge how well you work with others. Even if you prefer independent or solo work, this is a great place to emphasize your teamwork skills. 

For example, you could say something like: “I’m an enthusiastic team player who thrives in a collaborative setting. At the same time, I’m great at adapting to various settings and knowing which tasks to prioritize over others.” 

4. How do you handle difficult or upset customers?

If you work in retail, chances are, you’ll encounter a difficult or upset customer every once in a while. As such, the interviewer will likely ask how you deal with tricky situations like that to weed out any candidates who might struggle with this. 

An appropriate answer could be something like: “My personal rule of thumb is to always go into a customer interaction with empathy and a calm demeanor. I’m a great listener and this comes in handy with regard to my customer service as I can find solutions easier when I can understand where they’re coming from. I believe all customer issues can be resolved with effective communication and patience.” 

5. Why are you interested in working in retail?

Similar to the second question, this retail interview question is designed to make sure you would be happy and productive in a retail setting. For example, a candidate who says they aren’t interested in retail probably won’t get a second interview. 

For this question, you could provide an answer like: “Personally, I love helping people and having meaningful interactions with customers. Getting to connect with and support folks every day as part of my job would be ideal.” 

Other common retail interview questions

Here are 22 more retail interview questions to practice answering before your conversation with the interviewer:

  1. Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult or stressful scenario at work.
  2. What are some ways you stay up-to-date on the latest styles and trends in the retail industry?
  3. When you’re in a busy work environment, how do you prioritize your responsibilities and best manage your time?
  4. Have you ever used social media platforms to interact with customers or promote company services or products? 
  5. Are you able to work on holidays? What about weekends?
  6. What’s your background with regard to handling shoplifting or theft incidents?
  7. How do you usually collaborate with people at work?
  8. Do you have any experience opening and closing a retail store?
  9. Tell me about a time where you went above and beyond to help a guest or customer.
  10. What experience do you have with inventory tracking and management?
  11. Can you walk me through how you handle exchanges or returns?
  12. In such a fast-paced environment, how do you stay motivated and excited for work?
  13. What type of experience do you have using point-of-sale systems or cash registers? 
  14. What are your overall career goals in retail?
  15. Let’s say a customer asks you for a product that we no longer carry. How would you handle that scenario?
  16. Sometimes, employees get requests from multiple customers. How do you prioritize tasks when assisting multiple guests or when working multiple registers?
  17. To make sure transactions are accurate, how do you handle cash management?
  18. What experience do you have with handling feedback from guests about store policies or about the product quality?
  19. When you’re dealing with a customer who’s upset or angry, how do you keep a calm, patient demeanor?
  20. Occasionally, there’s a discrepancy between the actual stock levels and our inventory system. How would you handle this?
  21. Do you have any experience with product displays or visual merchandising?
  22. Let’s say a guest accuses you of making a mistake. How would you handle it?

The Bottom Line 

Retail is one of the most popular industries out there, and it’s an industry that always seems to have at least a few open positions. If you’ve got an interview coming up, do yourself a favor and be sure to practice some retail interview questions through a tool like Yoodli or with a friend or family member. 

Walking into an interview feeling prepared is a much better feeling than walking in feeling unprepared or empty-handed. 

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