Retail Store Manager Interview Preparation Guide
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Retail Store Manager related Frequently Asked Questions in various Retail Store Manager job interviews by interviewer. The set of questions here ensures that you offer a perfect answer posed to you. So get preparation for your new job hunting

53 Retail Store Manager Questions and Answers:

1 :: Explain me why are you interested in a position at this company?

Detail why you want a job with this specific company. Base your answer to this retail job interview question on what you have learned about the company from your pre-interview research.

How does this company differ from the competition? What about the way it operates attracts you? What interesting innovations have the company introduced such as customer loyalty programs and on-line services.

The company will expect you to have done your homework. Know their main competitors and be aware of current industry trends. The internet is a useful source of information.

2 :: Explain me what would you do in a situation where you have an understaffed shift?

This is another situation where strong problem solving skills are needed. Within store management there are certain situations that you are bound to face at some point, and being understaffed is one of them. Employers want to know that you will be able to properly handle such a situation. In answering this question, provide a detailed course of action that you would take to try to get the store properly staffed as quickly as possible, ending with your willingness to cover the shift if need be. This showcases your leadership abilities, which interviewers are looking for.

3 :: Tell me how do you see our brand?

This one is such an important question, and is something of an extension to the first question. In fact, you may get your answer to this in the first answer. You want to hire someone who understands your brand, because, after all, your sales people are the face of your brand.

If you’re a manager at an upscale clothing store which prides itself on excellent customer service, you can’t hire someone who believes that your clothes are terrible quality and they can give your customers minimal service. That’s a no-brainer.

4 :: Tell me can you create X with our product? (Or: Sell me that product and a related product.)?

You want to know this prospect has the ability to mix and match items first for suggestive selling reasons. You need to know that your prospect can take a client buying a bedspread and show them the benefits of buying matching sheets.

Secondly, if you’re a clothes seller, you want to know that your sales person can do more than just suggestive sell. You need someone who can style an outfit.

Of course, your prospect does not have the benefit of having the inventory virtually memorized like you do, so you have to allow for a little bit of extra time. But overall, anyone who’s got a natural knack for sales should be able to pick out two related items and give some sort of pitch as to why you should buy them together.

5 :: Tell Me how Would You Handle an Understaffed Shift?

Unless you are being interviewed for a position with a large department store, it is likely that there will only be one or two sales associates on duty at any given time. As such, when an employee does not report for duty, this can put the store in a bind. Your interviewer will want to know how you would handle such a situation. “I would first contact the employees who were scheduled off that day to find out if they are willing to cover the shift. If not, I would take it upon myself to cover that shift on my own.” This answer not only shows that you have a plan in place, but it also proves that you are dedicated to your job if that plan fails.

6 :: What skills can you bring to the retailer?
How have you successfully managed conflict?
When was the last time your plans were disrupted due to an unexpected event? How did you react?
Describe a situation where you were: under pressure; able to influence someone; creative; motivated (and showed it); able to stay calm; decisive etc
How have you ensured quality in the teams you have worked in?
Tell me about a time when you dealt with a difficult customer.?

Questions about your skills will align with the competencies that the retailer seeks and the values of the company, so if they are an entrepreneurial company, for example, expect questions about times you took the initiative or improved something.

☛ The first step to preparing for these questions is to remind yourself of the attributes the company wants – reread the job ad.
☛ The next step is to come up with examples of when you developed and demonstrated these skills from your part-time jobs, internships, extra-curricular activities and your course.
☛ Practise explaining these examples – many graduates don’t show themselves in the best light they could. Use the CAR structure: explain the Circumstances (or background), the Actions you took and the Results (or outcomes). If you’re talking about when you worked in a team, focus on what you did.

7 :: Explain me what previous experience have you had?

Totally standard question, but you want to look for people who are comfortable working in an extremely fast paced environment and enjoy helping people. You should also look for people with standard computer skills. (I say this because, even though basic computer skills seem like basic motor skills these days, you wouldn’t believe how many coworkers I had who did not understand how to work any of our point of sale software for the duration of their employment.)

For most sales associate positions, I don’t think those you hire need to have any previous experience in retail. I also don’t think, depending on your brand, they even necessarily have to have any real experience. We all start somewhere, and if the person you hire has the right natural abilities, it doesn’t matter what they did beforehand; you were going to train them anyway. Sometimes it’s even a bonus to hire raw talent because you can mold them into the perfect employee for your brand.

Regardless, though, you need to be looking for people who can multitask, move and think quickly, and are willing to do as much as it takes to please a customer. These are three critical features to a good retail worker. You cannot hire someone who doesn’t have all three of these.

8 :: Tell me what do you feel is the key role of a retail manager?

This question is asked to determine whether you have an understanding of what a retail manager’s position is. Use this opportunity to speak about the retail management business and what you think would be your responsibilities would be. Read up about the position! Once the interviewer is convinced that you understand the role of a retail manager, your chances of being hired are good.

Some duties and qualities required of the retail manager are:
☛ Team leadership and team development abilities.
☛ Managing the hiring process: HR activities and employee training.
☛ Workplace scheduling – Day to day operations.
☛ Problem solving skills – Communications skills.
☛ Sales management.
☛ Product and project management – Professional qualities and prioritization.

9 :: Tell me what makes you suitable for this retail job?

Focus on specific experience and training in your career history. Identify things you have done that match the job you are interviewing for. Emphasize what qualifies you for this particular job and how you can add value to the job and company.

What transferable skills have you gained in your previous jobs? Look at the job tasks such as buying merchandise, customer care, and highlight your experience in performing these. If there are areas of the job function that you do not yet have experience in then highlight what skills you have that will facilitate learning and succeeding in these tasks. For example your ability to remain calm under pressure and listen carefully will help you in a customer complaints function.

10 :: Explain me how did you sell XYZ Product in the past?

This question is similar to the previous question, however it is more targeted and speaks to a specific product. Even if you have strong sales experience, your interviewer will want to know that you have a plan for successfully selling their main products. As such, when answering this question you will want to detail your method for selling the specific product mentioned. If you have more than one method, mention them; this shows versatility and preparation, which the interviewer will appreciate. You will want to share an example here as well.

11 :: Tell me what would you consider your biggest advantage as a retail manager?

Use your personal experience and speak to people in the field – enter any store and ask the manager this question. You will probably pick up some very relevant points. Consult with a friend if need be to see which of your qualities make you most suited for this position.

12 :: Explain me tough situation with a customer that you were able to successfully turn into a sale?

You can alter this one if your prospect has no sales/retail experience. Overall, you want to look for someone who rightly recognizes moments and customers that require extra care, and that then go the extra mile to make these situations come out well. Ideally, your prospect was able to convert this rough situation into a sale, but I think pacifying an angry customer is equally as good.

Anyone who worked in retail and was a decent seller has plenty of these stories lying around, so you can assume anyone who either doesn’t have a story, or has one describing a not-very-tough situation is probably not a good fit for retail.

If you’ve altered this answer for someone with no previous retail experience, the main elements you’re looking for in an answer are: your prospect pacified someone who was upset (with them, with their work, with another situation), and possibly even turned the outcome in their own favor. An example of answer from a teenager you’re interested in hiring who’s only ever babysat before could go as follows:

The child I was watching was very upset because they could not watch television. Instead of letting them cry on the floor, I distracted them by singing a song in a funny voice and then convinced them to go outside.

13 :: What would you do if an employee has been arriving 30 minutes late to work every day? (for a store management job)
A certain product is being sold at the same price and same quantity as it is at a competing retailer, but the product at our stores is not selling as well. Why do you think this is? What would you do about it?
What would you do if the employee replacing you on the next shift doesn’t turn up?

Start by taking time to think about the scenario you are given and make sure you ask questions if you don’t understand or if there is something you want to check. Don’t feel pressured to rush your answer. If you are worried about pausing for too long, tell your interviewer that you are taking some time to think. Explain your thought processes clearly and remember that it’s fine to say that, if faced with this scenario, you would ideally check company policies or procedures before acting. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut instinct.

14 :: Explain me while you are applying for a store management position, can you still work as part of a successful team?

One of the best answers for retail management interview questions like this one is yes! As a store manager, it is your responsibility to manage the entire store, as well as each employee. On that same note, store managers often help with everyday tasks. This is particularly common in small stores with limited payroll hours. Job interviewers want to know that you can not only handle the management aspects, but the team aspects as well, such as helping your stockers unload a warehouse truck.

15 :: Explain me a bit about your professional background and educational qualification?

Speak about your professional background. If you have experience in retail sales, provide dates and other details such as product range, number of customers per day or hour, size of outlet, etc. If you lack experience in this specific field, try to relate any experience you do have, even if volunteer, to the retail manager position. Find commonalities; relate some anecdotes that will show you can perform as a retail manager. Consult with friends involved in retail establishments for assistance if need be.

16 :: Why did you apply to our store as Retail Store Manager?

This is a great question to jump into the interview with after you’ve exchanged pleasantries. As a hint, you’re not looking to hear in reply that they needed money. That’s the answer to why they started looking for a job. You want to know why they applied to your store in particular.

A future stellar employee’s response should tell you how they are personally invested in the brand. Keep in mind, the answer doesn’t have to be that they LOVE your products and they purchase everything from the store. (In fact – you may want to avoid these responders for a couple of reasons, the first, and most cynical being: you don’t want to lose a good customer.)

A great response can often be something like: “My mother shops here all the time, and I’ve always enjoyed being at this store. The sales people are kind and very helpful; the products are beautiful and high quality; overall, it’s just the type of environment and values that I think are important and would like to be a part of.”

That kind of answer demonstrates personal investment in the brand, an understanding of the brand, and an interest in growing as an employee. It’s probably a more developed response than you will likely get, but shoot for the stars and you’ll at least hit the moon, right?

17 :: Who are our main competitors? How do they differ from us? What do you think we do better than them?
Who are our customers?
What changes would you make to our stores?
What challenges/issues do you think the retailer or the retail sector generally is facing?
What are your thoughts on our CSR/fair trade/ethical/sustainability policy?

The only way to tackle questions on the company and its business strategy is to research, research and research again. Read the company’s website, its annual reports and press releases. Search for and read any media reports and analyses on the company and its competitors. Visit one of the retailer’s stores – more than one, if you can – and get a feel for the ethos of the company, how its brand is being put across, its layout, its customer service etc. If you can, talk to employees. It’s also a good idea to ask friends and family if they’ve shopped there and what they think of the organisation.

All of this will give you valuable insights to draw upon in your interview. Aim to visit a competitor’s store too, and compare the similarities and differences that you notice in the same areas. Make notes as you go and think about the opportunities and threats facing the retailer, and what its strengths and weaknesses are.

18 :: Explain me why do you want to leave your present job?

While I do enjoy working at my current job but I am looking for more responsibility with new and fresh challenges. As I have been working with my current employers for almost three and half years and on this position for the last 2 years, I have grown in my role with a lot of learning.

Secondly, I believe that at the moment the growth opportunities are limited with my current organisation. After working for almost 3 and half years I have learned how the company runs the entire business cycle, I think it is time is to move on to a progressive organisation with more opportunities and challenges

19 :: Explain me what qualities do you consider most important in this retail job?

Generally good communication skills, flexibility, a strong customer service orientation and a high energy level are key to success in a retail position. Go into more detail by expanding on these qualities.

For example, good communication includes excellent and active listening skills, the ability to ask the right questions to get clarity on what the customer is asking and to be able to respond to the customer in a concise and easily understood manner.

20 :: Tell me what is the job role of a retail sales manager or what are the responsibilities of a Retail Sales Manager?

Some of the important duties and qualities required of the Retail Manager are:

☛ Management of Team, Providing Leadership and development of the team’s abilities to perform and give results.
☛ HR activities: Recruitment / hiring; employee training and motivation.
☛ Manage Day to day activities and operations
☛ Good Communications skills.
☛ Problem solving skills
☛ Retail Sales Management and Customer Relations Management

Overall responsibility of managing the store which includes meeting the targets and earning profits. He is responsible for the smooth and effective functioning of the store.