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Interview questions

Retail Assistant

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What has been your journey so far?

What do you enjoy most about being a Retail Assistant?

Why did you choose to become a Retail Assistant?

Behavioral Questions

  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer. What did you do?
  • One of the key skills for a Retail Assistant to have is the ability to work well with customers, no matter how difficult.
  • What has been your biggest challenge at work so far, and how did you overcome it?
  • This question gives you an idea of the candidate’s relevant work experience and how they deal with challenges.
  • Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a customer.
  • Again, customer service is at the heart of the Retail Assistant role. This question answers how customer-focussed the candidate is in their work.

Soft Skills

  • Tell me how you would try to stay up to date with all the different products we sell in our store.
  • Your store’s stock will most likely shift a lot, and your Retail Assistant has to try to stay up to date with these changes. Find out how they accomplish this.
  • How would you try to upsell something to a customer?
  • This question is particularly important if you’re specifically looking for a Retail Sales Assistant, but even a general Retail Assistant needs to know the basics of upselling products to a customer. This question also tests how the candidate’s people-skills are, as they shouldn’t come off as too pushy!
  • Some days can be boring and repetitive. How do you keep yourself motivated during these times?
  • Stores always have their quiet hours and days. During those moments, the job of a Retail Assistant can get boring. Find out how your candidate stays motivated during such times.
  • How do you handle stressful situations?
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum are the busy peak hours and pre-holiday surges of customers. These times can get incredibly stressful, and your Retail Assistant needs to be able to stay calm and focussed during these times.

Hard Skills

  • What POS systems have you worked with in the past?
  • This question tests the candidate’s experience in this area.
  • How well do you know our store and industry? Tell us about it in a few sentences.
  • Find out if the candidate did their research into your company and industry before the interview.
  • What makes our store stand out compared to the competition?
  • Again, this question tests their knowledge on your store and industry. Are they aware of your brand’s USPs?

Operational / Situational Questions

  • You see someone trying to steal an item in the store. What do you do?
  • This is bound to happen at some point during a Retail Assistant’s career. Find out how your candidate handles such a situation.
  • A child is wreaking havoc in the store, throwing products on the floor and screaming their lungs out, and the parent just stands there doing nothing. What do you do?
  • Although you might be tempted to tell the kid off and kick them out of the store, you don’t want to risk the wrath of an angry parent. Dealing with a situation like this can be tough, so the candidate’s answer should give you a lot of valuable insights into how they deal with difficult customer situations.
  • You notice a colleague is taking a lot of smoke breaks during their shift, especially at times when things seem to get busy. How do you react to this?
  • Will your candidate report it to the supervisor, or will they mention it to the colleague first? The answer to this question can tell you a lot about the candidate’s personality in a work setting.

Retail Assistant Interview Questions

A Retail Assistant provides your customers with on-the-floor support and assistance. Their job can entail a variety of tasks, including processing sales transactions, keeping the store clean and tidy, and providing customer service and support. As such, Retail Assistants are in charge of the general day-to-day management of your store.

Typical Retail Assistant skills and characteristics to look for during the job interview include:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a customer-centric mindset
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure and polite even when facing difficult, unreasonable customers
  • Sales-driven approach to persuade customers to purchase more (expensive) products
  • Neat and organised way of working and the ability to apply this same mindset to the interior of the store to ensure it’s presentable

Interviewing a Retail Assistant

Hiring the right Retail Assistant can have a massive impact on how your store is run and how it’s perceived by customers. As a direct point of contact for your customer base, you want to ensure you make the right hire. Luckily for you, we’re here to help.

Below, you can find a list of Retail Assistant interview questions and answers to ask your potential candidate. These questions are designed to ask early on during the interview process, helping you vet through candidates more easily and more effectively. You will quickly find out whether a candidate has what it takes to become a valuable asset to your team.

How to open the job interview

Too often, interviewers resort to scare tactics and grilling candidates to test their knowledge and skills. But this approach generally doesn’t produce the desired results.

Candidates produce much better, more genuine, and more accurate answers if they feel comfortable and at ease. If they feel stressed or anxious, they might fail to give you their best answer. Not because they don’t know, but because they’re overcome by nervousness. As a result, you might think a candidate isn’t a good fit for the job, while in reality they are. You just scared them off.

Instead, open the Retail Assistant job interview with one or two easy questions that they will definitely know the answer to. This helps their confidence, which means they will feel more comfortable as the interview progresses

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What has been your journey so far?

What do you enjoy most about being a Retail Assistant?

Why did you choose to become a Retail Assistant?

Behavioral Questions

  • Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer. What did you do?
  • One of the key skills for a Retail Assistant to have is the ability to work well with customers, no matter how difficult.
  • What has been your biggest challenge at work so far, and how did you overcome it?
  • This question gives you an idea of the candidate’s relevant work experience and how they deal with challenges.
  • Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a customer.
  • Again, customer service is at the heart of the Retail Assistant role. This question answers how customer-focussed the candidate is in their work.

Soft Skills

  • Tell me how you would try to stay up to date with all the different products we sell in our store.
  • Your store’s stock will most likely shift a lot, and your Retail Assistant has to try to stay up to date with these changes. Find out how they accomplish this.
  • How would you try to upsell something to a customer?
  • This question is particularly important if you’re specifically looking for a Retail Sales Assistant, but even a general Retail Assistant needs to know the basics of upselling products to a customer. This question also tests how the candidate’s people-skills are, as they shouldn’t come off as too pushy!
  • Some days can be boring and repetitive. How do you keep yourself motivated during these times?
  • Stores always have their quiet hours and days. During those moments, the job of a Retail Assistant can get boring. Find out how your candidate stays motivated during such times.
  • How do you handle stressful situations?
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum are the busy peak hours and pre-holiday surges of customers. These times can get incredibly stressful, and your Retail Assistant needs to be able to stay calm and focussed during these times.

Hard Skills

  • What POS systems have you worked with in the past?
  • This question tests the candidate’s experience in this area.
  • How well do you know our store and industry? Tell us about it in a few sentences.
  • Find out if the candidate did their research into your company and industry before the interview.
  • What makes our store stand out compared to the competition?
  • Again, this question tests their knowledge on your store and industry. Are they aware of your brand’s USPs?

Operational / Situational Questions

  • You see someone trying to steal an item in the store. What do you do?
  • This is bound to happen at some point during a Retail Assistant’s career. Find out how your candidate handles such a situation.
  • A child is wreaking havoc in the store, throwing products on the floor and screaming their lungs out, and the parent just stands there doing nothing. What do you do?
  • Although you might be tempted to tell the kid off and kick them out of the store, you don’t want to risk the wrath of an angry parent. Dealing with a situation like this can be tough, so the candidate’s answer should give you a lot of valuable insights into how they deal with difficult customer situations.
  • You notice a colleague is taking a lot of smoke breaks during their shift, especially at times when things seem to get busy. How do you react to this?
  • Will your candidate report it to the supervisor, or will they mention it to the colleague first? The answer to this question can tell you a lot about the candidate’s personality in a work setting.

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