The Top 10 Retail Interview Questions and How to Successfully Answer Them


Your CV has hit the spot and you’ve made it to the interview.


Now it’s time to get your gameface on.


It’s the final hurdle between you and landing the job.


But it doesn’t have to be difficult.


Not if you’re up to speed with the top 10 retail interview questions and how best to answer them.


Let’s get started.

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1. Why do you want to work in retail?

This question is especially relevant to retail jobs. Despite the many perks of the industry, working in retail can be challenging and it certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

The best way to approach this question is to be honest. What is it about the industry that appeals to you? Maybe you enjoy working with people or the flexibility of shift work. Or maybe you are someone who loves to stay busy and is thrilled by the hustle and bustle of the shop floor. 

Whatever your answer may be, ensuring that it’s truthful not only highlights to the employer that you’re a good fit for the job, it also highlights to you whether or not you’d be truly happy in the role.  

2. What qualities do you consider most important to this position?

Like a swish James Bond tux, your answer to this question should be tailored

By this, I mean that you should tailor your answer to fit the qualities that were mentioned in the job description. 

If the job description says that they’re looking for a person with good communication skills and flexibility, then you can rest assured that these are some of the qualities that are most important to the role.

3. What does good customer service mean to you?

This is one of the common retail interview questions that stumps a lot of people, but it shouldn’t. 

Think about a time when you received stellar customer service. What was it that made your experience so enjoyable? What specifically did the worker do to make the experience memorable? 

Your answer to these questions will ultimately answer this interview question.

4. What interests you about selling to customers?

Try to be specific.

Saying something like: ‘I enjoy helping people’ isn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s a bit generalised. Instead, you can give a more in-depth explanation that will better affirm the employer’s confidence in you as a retail salesperson. 

For example, your response to this question may sound something like: 

“I really enjoy talking to customers’ and rising to the challenge of meeting their needs. It makes me feel good when I am able to go above and beyond their expectations when helping them make the right purchase for them.”


5. Tell me about a time when you felt challenged while selling to a customer

Again, honestly is the best policy.

Explain why you felt challenged, but be sure to follow this up with how you handled it. It may be tempting to go into intricate details of what the challenge was, but this isn’t really what the interviewer wants to know.

Instead, focus on illustrating the skills and attributes you used to address the challenge. 

Behavioural questions like this one can be tricky, and you can end up giving an anecdote that only kind of satisfies as an answer. So, if you want to brush up on your approach, check out the STAR interview method. 

6. What would you do if the employee replacing you on the next shift fails to turn up?

This question will almost always be asked. 

Your response here should highlight that you’re a reliable team member who can be counted on if unforeseen complications arise. 

Working in retail can be unpredictable, so employers will be looking for flexibility. A willingness to go beyond your regular hours to help is an extremely positive trait to display in your answer to this question.

7. The credit card machine is broken. What do you do/say to the customers?

No one is expecting you to whack out your pocked-sized tool kit and fix the machine.

What the interviewer will be expecting however is a response which demonstrates your problem-solving and communication skills. 

Technological glitches like this are one of the many issues that can crop up in retail, so demonstrating that you can remain calm and resilient in the face of uncertainty will be a big plus in the interviewer’s eyes.

8. A customer becomes angry with you, and demands to speak to your manager. How do you handle the situation?

Dealing with customer dissatisfaction can be a common occurrence in the retail industry, so you need to display that you are able to handle a stressful situation such as this.

The interviewer will be looking for an answer which shows that you’re a solution finder and a de-escalator, not someone who will become defensive and angry in response. 

Although the customer may not always be right (blasphemous, I know), your response should demonstrate the necessary tact needed to overcome these sorts of issues.

9. Provide an example of when you showed strong teamwork skills

Are you a team player? Now’s your chance to prove it. 

With this question, the interviewer wants to know how you define teamwork success. As well as this, it gives them an insight into the qualities and capabilities you would bring to a team.

Of course, pick an example which bigs up your own abilities, but also mention what others in the group contributed to show that you can focus on your team members as well as yourself. 

Again, the STAR interview method will help you nail this answer.

10. A customer wants to return some goods that have been clearly opened and used. What do you do/say?

Whilst excellent customer service is a top priority, you also need to know when to follow company policy. 

If company policy states that used items aren’t eligible for refund, then you must stick to this. 

The best way to tackle this question then is to explain to the interviewer how you would adhere to company policies whilst still remaining polite and courteous to the customer.

And that’s a wrap! Hopefully you now have a clearer idea of what to expect from a retail interview and feel more confident on how to smash your answers out of the park. 

If you want even more pointers, have a look at our best interview tips.

Also, be sure to check out our top questions to ask in an interview to guarantee you stand out from the crowd.

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