interview

A complete interview guide for a job in retail

You’ve worked hard on your application and received an interview invitation – congratulations! However, the hard work isn’t over yet. It’s time to work on your interview skills and impress the hiring manager. Below we guide you on this process and explain what you can expect from a retail interview.

Before your interview

Your interview preparation needs to begin far before you enter the room. Being organised is key to having success and landing the job. Follow our pointers to get ahead and impress the interviewer.

Research

Companies want to see that you’re aware of their brand. You shouldn’t walk into the interview wondering, what does this company actually sell?

It’s essential to do your homework and find out about the company. The first point of call should be researching the company website. Many retail companies will have one, often with an information page about who they are and what they sell.

Find out about the company success, how they were founded and their customer target group. Then look for information on the company size so you know how many stores they have and if they are a global firm.

Prepare

You have a lot of preparing to do before the interview. While you can’t know what specific questions the interviewer will ask you, there are several questions that are common in the industry. To make sure you’re not stumped with a difficult question, you need to prepare your answers to these in advance.

Write bullet points and think of examples as to when you worked well in a team, resolved a conflict or helped someone. These are the type of people skills they’re after. You should also prepare questions to ask in the interview. This shows you’re interested in the position and company.

The day before, you need to make sure you have everything ready. It’s a good tip to print off your CV as the hiring manager may ask you questions about the skills or experience mentioned. Also, bring a pen and notepad to jot down any important information.

Dress to impress

How you dress tells the interviewer a lot about you, so this needs to be a priority early on. If you’re interviewing for a clothes store it’s a good idea to wear their clothing wherever possible. For example,  a nice shirt from their collection or a statement necklace. It can show that you’re passionate about the brand and you’d  be good at selling it to others.

Alongside this, make sure that all your clothes are ironed and tidy. And don’t neglect the shoes, these should be smart and clean. If you’re unsure on what to wear it’s always better to go smarter. This shows the recruiter that you’re professional and serious about the job.

During the interview

The thought of the actual interview might make you feel nervous and that’s okay. To help, try to think of the interview as a learning experience and an opportunity to show off your skills. We explain some ways you can do this below.

Make a good first impression

It’s essential to be friendly to everyone you meet. You may meet other staff members before your interviewer and they might feedback on your attitude and manner. Also, if the interview is in store, you might come across customers too, so remember to be extra friendly and put a smile on your face.

When you meet the interviewer, make sure you stand up and shake their hand. Again, remember to smile because it will help you come across as more approachable. This is an essential skill when working in a customer-facing role.

Think about your body language

It can be easy to forget about your body language in the moment. Never (ever) sit in an interview with your arms crossed, it suggests that you’re bored or uninterested. Also avoid fidgeting with pens or jewellery because it will highlight that you’re not paying attention.

So aim to look confident by sitting up straight and not slouching in your chair. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer to show that you’re engaged and confident.

Remain calm

It’s common to talk quickly and stumble over words when you’re nervous. But overusing ‘umm’ and not really getting to the point won’t give the interviewer the best impression of you. Instead, try to talk at a slightly slower pace than normal to give yourself more time to think. This will also help the recruiter to understand you better.

After the interview

You’ve successfully made it through the interview but it’s not quite time to relax yet. There’s a few last steps to follow.

Thank the interviewer

You may have thanked the interviewer after in person but it’s also important to send a follow up response. All you need to do is send an email thanking them for their time and saying that you’re looking forward to hearing from them soon.

Doing so will keep you in mind when they’re making the decision and will show that you’re polite and courteous.

Follow up

If you haven’t heard back from the interviewer and it’s been longer than the timescale they gave then it’s okay to follow it up. However, following up before their decision date will come across as inconsiderate and possibly annoying.

Your tone should be polite and enquiring, not demanding. After all, you don’t want to ruin your chances by coming across as rude.

In summary

While daunting, an interview is a great chance to sell your skills and experience to the employer. Remember that preparation is key for success and will help give you confidence on the day.

If you’re yet to land an interview, check out our latest vacancies and opportunities on Jobs Retail.

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