Why do you want to work for Sears? Why not one of our competitors?
Because you prefer the location of their store, it is more convenient for you to travel there. Or you got a recommendation from someone who has been working for Sears for years, and said good things about the company and the working environment.
Or you do not have any particular preference. In your view, Sears stores offer to customers anything they may need, just like any other big retailer. And just like with their competitors, everything depends more on the people than on the brand–your colleagues, what the atmosphere in the workplace will be, etc. Hence you have no preference, you just saw the vacancy and decided to give it a go.
You can also try your luck with a joke, saying that it is fun working for a company that’s about to bankrupt, and that you like the adrenaline not knowing whether the store will still be open in few months time (which is the case with many Sears locations).
Can you tell us something abut yourself?
Your non-verbal communication and the energy you show is actually more important than the words you choose for your answer. They should get an impression that you are happy to be alive and interviewing for a job with the company, that you do not consider this your last option, or do not apply only because you need money to survive.
You can focus on work related things–jobs you had in the past, schools you attended (or attend), and what role does your employment with Sears play in the process.
But you can also make a simple introduction–who you are, where you are from, what you enjoy doing in your free time, and why you apply for the job. As long as you speak with enthusiasm, and have positive body language, they’ll be happy with any introduction. Of course unless you tell them that your biggest hobby is experimenting with various types of drugs…
How do you feel about working on weekends?
Sears stores are open seven days a week, typically until 10pm. Logically you will have to work on weekends, and you can’t choose only the shifts that suit you, or feel convenient to you.
Ensure the hiring managers that you read the job description carefully. You do not want to let your colleagues down, and understand that you’ll have to take the bullet sometimes. You are willing to work two Sundays in a month, and as long as shifts are evenly distributed among people, and you are compensated properly for working on weekends, you see no problem with such shifts.
Remember that sometimes you can find the right answer directly in the question of the interviewer. If they ask you whether you can work in a night, mind driving a car, or relocating, it almost always means that it will be expected from you in work. It would make no sense to ask about it otherwise.
How do you handle difficult customer?
You handle them with smile, respect, and understanding, just like any other customer. Ensure the hiring managers that you expect to meet all kinds of customers in your work, and understand that some people may have a bad day, or be angry about something, and will vent their anger on you.
But you will remain courteous, trying your best to understand the reason why they aren’t satisfied with the level of your service, and remedy the situation. In no way will you shout on them. And if you cannot handle their request, or feel that it doesn’t fall within your competence, you will call a supervisor or manager to address it.
You can try a joke even in this case. Say that you’ll tell them to shut up and go to do their shopping at Kmart if they aren’t happy with the service in the store. The funny thing about this joke is that Kmart owns Sears, so in fact the company will make money, regardless of whether the customer eventually makes their shopping at Sears or Kmart store. There’s a difference in the branding, but money eventually ends in the same pocket.
This is a repetitive job. How do you plan to motivate yourself to try your best every day?
You have several options for a good answer at this point. One is saying that you actually enjoy repetitive jobs. You do not like to think much, or put your mind to the test. You’ve never excelled in such sort of exercises.
On the contrary, you prefer to do the same things and tasks each day, having your routine, perhaps scanning the objects at a cash-desk, greeting customers and taking payments. Simple as that.
Another option is explaining the role a stable monthly income plays in your life. Maybe you save money for the college, or you have a child you want to provide for. You need a decent job with a big company, because you seek stability. And you do not want to lose this stability once you get it.
Because of that, you will try hard each day. Simply because you want top keep the job. You do not want to lose it and waste more time in boring interviews like this one, telling nonsense to the hiring managers. Once you finally get your feet in the door, you want to stay, and will do your best to not get fired.
What would you do if you saw another co-worker stealing something from the shop?
This happens all the time, and the employees are always naive. They think that nobody sees them, and they can simply take some money from the cash drawer, or some items from the display shelves.
But you will see them. And if somebody is stealing, you will announce it to the manager immediately. You would not warn them, try to tell them out of stealing or anything. First time you see something, you will tell the manager.
And if the manager was stealing (can also happen), you would try to obtain some proof (filming them with your smartphone for example), and would present the proof to the store manager, the person presiding the operations of the entire store, or to the HR leader. You wouldn’t let it go, just because it was the manager who was stealing.
You can try your luck with a joke also this time. Say that if you saw someone stealing, you would try to observe their strategies. You would wait to see whether someone reports the theft, or the colleague gets away with it. If they get away with it, you will also start stealing. The company is on a brink of bankruptcy anyway, so why would you hesitate to help them get there a bit earlier?
Do you have a driver’s license or a reliable transportation to the store?
You should check your options before the interview. Whether there is a subway, local bus, or your friend works in a store and they can give you a lift on each day.
Some store locations are quite distant, in sub-urban areas for example, and it can be difficult to get there. You should ensure the interviewers that you did your homework, and do not plan to hitchhike to work every morning.
If you do not have a driver’s license but they want you to have it in the job, you can actually say that finally you have a motivation to get your license. If they hire you, you will enroll in the course and get your license as soon as possible.
How long do you want to have this job?
Until you die, or until they promote you to a position of a store manager. Another good joke is saying that until the company bankrupts or closes the store–which likely won’t be too far away in the future.
Jokes aside, you should have a realistic plan, and you do not necessarily have to tell them the entire truth. You can say, for example, that you plan to have the job for at least a year. After a year you will see how you feel, whether you can actually deliver a good service to the customers, and what the options are for you with Sears–promotion, salary raise, etc.
Another option is giving a timeline that corresponds with your reasons for applying. If you want to have a part time job as a cashier because you want to make some extra money while studying, it makes sense to say that you want to have the job until you graduate.
Of course, you don’t have to stick to the promises you made in the interviews. Nobody will blame you if you leave Sears after a month or even three days in work–labor law is clear here and it protects you. When talking to hiring managers, however, you should tell them what they want to hear. In this case, it’s that you want to stay with the company for some time…
Do you have any questions?
You do not have to force a question, just because they ask you whether you have any questions. If things went well, if you understood everything about the position, if the job description is clear, there’s not need to ask about anything. Just thank them for their time, and ask about the next steps (when they let you know the decision, drug test, orientation, etc).
Of course if something isn’t clear, such as shift patterns, your duties, or anything else, you should ask about it. But I suggest you to not inquire about salary. They will pay you a minimum wage anyway, and there’s no much room for negotiation in this case. Wait for them to start talking about money. They will start to talk about them if they decide to give you a chance in their store…
May also help you succeed in your interview with Sears:
- How to overcome interview nerves – get rid of stress and deliver your best.
- Walmart interview questions – considering applying with the other retail giant? Check the questions you may face, some may overlap with the questions you will get at Sears.