What do you know about American Eagle?

This is an icebreaker question, and also one they use to assess your real level of motivation to work in their store. I mean, if you know nothing, it clearly indicates that you do not really care about your future place of work. You likely submitted several job applications and will accept an offer with any clothing retailer. That’s not the impression you want to leave in this interview.

You do not have to know the entire history of American Eagle, but you should know something about the brand. For example the target customer (high school and college students, primarily girls), what sets the company apart from their competitors (for example not retouching models seen), or their Aerie lingerie sub brand. Try to show some positive associations with the brand. They should get an impression that you shop at AE, like the place, and now you’d like to work there.


What would you do if you saw a customer stealing something from the store?

Just say that you would notify the responsible person–typically a security guard, immediately. Do not suggest any heroic action, such as trying to stop the thief on your own, or running after them.

Ensure the hiring managers that you definitely want to keep your eyes open in work. You know that many people come to steal to stores (sometimes from sheer despair, since they have no money, but there’s no place for emotions in this case), and you will keep your eye on any suspicious customer.


Style an outfit from the store, with $XXX budget.

This is a classic question for all sales associate interviews, including part time positions. Several things are important at this stage:

  • You should spend at least 90% of the budget. They want you to up-sell the customers, to maximize the value of each purchase. Hence you should always add some accessories or a hat, or whatever, until you reach the figure they specified in their question, or at least come close to it.
  • Try to do the task quickly–you cannot afford choosing something for one customer for fifteen minutes, because there will always be others waiting in the line. You should be able to complete this task within 5 minutes.
  • Pick matching colors and style something sensible. Maybe you like extravagant choices, or strange combinations of colors, and there’s nothing wrong with your personal tastes. But most customers will have standard preferences, and hence you should style some standard combinations–jeans, t-shirt, some accessories, you name it… in matching colors.

If you saw a customer that seemed to be in the same area looking for something, what would you do?

This is a question of your attitude to work. Would you just stand, smile, watching them struggle? Or would you approach them with smile, and ask them what they are looking for, trying to help them?

Needless to say, the hiring managers look for people with proactive approach to work–and that’s what you should point to while answering this question.


What’s your previous working experience?

Try to talk about anything related to sales and retail. If possible, talk positively about your former role and colleagues. They want to build a relaxed and chilled atmosphere in the stores of American Eagle, and prefer to hire employees who look for the good in others, and who enjoy belonging to a team.

If you have no experience, ensure the managers that you read the job description carefully, know what they expect from you, and feel confident that after the initial training you will handle the job, with everything that belongs to it.


Tell us about a time when you experienced an excellent customer service.

In an ideal case you should talk about an experience from a retail store, or from a restaurant. Praise proactive approach of staff members, how you felt welcome and attended to during your stay, and how they did everything to make you feel comfortable in the place.

You can add that you understand the crucial role excellent customer service plays in retail, and that the positive experiences you have motivates you to try the same while working in a retail store.

Because you do not go to job only to earn money. You try to make some positive difference for your employer, and for the customer–to make their day better. Such experiences give you the feeling of personal satisfaction, and it helps you to keep going and to try your best each day.


Where do you shop and why do you shop there?

American Eagle can be your first choice, but it doesn’t have to be. The explanation is more important than the choice. I suggest you to praise the customer service in your favorite store, because that’s something you will have a chance to impact while working for AE. I suggest you to avoid saying that you shop somewhere because they have the best discounts…

They say for a reason that in order to excel in selling something, you must like it, and have some knowledge of the goods. Demonstrating your experience with various clothing and apparel stores, various competitors of American Eagle, you send a clear signs to the interviewers that you are ready to excel from day one.


What made you leave your last job?

There are few reasons you shouldn’t point out:

  • You left because you did not like the salary. That’s a wrong one, because you will likely earn a minimum wage at American Eagle, so it makes no sense to say you left some place because they paid you peanuts.
  • You left because you could not stand the expectations. Expectations are high everywhere. If you imagine spending half of the day swiping Instagram or Tinder on the screen of your smartphone, you can forget about this job.
  • You left since you did not like your colleagues. They are looking for team players at American Eagle, for people who look for the good in the others. Hence this isn’t a good choice either…

You should rather talk about some practical reasons, or the fact that you simply wanted to try something different. Maybe you didn’t find the job challenging enough, or eventually realized that you’d prefer the environment of a clothing store, to an environment of a restaurant, warehouse, or wherever you worked.

Another good reason is saying that the job could not fit your schedule at school anymore (if you still attend high school or college), or basically that it was a temporary placement, your contract ended, and that’s the end of the story. Now it is a time for a new chapter in your life.


Tell us about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer.

Any situation you narrate, enure your interviewers that you will try your best to meet the expectations of the customer. Maybe they argued with you, or complained about something, or even said bad words to you, or had some unrealistic expectations, demanding a huge discount or something similar.

You simply listened to them, tried to understand the core of the problem, and did your best to remedy the situation–to make them happy about their experience in the store. You didn’t go into pointless arguments. What’s more, you managed to get over the situation quickly, and tried your best for the next customer.


What’s your availability?

You may get this question especially when trying to get a part time job with American Eagle. Be sure to prepare the schedule for the entire week, clearly pointing out when you can work in the store, and when you have other obligations, such as school, family stuff, etc.

The more flexible you are, the better it looks in the interviews. They should not get an impression that this job has a last place on your list of priorities, after all hobbies and leisure time activities. It does not have to have the first place, but it should not have the last….


May also interest you:

  • How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling nervous before your meeting with the hiring managers? Check our 4 strategies to get rid of interview stress.
  • 15 most common interview questions – What are your weaknesses, what motivates you, etc. Learn how to handle some typical questions which you can get in any interview, including the one with American Eagle.
  • BK interview questions – If you’d like to flip burgers and earn some decent cash for doing so, have a look at the most common interview questions at Burger King.
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