It is not difficult to get a job of a cashier, for two main reasons. First of all, there are many job openings for this position, and big retailers are always hiring, since the job hopping rates are high across the field. Typically you won’t compete with more than one or two other people for the job (you will actually often be the only applicant, especially when we talk about interviews in small retail stores or grocery stores in particular).
Secondly, you can get this job regardless of your previous experience and education. It is actually one of the most common jobs for high school students, or for people who were not lucky enough to graduate from high school. All you have to do to succeed is convincing your interviewers of your motivation, responsibility, and readiness for the job. Do not worry if you have never done the same work before–you will get a training before you start working. Let’s have a look at the questions they will ask you.
Common interview questions for cashiers
- Why do you think you can be a good cashier? Say that you are responsible, do not mind routine work, and will learn the job quickly. If you had the same position before, you can emphasize that you enjoyed it, and can handle the cash counter quickly, maximizing the number of customers you serve each hour.
- If a customer accused you of bad customer service, what would you do? Say that you count with such a behavior. Say that you always try your best, and listen attentively to the feedback from the customers. At the same time, however, you would not let any negative remarks to affect you emotionally in work. You will simply get over their bad words and move to the next customer.
- Are you ready to handle angry people? The same like with the other question. You are aware that people come to the store in a variety of moods and mental condition, and some may be angry, or even rude. You take it as a part of the job, will try your best to be courteous, and that’s it.
- If a supervisor asked you to change the way your job was performed even though you knew you were doing it right, what would you do? You should respect the hierarchy. It is the duty of the supervisor the consider the quality of your work, and to tell you how to do it. They will be responsible for any negative effects, not you. Say that you would follow their orders.
- This job is repetitive. Tell me how you will find a motivation to do it well. Say that you do not mind repetitive work, that you actually enjoy it. You can even say that customers change every day, that you enjoy the small chit-chat you’ll have with them while performing your job, and won’t get bored in work. Or you can go with any other reason that helps you to maintain your motivation and focus.
- Describe a situation when you found it hard to be courteous. Perhaps you didn’t like some customer, or someone was really rude with you, or had stupid remarks. It is completely natural to find it hard to be courteous in such a situation. But you should say that you still tried your best, since it is important to maintain a good level of customer satisfaction.
- What are your weaknesses?
- If you receive a 20 dollar bill for a $3.71 order, explain how you would add up the change. A simple question, but you should not take it lightly. Calculate the coins, and always try to use the lowest possible number of coins. This helps you to work quickly, which matters for the hiring managers.
- Tell us something about yourself. This can actually be the very first question you get. Try to focus on relevant things, such as your experience with similar jobs, or your strengths and abilities that make from you a good applicant for the position of a cashier. You can add one or two hobbies to the mix, just to show them that you have a life outside of work.
- How long do you want to have this position? While employers do not expect you to have a role of a cashier for several years, they still prefer to hire people who are serious about the job, and won’t leave in three months time. You can say that you do not have any plans to change your job once you get it, and will see what the future will bring. Alternatively you can elaborate on your answer, saying why you’d keep the job longer. Perhaps you want to have a part-time cashier job during your studies, which you plan to continue for the next three years.
- What do you consider the most difficult thing about this job? Perhaps the routine, or dealing with a heavy workload (in a rush hour), or staying courteous with angry or stupid customers. You should show the interviewers that you see the job realistically, with both good and bad things that belong to it.
- How do you imagine a typical day in work? Show them that you like to be busy in work. Do not mention many working breaks, or other things that will distract you from your job. You can even say that when there won’t be any customers to serve, you will help to stock the goods or do other stuff in the store. In reality you may go and smoke a cigarette outside, or chat with a colleague, but in an interview it’s better to show proactive approach to work.
Special Tip: Download all questions in a simple, one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later (even when offline):
Interviews differ in small and big companies
If you apply for a cashier job in a small store, they will likely ask you only a few questions about your motivation, availability, and experience.
The people talking to you won’t be professional interviewers (store owner or manager will lead an interview with you), and if you make a good impression on them, they will hire you. Use our hints to learn how to answer the common questions.
If you apply in a big store, however, you can expect to deal with some behavioral questions, and perhaps also with a personality test. These companies run specialized HR departments, they know how to conduct interviews, and typically more people apply for the jobs with them. The competition is higher, and you will have to do well to actually get a job with them….
What to wear to a cashier interview?
The rule of a thumb you should remember is the following one: Wear the clothes you’d wear to work. I remember several times seeing students overdoing it with their interview attire, dressing to impress… But cashier is not a manger.
When they see you wearing shirt and tie, they may easily start thinking that you expect something else from the job, that you enjoy wearing fancy clothes and sending smiles left and right. Nothing wrong with it, just it’s not the right attitude to have if you want to do a good job behind the cash desk.
I suggest you to wear jeans and t-shirt, or a nice dress if it’s a hot summer day. Keep it clean and neat, but do not wear anything fancy or super expensive. Interviewers observe a lot of things while talking to you, and some things they notice without thinking about them.
If you look like someone who enjoys spending hundreds of dollars in expensive clothing, they won’t hire you for this job. Keep it on your mind when choosing clothes for your interview…
Ready to succeed? Not yet? Continue your interview preparation with InterviewPenguin.com, your best job interview coach since 2011:
- How to overcome interview nerves – 4 steps guide on how to get rid of anxiety before your interview.
- Salary negotiation tips – Can you negotiate a better salary in your cashier interview?
- 15 most common interview questions – Where do you see yourself in five years from now? How would you describe a great boss? What motivates you? Learn how to answer questions that you can get in any job interview.