Crew member is a popular job title in a variety of retail establishments. Think fast food restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, and other places where you belong to a team, taking care of a variety of duties. You may serve the customers, assist in the kitchen, stock shelves, help with the cleaning of the premises, stand at the check register, and so on. Hence you are neither a cashier, nor a kitchen helper, nor a stock clerk, nor a customer service assistant. You are simply a crew member, which sounds better, and attracts more job applicants–that’s why companies advertise it in this way. Let’s have a look at what will happen in your interview.
First of all, there’s no reason to stress out. Interview for a crew member position belongs to interviews with easy difficulty. In every place you will either go through a training session, or your colleagues (other crew members) will show you around, and teach you how to take care of your duties. Crew member is an entry level job, and the hiring managers won’t ask you any particularly difficult behavioral interview questions. Just basic questions about your motivation, skills, availability, expectations on the job, and perhaps one or two tricky situations you may experience with your new colleagues, or with the customers (such a having a conflict, feeling overwhelmed with work, etc). Let’s have a look at the questions, one by one.
Why do you want to work as a Crew Member?
You should emphasize teamwork in your answer. Say them that you enjoy belonging to the team, sharing the workplace with your colleagues, and together trying to satisfy the needs and wishes of the customers. You can also say that you prefer some variety in your work, hence crew member is more attractive to you than a cashier, as a an example, simply because the job will be less repetitive with the variety it offers.
Elaborating on your words, you can also say how the schedule, shift patterns, and other specifics of the job suit you at the moment. Many crew members jobs are part time positions. Maybe you still go to school, or have another job, and the flexibility crew member positions offers fits your existing schedule perfectly. One way or another, try to show some enthusiasm and motivation. They shouldn’t get an impression that you want the job only because you cannot get anything better at the moment.
Why do you want to work as crew member for our restaurant/cafe/retail store?
Try to show some positive associations with their brand. Let me give you an example. If you apply for a crew member job in a particular fast food restaurant, you can praise the vibe of the place, food selection, working environment, or even the values they promote on their website (such as doing something for the environment). Give them some praise as long as they deserve it. Alternatively you can simply say that you like the place more than other restaurants or stores where you could potentially work as a crew member.
Another option is talking about a recommendation you got from friends. Speaking about big brands such as McDonald’s, BK, KFC, Walmart, etc, you for sure know someone who has worked for the place before–simply because they employ so many people. You can say that they recommended you the place, praising the working environment, team spirit, and perhaps even called the job a good learning experience…
What is your availability?
As I’ve already mentioned, many jobs for crew members are part time jobs. And the flexibility they offer is one their biggest advantages. Just one thing you should remember: in the majority of places, they expect you to work at least 20 hours a week, and to do at least some weekend shifts.
Think about your normal week, and write down hours when you are at school, or have some other obligations, and hours when you can come to work. Do not forget to factor in the time for commuting to work, especially if you do not live close to the place… Maybe you end at school at 1pm, but it will take you an extra hour to get to the place of work, and hence you cannot realistically start before 2:30pm. Think about these details when explaining your availability.
How do you imagine a typical day in work as our crew member?
Read the job description carefully, and write down the list of duties. As a rule of a thumb, you will have your hands full, and should show realistic expectations in the interviews. This is actually one of the differences between crew member and other jobs in retail. As a stock clerk for example, you may sometimes work hard (stoking the shelves), but you may also enjoy hours when you do not do much… The same is true for a cook, waitress, cashier, etc.
As a crew member however, you will always have something to do. When there aren’t customers in the place, you will help with cleaning the floor (or do dishes in the kitchen), or you will stock some goods, or help with peeling vegetables, or do this and that. And that’s exactly what you should say in an interview, considering the specifications of the place (you will do slightly different things in a restaurant and in a retail store, of course).
Tell us about a conflict you had with a colleague in one of your former jobs
Conflicts belong to every workplace. When the workload is heavy, and people experience pressure, people may say or do strange things… If this is your first ever job application, ensure them that you know some conflicts will occur, and that you will try to solve them in a constructive way. What does it mean?
Instead of getting into lengthy arguments (or simply shouting on the other person), you will try to understand the emotions and viewpoint of another conflict party, hear them out, and reply with a cool head. You can demonstrate this attitude while describing a conflict you had in your former job, or you can say what you would do in a conflict situation (when applying for your first job).
Of course, in certain cases you won’t be able to solve the conflict on your own. The manager will step in, and try to settle down the issue. But you shouldn’t say that the first thing you do in a case of a conflict is calling a manager to the scene… On the contrary, you firstly try to deal with it on your own, and just when it doesn’t work, you call a manager to help you out.
Tell us about a time when you felt overwhelmed with work
Many restaurants and retail stores are fast-paced places. The workload may get extremely heavy on some days, especially when some of your colleagues become sick (which happens quite often nowadays) or do not come to work from another reason. Managers are aware of it, and wonder how did you deal with similar situations in the past, or how you plan to deal with them.
Narrating a situation from your former job, ensure them that you did not panic, or started to do things in a hectic fashion. What you did, however, was prioritizing your tasks, either alone or with a help of your manager, making sure that you take care of the most essential tasks first, those that have the biggest impact on the operation of the place, and satisfaction of the customers.
Maybe you felt overwhelmed, but you did not crack under the pressure. You did what you could, prioritized your duties, did not mind staying overtime, and at the end you somehow handled the workload…
5 other questions you may face in your crew member job interview
- One of the customers complains to you about something one of the other crew members did. How will you react in such a situation?
- What do you expect from other crew members in this place?
- Do you have any experience with cash handling, cooking, washing dishes, etc (any other activity you may do in their place).
- What are your salary expectations?
- We experience a high employee fluctuation in retail. How can I be sure that you won’t leave this place in four weeks from now?
Interview for a job of a Crew Member belongs to easier job interviews. As long as you know something about their place (make sure to do some research), and show motivation to learn and work hard, and cooperate with other crew members, they will typically give you the chance to prove your words in the job. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – 4 simple strategies on dealing with anxiety you may experience in the interviews.
- 15 most common interview questions – Learn how to answer questions about your weaknesses, career goals, and other questions you may face in virtually any interview.
- Salary negotiation skills – You won’t have much room for negotiation in a typical crew member interview, but with a bit of luck and negotiation skills you can get 1-2$ extra an hour. Learn how.