Kohl’s is the largest department store chain in the US, with over 1,150 locations, and over 85,000 employees. Bearing the numbers and the typical employee fluctuation in retail, the company is always hiring, for both full time and part time positions. Let’s have a look at what will happen in your interview, what questions they will ask you, and how you can make the best possible impression on the hiring managers.

First of all, Kohl’s does not have a standardized interview process in place, which is the case with many other retail giants. It means that you may interview in a group, over the phone, face to face with one manager, two managers, three managers, or even in front of a panel. And the questions you’ll get may differ to the questions you’d get applying for the same job in other Kohl’s location.

Having said that, you will still get some questions all the time. And they will inquire about the same areas in each interview, because it makes sense to ask certain questions applicants for sales associate jobs, and it makes no sense asking them other questions. Your best chance is to prepare for a variety of personal and scenario-based questions, just as I will show you right now. You may not get them all, and you may get some questions that are not on the list, but once you are ready for the basics, you should pass the interview and get the job. Let’s move to the questions.


Why do you want to work at Kohl’s as a sales associate?

Try to define some positive associations you have with their brand, or even the department store in question. Perhaps you like some fashion brands they sell at Kohl’s, or some of their in-house brands. Or you like the organization of the store, the vibe of the place, level of customer service, or anything. You may say that you simply feel good at the place, and their corporate values resonate with your values more than the values other retail giants promote.

You should also explain why you want to work as a sales associate. Here you can refer to any relevant experience you have, or your excellent interpersonal skills and knowledge of the product category you will sell at Kohl’s. Another good alternative is referring to shift patterns and flexibility, especially if you apply for a part time position with Kohl’s.


Can you tell me something about yourself?

Often the first or second question you’ll get interviewing at Kohl’s, especially in a group interview setting, or during the hiring day, when they interview many applicants, often without studying their resumes in detail before (or not having seen them at all).

The most important thing here is to show enthusiasm, and genuine and outgoing personality. It doesn’t matter much what you will talk about. School, former jobs, your hobbies, your career goals, or just the very basic whereabouts. Everything is fine as long as they see that you are not afraid to talk, keep an eye contact, and they can imagine their customers enjoying talking to you. As a rule of a thumb you should focus more on your strengths, which can be anything from your skills and abilities fitting for the job, to your experience and results you’ve achieved in your former jobs. For some inspiration, check our “Tell me about yourself – Customer service” article.

What is your availability?

Try to present a clear schedule to the hiring managers. Your new job with Kohl’s should have either the first or the second position on your list of priorities. Of course, if you are applying for a full time job, the best thing you can say is that you want to prioritize your new job to other commitments, and are ready to follow the standard shift patterns they have in place.

If you apply for a part time opportunity, you should be able to work at least 20 hours/week. Explain them when you have lectures at school, or other obligations you cannot afford to miss, and when you can work. Obviously it is always good to be available at peak times–late afternoons, Saturdays, etc.


Imagine that a customer complains about the service they received from you. How will you react?

Ensure them that you won’t start defending yourself. And arguments with customers are out of question. On the contrary, you will carefully listen, try to understand their point of view, apologize for not satisfying them with your service (even though you might make no mistake), and try your best to remedy the situation.

You can also add that you will take each feedback seriously, because you are just a human being and can make mistakes–like everyone else. That’s why you will try to understand what went wrong, learn from the situation, and do better next time over.


Tell us about a time when you had a conflict with a colleague in one of your past jobs.

You should pick a situation with a positive outcome. Without a doubt, conflicts with colleagues cannot be entirely avoided. Different personalities meet in the workplace, and though you try your best to be attentive to the needs and feelings of your colleagues, the situation does escalate at times, people are nervous, and you have a conflict on the table.

But you can remain calm, at least relatively, and do your best to keep the conflict professional, without personal accusations. You do not have a problem with admitting being in the wrong, and apologizing to the other conflict party. Last but not least, you can get over the conflict quickly, and focus on the core of your job, without dwelling on the negative emotions.


Jobs in retail are repetitive, and the same is true here at Kohl’s. What will you do to stay motivated?

You have several options for a good answer to this one. First is saying that you do not consider the job repetitive. Without a doubt, you’ll take care of the same tasks day after day. But you will meet different customers in the store, they will have various expectations and questions, and, just like in any other job, you’ll have to deal with some challenges and problems. Bearing it all in mind, you do not consider the job repetitive.

Second thing is referring to your goals, the reason why you want the job at first place. Maybe you need to earn extra money to pay for your college studies. Or you have a family, and a lot of bills to pay each month. Without a doubt, your managers will set some sales goals for you at Kohl’s. And you know that if you fail to meet them repeatedly, you will lose your job. You cannot afford it, and your goals will drive you forward to try your best, regardless of whether the work is repetitive…


Other questions you may face in your interview at Kohl’s

  • Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond for someone.
  • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to a colleague, or a customer. How did you eventually manage to get your message over?
  • What is your knowledge of this product category? Do you have a favorite brand in it?
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone.
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss.
  • Tell me about a time when you felt overwhelmed with work.
  • What is your definition of an outstanding customer service?


Final thoughts, next steps

Interviews for typical in-store jobs at Kohl’s (point of sale, sales associate, team member, etc) belongs to interviews with average difficulty. It is not always easy to foresee what exactly will happen, because Kohl’s does not have a standard interview template in place.

The number of questions you will get, as well as their difficulty, depends on the particular manager who will lead the interview with you. In some cases, when they need stuff urgently, they may ask you only two or three basic question and hire you on the spot. In other cases, you’ll have to deal with a variety of scenario-based questions, and convince them of right attitude to this type of work, and your readiness for various situations that can happen in the store.

In my opinion, the most you can do to succeed is preparing for the variety of questions, making sure they won’t catch you by surprise. It is also important to show some enthusiasm for the job and the brand of Kohl’s, and positive outgoing personality.… I hope you will manage to do it, and wish you good luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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