Home improvement is a big thing all around the world. Most people who have some extra money work extra hard, which means they do not have much time for their hobbies. When not working they are at home, and they want to make their home as good a place as it can be. An average US household spends over $8,000 each year on improving their home, and Lowe’s is the second-largest hardware chain in the United States, trailing only Home Depot. With over 200,000 employees worldwide, Lowe’s is always hiring, and you can definitely get a job with the company. But first you have to succeed in the interview.
Hiring managers at Lowe’s ask the job applicants mostly situational (scenario-based) questions. They will outline a situation that happens commonly in a store, such as conflict with a colleague, dealing with an upset customer, many people demanding your attention at once, spotting a customer trying to steal an item, and so on. Besides that they will ask you a couple of common interview questions about your career choice, motivation, and skills. Let’s have a look at the questions, one by one.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
An easy start, an icebreaker. It doesn’t matter much what you talk about, as long as you show a positive and genuine personality while introducing yourself to the interviewers. Make sure you have right non-verbal communication from the very beginning, keeping an eye contact with the hiring managers, smiling, showing enthusiasm for the opportunity at Lowe’s.
As a rule of a thumb, you should talk about your strengths, and add one or two details from your personal life (whether you have a family, one or two hobbies you enjoy to do in your free time, etc). Your strengths depend on your level of experience. If you’ve worked in retail before, perhaps on a similar position, and did a decent job, you should focus on it in your introduction. If you haven’t worked in retail before, you can talk about your excellent communication skills, interest in the field of home improvement and DIY in general, and about any other skills and traits that make from you a good candidate for the job.
Why do you want to work here at Lowe’s? Why not some other retail giant?
Lowe’s is always hiring, but the same is true about Home Depot, Walmart, Kohl’s, and other places where you can work. The hiring managers wonder why you decided for them, and not for one of their competitors. Try to praise them for something. You can say that you have friends working for different retailers, and, judging by what they said about working environment, employee compensation, and other matters at different places, you found Lowe’s the best choice our there.
Another idea is talking about home improvement as your hobby. You’ve been improving your own home for years, know the materials, brands, tools, and everything. It is always better to work with merchandise we know something about and enjoy working with, as we will find it easier to give recommendations to the customers and convince them to make a purchase.
Last alternative is talking about logistical reasons. Maybe you live just ten minutes away from Lowe’s store. It will be great not to spend an hour and half commuting to work each day like you did in your last job, and that’s why their offer caught your eye. Or you like the shift patterns, or anything else makes their offer more attractive to you than the offers of other retail giants.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
They are used to seeing employees come and go at Lowe’s, and they do not struggle finding new employees, benefiting from the strength of their brand. Yet they still prefer to hire employees who can imagine their future in the company, or at least people who will stay with them for a year at least.
Ensure them that you do not plan to start packing as soon as some new offer rings your inbox. You like Lowe’s, you know about the career growth opportunities in the company, and you can definitely imagine yourself working for them in five years from now. You can even pick a position you’d like to have, such as Assistant Store Manager.
Needless to say, you do not have to follow the path you “dreamed of”. One month later, nobody will remember what you said in an interview, and you have a legal right to leave the company at anytime. When trying to get the job, however, you should say them what they want to hear.
If a customer was getting agitated or belligerent, how would you react and how would you help to improve their experience?
This can happen for many reasons. Perhaps they cannot find what they are looking for. Or they’ve been waiting for too long for someone to assist them. Perhaps their wife keeps checking stuff, they’ve been in the store for two hours already without buying anything, and simply want to go home. Or they are simply agitated because of something that has nothing to do with their shopping experience, leading a silent inquiry in their head.
One way or another, you cannot help them until you understand why they are upset. Say that you would approach them with a smile on your face, and ask them what’s wrong, how could you help them. Then you would listen to them–calmly, and without getting agitated. Once you understood the core of their problem, you’d do your best to help them. You can also add that in no way you’d argue with them, because you understand the customer is always right, and your goal is to simply help them feel great in the store, and spend as much money as possible.
What do you do if you spot a customer trying to steal an item from one of the shelves?
This question doesn’t make much sense in 21st century in the US, with sophisticated surveillance systems in place in every big retail store, sometimes with hundreds of cameras, and always with security staff to take care of the thieves.
Anyway, it can happen that you spot something the cameras miss (or a half-asleep security guard does not notice). Tell them that you won’t take any heroic action, such as trying to catch the thief yourself, or approach them and blame them of stealing. You will contact the security guard, as quickly as possible, pointing out the customer in question, and clearly explaining what you’ve seen. That’s the end of the story for you, and someone else will take care of the job (either security or police).
Tell us about a time when you helped someone
This is a very general question, and that’s good especially if you lack previous working experience. In such a case, you can talk about helping a friend to get over some emotional issue, or a family member, or even about helping a complete stranger on the street. Tell the interviewers at Lowe’s that you keep your eyes open, and do not hesitate to stop and help someone, and definitely want to stick to the same attitude in your job with them.
If you have previous experience from retail, your best bet is narrating a situation when you went above and beyond for the customer. This can be anything from gathering some extra information for them, calling the producer or distributor of goods, helping someone to carry heavy stuff to their car, or staying overtime at work when a customer arrived one minute before the closing time and spent another thirty minutes choosing stuff in the store. The key is to talk with enthusiasm about a situation when you helped someone. Hiring managers should get an impression that you find such behavior natural, and enjoy going an extra mile for others.
Other questions you may face in your job interview with Lowe’s Home Improvement
- Tell us about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer.
- Imagine that three different customers demand your attention at once. How will you react?
- Tell us about a time when you showed initiative at work.
- Describe your most successful sales experience.
- Are you a team player? What role do you typically play in a team?
- Tell me about a time you had to comply with a policy or procedure that you did not agree with.
- After everything we’ve discussed here, do you have any questions?
Final thoughts, next steps
Interview with Lowe’s is slightly more difficult than most retail interviews, because of two reasons. First one is competition. You won’t become a millionaire working for Lowe’s, but the company pays slightly better wages to their employees (when compared with most other big retail chains), which attracts more people to their offers. Logically when you compete with more people for the job, it becomes more difficult to succeed.
Second reason are the situational questions. These questions are not easy for anyone, and especially for people who lack previous working experience. But answering them with silence won’t bring you much success… Read the questions and my hints once again, and try to prepare for each one of them. And do not forget to check also other online resources to prepare for your interview with Lowe’s. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!
May also interest you:
- Retail sales associate interview questions – A longer post with questions you may face applying for a sales position with any retailer. Learn how to deal with each one of them.
- How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling nervous before the start of your interview? Check our 4 simple strategies, overcome your anxiety, and show them your very best.