Meijer runs over 250 stores and over 200 gas stations in the Midwest, employing over 70,000 people in total, mostly in their supercenters. The company does not belong to the biggest retailers in the US, but they benefit from their strong brand position in Midwest, offering products fitting for local clientele, and enjoying a decent level of popularity amongst both customers and job seekers. If you also want to work in one of their maga stores, you have to pass an interview first. What will the hiring managers inquire about?

The managers at Meijer will ask about your motivation, experience, and they will always ask you at least a couple of scenario based questions, making sure you are ready for the variety of situations you can experience in the store. Think about multitasking, prioritization, or conflicts. I would say that the interview is slightly more difficult than it typically is with the retail giants, but nothing you should be afraid of, once you prepared for the experience in advance. Let’s have a look at the questions you may face, one by one.

 

Why do you want to work for Meijer?

A typical start, but not always a question with an obvious answer. Speaking honestly, basic retail jobs (warehouse worker, stock associate, cashier, customer service team member) do not differ much from one retail store to another. You will always work in a team, earn just slightly better than the minimum wage, and the workload will be quite heavy. So no big difference really, but you should still point out something special about Meijer.

One idea is saying that you have a friend working for the company, on the same position, in another of their supercenters. They told you a lot about the job, the interactions with colleagues, the working culture, employee benefits, and other details. You liked what you heard, and decided to also apply with Meijer. Another idea is talking about the location of the store. Perhaps it is a short driving distance from your place of living, so you won’t spend two hours daily commuting to work, which would be the case in some other places you considered for your job application.

Of course, if you are a die-hard fan of the brand, love the selection of goods and would never shop elsewhere, you can say so. You have positive associations with the brand, so it was an easy an obvious choice when you were looking for the job.

 

Can you tell us more about your past working experience?

In nine out of ten cases, they will ask you to walk them through your resume, or to tell them more about your experience. They will often use the question even if you have no previous experience (which isn’t a showstopper at Meijer).

Try to focus on the most relevant stuff. Explain how the duties you had in one of your former jobs overlap with the duties you will be responsible for at Meijer, and how your past experience has prepared you for your upcoming role with the company. Try to focus on the good things, instead of throwing dirt on your former colleagues or former managers–even if they deserve it. Nobody likes to hire an employee who would complain about everyone, and dwell on the negatives.

If you lack experience, admit it. Ensure them that you’ve read the job description carefully and understand your duties, and feel confident that you will handle the job. Despite the lack of experience.

 

Would you help a customer or continue working on a maintenance that needed to be done by end of day?

Anytime they ask a scenario-based question that has anything to do with customer service, you should give it priority over other duties. Sure enough, you can always do the maintenance later on, or stock the missing items to the shelf. But the customer needs you NOW, in this very moment, and just like any other customer they do not like to wait. Hence you will immediately stop your work and try your best to help them.

Of course, you are aware of your deadlines, and once the interaction with the customer ends, you will return to your (maintenance) work and focus on it again, giving it your 100%.

Tell us about a time when you worked on a team.

You can talk about an example from work, but also from school, if you’ve never worked before. Explain your role on the team, and the value you brought onboard. Now, you do not necessarily have to talk about leadership. Perhaps the team had another leader. But you still brought onboard some qualities, such as communication, empathy, responsibility, positive attitude, and so on.

You can elaborate on your answer with a description of some goal you achieved on the team, or even just saying that you prefer working on a team, and enjoy the feeling of responsibility for fellow team members. It helps you to try hard every day, to give the work your best shot.

 

What would you do if a customer asked you where an item was and you did not know the location of the item?

Another question about a situation that can realistically happen every day in your new job. Meijer’s stores (supercenters) are huge, and perhaps not a single employee knows about the location of each single item on display. Say that if the item belonged to the product category (part of the store) you were responsible for, you would go and look for it in a most probable location.

And if it was in another section of the store, you would point the customer to the right direction, or even walk them to your colleague, the right person, responsible for that part of the store. In any case, you would not simply dismiss the customer saying that you did not know. Because that’s far off their expectations, and you want to provide an excellent customer service each and every time.

 

Describe a time when you had to interact with a person who came from a different background (cultural, religious, racial, etc).

Diversity and inclusion are the new buzzwords of the corporate world, and you may easily hear them in your interviews, not only at Meijer. Or you will get a question targeting them indirectly, like the one we discuss right now.

The key is always the same: Narrate a situation on which you demonstrate that you actually embrace diversity, and have no prejudice against other people (be it your colleagues, customers, or anyone else) when it comes to race, religion, or anything else we can characterize as a “different background”.

You can also add that you avoid sensitive topics on purpose. Maybe your colleagues believe in a different God or support a different political party. But you won’t bring up such topics, because you prefer to build bridges, not fences. You will simply focus on things the two of you have in common, be it some goal in work, or even a mutual hobby.

 

Other questions you may face in your interview with Meijer

  • Tell us about a time when you had to work on multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Do you consider yourself a hard worker?
  • How do you feel about doing night shifts, or working on weekends?
  • Why do you consider yourself a good fit for the job.
  • Work in a retail store can be extremely mundane and repetitive. What will motivate you to try your best each day?
  • After everything we discussed here, do you have any questions?

 

Final thoughts, next steps

Interviews for basic retail jobs with Meijer belong to interviews with an average difficulty. The hiring managers may ask you a couple of scenario-based questions (“what would you do if”, “tell us about a time when”), and such questions can definitely catch one off-guard. So try your best to prepare for them in advance, and think about your answers.

Other than that the interview process is pretty straightforward, and typically quite relaxed. You won’t compete with many other people for these vacancies. As long as you show some enthusiasm for the job, and do not remain silent while hearing the scenario-based questions, they will hire you. I hope you will succeed and wish you best of luck!

Matthew

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Matthew Chulaw
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