The typical interview for sales or customer service¬† position with the American computer retailer consists in two parts. First you’ll have to pass the reading comprehension test, and the employee behavioral test. You can practice for the tests with some preparation test kits online , but as long as your IQ score is above 100, and you do not suffer from any mental or behavioral disorder, you should pass the tests with ease. Remember that they do not look for a perfect score in the test. They have just a certain threshold, a score you have to reach, and as long as do so you are good to go for the second part of the interview…

Once you pass the tests, they will invite you for an interview to the store. Micro Center managers are infamous for their poor time management and organizational skills, especially when it comes to interviewing people. Many job seekers reported that they had to wait for thirty minutes or even for an hour, which is obviously stressful, and it is unprofessional from the hiring managers. Anyway, try to keep your compose. Do not let things to distract you, and do not tell the manager it is unprofessional to keep you waiting for so long.

They will ask you mostly basic questions about your motivation, experience, expectations, and attitude to different situations that can happen in the store with the customers or with your colleagues. Typically they will also ask you two or three basic technical questions, just to make sure that you know something about computers and products they sell at Micro Center. Let’s have a look at some of the questions you may face.


Why do you want to work for Micro Center?

You should talk about two things. First one is your passion for computers, primarily hardware. You can say that you enjoy building up your own PC, read magazines and follow websites that discuss the latest trends, and test the new equipment. Simply the world of computers fascinates you, and it is always easier to enjoy doing a job when one works with goods they know a lot about, and enjoy talking about with others.

Secondly, you should refer to your sales skills, or any customer service experience. They will likely inquire about your experience in a separate question. Still, you can say at this point that you believe to have good communication skill, ability to understand the needs of the customer and match them with a product, and feel you’ll do well in the job. The key is to show them that you find the job with them a good match for your strengths and personality.


Can you tell us more about your previous working experience?

If you have any relevant experience, try to focus on relevant duties, and achievements. Perhaps you did better monthly sales volume than other sales associates did in your last retail job, or you’ve helped the store to improve their online rating from three stars to four stars with excellent customer service. Or you simply did some volume, and met the goals of your manager.

If this is your first application for the job in retail, you can briefly mention other working experience, trying to find some connection. Perhaps you worked with people, had to handle some conflicts and objections, and though it wasn’t retail or sales, you’ll benefit from the experience while working at Micro Center.

And if it is your first job application ever, you can refer once again to your decent communication skills and passion for computers. Micro center provides a basic training to their new hires, so with the skills and the training, you are good to go.


Tell us about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer.

The most important thing is to talk about the situation without emotions. You can talk about a customer with endless list of questions, or a customer who complained about something, or one who wasn’t able to understand even the basic instructions about some hardware, and so on.

The key is to demonstrate that you tried your best to deliver an outstanding service, didn’t go into any arguments with the difficult customer, and, step by step, you patiently tried to address their request.

Applying for your very first job, you can say what you would do in such a situation. Remember that your attitude matters the most for the hiring managers at Micro Center, and not the particular situation you narrate.

Tell us about a time when you struggled to explained something technical to someone who lacked technical skills.

At this point you can talk about situation from work, school, or even from home (explaining your mom how to reset a router, for example). Ensure the interviewers that you try your best to use simple language when talking to someone who lacks technical skills. You can talk also about demonstration, illustration, practical examples, and any other means of getting your message over.

The key is to show that you do not give up in such situations, and can get over your technician ego. You will patiently explain things to the customer, in as simple a way as possible, even repeating your instructions several times, making sure they got the point, and won’t leave the store unsatisfied.


Are you familiar with how commission based wages work?

Good salesmen like commission based wages. Because they trust their sales skills. And they know they will earn more when they sell more. Obviously this compensation model has some drawbacks, for example low wages during the dry period for retail (January-March). But you will get some base wage (typically the minimum wage, or slightly better), to keep your head above the water when sales are bad in general. The rest you’ll earn from commissions.

Tell the hiring managers that you are familiar with the model. What’s more, you actually prefer it, because you do not plan to hang around the store, playing with your smartphone. On the contrary, you want to approach customers, give them recommendations, and try to up-sell them anytime there’s an opportunity to do so. You want to be the best salesman, and the best guys always prefer the commission based model of compensation.


What is your availability?

Many jobs at Micro Center are part time. Which makes sense, considering that many employees are still students, and cannot work full time. When they inquire about your availability, you should do two things. First one, present a clear schedule for the week, from Monday to Sunday. Explain when you can work and when you cannot, because you are at school, or have another job, or whatever.

Second, you should show some flexibility and the right list of priorities. It is fine saying that you cannot work Monday morning because you have school. But saying that you cannot work Saturday afternoon because that’s when you go out with friends to see the movies won’t really make an impression on the hiring managers. They want to see that the job with Micro Center will be high on your list of priorities–first or second really…


Other questions you may face in your interview with Micro Center

  • What is the difference between SATA and SSD hard drives?
  • Have you ever build your own PC? What hardware did you use in the process, and why?
  • Tell us about a conflict you had with one of your colleagues in your previous job.
  • Role play: Imagine that I am a customer. Try to sell me this graphic card (or any other item).
  • What motivates you the most in this type of work?
  • After everything we’ve discussed here, do you have any questions?


Conclusion, next steps

Interview for a retail job at Micro Center belongs to interviews with average difficulty. The salary offer isn’t great, and the company isn’t as popular as other retail giants. Which means that you typically won’t compete with dozens of other candidates, and it makes your situation easier.

On the other hand, you’ll have to pass the tests, and often deal with a couple of tricky scenario-based questions, just as I described in the article, or even with the role play–sell me this or that hardware. Such things are not easy for most people.

Anyway, try to prepare for the questions in advance. Think about what you’d say. You can even mock a role play with a friend, or with an interview coach. And once you interview in the store, do not forget to show enthusiasm and passion for the world of computer hardware. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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