Nordstrom retail stores are famous for an outstanding customer service design, and a wide offer of luxury brands of clothing, footwear, handbags, jewelry, and cosmetics. Nordstrom has made it to the list of 100 best US employers on several occasions, and it is generally considered a good place to work.

In a typical Nordstrom interview (for in-store positions), which they may conduct both face to face and online, the hiring managers will ask you mostly about your former experience, relationship to the brand of Nordstrom, and about your attitude to various situations that can happen in a store. Let’s have a look at the most common questions.


Why do you want to work for Nordstrom?

You should refer to positive associations you have with their brand. Perhaps you are a frequent shopper, and consider their offer of luxury (and affordable) brands superior to the offer of their competitors, such as Macy’s or Saks.

Or you can refer to an excellent customer service which you always received while shopping in one of their stores, the proactive approach of their sales associates. You like the way they run the stores and approach customers, and would love to join their squad.

Another option is referring to strong team culture, or excellent employee benefits (health insurance, employee discounts, paid time off up to 5 weeks a year, etc). They made the list of best US employers several times for a reason, and that’s a strong enough motivation for you to join their team.


Can you tell us something about your previous experience?

Focus mostly on sales, customer service, or other retail experience. When you describe what you did in your former jobs, always put emphasis on excellent customer service, teamwork, and proactive approach. You can also explain why you left your past jobs, and how they prepared you for the work with Nordstrom.

If you have done nothing similar before, or this is your first job application ever, it typically won’t be a showstopper at Nordstrom. Company runs a decent training program for new hires, and on-job training is also provided. The training isn’t unified, however, and the quality may vary from one store to another, depending on your place of work and experience of your new manager.

Without experience you should simply ensure them that you have a good understanding for the job, and decent communication skills, and are confident that after the training you will handle your duties.

What is your definition of an outstanding customer service?

Regardless of your definition, ensure the hiring managers that outstanding service is what you want to deliver to each customer. Because excellent service means returning customers and good online reviews, and these things are vital for every successful retailer.

You can define a great customer service in several ways. For example:

  • More than anything else, I would define it as meeting their expectations, or even exceeding them.
  • I’d say that customer should feel welcome and attended to in the store. We should be no mere observers. Oppositely, we should actively inquire about their wishes, helping them to find the most fitting products for their needs.
  • I am just starting in the field and am not sure how to define such a service. But if people return to the store, if they recommend it to their peers, than they certainly got a great service. I hope to learn here how to deliver such.
  • You can also check more sample answers here.


Here’s a rack of clothing: style something and try to sell it to me

This question is a bit tricky, because every person has different preferences and expectations when it comes to clothes.

I suggest you to look at your interviewer, what clothes they wear, what colors, what style they prefer. You can even ask them some questions if you aren’t sure–such as for what purpose they want the clothes, etc–you will ask your customers similar questions, so it definitely isn’t a mistake to ask them in the job interview.

Then it’s about matching their wishes with something from the rack. Try to be quick, your initial choice should not take you more than 1 minute. Try to sell them the quality of the material, or how the dress fits their body type. Basically you should say something logical and wait for their reaction. If they do not like your initial choice, don’t give up. Make another combination and try to sell it to them.

This question is more about your attitude than about the actual selection you make. If they see that you can quickly pick something, aren’t afraid to praise the materials or design, or ask questions, and have a basic knowledge of styles and clothes, they will be satisfied with your answer. For a better understanding on how to deal with similar role play questions, you can read our guide on “Sell me this pen” interview question.


What would you do if a customer complained about a service they received in the store?

You can get this question in both sales associate and assistant manager interview at Nordstrom. Ensure the interviewers that you plan to take each customer feedback seriously, and would not dismiss it quickly.

Customer satisfaction is your no. 1 goal. Therefore you would interview the customer, trying to understand what went wrong with their shopping experience, and address the situation accordingly. Say that you would never argue with a customer, and if you were unable to solve their complaint (though trying), you’d call your manager and ask them to handle the situation.


Where do you see yourself in five years time?

If possible, try to connect your career with Nordstrom. The company promotes many employees internally, sales associates become team leaders and assistant managers, and assistant managers can become store managers. If this is your goal, to manage one of their stores in five years time (or even earlier), do not hesitate to mention it in the interviews.

Of course, you should add that you understand it takes time, and that you have to gain a lot of experience, before applying for one of the managerial positions with them.

Another option is saying that you try to live in the present moment, and do not think much about the future. You focus on the task at hand–getting the job with Nordstrom, and trying your best in work each day. Later you will see what the future will bring, whether you will stay with the company, or follow a career path that will lead you somewhere else.

You notice that one of your colleagues is just hanging around in the store, not approaching customers, not doing anything. What will you do?

You can win a lot of points with a good answer to this question, but it isn’t the most obvious one. Saying that you will report the colleague to the manager is actually a bad answer. The same applies to disciplining them in front of other colleagues, or ignoring them, focusing only on your job. There are many bad answers, but what is the good one?

In a good answer you should show your team spirit, and the right attitude to your colleagues. Say that you will kindly ask them if they are all right, if something is wrong. You will attentively listen to their concerns, watch their body language. Maybe they feel sick, or experience some problems in their personal life, or have a bad day, or whatever.

Once you find out, you will try to encourage them, say the right words, or, if the situation is serious, you will suggest them to take a day off or a sick leave. In any case, instead of reporting them to the manager and making things difficult for them, you will try your best to help them. Because you care about your colleagues, because you are a team player…


Some other questions you may get in your job interview with Nordstrom

  • Speaking about your communication skills and sales skills, what do you consider your greatest strength and your biggest weakness?
  • What motivates you the most in this job?
  • Tell us about a time when you showed initiative at work.
  • How would your former colleagues describe you?
  • Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond for one of your customers.
  • What is your availability? How do you feel about working on weekends?
  • Sell me this pen (role play).
  • Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues in your previous job.
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants?

* If you are not sure how to answer the questions from my list, or experience interview anxiety, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to basically all questions you may face in your job interview will help you streamline your preparation, outclass your competitors, avoid embarrassing silence in the interviews, and get a great job. Thank you for checking it out!


What clothes to wear to a job interview with Nordstrom

You should definitely look stylish. Looking at you, they should immediately get an impression that you know how to match clothes with accessories and jewelry, and will be able to give good advice to their customers and upsell them on different items.

In terms of colors and even type of clothes, there aren’t any specific directions. There is no official dress code for sales associates at Nordstrom, and it is the same for an interview. Just pick something you feel good wearing, something nice, and do not overdo it with jewelry or handbags. One piece of each is enough…


Conclusion, next steps

Interviews for in-store positions at Nordstrom belong to job interviews with average difficulty. Nordstrom compensates their employees slightly better than most of their competitors, which makes their offers more popular. More often than not you will compete with several other people for the job, which, of course makes it difficult to succeed.

But if you learn enough about their brand, prepare for the questions from this article, and manage to build a good connection with the hiring managers, they will typically give you a chance. I wish you good luck!


* You can also download the questions in a simple, one page long PDF, in order to practice your interview answers anytime later:

Nordstrom interview questions, PDF

May also help you succeed in your Nordstrom interview:

Matthew Chulaw
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