Why do you want to work in our practice (retail store)?

You should find something positive about their brand, or about the particular store. Perhaps you really like their selection of frames, for example for a particular demographic group, like children or women, or teenagers who look for some fancy spectacles.

Another idea is referring to the customer service at place. You’ve shopped there, or one of your relatives, or perhaps you even visit the place repeatedly, since you have some vision problems and wear glasses or contacts. You’ve been always impressed with the outstanding customer service at their place. Now, when a vacancy became available, you’d love to join their team and also provide an excellent service to their customers.

If you cannot find anything better, you can refer to the location of the place, or to their opening hours. You can say that you won’t spend eternity commuting to work, which is a huge benefit in your opinion, or that the working hours fit well with your other commitments (in family, school, in some other job).


Can you tell us something more about your previous working experience?

Optician (dispensing optician) is a specific job, and you can hardly get the fitting experience elsewhere. On the other hand, it is partially also a sales job–you will try to recommend good (and expensive) frames to the customers, and you will try to up-sell them on some additional merchandise, such as protective box for their glasses.

So basically any experience you have with selling, or with customer service, is a big plus. And if you have no experience, ensure them that you read the job description carefully, know what they expect from you in the job, and believe in your ability to handle it. Lack of experience isn’t typically a reason to reject your application, because in most cases you’ll work under a guidance of an experienced optician, at least during the first year in work.

So as long as motivation and confidence is there, they will give you chance to prove your skills in the job.

Imagine that I am a customer in the store. Try to sell me one of the frames.

A simple role play is a great way of testing both your readiness for the job and your courage. The worst thing you can do at this point is refusing the role play, claiming that you aren’t prepared, or do not know enough about the frames to sell them to customers. Mark my words: if you refuse to do the role play, they won’t hire you.

Because they do not expect you to know the specifications and advantages of this or that frame, or to deliver a superb sales pitch in your interview.. They just want to see whether you have the courage, and know how to talk to the customer. You will learn the rest of things directly in work, observing the senior optician, or simply trying and failing…

Back to the role play. Stick to the following three rules and you’ll show them what they want to see from a good job candidate:

  1. Ask questions. What colors do they like? Are they looking for glasses they will wear to work, or outdoors? Or do they want a one-fit-all model? Do they have any preferences in terms of brand or material (plastic, metal, wood)?
  2. When they are trying the frames, give them feedback. Good optician won’t tell the customer that they look great with the very first frame they tried on. On the contrary. Let them try more of them, and observe whether it is a fit, or perhaps they need something wider, or maybe for their nose another frame will fit better. Show proactive approach to the customer.
  3. Keep eye contact and positive body language.

At the end of the day this is just a role play, not a real situation. It doesn’t matter whether you eventually close the deal or not, or even upsell the customer. As long as the hiring manager sees that you ask questions, pay attention to the customer, and encourage them to purchase something with both your verbal & non-verbal communication, they will be happy about your performance in the role play.


How do you feel about working on Sunday, or in the evening?

Different optical shops have different working hours. If you apply for a job in an optical shop located in a shopping mall, however, you can be almost sure that it is open also on Sunday. It may be actually open until 9pm each day in the week.

Try to show some flexibility in your answer. Obviously you’d prefer to spend your time with friends and family on Sunday–just like everyone else. But you understand that when the store is open someone has to be at work. And on some weekends you’ll take the bullet.

Ensure the interviewers that you are aware of their working hours, and are ready to work when they need you.


How would you define a great customer service in an optical shop?

You have two ways of answering this question, and both of them can impress the interviewers. First one is focusing on the process of sale. You can say that you will greet each customer with a smile, and after a short while approach them, asking what they are looking for, trying to give them an advice, showing them different frames, etc.

Then, once they made their choice, you’ll instruct them on how to take care of their glasses, and perhaps also try to upsell them. You will keep an eye contact with them throughout, and ensure that you answered all their questions.

Another approach is focusing on results instead of process. In this case, you define the excellent customer service by the results it delivers for the optical shop.

When people are returning to the shop, making repetitive purchases, when they are recommending the place to their peers and posting great reviews online, it certainly means that they got an excellent customer service, that they felt attended to a heard out, and that they considered the prices adequate.


Job of an optician can be repetitive sometimes, because you’ll do the same things with each customer. What do you plan to do to stay motivated?

Again you have few options for a good answer. First one is saying that you will focus your attention on people instead of the tasks. Surely, you will always sell and repair frames, and respond for some other repetitive duties in the store. But you will always meet new people, new customers, each one having their own story, preferences, budget, problems. Focusing on people and the conversations with them, you won’t find the job repetitive.

Another idea is saying that you actually prefer repetitive jobs. Maybe you had another job before, one in which you had to think creatively, always coming up with new ideas. And you often couldn’t forget your work even when you were already back home.

Now you are looking for something different, because your former job wasn’t really the best fit. You want to have a job which you can forget once you leave the store. And that’s exactly the advantage of repetitive jobs. Because you do not have to think about solution to this or that problem. When you come to work tomorrow, you’ll simply do the same tasks you did today…


6 other questions you may face in your interview for a job of an optician

  • What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job?
  • Imagine that you are in the store but there are no customers. Will you just sit and wait for them to come, or how will you use this time at work?
  • You will work under a guidance of a skilled optician during the first year in this job. What do you expect from your supervisor?
  • Imagine that a customer complains about the service you provided to them. How will you react?
  • What would you like to accomplish while working as an optician in our optical shop?
  • After everything we discussed here, do you want to add something, or do you have any questions?


Conclusion, next steps

Due to the unhealthy lifestyle and loads of hours we spend looking at the screen of TV, laptop, or our smartphone, more and more people experience problems with their vision. And they all need glasses, or contact lenses, which increases the demand for opticians.

This means that you may often be the only person interviewing for the job, or one of a few, which is definitely better than competing with dozens of other applicants (which is the case in many other roles).

As long as you know something about their store or practice, do not remain silent when they ask you their questions, and do not flop the role play, they will typically give you a chance to prove your skills in the job. I hope you will make it, and wish you good luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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