Almost 40% of American households own a dog, and about 25% of households own at least one cat. You do not have to be the next Einstein to do the Math, and see that the pets market is HUGE, and can be immensely profitable, since many people love their dogs and cats more than anything else in the world, and are ready to open their wallet anytime for the sake of their beloved companion. PetSmart is a leading player in the USA and Canada, when it comes the so called “pet superstores”, which basically means a huge retails store where you can get absolutely everything for your pet, ranging from food to haircut. And of course you can also buy a new per there :).

PetSmart runs over 1,600 stores in US, Canada, And Puerto Rico, and employs over 50,000 people. As you can imagine, with such a big operation some employees are always leaving (for better jobs, due to maternity leave, relocation, retirement, etc), and the company is always hiring, to make sure they have enough staff in the stores. Before you can join their team, you will have to pass an interview (no worries though, it isn’t an especially difficult one), and now we will look at the questions you will face.

Before that though, I want to emphasize one important thing. In-store jobs with PetSmart, such as Cashier, Team Member, Dog Groomer, Bather, etc are no rocket science. You will get the training on the job, and they do not expect you to have yeas of experience in the field. What matters though is your attitude. You should try to demonstrate your passion for pets (and relevant products & services), as well as your spirit for teamwork. Let’s proceed to the questions.


Why do you want to work for PetSmart? (Why did you apply for a job with us?)

Primary reason should be your passion for pets and the market. Because at the end of the day, you won’t earn here much better than you’d do working at Subway, Sephora, Burger King, or any similar place. And all such places offer similar flexibility and benefits. Hence you should say something that distinguishes PetSmart from other retail stores, in your eyes. Obviously it can be the product, that means pets & everything related to them. As a pet lover and owner yourself, you have more passion for cats & dogs than you have for fast food or cosmetics (which is sadly often tested on animals anyway). This should be your primary reason, and you can talk about it at length, if the interview format allows it.

Then you can mention secondary reasons. For example a fitting location of the store–close to your apartment or school. Perhaps you have a friend working there, and they told you great things about the working environment, which motivated you to apply. You can also refer to a specific job, or a specific product segment/service you’d like to work with. That’s not something you will find at Walmart or similar place, and hence you prefer PetSmart, and decided to apply with them.


What is your availability? What hours and days can you work here?

A big percentage of PetSmart employees work part time. And though it isn’t the same “part-time” as in many other places–you’ll have to work for 30 hours a week, and over a 12-month period, many students still manage that, working in the afternoons, weekends, etc. Make sure to think about your weekly schedule, and prepare the exact availability–days and hours. This gives them a clear sign that you take the interview seriously, and aren’t just trying your chances in one of many companies out there.

I also suggest you to emphasize that you are willing to sacrifice something for the job. It may seem unrealistic to some HR managers that you manage school + work for 30 hours/week. However, once you forego one of your hobbies, or delete your Facebook & Instagram account, no doubt you’ll save at least 15 hours a week, and suddenly things look much more manageable. The key is to make an impression that you really want to do the 30 hours/week and stay for 12 months at least, even if that’s not the case in reality, and you plan to quit sooner.

Are you a team player? What does teamwork mean to you?

You should definitely say you love teamwork, and enjoy belonging to a team of people, following the same goal, trying to achieve something interesting and meaningful. It is good to demonstrate this with an example from one of your former jobs (they may inquire about it anyway). You can say how you stayed overtime together with your colleagues when it was most needed, or helped to replace a colleague on a shift when they felt sick or didn’t show up, or anything else that demonstrates your team spirit, and that you can sacrifice something for your colleagues.

If you want to see some sample answers to the second question, we have a separate article with 7 such answers online: What does teamwork mean to you? The sample answers should give you some inspiration and help you show the right attitude in the interviews.


What is your favorite color? What is your favorite animal?

At PetSmart, they enjoy to throw some easy/funny/strange interview questions to the mix. Perhaps to help you relax, perhaps to get to know you better as a person, and perhaps to catch you off-guard, since most people do not expect such questions, and won’t be prepared for them. In any case, you can just be yourself here. No need to think about elaborate answers or anything similar.

Give them your favorite color, or pet, or whatever. You can briefly elaborate on it (for example explaining why you love cats in particular), but it is important to ensure them that while you have a favorite animal, you respect and enjoy working with all animals and pets in particular, and that’s one of the reasons why you apply for a job with them.


Tell us about a time when you had to handle a difficult customer.

People at PetSmart, especially cashiers, get their share of bad words at work. Some customers are upset about discrepancy in prices, some are upset about waiting for too long, and some are upset for no reason at all. Talking about a situation from your former job, you should demonstrate that you stayed calm and courteous, regardless of what the customer told to you. You did your best to help them, and if you didn’t manage it, you called the supervisor. You can also emphasize that their bad behavior had no negative affect on you when it came to your interactions with other customers. Once you were done with them, you simply moved on and did your job as well as you could.

If this is your first job application ever, or you haven’t dealt with customers in any of your previous jobs, you can simply say that you know it won’t always be easy, and you don’t expect to meet only nice people in the job. Nevertheless, you’ll try your best with every customer, regardless of their behavior…


Other questions you may face in your interview with PetSmart


Final thoughts

Interview at PetSmart belongs to easier interviews, but it doesn’t mean you should go there without preparing for the questions. Go through the questions once again, learn something about the company, and make sure to show enthusiasm for pets and related products. You may interview for a job with PetSmart online, face to face, and even in the group. Do not let this detail to derail you. It is just the form of interviewing. The questions are always similar, and the hiring managers are always looking for the same things in the applicants they want to hire… Hope this helps, and I wish you good luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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