If we should pick the no. 1 job field in the world, it must be retail. At the end of the day, everyone goes to shops and spends money for goods, either out of necessity, or for the sake of pleasure. No doubt hundreds of millions of people work in retail globally, be it in grocery stores, restaurants, specialty stores, or in other retail establishments. If you want to join their ranks (or have to do so, in order to earn your living), you will certainly face one question along the way: Tell me about yourself.
And while in many interviews this is just an icebreaker, often followed by much tougher questions (such as behavioral questions), in a retail interview, in some extreme cases, it can be the only question you will get, or the only one that matters. After hearing your answer, they will either hire you, or send you home. If they like the way you introduce yourself, but also the enthusiasm in your voice, your overall demeanor, they may offer you the job on the spot. On the other hand, if they do not like the first impression, the rest of the interview will be just a formality, and you won’t be hired.
Of course, this isn’t always the case, but I wanted to emphasize that you should not underestimate the importance of your introduction in an interview for a retail job. Remember that both your verbal and non-verbal communication matters. Make sure to talk with enthusiasm, keep eye contact, and speak clearly and to the point, as you would with the customers of their retail establishment. Let’s have a look ta some sample answers, but do not forget to check also my notes below the list of answers, for additional hints. Enjoy!
7 sample answers to “Tell me about yourself” question in retail interviews
- I would characterize myself as communicative, responsible, and friendly person. I’ve always enjoyed interactions with people and helping them, and it is the main reason why I can imagine myself thriving while working in this retail store. It is my first job application, and I’ve never done anything similar, but judging by my experiences from the other side of the counter (from the position of a customer), I do not think it is a difficult job, or something I would not manage to learn quickly. Honestly, I cannot wait to start…
- My name is Gillian, I am 36, one daughter, already going to school. I’ve worked in KFC for the past six years, but feel that I need a change, a different working environment, different smells and vibes. That’s why I’d like to work in your place, specializing in beauty products and personal care. Personally I have a lot of passion for beauty products, and enjoy trying new ones, and believe I will be able to give good recommendations to your customers. When I have some free time–which isn’t very often with a job and a daughter, I enjoy watching a good movie, or going for a long walk to the park.
- Robert, 56, and as you can see on my resume I’ve been unemployed for 2 years. And while I prefer to define myself in some other way, my unemployment has been on my mind for quite long. Because I still feel I have something to offer to my new employer. But employers in my original career field aren’t interested in someone in their mid fifties anymore, and therefor I decided to try retail, and hope you will give me a chance to prove that I know how to work with people, and despite my age have enough energy to cope with fast paced retail environment.
- To introduce myself, I prefer to list my working experience in brief. Since it tells a lot about who I am and what I’ve done in life. So, Home Depot, 7 years, customer service, very high rating by my managers. Then Italian restaurant, 5 years, fast paced, eventually closed down due to financial problems of the owner. And the last one was call center, a supervisory role, but also spending a lot of time on the call with clients. Had this job for three years. As you can see, I have plenty of retail experience I can benefit from in my new job, and I am no job hopper either, since working for five or seven years in the same retail place is rare nowadays, let alone three years in a call center… Outside of work I am just a normal guy who enjoys playing and watching sports, and spending time with the family. Please tell me if you’d like me to elaborate on any of my previous roles.
- I am still a student, trying to earn a degree in nursing. And while my studies take vast majority of my time, and I try to do my best, I also need some money to finance my expenses. That’s why I am looking for a part time job in some fast food place, and since I like your brand the most and eat here often with friends, I decided to give it a shot. I am a quick learner, and hopefully also a good companion, and believe that any retailer will benefit from having me onboard. Perhaps it can be your restaurant…
- Let me introduce myself in six words: Passionate, responsible, quick, and attentive waiter. I have not get bored of my work after ten years in the field, and my legs still serve me well. Just I relocated to a new town due to family reasons, and need to change my job. As you can see on the recommendation from my previous employer, you do not have anything to worry about when taking me onboard. And I like your place, the vibe, the decorations, the system you have in place. It seems like a perfect restaurant for someone like me…
- I am still just 16, and do not really know what I will tell you, at least when it comes to things that matter for the job. Perhaps just that I am eager to start working and gaining my first experience, and that I think cashier is a great start for my career in retail, since it is flexible and I can manage it well with school. And that I like dancing, playing guitar and having fun while not studying, but I am not sure if such things matter to you. Anyway, please ask anything you want to know about me or my studies or goals or whatever.
Try to keep it short, share something from your personal life
Some people struggle to even start their introduction, while others will talk for twenty minutes about their former jobs, studies, and perhaps even about the political situation in the world. As you can likely imagine, none of these two extremes is good, and none of them will take you far in the interviews.
You should focus on anything that presents you as a good candidate for the job. It can be your working experience in the field, but also your passion for specific segment of retail, or even your personality traits (fitting for this field), as you can see on my list of sample answers. It is also important to explain your situation–why you apply for the job, especially when it may seem unlikely for the hiring managers (for example when you are changing your career from another field to retail).
Last but not least, it is good mentioning something from your personal life, so they know you better as a person, and perhaps you can find a common ground, sharing a hobby with your hiring manager (such things will only help you succeed in the interviews). Your answer should not take more than two minutes, and remember that if they lack some information, they can always ask…
Ready to introduce yourself in your retail interview? I hope so! Do not forget to check also other tricky questions you may face on your way towards a a new job contract:
- Retail interview – what are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Retail interview – why should we hire you?