If there is one business that is going to thrive for decades to come, no doubt it is Pharmacy. Rite Aid has been around ever since the early sixties, and the company never stopped growing, currently operating over 2,400 locations, primarily on the East Coast of the United States. They employ over 50,000 employees as well, both part time and full time. And though people tend to keep their jobs in drugstores, they are well paid with little effort after all, things do happen in life (someone has a child, someone dies, and so on), and once you have 50,000 employees, you are almost always hiring. Let’s have a look at what will happen in your interview with Rite Aid.

The hiring managers will ask you some basic questions (why Rite Aid, why the job you want to get with them, describe your personality, what’s your availability), and, of course, some situational questions. They try to understand whether you have right attitude to different situations that can happen in a drugstore on a daily basis (unhappy customer, someone trying to steal an item, conflict with the colleague, and so on). Let’s have a look at the questions, one by one.


Why do you want to work for Rite Aid, and not for one of our competitors?

This one isn’t particularly easy, because Rite Aid has their fair share of struggles over the years. They are still the 4th biggest pharmacy chain in the US, but they’ve lost a lot of their stores, and have recorded losses repeatedly. Competitors such as Walgreens and Walmart have really dominated them in the recent years. So why would anyone want to work or the 4th best company, if they can work for the 1st or 2nd on the list?

Well, you can still have a good reason. One is the location of the drugstore. Perhaps it is just a few minutes drive from your place, or you can even walk down there in ten minutes. That’s a big plus for everyone who does not want to spend an hour a day commuting to work. Or you prefer the shopping culture at Rite Aid, when compared to the experience you’ve had with Walmart or CVS Health. One way or another, you should say something positive about the company. They should not get an impression that you apply with them only because they’ve already rejected you at Walgreens…


Why do you want to work as a Pharmacist (cashier, stock clerk, other job at the store)?

The right answer changes a lot from one position to another. Things are easier when you apply for one of the better paying jobs, such as Pharmacist or Pharmacy Technician. At the end of the day, who would not want to earn 50K or 100K a year, barely sweating at work? In such a case you can simply say it is the next step after your studies and everything you’ve sacrificed for this opportunity. And, of course, you see a meaningful purpose in the job, hoping to help people with a great service (though it is highly questionable whether drugs really help people, or rather harm them, but that’s not a topic for this article).

With more basic positions such as cashier or stock clerk, you can either say that you see it a right fit for your skills, personality, and level of education. Or you can bet on brutal honesty–can work like a charm in this case. Maybe you lost a much better job because of the pandemic, or you’ve behind your prime already, but still have bills to pay and kids to feed and need to have some job. Better working in a nice and clean place, earning decent money without getting your hands dirty, than swiping streets or laboring on a construction site in heat and rain. Hence you decided to apply for this or that in-store position with Rite Aid.

Why do you consider yourself a good fit for this position?

Speaking honestly, you do not have to be the brightest guy in town to handle most jobs at Rite Aid. But you need to have the right personality for the job, and be strongly oriented on the customer, on providing an excellent service each and every time. You can definitely focus on your personality in your answer.

For example, you can say that you are an excellent listener, pay attention to needs and emotions of other people (the customers), and believe to have what it takes to deliver a good job day in day out. You can also mention any relevant experience at this point–they may ask about it in a separate question anyway. Explain what you did in the past and how it had prepared you for the role you try to get with Rite Aid.


How will you handle an upset customer?

You may get several situational questions in your interview with Rite Aid, and this is perhaps the most typical one. Because regardless of how hard you try, and how well you do your job, some customers will always be upset. Perhaps they do not like the prices, or you, or they simply have a bad day (their dog died, or their partner left them, or cheated on them, or they lost the job, or slipped on a banana peel on their way to the store, or just had a bad dream at night), and decide to vent their anger while visiting a drugstore. You just happen to be the victim, in a wrong place at a wrong time as they say.

Anyway, ensure the interviewers that you will never shout on a customer. On the contrary, you will try to stay friendly and courteous at all costs, focusing on the solution of the problem, and trying your best to not let your emotions to take over. You will try to understand what’s wrong–if anything, address the issue, and then you will simply move on, trying your best with another customer. The last point is especially important, because you need to be able to get over a bad experience with a customer quickly, in order to be ready to deliver a great service to the next one.


Imagine that you spotted a customer stealing something from one of the shelves. How would you react?

Just avoid suggesting any heroic action, such as that you would jump over the desk, run towards them, grab them by their shirt and throw them to the ground, making sure the item they stole would not break along the way… First and foremost, they have plenty of cameras at every Rite Aid store, everywhere you look.

Secondly, there’s at least one security guard in each store, and they get their salary for taking care of similar incidents. So, say that you would notify the security guard promptly, giving them clear description of what you saw. And that’s basically the end of the story, because from then on they would take over.


How long do you want to work for Rite Aid?

Hiring managers at Rite Aid aren’t naive. They know that people change jobs, and that except of Pharmacists and PTs, many people won’t stay with the company for longer than six months, or a year. Nevertheless, you should try to connect your future with the company, at least while pitching the hiring managers in the interviews. Say them that you have no plans of moving or changing career in the foreseeable future, and will be more than happy to have the job for years–if they are happy with you, of course.

Another alternative is saying that you prefer to live in a present moment, a wise philosophy indeed, especially in the uncertain times we face today in the world. Nobody can tell what tomorrow will bring, and it makes no sense fantasizing about a job or life you may have in five years from now. At this moment you want to work for Rite Aid, and you will see what the future has in store for you…


Other questions you may face in your retail interview at Rite Aid

  • Tell us about a time when you received an excellent customer service somewhere.
  • In your opinion, what is the most difficult aspect of working in a drugstore?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would your best friends describe you?
  • Tell us about a time when you had a conflict with one of your colleagues in one of your former jobs.
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Do you have any questions?


Conclusion, next steps

Though you may face a couple of situational questions in your interview with Rite Aid, we still have to label it as an easy interview. The company knows that they compete for job seekers with bigger players such as Walmart or Walgreens, and they cannot afford to let any decent applicant go home, just because they remained silent when hearing one or two of their questions.

So try to relax, read something about the company and their corporate values, and think about an answer to each question from my list. Last but not least, try to show positive attitude to work and life in general, and a friendly and outgoing personality. Typically it will be enough to get you hired. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck in your interview!


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Matthew Chulaw
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