Fast fashion is causing a lot of harm to out planet, but people just cannot get enough of cheap clothes, shoes, and accessories–just to have something new to wear. And you won’t find many better places to buy such stuff as Ross, at least when it comes to the variety of selection and great prices. No surprise the company makes billions in revenues each year, and employs over 80,000 people, both part time and full time, in their 1,500 stores all across the United States. Do you also want to join their ranks? You’ll have to pass the interview first. What questions will the managers ask you?

Speaking about the most common (basic) jobs at Ross, such as Retail Sales Associate, Stock Associate, or Customer Service Associate, you can expect a relatively easy interview. Hiring managers will inquire about your motivation (Why Ross?), availability, experience, and about your attitude to some situations that can happen on the job (dealing with an upset customer, multitasking, making a mistake, etc). Let’s have a look at the questions now, one by one.


Why do you want to work for Ross? Why not one of our competitors?

This isn’t an easy question–at least if you want to answer it honestly :). Dozens of companies similar to Ross operate in the US, more or less with the same concept. Cheap clothes manufactured in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other places with cheap workforce, paying minimum wages (or close to it to their employees), and trying to sell a big quantity of merchandise each month, so even with the relatively modest profit margin (cannot be too high considering the prices), they can still remain profitable and their stockholders can enjoy some nice dividends each year.

From a position of a regular employee, however, it is hard to find any significant distinction between these jobs. But you should point out something which sounds at least half-realistic. Maybe you have a friend working at Ross, and they said nice things about the working environment, and the things they learned on the job. It motivated you to apply. Or you do your shopping regularly at Ross, know the place inside-out, the brands they sell, the product lines, and find it logical to apply for a job with them, and not with some other place you have no associations with whatsoever.

Anything you say, they should get an impression that you did not fill your application just trying your luck, or out of sheer desperation, being unable to land any better job. You actually want to work for Ross, at least at this stage of your professional career.


Do you have any relevant experience?

Not that it matters much, because you will get a training on the job, and really anyone can learn to stock the shelves or work behind the cash drawer, but they will still ask. Try to talk positively about your former jobs. Pick relevant duties, and explain what you did, and how it is similar to the job you’ll do at Ross.

Again, how you talk about your experience is even more important than what you say. They should get an impression that you at least somehow enjoy these jobs in retail, and aren’t bored of them already. It is also important to limit negative remarks about your former colleagues and bosses to the bare minimum, because nobody wants to hire an employee who complains about everything and everyone.

If you have no experience, ensure them that you read the job description carefully, know what they expect from you in a discount department store, and feel confident that after the initial training you will handle the job.

How do you feel about working in a fast-paced environment?

Ross Dress for Less can become extremely crowded and busy at certain times of the week. You’ll have your hands full, jumping from one customer to another, trying to answer their requests and provide a great service to everyone, without letting someone waiting for ten minutes for your attention. Of course you’ll have colleagues around to help you out, but still the workload can be at times overwhelming.

Ensure the hiring managers that you embrace fast paced environment. You like to be “in the zone”, focusing on the job, eliminating all distractions, and simply serving one customer after another. In your experience time flies on such days, and before you know it, you’ve served a hundred of customers and the store is closing and you go home. Much better than staring at the screen of your smartphone all day long with no customers around, and time dragging endlessly. You prefer to have something to do while at work, and that’s one of the reasons why you decided to apply with a place like Ross–because there’s always something to do.


Tell us about a time you made a mistake at work.

We are humans and we make mistakes. The worst thing you could do would be claiming that you’ve never made any mistake in your work. That’s not the attitude they are looking for in good candidates for the job.

On the contrary, you should admit making a mistake, be it even a small one with no significance on the overall profit/loss of your employer. The key is to explain what happened, accept responsibility, ensure them that you learned your lesson, and will try your best not to repeat similar mistakes while working at Ross. It can still happen though, because you aren’t a robot. If it does, you won’t have a problem admitting it and accepting responsibility, because you cannot imagine blaming someone else for the mistake you made.


Tell us about a time when you provided (or received) a good customer service.

When we talk about customer retention, everything turns around an excellent (or at least decent) customer service. Regardless of whether you worked in retail before, you should understand what such a service means, and have an ability to recall a situation when you either provided it, or received it (while shopping at some place, perhaps even at Ross).

Narrate a situation when you felt welcome and heard out in the store. When customer service workers or sales associates really paid attention to your needs and questions, gave you good advice, treated you well and with smile on their faces, and you enjoyed your experience immensely. Of course if you provided such a service to someone (to many people) in your last job, it is even better.

But even if you do not, you can elaborate on your answer, ensuring that you understand the pivotal role customer service plays in retail, and will try your best to meet, if not exceed, the expectations of people shopping at Ross.


What’s your availability?

Part-time employees form a big part of workforce at Ross, which is logical considering the wages and everything else (an adult may find it hard to live from the money they earn at Ross). If you also belong to this group, applying for one of the part time jobs, they will almost always inquire about your availability. Two things matter at this point.

First of all, you should have a clear schedule for each day of the week, and explain when you can work and when you cannot, because you have to be at school or have some other crucial commitments. Considering the number of employees at Ross, the company is typically quite flexible with shift scheduling, so it is all right to be able to work only 20 hours a week, for example, most of it on weekends.

Secondly, you should ensure them that the job is high on your list of priorities, though only part-time. You are ready to sacrifice something for the employer, be it some hobby, or simply a time you normally waste browsing social networks on your phone, or doing some other pointless activity. Sure enough, you won’t skip school for this job. But other than school you should prefer the job to most other activities, and be available to come and work.


Other questions you may face in your interview with Ross Dress for Less

  • Are you accustomed to multitasking?
  • How would you handle a difficult customer?
  • Can you stoop and squat frequently?
  • How do you feel about working on Sundays?
  • Tell us about a time when you had a conflict with a colleague.
  • What do you enjoy to do in your spare time?
  • In your opinion, what brings customers to Ross Dress for Less?


Final thoughts, next steps

Interviews for basic jobs with Ross belong to easy interviews. It doesn’t matter whether they interview you over the phone, face to face, or even in the group. As long as you get ready for the basic questions you may get, and show some enthusiasm for the job, and motivation to learn and work hard, in a fast-paced environment, they will typically give you a chance and hire you.

Remember that employee fluctuation is super high in retail, people come and go, and hence company like Ross is always hiring, and they may often struggle with staff in some of their stores. That’s why they aren’t too picky, and you do not have to be too afraid of failing in this interview, unless you remain silent, or say something outright stupid, which should not happen once you read this article. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck in your interview!


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Matthew Chulaw
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