Gone are the days when you traveled to a store and talked to a manager at Target, made a good impression, and got hired on a spot. The recent virus pandemics have changed everything, or perhaps it just helped the companies realize the advantages of video (virtual, recorded) interviews as a part of the hiring process. And they employed various tools and solutions, ranging from simple Skype and Zoom interviews, through custom-made solutions like Chime from Amazon, to utilizing powerful hiring platforms like HireVue. Target opted for for the last one, and nowadays when trying to get a job with them, you’ll have to pass their virtual interview, typically answering 6 questions.
I personally see many drawbacks to this form of hiring new staff, but you are not here to read my opinion on recorded interviews :). Hence I will now share with you the six questions you will have to deal with during the HireVue interview with Target (as of late 2022, they haven’t updated the questions in the last two years, and I wonder if they ever will–certainly they should do so, but things do not change easily with big corporations), and give you some advice on how to deal with each one. Enjoy!
Tell me about your background, relevant work experience, and why you are interested in this position.
The icebreaker question, and the easiest one from the virtual interview with Target. Remember that they do not care that much about your background. What they observe with your first answer is your overall demeanor, communication skills, level of enthusiasm, etc. Basically they try to get a basic grasp of your personality and intentions. If they get a bad impression, many hiring managers will close the interview and won’t even watch your other answers. What should you talk about?
Just generally describe who you are, your education, what you’ve done so far for a living (any retail experience is a plus but not a must), and most importantly explain why you want to work for Target, and how the job fits your life (and/or career goals). You should also say one or two positive things about Target as a brand–perhaps you like the way their stores are organized, their pricing policy, your family shops at Target for years, etc. The key is to start your HireVue interview on a positive note, and convince them that you really want to work for Target, and do not apply with them just because you need any job.
Tell me about a time you were able to keep a friendly demeanor with someone who was upset or angry. Describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.
After the first icebreaker question, you will deal mostly with behavioral/situational questions. That means describing how you handled a certain situation, a situation you may realistically face in your job at one of the Target stores. The first one is a typical “difficult customer question”. An important tip at the beginning: if this is your first job application, you can talk about a situation from school, one when you had to deal with an upset or angry classmate, teacher, etc.
The key is to say that you focused on the solution of the problem, and did not let your emotions take over. Instead of heating up the conflict, you carefully listened to the other person, and tried to helped them–in whatever way fitting for the situation. At the end you can also say that you know some shoppers will be upset at Target (for whatever reason or no reason at all), and you feel ready to handle such situations with a calm head, trying your best to make sure each customer leaves the store satisfied.
Tell me about a time you tried to sell a customer, teammate, or someone else on an idea, product, or service. Describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.
The key with this one is showing them that you understand the basic principles of sales. Which means, instead of blindly promoting and pushing some product or idea to someone, you try to understand their needs and desires, and then match them with the product or idea you try to sell them. For example, if you are trying to sell a new mobile phone to someone, you will first try to understand why they need a new phone, what functionality they may benefit from, and just then explain how the product you are offering them may solve their problems.
In your description of the situation you can also point out the challenges you faced--the objections they had, and how you skillfully addressed each one of them. At the end of the day you perhaps haven’t succeeded, and they haven’t bought anything, but you gave it your best shot, and didn’t give up quickly. That’s exactly what they want to hear from you. In an ideal case you can use this question as your opportunity to demonstrate your proactive approach to work, explaining how you approached a customer in a store or in a restaurant (or wherever you worked before), and offered them something, without them approaching you first.
Tell me about a time you were able to understand someone else’s viewpoint that differed from your own. Describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.
This one is mostly about conflicts in the workplace, something we cannot entirely avoid. The key here is to narrate a situation which demonstrates that you respect and understand opinions of other people. It doesn’t mean that you agree with them, but you respect them and can share the workplace with a colleague whose viewpoint or opinions differ strongly to yours.
If you want to come up with even more powerful answer, pick a situation in which you were actually wrong. That means a situation when you disagreed with someone, perhaps even argued, but eventually were able to overcome your ago and admit that the other person was right, and you changed your viewpoint, or the way you did some activity. Companies like Target love to hire people who are able to admit their own mistakes, and do not stubbornly push their cause, just because of their pride…
Tell me about a time you had to work with someone else to achieve a goal with multiple tasks, while you were under a tight deadline. Describe the situation, your actions, and the outcome.
This question combines two typical areas of situational interview questions: teamwork and meeting deadlines. It is an easier one for people with lack of working experience, because you can always talk about a situation from school, when you cooperated with one or two classmates on some seminary project, and had to deliver it until some specific day.
Anyway, the key is to say that you enjoy teamwork, that, despite the problems and the pressure you faced, you did well cooperating with others, supported your teammates, and did your best to achieve the goal. It also helps to say that you did not mind working overtime when the deadline was tight, since they may expect the same attitude from you at Target (for example during peak seasons like before holidays, when everyone goes shopping for groceries). You may or not emphasize your leadership role in the team, it isn’t that important for hiring managers at Target.
Positions in Target Stores include guest service and product handling duties as essential functions of the job. These duties require the ability to: [long list of duties]. Are you able to fulfill these?
Typically the list will include some duties many people may struggle with, such as occasionally lifting merchandise up to 40 pounds, or working night shifts, during holidays, etc. I suggest you to read this carefully, but at the end of the day you should show confidence that you will handle the job. Hence you should simply hit yes, and that’s it. The end of the interviews.
One of the drawbacks of HireVue interview is the predictability. You can always find the questions online (if not on normal web than on dark web, or in some forums), and prepare for them in advance. This is a drawback for the employer, but it makes it easier for you. Having said that, I suggest you not to come up with word-to-word answers written on a sheet of paper and then just reciting them. First of all it sounds unnatural, and a skilled hiring manager will immediately now….
What I suggest you to do though is to prepare a few bullet points for each question, basically describing the key points of each answer, and then talk freely, looking at the bullet points in front of you for a reference…. I hope you will manage to do well, and wish you best of luck in your recorded video interview with Target!
May also interest you: 15 most common interview questions and answers.