Store Clerk isn’t a job most kids dream of having once they grow up. In fact, it is one of the worst paid jobs in the US, paying barely $10/hour at Walmart, for example. However, every job is better than no job, considering that we have bills to pay, and live in a society ruled by money. In some cases, store clerk can be your only option, or even your best choice, considering the circumstances. And it isn’t entirely bad.

You work in an air-conditioned space, it is clean job, you have interactions with customers (some are rude but most of them are nice), and you typically work for a big brand which means goo level of job security. Let’s have a look at what will happen when you interview for the job of a store clerk.

Let me start with good news: this isn’t a difficult interview. Unless you remain silent when facing their questions, or show a completely wrong attitude to the work in the store and the interactions with customers, they will hire you, and give you a chance to demonstrate your motivation in the job. Expect basic questions about your motivation, expectations on the job, availability, some situations you may experience with customers (such as someone accusing you of bad service, or arguing about the price with you), etc. Let’s have a look at the questions now, one by one.


Why do you want to work as a Store Clerk?

Hiring managers aren’t naive. They do not expect to hear that you have always wanted to work in their store, or a similar fairy-tale. Yet you should find at least something positive about the position. For example, you can say it is a good match to your strengths. You are naturally kind and courteous, enjoy interactions with people, do not mind physical work, and generally enjoy the environment of a retail store.

Having said that, you can also opt for honesty. Most hiring managers like honest job seekers. Perhaps you have just few years left until retirement, or you are seeking your first ever working experience, or you’ve been in jail for some time. In such a situation, you do not have many options, and will be grateful for any job. Store Clerk isn’t the best job in the world, you know it. But every job has some pluses and minuses, and you see nothing wrong about doing an honest manual job in the store. Hence you decided to apply, and hope you will get a chance.


Why Walmart (Target. UPS, Kroger, Walgreens, etc)?

In most cases you do not care, because, realistically speaking, the job of a store clerk does not differ much from one place to another. Maybe you will earn a dollar an hour extra in some places, or avoid late evening shifts. You can point out such reasons, but I’d suggest you to focus on something else.

Try to show some loyalty to their brand. Perhaps you’ve been shopping in the place for years. You like their product selection, prices, the way employees treat customers. Having positive associations with their brand, they are your first choice when it comes to looking for a job.

Another good idea is referring to a recommendation you got from a friend (who already works for the place), or logistical reasons–easy traffic connection to the place, fitting shift patterns, etc. In any case, you should point out at least one reason why you want to work for their organization instead of another one.

What is your availability?

Many store clerk jobs are part time jobs. If you apply for one (or aren’t sure whether you apply for a part time or full time position), make sure to think about your weekly schedule upfront. Write down days and hours when you can work in a store, when you aren’t at school or taking care of kids, or having any other obligations that do not allow you to help the customers in the store.

You should also show some flexibility. Willingness to work on weekends, or do some night shifts (if the store is open at night) can make a difference in this interview, especially if you compete with more people for the job (it is often the case when you apply for a store clerk position in places that pay $1-2/hour more than almost everyone else pays to their store clerks).


How do you imagine a typical day in the job of a store clerk?

Ensure them that you imagine having your hands full. You do not imagine staying idle, waiting for orders from a manager, or for something to happen. Because there is always something to do in a retail store. Typically your two core duties will be packing store items onto shelves and helping customers when asked. But you may also keep track of inventory, help the cashiers when their workload is heavy, create displays for products, and so on.

And when there is nothing else to do, you can always take the mop and swipe the floor, or clean the windows, making sure the store is visually appealing and customers feel well inside. Ensure the interviewers that you do not expect an easy ride in this job. You will have to earn the money, and you are looking forward to the duties in the store.


Job of a store clerk is pretty repetitive. What will you do to stay motivated, day after day?

You have several good options here. First one is absolute honesty. People go to jobs because they need money to live. Hence you do not expect to have fun, or to enjoy every minute in the store.

Of course, you hope to have good relationship with your new colleagues, learn new things in work, and have a good feeling from a well-done job. But you know the work will be monotonous, and repetitive most of the time, and you are okay with that. You will work hard simply because you need to keep the job, and cannot afford to lose it.

Second alternative is saying that you prefer repetitive jobs. You like to leave the workplace with a clear mind once your shift is over. No need for elaborate decisions or complicated problems that would haunt you in your dreams. You do your simple job, you do it well, and then you can focus on your life outside of work.


A customer accuses you of a bad service. What will you do?

First and foremost, ensure the hiring managers that you won’t respond in the same manner–accusing them of being XZY. You know that a customer is always right, or at least that’s how they should feel in a retail store.

Hence you will apologize, and focus on the solution of the problem. This is the right course of action when we talk about something trivial, of course. In case of more serious complaints, or when you simply do not know how to address their request, you will ask the manager to deal with it.

You can also elaborate on your answer, saying that you expect such situations in the store (because customers can get upset for any reason, including no reason at all), and it won’t have a negative impact on you in the job. Dealing with it the best you can, you will simply move on.


Other questions you may face in your store clerk interview


Final thoughts

Interview for a job of a Store Clerk belongs to interviews with easy difficulty. Questions repeat from one retail store to another, and you can definitely prepare for them in advance. Think about each one carefully, and try to show right attitude to work, and at least some enthusiasm for the job.

And do not forget to do some research about your future place of work. Regardless of whether you apply for a store clerk position with one of the retail giants, or with a small store, they will always wonder why did you choose them. It will be hard to find the answer unless you know something about their place. In any case, I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck in your interviews!


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Matthew Chulaw
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