Running a Walmart store isn’t only about cashiers, stock clerks, and customer relations associates. Someone has to manage each team, each shift, the entire store, a certain district, and at the end of the day the entire company. As you can likely imagine, managerial interviews differ vastly from job interviews for common in-store jobs. For common jobs, all they care about is motivation and willingness to work hard. Employees will learn everything else quickly. For managerial positions, however, you’ll need to demonstrate certain skills, as well as right attitude to all sorts of tricky situation you may face as a manager. So what will happen in an interview at Walmart for a store manager, store lead, specialty manager, assistant manager, etc position?
The hiring committee (in case of managerial jobs you will almost always interview in front of a small panel, though of course phone interview, or a series of phone interviews, may precede this step of a hiring process) will ask you mostly scenario-based questions, that means what you did when X happened in your last job, or what you would do if X happened in any job you had. Of course, they will inquire also about your experience and motivation–and you should not underestimate such questions. What matters most though, and will decide about your eventual success (or failure), are your answers to those scenario-based questions. Let’s have a look at some questions one by one.
Why do you want to work as a store lead/store manager/specialty manager here at Walmart?
I suggest you to relate to several areas at this point. First one is your experience, and what makes you a good candidate for the job (in your own eyes). Perhaps you managed similar operation before (achieving X and Y), or you are an expert in a given product category you should manage, or you had the same job with one of Walmart’s competitors, or you simply believe that with everything you’ve done in your career up to this point, the job is an excellent match for you, at this stage of your career.
Second area to focus on is Walmart, their operation, what they try to achieve, and how it resonates with you. Let me explain. As a manager (or “wanna be manager”) you have thousands of possible workplaces. So why did you pick Walmart? That’s what they wonder about. Luckily Walmart is a major player, which makes it easier for you to come up with something meaningful. You can say that you always wanted to work for the biggest retailer in the world, that you admire the success and the story of the owner, that their core values (service to the customer, respect for an individual, etc) resonate with you. Of course you can come up also with a more unique, personal reason. But that’s up to you to decide.
Last but not least, we all go to work to earn money, and you should also say what you expect from the job. Good salary and benefits is one thing, but you should also talk about personal growth, interesting challenges (that motivate you), and anything else that managerial career with Walmart can bring into your life. Once you connect these three areas together in one answer, you will make the best possible impression right from the get-go.
Please tell us more about your managerial experience.
Obviously you can find yourself in a variety of situations here. Maybe you have no previous managerial experience. In such a case, try to at least explain how you dealt with some “managerial” duties in your previous job, or at least how you had to manage your own time and schedule at work. Lacking experience, the most important thing is to show confidence in your abilities to handle the job. Maybe you haven’t managed any operation up to this point. But you did this and that, you’ve been in retail for long enough, understand the job description, and believe to have what it takes to do the job well.
When you have managerial experience, try to pick things especially relevant for Walmart. Think about your future job for a while. What kind of people will you manage, how your day will look like, what problems you may face. And now compare it with what you did in your previous managerial roles, and explain it to the interviewing panel.
I also suggest you to focus on achievements, and to use numbers while describing your previous managerial experience. It just makes your words easier to imagine, and numbers also help with credibility. For example:
I worked for X years on ABC managerial position, leading X employees on Z shifts. During my stint at the company we managed to grow sales by XY percent and reduce the number of complaints by XZ percent.
Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership.
Great managers lead by example, and you should show the interviewers that you do not imagine sitting in your comfy office all day, waiting for some problem to occur. On the contrary, as a manger you were out there, on the sales floor, always checking on your key employees, your direct subordinates. You did not mind taking on manual labor for a while when someone didn’t come to a shift, and when you felt something was wrong, you didn’t hesitate to speak for your employees.
Of course, you can talk about all sorts of situations–proposing a change to a process, an improvement, doing the right thing though you knew it was not good for your career in the company, accepting responsibility for poor results, and so on, and so forth. We have a specialized article online for a similar question, with 7 sample answers, and you can check it here.
Describe a recent job related situation where you had to make an important business decision.
They want to hire accountable people, and people who aren’t afraid to make important decision. Now, important decision doesn’t necessarily mean a BIG decision. Working as an assistant manager, you’re not going to decide that a shop will close or that you will no longer sell product A for this or that reason. But you have your own scope of responsibility, and your level of decisions, that are nonetheless very important for a good functioning of any Walmart store. And you should consider them important–that’s what matters for the interviewers at Walmart.
Talk about anything from your last job, any tricky situation. It can relate to employees for example. Maybe you had to terminate someone’s contract, or find a quick replacement, or share a difficult feedback with someone. It can relate to the operation of the place–the shift patterns, budgeting, marketing, anything. The key is to simply describing a decision that was important for your role, and later say how it impacted the results.
Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer
In most managerial roles with Walmart, you’ll have some interactions with customers. Either directly (such as solving their complaints) or indirectly, such as instructing your subordinates how they should deal with this or that situation with a customer. “Service to the customer” is the no. 1 value at Walmart. Hence it is important to demonstrate that customer satisfaction really matters to you, and that you keep it on your mind at all times, when dealing with any problem.
Personally assisting a customer while already working as a manager is alone going above and beyond–since it likely wasn’t your duty to do so while working as a manager. Needless to say, customers cherish such moments, since it is a clear demonstration that the company really cares for them, that it isn’t just an empty slogan. Of course, you can also talk about any specific problem a customer had, and how you went outside of your standard working duties to solve it. Your attitude matters the most for the hiring managers–as long as they see that you really care, and love to go above and beyond, they will be satisfied with your answer.
Other scenario-based questions you may face in your managerial interview with Walmart
- Tell us about a conflict you had with one of your subordinates.
- Describe a time when you and your team completed a critical project despite a heavy workload.
- Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a poor performer on your team.
- Describe your experience working in a fast-paced environment.
- What would you do if you witnessed someone doing something wrong, such as an employee stealing something.
- Tell us about a time when you had to give someone a difficult feedback.
- What was the biggest problem you faced in your last job, and how did you solve it?
- Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
- Tell us about a time when you failed.
- What are your salary expectations?
- Why should we hire you, and not one of the many other candidates applying for this managerial job with Walmart?
Getting a managerial job at Walmart is much tougher than getting one of the common in-store jobs with the company. You have to prepare for a tricky interview, with plenty of scenario-based questions. You’ll have to demonstrate your skills, right attitude to work and to customers, and also your readiness for a variety of situations you may face while managing a team, a department, or an entire store at Walmart. It won’t be easy, but if you spend enough time preparing, and give it your best shot, you have a chance to succeed. At the end of the day, one candidate always gets the job. So why wouldn’t it be you? I wish you good luck!
May also interest you: 15 most common interview questions and answers.