We cannot say that 21st century promotes healthy lifestyle and whole foods diet, but some people at least try to do something to stay fit, and to enjoy their everyday existence, regardless of their age. Many of them make their shopping at Whole Foods Market. The supermarket chain, famously acquired by Amazon in 2017, is renowned for offering minimally processed foods that are free of hydrogenated fats as well as artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives, and other potentially harmful substances. The company is a regular on the list of “100 Best Companies to Work for“, and no wonder that many people want to get a job in one of their 500 supermarkets. But what will happen in an interview?

The good news is that you can expect an easy interview. The company is almost always hiring, and they advertise many seasonal and part time vacancies. What’s more, considering the typical employee turnover, when you apply for one of the basic in-store jobs, such as a Team Member, Cashier, Grocery Stock Associate, Counter Help, and similar, they typically need you more than you need them.

They do not have a luxury of choice, and hope that you will do well in your interview. And since they have a decent employee training in place, they won’t ask you any super-tricky situational questions. Just normal questions about your motivation, availability, future plans, and sometimes a couple of questions about certain situations you may face in the store, such a dealing with a difficult customer. Let’s have a look at the questions now, one by one.


Why do you want to work for Whole Foods Market?

The company is proud on their philosophy when it comes to healthy diet, and you should support it with your words. Give them some praise. Tell them that you want to work for a supermarket that actually helps people to get healthier, including their employees (who get 20% discount by default, and can get 30% discount if they are fit enough). This cannot be said about 90% of supermarket chains in the US. You can say that what they try to achieve resonates with your values, and with your own dietary habits.

Of course, you can mention other benefits as well–slightly better wage than most other supermarkets pay their workers, 100% job-security, considering that the company is backed by the capital from Amazon, and such companies do never bankrupt. Or that you really like the job description, have a passion for a product category you will work with in the store (cheeses, fruits, seafood, etc), or any other reason why you want to work for Whole Foods Market, and not one of the other dozens retail chains in the US.

Remember to speak with enthusiasm, and show positive body language. What you say in an interview should resonate with your body language. If it did not, they would find it hard to believe your words.


What is your availability?

You will get this question in 90% of interviews for part time and seasonal jobs with Whole Foods Market. Important thing to remember–you cannot change your availability during the season, so you should think carefully about the days when you want to work, hours when you are available.

Hiring managers know that many seasonal and part time workers are either still studying, or they have another job. It is fine to point out only 15-20 hours you can work each week, as long as you are precise in your description, and can see the schedule through the entire season. Anyway, they should get an impression that the job is at least somehow important to you, and does not occupy only the 4th or 5th place on your list of priorities.


What is your favorite product to buy at Whole Foods Market, in this or that department? (What is your favorite cheese, seafood, etc?)

The question is a test of your credibility-whether you really like the Whole Foods Market, and know something about the place, or just talk trash in an interview, trying to make some impression. Do yourself a favor and shop at the place a few days before your interview. If you apply for a job in a specific department of Whole Foods Market, such as Bakery, Seafood, Specialty, Meat, etc, you should pay special attention to the products in that category.

Pick your favorite, or notice some brands that you have not seen on the shelves while shopping elsewhere. Then you can point them out in an interview, demonstrating your real interest in this or that product category, or in a healthy diet in general. Needless to say, you should always pick a product that one can buy at Whole Foods Market.

What do you enjoy to do in your free time?

Hiring managers want to know you as a person. And it is important for them to hire people with genuine and friendly personality, people who make for good colleagues and help to build the right atmosphere in the workplace. Hence you should speak freely about any of your hobbies, unless drinking or smoking weed tops the list of your leisure time activities.

Healthy hobbies are your best choice, because hiring managers at Whole Foods prefer to hire people in good shape. Running, speed walking, yoga, cycling, hiking, gardening, picking mushrooms in the woods, playing with your children, you name it. Ensure them that you do not spend your free time glued to your sofa staring on the TV, but actually enjoy movement and doing something good for your body, activities that promote good health. You can check more sample answers here: 7 sample answers to “What do you enjoy to do in your free time?”


How would you handle a rowdy customer?

This one is more popular in UK Whole Food Market stores, because “rowdy” customers are more common in UK than they are in the US. Anyway, they can ask about an interaction with a difficult customer in any supermarket job interview.

Ensure the interviewers that you will try to address the situation with a cool head. You won’t pour oil into fire. On the contrary, you will stay calm and try to understand the issue, and help the customer. But if they continue to misbehave, and disturb the shopping experience of other customers, or even pose a threat for some, you will immediately call the security guard to the spot to take care of the problem.

You can also add that you do not struggle to get over such an unpleasant experience. Once the interaction ends, you will simply move on and continue providing excellent customer service to other shoppers at the store.


Tell us about the last time you went out of your way to help someone.

More than anything else, they care about your attitude. Do you walk with blinds of your eyes, always absorbed in thoughts, not noticing what’s going on around you? Or do you keep your eyes open, and look for an opportunity to help, doesn’t matter if you are working or walking down the street? The second one is the attitude they are looking for at Whole Foods Market.

You can talk about any situation demonstrating the attitude. Perhaps you were rushing somewhere but spotted a confusedly looking stranger at the street corner. You stopped, asked whether they needed help and showed them directions. Or you helped a blind man cross the street.

Of course, examples from your former jobs are your best bet. Maybe your former colleague experienced a tricky period in their personal life (divorce, loss, depression, you name it). You paid close attention to their emotions and tried to encourage them in work, or just be their friend, helping them to crawl from the hole and return back to normal life. Or you went above and beyond for the customer, doing this or that.

Speak with some enthusiasm about your experience. They should get an impression that it is natural to you to pay attention to your surroundings, and help people who may need help, or even going above and beyond for the customers. If you manage to create such an impression, it is almost guaranteed that they will hire you.


Some other questions you may face in your interview with Whole Foods Market

  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now? How do you imagine your future with the company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • In your opinion, why should people shop at Whole Foods Market, and not at one of our competitors?
  • Have you heard about 14 leadership principles? Do you like any of them?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What does quality mean to you?
  • After everything we’ve talked about, do you want to add something, or do you have any questions?


Final thoughts, next steps

Interviews for jobs in one of the Whole Foods Market supermarkets aren’t difficult. As long as you show some enthusiasm for the values they try to promote at Whole Foods Market, and for the job you try to get with them, and do not remain silent when hearing one of their questions, they will typically hire you.

Just make sure you are ready for the questions, and pay the store a visit before the interviews, to learn more about the products and also to notice how the employees interact with the customers. It will without a doubt help you with making the right impression on the hiring managers. I hope you will succeed and wish you best of luck!

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Matthew Chulaw
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