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Retail Store Manager Interview Questions

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  1. In your previous position as a retail store manager, did you have an underperforming employee? How did you handle the situation? See answer
  2. Have you made mistakes in your previous position as a retail store manager? How did you handle it? See answer
  3. What are some strategies you use to keep your employees motivated? What examples have you implemented in the past? See answer
  4. How might your experiences as a retail store manager distinguish you from other applicants for this position? See answer
  5. In your opinion, what are some of the best personality traits in a retail store manager?
  6. A specific product hasn’t sold well and you have a lot of inventory left over. What strategies do you implement to sell it and earn a profit?
  7. What is your experience hiring and training new employees? What strategies do you use to identify qualified candidates?
  8. A customer wants to return an item they purchased six months ago, but your return policy asks customers to return items within 30 days of purchase to receive a refund. What do you do?
  9. Have you ever had to calm an angry customer? What did you do to resolve the situation?
  10. Do you have experience organizing displays in an aesthetically-pleasing way?
  11. Can you tell me about a time that budget cuts meant you could only order one product over another? How did you make your decision?
  12. Two out of four sales associates assigned to work a shift call out sick and your assistant manager already called off for the day. What do you do?
  13. Are you okay with overseeing store operations on the weekends or later in the evening? What shifts do you prefer?
  14. You notice two sales associates aren’t working well as a team. How do you intervene to ensure productivity?
  15. You receive a shipment of products that don’t match what you ordered. What is your process for resolving the shipment issue?
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6 Retail Store Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

In your previous position as a retail store manager, did you have an underperforming employee? How did you handle the situation?

A:

One of the main duties of a retail store manager is dealing with employee performance. They must keep everyone on track by providing the training each employee needs. The candidate should have experience handling a situation with an underperforming employee. In addition, the approach they used should be thoughtful, reasonable, and habit-changing. An ideal retail store manager will provide an example with a positive outcome. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience handling an employee who was underperforming
  • Comfortable with effective communication
  • Reasonable approaches to fix a problem

Example:

“In my previous position, I had to approach an underperforming employee. I gave them a plan. Within a couple of weeks, their performance improved.”

Q:

Have you made mistakes in your previous position as a retail store manager? How did you handle it?

A:

How a manager handles mistakes impacts themselves, the team, customers, and your company. An ideal candidate is someone who is honest; we all make mistakes, but what is important is whether or not they learned from it. A good candidate is someone who can admit that they have had made a couple of mistakes in their career and the mistakes they made helped shape who they are now. What to look for in an answer:

  • Proposes fixes for problems that they cause
  • Communicates the ability to learn from a mistake
  • Holds themselves accountable for their actions

Example:

“I have made mistakes as a manager in handling a difficult employee. I learned a lot from this and have taken extra steps in communication to make sure that similar communication issues don’t occur again.”

Q:

In your opinions, what are some of the best personality traits in a retail store manager?

A:

When hiring a retail store manager, an ideal candidate would be someone with good work ethics, good leadership skills, time management skills, good communication skills, and independence. These are some good qualities of a manager. An ideal candidate will name some of these in their answer. If the candidate names a quality, they most likely possess it. Choose a candidate who names positive, important, and ideal qualities for a store manager. What to look for in an answer:

  • Self-awareness of personal strengths
  • Positive and important qualities
  • Candidate should possess the qualities they named in their answer

Example:

“An ideal retail store manager is someone who has good ethics, good communication skills, leadership skills, and time management skills. I personally have these qualities.”

Q:

What are some strategies you use to keep your employees motivated? What examples have you implemented in the past?

A:

Managing a big team can be challenging if there are goals your company must reach every day. An ideal retail store manager will have a plan to keep their employees motivated to reach their daily goals. They should name and explain the approach they use to keep their employees motivated. An example could be that they have implemented some fun competitions in their previous position to keep everyone motivated. What to look for in an answer:

  • Actual experience of past tools they used to motivate their employees
  • Good leadership and people skills
  • Concrete examples of motivational programs that can be implemented by your company

Example:

“In my previous management position, I implemented a leadership board. The employees who reached their goals at the end of the month received a prize.”

Q:

How might your experiences as a retail store manager distinguish you from other applicants for this position?

A:

A good retail store manager should have experience managing employees in a work environment that is similar to your company’s work environment. For instance, if the store manager is required to manage a big team, an ideal candidate would be one with experience managing bigger teams in their past management position. Consider an applicant with a record of success in their previous jobs. What to look for in an answer:

  • Successful management experience
  • Experience managing a variety of team sizes
  • Leadership of employees in work environments similar to that of your company

Example:

“I have experience managing big and small teams in my previous store management job. I have managed stores that were recognized for their great performance.”

Q:

A specific product hasn't sold well and you have a lot of inventory left over. What strategies do you implement to sell it and earn a profit?

A:

Retail store managers are responsible for leading store operations. A key part of their job is identifying ways to drive sales and sell inventory before it goes out of season. This question helps interviewers gauge a candidate's creativity. It also helps interviewers determine whether a candidate has the experience to uphold their business revenue.

The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Innovative thinking
  • Sale-driven mindset
  • Problem-solving skills

A qualified candidate may answer the question like this:

Example:

"First, I would look at the placement of the product, move it closer to the front of the store and redesign the display to attract interest from customers. I would also ask my staff to focus on selling that particular product and create a few phrases for them to include in conversations. If this doesn't work, I would consider placing the item on sale."

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