It feels like it was a lifetime ago when you started working a part-time job as a shelf stacker to pay for your studies. Slowly but steadily, you climbed your way up, and a couple of years ago, you became assistant manager.
Now the store manager has just been offered a career advancement, and his position will be vacant in a few weeks. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
Will you be able to grab it?
The job interview is the last obstacle between you and your dream position, but you haven’t been interviewed in a long time. Do you know what to expect and how to get ready?
Let’s find out as I go through everything you need to know about Store Manager Interview Questions.
What Does it Take To Be an Excellent Store Manager?
The simple fact that you feel ready for a store manager position is not enough. You will have to be able to convince the recruiters that you’re the right person for the job.
How can you do that?
The first step is to know what skills are necessary to be a good store manager, and subsequently, to be able to prove to the interviewer that you have those qualities. Moreover, they want to check that you know how they will be beneficial for the job.
The vast majority of the questions that you will be asked will be somehow linked to one or more of those qualities. And you will also be invited to provide examples from your work experience to demonstrate that you possess them.
Here are the top five skills every store manager should master…
The ability to communicate effectively is essential for this profession. Every time there is a problem, a customer will ask to talk to you, and you will have to be able to explain to them clearly how you will resolve the situation.
Moreover, your team will be more productive if you know how to communicate with them efficiently.
Any employee usually has one primary duty that they have to perform at their best. But a store manager’s job is different.
On the same day, you might need to plan the next month’s budget, schedule and organize a team meeting, train a new employee, deal with an angry customer, as well as prepare the new roster.
But wait, there’s more…
Sometimes you will have the opportunity to prioritize or delegate some of these activities. Other times you will need to complete one while you’re simultaneously working on the others.
Sales, sales, sales…. At the end of the day, a store manager’s success will always depend on that. Did the sales increase this year, or did they drop?
But planning effective strategies to improve sales performance is not enough. A manager of a big shop will likely have a sales team that directly deals with customers, and he/she will only have to step in on certain occasions. However, if you’re managing a smaller store, you will still have a personal sales budget to reach every month.
Lead by example…
In each case, it’s always good practice to show your team that the main reason why you’re in that position is that you mastered the art of selling. Try to close the first sale every morning, and everyone else will follow your leadership.
Talking about leadership, a successful store is always managed by a good leader.
How can you show your leadership?
Set a good example, be ready to listen and learn, and keep your staff informed. You also need to take responsibility, always be on your team’s side, be fair with everyone, and have a positive attitude.
Prove to your recruiters that you’re an excellent leader and the job will be yours.
Poor customer service can ruin a flourishing business in a matter of weeks. This is even more so nowadays, where platforms like TripAdvisor allow unsatisfied customers to share their experiences.
After years of working in retail, a store manager should know that excellent customer service is the key to success in the job.
How To Get Ready for a Store Manager Job Interview?
So, how can you use all this information to nail your interview?
Take a look at the most common questions you’ll hear when interviewing for a Store Manager position. I will list them below, and you can practice your answer by centering them around one or more of the skills we just talked about.
You want to be sure to always make your response relevant to the job by providing examples from your working experience. The best way to structure your answer is by using the STAR system.
What does that mean?
- Situation – Describe a moment when you had to prove your qualities.
- Target – What was your goal?
- Action – Explain what it is you did and how you did it.
- Result – What was the outcome of your actions?
If you apply for a job that you found on the internet, make sure you carefully read the job posting and the list of requirements. Chances are that additional skills will be mentioned. You should, therefore, be well prepared to answer questions that will revolve around them.
The Most Common Store Manager Interview Questions
Now you know exactly what the recruiters will expect you to say during the interview.
But how will they actually formulate their questions? Let’s find out…
What’s your strategy to increase sales?
As already mentioned, sales are the bread and butter of a store manager position. Not only will you have to prove your abilities during the interview, but your employer will also use sales as the main parameter to evaluate your performance throughout your whole career.
Did you ever suggest a promotion to your previous manager that turned out to be a roaring success? Begin your answer by talking about your overall strategy, and then include that example.
Why should we hire you?
This is indeed one of the questions that recruiters love to ask regardless of the position you’re interviewing for. It is very similar to other questions, such as “What’s your greatest strength?” or “What are your best qualities?”.
As a matter of fact, you can actually use the same answer for any of these questions, and it will always be effective.
What are they really looking for?
The recruiters want to hear from you how your skills match the job requirements to make sure that you know what it takes to be a great store manager.
Center your response around two or three of your best qualities, making sure that they are relevant to the job. Avoid giving them a list of skills without adding any detail, or your words will sound meaningless.
You should also describe a specific moment when those skills helped you to get out of a tricky situation or do your job better.
What would your previous employer say about you?
This is a delicate question because we never really know what a former employer would say about us. We can guess, but how can we be sure?
Best case scenario…
If you’re in a good relationship with him/her, you could give him a call and ask him the exact same question. Then, choose the most relevant part to a store manager position and build your answer on that.
Tell us what you don’t like about being a store manager
It doesn’t matter how much we love and desire a job; there will always be a particular aspect that we don’t like. But if this is something that you will have to deal with every day, it’s better if you keep it to yourself.
Nobody likes to handle an angry customer, but this is customer service at its finest, and it’s an integral part of the job.
Choose something that you don’t have control over, and try to frame your answer in such a way that it will work to your advantage.
Let me demonstrate…
“I hate it when I’m not able to meet customer’s expectations. For example, when we run out of an item because of unexpectedly high demand for the product. I know that it might happen, and it’s not my fault, but still, I always feel like I could have done better.
However, when it happens, I take the time to explain the situation to the customer and to offer him a similar or better alternative. Worst case scenario, I would immediately place an order to restock the item, and I would make sure to get the fastest possible delivery”.
Want More Tips for Acing Interview Questions?
No matter what position you’re applying for, there are specific questions anybody and everybody should prepare for before an interview.
Therefore, please do check out my comprehensive articles on How To Answer What Are You Passionate About, How Do You Handle Stress, What Makes You Unique, How To Answer What Is Your Greatest Strength, Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, as well as What Are You Most Proud Of?
You can also invest in a valuable resource for acing interviews. I recommend checking out Create Positive Impressions, Tough Interview Questions For Dummies, How to Define Success in Life, and my personal favorite, how to Interview Like A Pro in 2021.
OK, back to today’s topic…
Becoming a store manager is a milestone in the retail sector. Once you get there, you can only move on to more prestigious positions. Many of us dream about getting that opportunity from the very first day we entered that shop to give them our CV for our first part-time job.
But with hard work and just a little patience, it is a goal that everyone can achieve. The question is: will you be set to pass the interview when the opportunity comes?
Use this article to learn how to answer the most common Interview Questions for Store Managers, and you’ll immediately gain an edge over the other candidates.