The Best Applicant Interview Tips Part 2

One Week Before

The way you handle the day(s) before can make or break the interview. Give yourself time to get it right.

Review your performance metrics and practice discussing numerous results you’ve accomplished. Results are a big factor in retail, so this is no time to wing it. Pull together your thoughts on results such as: performance; sales—numbers, and how you drove them; shrinkage results; employee turnover; recruitment efforts; expense control; how you went outside of the box to make your store better or increase your performance. Other topics include your:


  • Ability to manage payroll. This is an issue at all levels of retail. Obviously retailers work on a budget with set payroll hours that you have to work around, even if you think you need more. How do you cope with this thorny issue?
  • Have you tapped into some creative solutions?
  • Presentation skills. Delivering presentations and meetings to large groups of people happens often in retail.
  • Communication skills. Both written and verbal communications are important in retail.
  • Thoughts on the importance of diversity. What does diversity means to you? How does diversity helps drive business?
  • Record on safety and risk management. How did you contribute to promoting a safe working environment?
  • Ability to maintain inventory levels and inventory management in general.
  • Understanding of basic employment laws. What’s legal? What’s not? Mastery of performance management—i.e., how well you manage people, whether hiring, mentoring, holding them accountable, or firing them.
  • Success with developing those who work for you. Did you promote people to the next level? How did you accomplish that? What kind of preparations were necessary?
  • Project management and completion. Show how you can set a plan and follow it through.
  • Leadership skills. Retail store managers and executives are leaders and have to be great leaders to achieve great results.
  • Reasons for seeking a new job. This may be similar for every position, but in most retail situations you should be looking for a new job to take your career to the next level, take on more responsibility, etc.
  • Problem solving skills. In retail, you need to be self-motivated and be able to solve problems with little or no guidance.
  • One-year plan? Five-year plan? What would your Day One On the Job look like? What goals do you hope to accomplish? In what timeframe?


Day Before

  • Get your clothes in order. Dress in a way that your mother would approve of
  • Confirm time and location. Print—don’t try to memorize—a map from the Web. Estimated travel time and add a half hour.


Jimmy Gardner

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