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Crush that Old Navy Interview: Career Coach Questions and Answers (+ Goodwill, Marshalls & Sams Club)

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Are you looking for a job at your favorite department store? Maybe Old Navy or Marshalls? Or how about Goodwill or Sam's Club? If so, you will want to ensure you're prepared for the interview and the most common department store interview questions. I mean, who wouldn't want to get staff discounts on their favorite designer brands or groceries?

Although interviews can be stressful, proper preparation can make you feel more at ease and in control. Each department store has its unique interview process, but some interview questions might be similar to all of them.

We consulted with our career coaches, and in this article, we will not only give you a selection of the most common interview questions at popular department stores in the US but also provide sample answers, tips, and an overview of the company culture at specific department stores.

Skip ahead--

Old Navy Interview Questions

Goodwill Interview Questions

Marshalls Interview Questions

Sam's Club Interview Questions

Ready to land your new job? Let's dive in!

Tips for Acing a Department Store Interview

 I'll tell you exactly what hiring managers are looking for in retail employees so you can make the best possible first impression and increase your chances of getting hired. 

I get it. The interview process is daunting, but with the right preparation, it doesn't have to be that way.  I'll tell you exactly what hiring managers are looking for in retail employees so you can make the best possible first impression and increase your chances of getting hired. Whether you get interviewed for your retail job over the phone, face-to-face or in a group setting, these simple tips will make your interview at a department store more stress-free...ish.

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Valuable Skills for Department Store Jobs

Hiring managers realize they can teach you sales and customer service skills, but it gets a bit trickier with soft skills. Therefore, having certain soft skills will give you a competitive advantage over other candidates. Of course, don't lie if you don't have these skills. It's not worth it, and it usually backfires later down the line. But if you have them, include them by all means, as it'll increase your chances of getting hired.

Here is the list of valuable soft and hard skills that hiring managers are looking for in their employees for department store job positions:

  • Reliability: Every employer wants to know that you'll show up to work on time. On top of that, they'll prioritize long-term prospects compared to seasonal workers.
  • Ability to connect with people: To be good at sales, you need to learn how to be relatable and connect with others. Being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and try to find genuine solutions for customers' problems or needs can be an invaluable soft skill.
  • Attention to detail: Learning inventory, making esthetic displays, and following the best practices are only a few of your everyday tasks at a department store. All of them require attention to detail.
  • Ability to multitask: Retail jobs require you to handle multiple tasks, including dealing with customers, changing displays, and processing transactions at the till...you get the picture. Some days can get super busy at the store, and your employer will definitely appreciate your ability to multitask and handle the pressure in those circumstances.
  • Previous customer service or sales experience: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have some experience with sales or customer service, it's a big plus.

Department Store Interview Do's and Don'ts

Do's

  • Read the company's website and the job description and note what qualities, skills, or experience could be relevant and worth mentioning in your job interview and CV. Your due diligence will pay off.
  • Visit the store and observe how the staff interacts with customers, what they wear and what their typical day at work looks like.
  • Wear smart casual clothes and come for your interview well-groomed.
  • Be friendly and polite.
  • Smile, and use open and positive body language.
  • Prepare specific examples to highlight your customer service skills and competence.
  • Practice answering common interview questions - for example, you could think of your main strengths and weaknesses or prepare an answer to the “tell me about yourself” type of question.

Don’ts

  • Don't arrive late.
  • Don't cross your arms or keep moving restlessly.
  • Don't panic if you get caught by an unexpected or tricky question, try to stay composed.
  • Don't be afraid to ask the interviewer questions at the end of an interview or ask for clarification if you're unsure.
  • Don't interrupt your hiring manager when they speak. Resist the urge to talk too fast, stay on topic and wait patiently for your turn.
  • Don't speak negatively about your previous employers or job experiences. It'll make you look unprofessional. It's much better to focus on the positives the job change will bring.
  • Don't brag about your successes, but at the same time, don't downplay them. See if you can find that sweet spot.
  • Don't oversell yourself or include skills that you don't have. It'll backfire later down the line.
  • Don't rush to leave after the interview without thanking the interviewer, making eye contact, and smiling. You want to start but also end with a good impression.

Now that you know what skills and qualities hiring managers are looking for in their candidates, plus do's and don'ts, let's move on to the interview questions for specific department stores.

OLD NAVY COMPANY CULTURE

Old navy prides itself in supporting female leadership roles and equality. 

Old navy is an American clothing retail company owned by Gap Inc. 

Old navy prides itself in supporting female leadership roles and equality. The numbers speak for themselves - nearly 75% of Gap Inc. employees are women, including 65% of store managers.

The working environment at Old navy is dynamic, fun, family-oriented, and inclusive. The Old navy's team encourages playfulness and authenticity.

The company provides various perks for its employees, including a 50% merchandise discount, paid sick leave, commuter programs, and the possibility to invest up to 4% of employee's pay into Gap Inc. stock at a discounted rate. 

There are many job positions available in retail, such as brand associate, general manager, supervisor, stock associate, and others.

OLD NAVY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Why would you like to work for Old Navy?

I've always been a big fan of Old Navy's clothing and its prices. I like that they have a wide range of sizes and styles for everyone. I also appreciate that they are committed to equality and female leadership roles. I think I would enjoy working in a dynamic environment.

Describe what excellent customer service looks like to you.

Great customer service to me is providing the customer with what they need in a timely and efficient manner. It's also important to be friendly and helpful, even if the customer is having a bad day. 

What's a weakness you'll have as a new hire, and how will you work to improve it?

As a newbie, I'll need to improve my speed in stocking the shelves and getting familiar with the stock. I plan on working on this by paying close attention to how experienced employees handle their job duties and practicing as much as possible.

Tell me about a time you messed up and how you learned from that mistake.

I once accidentally gave a customer the wrong size of clothing item. I quickly realized my mistake and apologized to the customer. I then took the item back and found the correct size for them. I learned from that mistake to always double-check before giving the customer their purchase.

Tell me about a time when you set a goal and what you did to reach that goal.

I set a goal to save up enough money for a new car. I did this by making a budget, sticking to it, and picking up extra shifts at work. It took me about six months, but I could reach my goal and purchase the car I wanted.

A hiring manager at Old Navy might also ask you a couple of 'hands-on questions':

How would you respond if a customer asks you for help finding an item? 

If a customer asks me for help finding an item, I would ask them questions to better understand what they are looking for. Then, once I understand better, I would help them locate the item. 

What do you do if you can't find an item for someone?

If I didn't find an item for a customer, I would ask another employee for help or try to find it in the system. If we still can't find the item, I would offer to order it for the customer or recommend other branches in town that have it in stock. 

Pick an outfit from the store you'd wear on your first day, briefly explain it, and quickly put it back where you found it.

You could choose something like a black blazer, white shirt, and dark jeans. Explain that this outfit is professional yet casual enough for the first day. It's also an outfit that can be easily mixed and matched with other clothing items.

GOODWILL COMPANY CULTURE

Goodwill stands out by providing job training, employment, and supportive services for families and people with disabilities or disadvantages who want greater financial independence.

Goodwill is one of the largest thrift stores in the world, with over 150 branches in the US and Canada. Goodwill stands out by providing job training, employment, and supportive services for families and people with disabilities or disadvantages who want greater financial independence. It’s a mission-driven organization that focuses not only on strengthening communities but also on a green sustainable model. 

Goodwill offers many free job training courses through its Goodwill University, ranging from IT, construction, customer service and more. The courses are designed to empower people in the community with the skills they need to launch their careers. Al the courses are free, thanks to the community's donations and purchases. 

Goodwill Career Centers offer computer access, resume reviews, job search support, courses, the opportunity to meet with a career coach, and more! Each Career Center aims to assist in launching your next career.

Goodwill values:

  • Respect – treating everyone with dignity.
  • Stewardship – being socially, financially, and environmentally responsible
  • Ethics – having integrity
  • Learning - developing new skills
  • Innovation – embracing continuous improvement, bold creativity, and change

The working environment at Goodwill is positive, family-friendly, diverse, and dynamic.

GOODWILL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

What can you tell me about Goodwill's mission?

Goodwill's mission is to enhance individuals' and families' dignity and quality of life by strengthening communities, providing more job opportunities, and supporting people in need.

Why would you like to work for Goodwill?

I love sustainable fashion and everything the company stands for. 

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I am very organized and efficient, but I sometimes can be a bit introverted. It's an area that I'm working on by practicing my social skills and putting myself out there more. 

What sets you apart from other candidates?

Probably my attitude and good work ethic. I'm always willing to help out and go the extra mile. 

How would you handle it if you knew your supervisor was incorrect about a particular situation?

I would privately approach my supervisor and explain why I thought they were wrong. Then, I would ask for clarification about the situation. They might have seen it from a different perspective. But ultimately, I'd try to do what's best for the company. 

How would you define good customer service?

I think good customer service is when the customer feels heard and valued. They should feel like they can trust you and that you are doing everything possible to help them.

What would you do if a customer is unhappy with their purchase?

If a customer is unhappy with their purchase, I would refund or exchange the item for them. I would also apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Marshalls Company Culture

At Marshalls, they believe that it's employees who bring business to life.  In 2018, Marshalls was listed among America's Best Employers in Forbes Magazine!

Marshalls is a leading US apparel and home fashion retailer at reduced prices. Besides the US, Marshalls also has branches in Canada and Puerto Rico.

The company is part of the TJX group and known for having a great working culture. They strive to provide a working environment where the employees feel welcomed from the moment they walk in the door and valued for their diversity of thought, background, and experience.

At Marshalls, they believe that it's employees who bring business to life. Therefore they aim to support the employees by making Marshalls a terrific workplace with plenty of career growth and personal development opportunities. In 2018, Marshalls was listed among America's Best Employers in Forbes Magazine! In return, they're looking for ambitious and talented individuals capable of handling their daily work assignments.

Marshalls’ mission is to provide designer clothes at affordable prices, often selling for 20%-60% less compared to other retail stores. Their core values are Leadership, Excellence, Trust, and Sustainability. They also positively impact local communities and provide resources for children to help them build a better future.

Marshalls Interview Questions

What do you know about Marshalls?

Marshalls is a department store that offers excellent discounts on brand-name clothing, shoes, and home decor. I love shopping at Marshalls because I know I can always find something stylish and affordable.

What does good teamwork mean to you?

In my opinion, teamwork is working together towards a common goal. It's being able to rely on others and have them rely on you. Trust is a big part of teamwork to me, as well as communication and respect. I think any team can succeed with those three things in place. 

How would you handle multiple tasks? 

I'm very organized and I like to prioritize my tasks. I usually list all the things that need to be done, and then I sort them by importance. That way, I can ensure that the most important things get done first. If all tasks are equally as important, I do them one by one. If there's ever anything urgent that comes up, I adjust my list accordingly.

What is your availability?

I'm available Monday to Friday from (insert time) to (insert time). I can also do Saturdays if needed.

Why would you like to work at Marshalls?

I've always loved shopping at Marshalls because I can find great clothes at a fraction of the price. I like that Marshalls has a wide variety of items and that there's always something new. So when I came across the job opening, I thought it would be a perfect match for me because I love fashion and working with people.

How do you handle difficult customer service situations? Can you give me an example? 

I always try to stay calm and polite when dealing with demanding customers or tricky situations. I listen and empathize with the customer and try to find the best possible solution within the company's policies. But, of course, if the situation is outside of my control, I'll forward it to a supervisor.

What did you enjoy at your previous job?

I enjoyed working with people and my colleagues. I also liked that every day was different. I would get a variety of tasks to do, so it felt stimulating and interesting.

Why do you think you would be a great candidate for this job position at Marshall's?

I think I would be a great fit for this position because of my customer service experience and my love for fashion. In addition, I can stay calm under pressure, and I'm a good team player. 

Sam's Club Company Culture

When it comes to Sam's Club's company culture, one of its cornerstones of business is diversity and inclusion. 

Sam's Club is a membership-only store in the US owned and operated by Walmart. It has a similar business concept to Costco.

When it comes to Sam's Club's company culture, one of its cornerstones of business is diversity and inclusion. In their view, a workplace culture where everyone is included means everyone wins. They want to make their employees feel included, heard, and empowered. 

They believe that happy employees will make happy customers and, consequently, Sam’s club more successful. Therefore, they continue to invest in their staff's growth, training and education by providing programs such as the Live Better U (LBU) and Sam's Field U programs. 

Sam's club values open communication between retail associates, members, suppliers, and communities worldwide. The management applies their feedback to become the best of what Sam's Club can be.

After speaking to Sam's Club retail associates, Sam's Club 7 was developed, referring to 7 areas of focus to improve working culture. 

  • encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion awareness
  • improve hiring process
  • hire a more diverse workforce
  • provide feedback for associates
  • support career development
  • offer mentorship/sponsorship for career growth
  • measure results and accountability

Sam's Club interview questions

What do you know about Sam's Club?

Sam's Club is owned by Walmart and it's a membership-only retail store allowing customers to buy in bulk. The Sam's Club is named after Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart.

There are more than 600 Sam's clubs across the US and Puerto Rico, and they're currently focused on expanding to China, Brazil, and Mexico. 

Why would you like to work for Sam's Club?

I would like to work at Sam's Club because it's a great company with many opportunities for career growth. I also like the idea of being able to help people save money and get the best value for their purchases.

What do you think makes a successful retail associate?

I believe that a successful retail associate is someone knowledgeable about the products they are selling, friendly, personable, and patient. They should also be able to advise and sell to a customer without being pushy.

What do you consider to be your strengths & weaknesses?

My strengths include being able to build connections with others quickly, being adaptable and resourceful, and having a high level of energy. My weaknesses include sometimes talking too much, but that's an area I'm actively working on. 

Why did you leave your last job?

I left my last job because I was looking for a new opportunity where I could use my customer service skills and strengths. 

Give an example of a customer who was upset with something and how you helped resolve the situation.

I had a customer who was upset because she couldn't find the item she was looking for. So I offered to help her look for the item and asked her some questions so I could get a better understanding of what she was looking for. Once we found the item, she was much calmer and thanked me for my help.

If you are hired, what role do you see yourself in one year from now?

I could see myself in a leadership role within the company. I would like to supervise other employees, train newcomers, and provide guidance when needed. I would like to take on more responsibility within the company and gradually work towards a promotion.

Questions to Ask at the End of the Interview

  1. What have you enjoyed most working at (insert company name)?
  2. What skill sets are you currently missing on your team that you would like to add?
  3. I'm very interested in this position at (insert company)– what advice can you give to help me succeed?

Good luck with your interview! 

Need more help?

If you feel you need more help with your interview, consider enlisting the aid of a career coach. They can help you rehearse the interview, help you gain confidence, and prepare you for unforeseen obstacles.

Get more career coaching interview tips

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