When you're called in for a job interview — regardless of your industry — it's a good idea to bring a list of questions to ask your interviewer before the conversation comes to an end. An interview provides a valuable opportunity for both parties to learn as much as they can about the other. The more you lay your cards on the table and the more information your gather from your interviewer, the better prepared you'll be to make a final decision. A successful interview doesn't just mean an interview that ends in an offer. Before accepting that offer, you'll need to know if this position is right for you.
Asking the right questions can also help you make a strong impression with your potential employer. In the retail field, managers are especially interested in candidates who are engaged, alert and in control of their own destinies. A candidate who asks intelligent questions during the interview is likely to ask intelligent questions on the job, and she'll probably remember the answers and use them to move the company forward.
So what should you ask? Here are a few questions to carry with you to your retail interview.
1. "Can this company offer opportunities for advancement?"
You may start out organizing goods in the stock room or working as a junior-level sales associate on the floor. But if you'd like to climb the ladder, how quickly will you be able to take on more responsibility? Some companies want to offer promotions, raises and more opportunities to their best employees, but they just don't have the budget or the staffing demand to do so. If this is a company with one available position — and only one — find out before you sign on.
2. "How would your interviewer describe the culture in this workplace?"
Just because a retail company sells surfing or camping equipment doesn't mean its culture is laid back. And just because a company sells consumer electronics doesn't mean its employees are geeky or uptight. In fact, the product and company brand may not represent the workplace culture at all. And you'll be happier if the working environment matches your style and personality.
3. "What specific traits can help an employee do well here?"
In most companies, the employees most likely to get ahead are those who follow the rules, work hard, limit gossip and take a personal interest in company success. But in this workplace, are there any specific traits that stand out or qualities that seem to be highly rewarded? Is it better to focus on the team, to be competitive or to strive for a position of leadership? If you're passionate about the product the company sells, will this help you?
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This is a chance to ask about the best and worst aspects of working with this particular company. How did your interviewer end up with this company and why does she choose to stay? There's no need to be too personal, but there's nothing wrong with asking your interviewer about his or her own experience, and the insights you gain can help you make important decisions about your own future.
Ace the Interview & Land your Retail Dream Job
Ready to knock some socks off at your retail interview? Before you head out the door, take some time to prepare. Visit LiveCareer for interview tips and practice sessions that can help you present your best self, keep your nerves in check and make a great first impression.
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