Wednesday, September 30, 2015

5 Things To Never Do During A Retail Job Interview

Landing the interview often feels as an accomplishment on its own. You have tailored your resume to match the company’s needs, and have received notice to come in for an interview. Many candidates reach this point, however not many leave a good impression with managers during the interviews. Of course, being under qualified, lacking experience and the skills needed to perform the job are often why a candidate might not receive a call back, but sometimes it is because of a seemingly small mistake that may have ruined your chances of being hired. The following are small mistakes that might seem silly but you might be surprised what you are capable of doing in a moment of high stress as interviews often can be.

1. Leaving your cell phone on

It is incredibly rude to interrupt an interview due to a personal call. Most people know that it is required to silence your cell phone during an interview. What some people don’t realize is that a vibrating cell phone or even a light up screen can be incredibly distracting to an interviewer as well as the person being interviewed. It is best to turn your phone off completely and keep it out of plain sight. The presence of a cell phone can send the interviewer the wrong message, and make you seem uninterested in the job. Leaving your cell phone on might be perceived as if you have more important things to do than to seat through an interview, and that is never the impression you want your future boss to have of you. Turn it off, make it disappear!

2. Describing your previous/current job negatively

You must always remember that when interviewing, you are not yet guaranteed the position. When asked about your previous or current position and the reason why you are pursuing employment with a new company, you should always give a positive answer. Perhaps, you might say you are ready for a bigger challenge, or maybe you are looking for a change. What you should never do is talk negatively about the company, your former boss or any staff members. When doing so, you show the interviewer that you are not mature enough to see a situation as a challenge and not a problem and give the impression that whenever you encounter a less than desirable situation you will respond negatively. All jobs have their ups and downs, especially in retail, but you should never air a company’s dirty laundry to your potentially new employer. Plus the retail world is often close knit, with upper management employees having worked for several companies. You never know if your interviewer may know the person you are putting down and happens to disagree with you. Keep it vague and keep it positive.

3. Going on and on about your multiple other commitments

Managers look for candidates that are dedicated. Mentioning your many extra commitments may give the employer the impression that you are not ready to commit to the position. Retailers invest time in developing their associates to become future leaders and a candidate who has too many personal commitments may seem like they are only interested in work temporarily. I’m not implying not to have outside commitments, as many of us do, or refraining for mentioning some of them to prove you are a well rounded individual. However, creating scheduling difficulties before you even begin the job might become a turn off for the employer regardless of how impressive your resume may seem. Only speak about your outside responsibilities if directly asked and try to maintain a flexible schedule that matches the employer’s needs.

4. Showing up late or too early to the interview

As a retail manager, I am never idle. My agenda is filled from the moment I walk into the office. Most employers have a very limited window of time in which they can perform interviews. Showing up later than the time already determined is completely unprofessional, takes for granted the interviewer’s time and may cause you to lose the interview altogether. This also happens when an applicant shows up too early. Loitering around the store can become distracting to the associates working and might make the interviewer feel rushed. The golden rule of 10 minutes early is on time and on time is late is to be followed. This way you are not too early to make an employer uncomfortable, but you are also readily available once the time for the interview arrives.

5. Asking about the store’s discount policy

Most retailers offer a competitive associate’s discount to keep their staff motivated and to aid them in representing the current trends and brand image of the store. It is professional to negotiate a compensation package during your first interview, but you must be tactful enough to not ask about the employee discount too far in advance. It might be of much interest to you how generous the discount may be, but it can give the employer the sense that you are only interested in working for them because of the amount of the discount. The employer might then rationalize that if the discount policy was to vary, as it sometimes can, you will become disinterested with the job and potentially quit. Retail managers want you to become a customer, but they also want to know your dedication to the job will be intact regardless of what perks come with the position. Leave the question for your second interview or your first day on the job.
As always, make sure you are properly groomed and prepared to give the best interview you are capable of and remember to refrain from these 5 common mistakes that can take you from a great candidate to an interviewer’s nightmare.


  1. This is great advice! I'll definitely keep this in mind and pass it along to anyone who might be looking for a job!
    Morgan |

    1. Thanks Morgan! I really appreciate it. I followed your blog on bloglovin', your site is beautifully designed.

  2. Yes! I interview potential candidates in my role now and hate when they complain about their current positions!

    1. I know!!! because you just KNOW they will be complaining about the job they are applying for in due time.