If you're a graduate looking to get into retail and need to get a feel for the kind of questions employers might ask at interview, then make sure you research these graduate retail interview questions below. These questions and answers are taken from real graduate interviews, and compiled to give you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare your answers.
Example Retail Interview Questions:
What challenges do you think the retail sector is facing in the current climate?
One main challenge facing high street shopping is online shopping however in more recent years most high street retailers run an online shop alongside stores. At present there has been a trend of reduced spending due to the credit crunch which is negatively affecting the performance of retailers. Government, tax and VAT are also big factors. As a result, value retail (cheaper, larger stores) has really excelled but this could either be seen as a challenge or benefit depending on who you are interviewing with. One thing is for sure, retailers have to think smarter so work out what areas the company is covering and perhaps ask if they have plans to move into different streams. For example, do super markets have to diversify their products to appeal to wider audiences in order to compete? Picking up on topics like this will impress the interviewer and make them feel that you are thinking and showing real interest. Make sure you don't try and tip-toe around the answer. Conduct in-depth research on where the company stands in the market so you don't make irrelevant points.
Do you have an understanding of the different functions within a retail head office? Please detail.
You should be able show a clear understanding of how your function works alongside other departments. By carefully reading the job spec and researching the company on the internet, you can get a good grasp of who you will be working with and why. Remember, all departments have an impact on each other so make sure your interviewer realises your understanding of this. For example, if you were interviewing for a buyers role, you should have a clear understanding of how buyers work with merchandising, or if it's for a marketing role, you should have a perfect understanding of how online marketing will work with store marketing to ensure consistency with the brand. You could also be thinking about where you might end up so expressing interest in certain areas and giving reasons why (without straying from the original job requirements) will improve the interviewer's view on your ambition and commitment.
What do you know about our company?
On top of researching company history and its successes (which is essential in this answer), it's also a great idea to do a SWOT analysis of Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats to understand where they are positioned in the market. Example areas you could include are price comparison, target market/demographic and search engine research. How well do they do and for which products? Are customers loyal to the price or the brand? What are the threats of that retailer in the market? You don't have to actually present your answer in a SWOT format but instead use it to reference and build you answers. With this knowledge ready to tap into you will find it easier to relate topics directly to the company. The interviewer will be looking for confident, well delivered answers that don't sound scripted so make sure by the time of your interview date have a wealth of knowledge on the company.