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  • Writer's pictureDini Habib

How to stand out in a retail job interview: Insights from a hiring manager

Navigating the retail job market can be challenging, especially for candidates from diverse communities who are seeking to make their mark.  


Laura Rose is the Senior Recruitment Manager at British, lifestyle retailer, Oliver Bonas. She’s seen a wide range of candidates and interviewed hundreds of people in her career to date. From this experience, we spoke with her to understand key insights that can help you stand out in your next retail job interview. 

Image shows Oliver Bonas Senior Recruitment Manager, Laura Rose, smiling directly at the camera.


1. Understand the Company Culture 

Every company will have its own brand culture and values. Whether it's a commitment to sustainability, community involvement, or customer service excellence, showing that you understand and align with these values can make a strong impression. Before your interview, research the company, some recent initiatives, and their customer service culture. Use this knowledge to articulate how your personal values and experiences align with the company's culture. 


2. Highlight Your Diverse Background as an Asset 

Diversity is a strength anywhere but particularly in a people-focused industry like retail. Different perspectives bring fresh ideas and solutions to the table, enhancing creativity and innovation. When discussing your background, emphasise how your unique perspectives and experiences can contribute to the team and help the company serve a diverse customer base more effectively. It is great to hear some specific examples of how you've successfully worked in diverse teams or addressed the needs of diverse groups in the past. 


3. Demonstrate Your Flexibility and Adaptability 

Retail is fast-paced and constantly evolving. Hiring managers look for candidates who can adapt to change, learn quickly, and handle multiple tasks efficiently. I’d be keen to discuss situations where you've had to adapt to new roles, learn new skills, or manage unexpected challenges. Showing that you're flexible and resilient will assure a hiring manager that you're capable of thriving in a dynamic retail environment. 


4. Exhibit Strong Communication Skills 

Effective communication is crucial in retail, both for interacting with customers and for working within a team. Highlight your ability to listen actively, convey information clearly, and approach potentially tricky situations in a kind and considerate manner. If you speak multiple languages or have experience communicating with people from various cultural backgrounds, be sure to mention these as they are valuable assets in diverse communities. 


5. Showcase Your Passion for Customer Service 

At its core, retail is about delivering outstanding customer service and we pride ourselves on our service culture at Oliver Bonas. We would want to hear examples of how you've gone above and beyond to meet or exceed customer expectations in your previous roles. Discuss any feedback or recognition you've received for your customer service skills. It’s also great to understand what you think exceptional customer service looks like from a customer’s point of view.  


6. Prepare Questions to ask us 

Asking insightful questions during your interview not only shows your interest in the position but also demonstrates your critical thinking skills. Prepare questions that reflect your understanding of the company and your role. For instance, inquire about the company's strategy, opportunities for growth and learning, or a company’s commitment to make its workplace as diverse and inclusive as it possibly can be. 


7. Be Yourself 

Finally, the most important piece of advice is to be authentic. The retail industry thrives on individuality and building meaningful relationships with our customers and teams. Your personality, experiences, and perspectives are what will ultimately make you stand out. Be confident in who you are and what you bring to the table. 


Standing out in a retail job interview requires preparation, self-awareness, and the ability to showcase your strengths in a way that aligns with the company's values. By understanding the company culture, showcasing your background, customer service skills demonstrating flexibility and exhibiting strong communication, you can make a memorable impression on the hiring manager. Remember, your unique perspective and experiences are valuable assets that can contribute to the success of the retail team. 

Why not create your profile and get matched to exciting roles at Oliver Bonas today!

Image is a button with the text: Find my dream role at Oliver Bonas


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