What to Take to a Retail Interview

Bring the right materials and attitude to your next retail interview.

Bring the right materials and attitude to your next retail interview.

Retail environments are fast-paced and require people skills for success. Your interview should reinforce the notion that you are equipped for long hours while retaining a high level of enthusiasm and energy. The things you bring to that interview, both tangible and intangible, show attention to detail and concern for your prospective employer's goals.


You resume should reflect your experience, but also things you have accomplished while in those roles. Participation is not achievement; do not list things you were a part of unless you can demonstrate how you positively influenced or improved the task. Keep the resume to two pages or less, if possible. This includes eliminating those interim, short-term roles that aren't directly related to the position you're currently pursuing. Have a solid explanation ready for large gaps in employment, ideally showing how what you learned or did during those absences might help you in the new position.

Cover Letter

Cover letters, like resumes, are often reviewed after or during a retail interview. It is recommended for commissioned or management positions, since these imply a higher degree of professionalism. The cover letter should show your achievements, how your successes caused company or project success, and what you can offer your potential employer. Reference mutual contacts, if possible. Cover letters are excellent tools for differentiating yourself from the competition. Keep the content focused on how your abilities are relevant to a prospective employer, especially if your previous roles were in a different sector than the one you're applying for.

Do Your Homework

Interviewers will ask you what you know about the company you're applying to. Have a conversational grasp on the history of the company, how many stores are in the chain, brands offered and other relevant information that shows you care about the organization. Recall positive shopping experiences in that store secondarily, while showing how your talents can improve the experience for others. You need to know enough about the company so when you're prompted for questions, you aren't asking about things anyone that researched the organization should know. Rehearse solid answers to common interviewing questions regarding problem solving, dealing with tough customers and why you're interested in working there.

Proper Appearance

Bringing proper materials and knowledge to the interview is important, but you must also show care when you dress for the meeting. Wear clothing that is appropriate for the store you're applying to. If people wear suits on a day-to-day basis, wear one for the interview. If shorts and T-shirts are the norm, at least appear in business-casual clothing. If the store sells clothing, wear something from that shop if it is appropriate for the occasion. Do not wear quirky items or excessive jewelry unless that fits well with the establishment. Although the environment may be relatively informal, the way you dress displays the level of seriousness you apply to the interview, what you know about the company and your attention to detail.

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About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

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