Store manager interview questions attempt to test essential skills and knowledge in a candidate.
Areas Tested Through Store Manager Interview Questions
- Specialized Knowledge & Business Acumen
- Leadership & Talent Management
- Problem Solving & Ownership
Here, we are going to list some of the most common store manager interview questions and their target answers.
Specialized Knowledge & Business Acumen Interview Questions
These are specific questions related to retail and store performance
1. If sales are down at your store, what would you look at?
Here, the interviewer wants to see if the store manager is aware of the different KPIs and how they indicate where low performance is coming from.
However; a more skilled and experienced store manager would also address inventory and visual display, and how he/she would inspect any potential problems that are affecting sales, and what they would do to communicate this to the relevant supporting functions and get the problem solved at their store.
2. Specific KPIs and Sales Contribution Questions
Some interviewers will ask specific questions about KPIs and how much some departments are contributing to the store sales.
The best store managers know their numbers.
And so these types of questions check if this store manager knows those numbers at the top of their head. Some interviewers even go the extra mile and work out those numbers to see if they add up.
Examples of those questions include:
- What are the different departments at your store and how much (%) do they contribute to total sales?
- What is your ATV/UPT/Conversion?
- How much LFL growth did you deliver last year?
- How much was your last shrinkage result?
3. How would you reduce shrinkage?
This is a typical interview questions, since shrinkage is an important store KPI. The idea is to see if the candidate is aware of the different internal and external causes of shrinkage, and how to address each one.
Of course, it is ideal to give a specific achievement of reducing shrinkage from x to y and how you have implemented a specific Stock Loss Action Plan to achieve that.
Leadership & Talent Management Interview Questions
Store Managers are essentially leaders, and so a big part of the store manager interview will focus on leadership skills and team development.
1. How did you deliver this achievement?
If you list specific achievements in your store manager CV, be prepared to answer how you have done that.
The key here, though, and the way to show your leadership, is to show how you have achieved this through your team.
The interviewer wants to see how you can create and maintain a high performing team culture, and deliver your achievements through them.
So, while answering this question by mentioning how exactly you delivered this achievement, make sure to highlight the different team members who worked on this task, and how you coached and led them to deliver this result.
You can start by mentioning how you planned for the task by setting a clear goal and timeline, and then delegating it to the right team member(s), and how you regularly followed up with them until the task was delivered.
2. Walk me through your performance management process
You should be able to detail a defined, step-by-step process to manage the performance of your team.
This should start with setting clear KPIs, assigning responsibilities among the team, and following up on their performance through regular feedback sessions and on the spot coaching.
You should also be able to mention what you do in case of poor performance.
3. How many people have you developed? And how?
This is a very simple, and straightforward interview question, and yet many store managers I have interviewed failed at it.
The reason was simple: They have never developed anyone.
So, in order to pass this question, you need to actually be a leader who spots and develops talents at their store.
Store Managers manage a lot of people, and usually move from one location to another, which brings them in touch with even more people throughout their career journey. That’s why if someone has been in this role for a while he/she would have probably had the chance to develop talents under them.
If you have developed people at different levels at your stores, mention how you spotted the talent in them and how you have worked out a plan to develop such talent and prepare them for the next step.
The idea here is that different team members will be passionate about and skilled at different areas of the business. Your job is to spot those areas and the talented people on your team and draft a plan with them to develop this particular skill, by assigning them specific projects for example and see how they will work them out.
Then you would coach them through the process and provide regular feedback, until they are ready.
4. What do you look for when hiring sales associates?
Part of the store manager’s role is to recruit the team, especially the entry-level sales roles
Here, you will list the most important qualities you want to see in someone, which make you choose them for sales roles.
These qualities are usually related to personality and not experience. These could be: approachability, enthusiasm, problem solving and flexibility.
Problem Solving & Ownership Store Manager Interview Questions
The best store managers are store owners at heart.
They don’t wait for the problem to be solved on its own, and rather go out of their way and solve it on the spot, or involve the relevant departments and keep following up until it is done.
Best practices are shared at organization level all the time, and, not surprisingly, many of them are usually shared by few people.
If you have been one of those people who have always come up with some operational solutions to common problems, chances are, some of your solutions have been adopted & implemented across more stores.
Be prepared with some examples of such solutions.
1. Tell me about an initiative you implemented at your store that was later adopted and shared by the organization.
These could be as simple as:
- Improving the receiving process and reducing shrinkage
- Improving stock room organization and enhancing merchandise flow
- Reducing overtime through better scheduling
- Coming up with a better scheduling approach that benefited the team and the business
- Coming up with a motivational competition among your team members that improved sales
- Implementing a better display that increased sales
2. How do you handle an angry customer?
Mention the broad approach of solving customer complaints at your stores.
A common approach is called LAST
Be prepared with some examples of situations and how you used this approach (or similar ones) to solve the problem and what the outcome was.
To show leadership, also mention whether you empower your team members to take actions on the spot to solve customer problems (in line with company’s SOP) without the need for a series of approvals.