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Store Manager interview questions and answers

This Store Manager interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable retail interview questions.

Christine Del Castillo
Christine Del Castillo

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.

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10 good store manager interview questions

  1. Who are our main competitors?
  2. What tasks, when executed incorrectly, directly impact sales?
  3. A product is selling well at our competitors’ stores but not at our store. Why do you think this is?
  4. Describe the inventory process at your previous store.
  5. How would you address shrink in your store?
  6. What’s the most important decision you make every day as a store manager?
  7. How would you teach a colleague how to close the register?
  8. What is your opinion on being friends with your coworkers?
  9. Describe a time you resolved a conflict between your colleagues.
  10. What would you do if you had an employee who was frequently late?

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. Who are our main competitors?

This question assesses the candidate’s industry awareness and research skills.

Sample answer:

“Based on my research, the main competitors would be Brand X and Brand Y. Both offer similar products but have different customer engagement strategies.”

2. What tasks, when executed incorrectly, directly impact sales?

This question aims to gauge the candidate’s understanding of the critical aspects of store management.

Sample answer:

“Incorrect pricing, poor customer service, and inefficient inventory management can directly impact sales.”

3. A product is selling well at our competitors’ stores but not at our store. Why do you think this is?

This question tests the candidate’s analytical skills and understanding of market dynamics.

Sample answer:

“It could be due to a variety of factors such as pricing, store location, or even marketing strategies. A detailed analysis would be required to pinpoint the exact reason.”

4. Describe the inventory process at your previous store.

This question aims to understand the candidate’s familiarity with inventory management.

Sample answer:

“We used an automated system that tracked sales and inventory in real-time. Regular audits were conducted to ensure accuracy.”

5. How would you address shrink in your store?

This question assesses the candidate’s problem-solving skills and understanding of loss prevention.

Sample answer:

“I would implement strict inventory control measures and conduct regular audits. Employee training on loss prevention would also be a priority.”

6. What’s the most important decision you make every day as a store manager?

This question aims to understand the candidate’s priorities and decision-making skills.

Sample answer:

“The most important decision is ensuring customer satisfaction, as it directly impacts sales and the store’s reputation.”

7. How would you teach a colleague how to close the register?

This question tests the candidate’s ability to train others and communicate effectively.

Sample answer:

“I would provide a step-by-step demonstration first, followed by supervised practice until they are comfortable doing it on their own.”

8. What is your opinion on being friends with your coworkers?

This question aims to gauge the candidate’s approach to workplace relationships.

Sample answer:

“While it’s important to maintain a friendly atmosphere, boundaries should be clear to ensure professionalism.”

9. Describe a time you resolved a conflict between your colleagues.

This question assesses the candidate’s conflict resolution skills.

Sample answer:

“I once mediated a disagreement between two team members by allowing them to express their concerns and then finding a compromise.”

10. What would you do if you had an employee who was frequently late?

This question tests the candidate’s management and disciplinary skills.

Sample answer:

“I would have a one-on-one conversation to understand the reason behind the tardiness and discuss the importance of punctuality. If it continues, formal disciplinary action may be necessary.”

What does a good store manager candidate look like?

A strong candidate for a Store Manager position should have excellent leadership skills, a deep understanding of retail operations, and the ability to manage both people and resources efficiently.

Red flags

Be cautious of candidates who lack industry knowledge, have poor communication skills, or show a lack of leadership qualities.



Store Manager Interview Questions

From a high level, promising Store Managers should have done their research on your company. They should know how many stores you have, where you’re headquartered and who your customers are. They should be aware of your competitors and able to talk about what your company can do to get ahead. They should also be able to list the range of factors that impact sales in your store. Consider asking specific interview questions for managers

At the day-to-day level they should be strategic, persuasive, communicative and have good stamina to work long hours on their feet. They should know how to build and train teams. For example, they should be comfortable with walking you through how they’d train someone to set up a cash register, manage inventory, or close the store. They should also be able to discuss strategies for motivating their colleagues to reach sales goals and deliver outstanding customer service.

The Store Manager you hire will either have previous store management experience or will be someone you promote in your own store. If you’re considering candidates for an internal promotion, you’ll be turning a peer into a boss. Address that when you interview them. Your Store Manager should be able to maintain professional relationships with retail associates. This person should be a leader that their team trusts to make the right call at all times—even in difficult situations, such as reprimanding and firing employees.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • Who are our main competitors?
  • What tasks, when executed incorrectly, directly impact sales?
  • A product is selling well at our competitors’ stores but not at our store. Why do you think this is?
  • Describe the inventory process at your previous store. What are the necessary steps?
  • How would you address shrink in your store?
  • What’s the most important decision you make every day as a store manager?
  • How would you teach a colleague how to close the register?
  • What is your opinion on being friends with your coworkers?
  • Describe a time you resolved a conflict between your colleagues.
  • How do you think your colleagues would describe you as a manager?
  • How many people have you fired at your last job? Why did you fire them?
  • What would you do if you had an employee who was frequently late?
  • What would you do if you had an employee who refused to follow a new policy?
  • What strategies do you prefer for motivating employees?

Frequently asked questions

Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
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