So your last boss was a jerk, and you were happy to get out of that dead-end job. Your next boss was a good guy, but wasn’t much of a manager. The employees did pretty much what they wanted, and he was reluctant to discipline anyone for fear they would leave.
This information may be interesting conversation with your friends but not for an interview. Recruiters like to ask questions about former managers to find out a lot of things about you. How do you describe them? What do you like or dislike about them? How you describe your relationship to your former boss gives your preferences and what you value in a working relationship.
Everyone has good and bad points. No one wants an employee who only looks at the negative. In fact, some prefer to hire those who describe their former jobs as fun. Birchbox’s Katia Beauchamp won’t hire anyone who is negative about anything. Recruiters like to hire smiles.
Most retail jobs require face-to-face interaction all day, with smiles and a positive attitude. They are also stressful and demanding. A tough boss is an opportunity to deal with tough situations and find solutions to work better together. A candidate who can work well with a tough or demanding boss will do well in a retail job dealing with tough, sometimes unreasonable customers.
Retail has a bad reputation for being monotonous. Not many would say they feel lucky to land a retail job. Positive people look at their circumstances and find the positive. Some even feel lucky. This type of optimism is attractive to a recruiter looking for retail employees.
Fun, optimism, feeling lucky and a positive attitude are characteristics of a good retail candidate. Forbes added a few with its own list. Honesty and ethical behavior top the list. A favorite interview question is, “On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest, how honest are you?” The right answer, of course is a 10. Honesty is telling the truth in every situation. An ethical person will always feel they have to do the right thing in every situation. There is a lot of temptation in retail, with merchandise so available, cash drawers, and limited supervision due to lean staffing. Recruiters will spend time trying to determine how honest and ethical a candidate is. Many companies use pre-employment testing just to determine those traits.
Giving excellent customers service is essential, and recruiters look for those who can treat customers well consistently. It has to do with attitude and dedication to service. Retail draws a diverse customer base and excellent retail employees have to be able to deliver a high level of personalized customer service to everyone.
Showing up to work on time every day is elementary but so essential. So is being well groomed, pressed and polished. In the end, it’s not where you got your degree, or if you have one at all, that makes a difference in whether or not you get the job. It’s being positive and upbeat, fun and speaking well of others and your past experiences that can land the job.
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