Trader Joe’s is not a conventional supermarket chain. Trader Joe’s stores carry fewer than 5,000 products, 80 percent of which are Trader Joe’s own brand.The emphasis is on locally grown and environmentally friendly food, and it is no coincidence that almost 200 of the over 500 store locations are located in California, where the most discerning customers reside and shop.
When interviewing for a Crew Member position with Trader Joe’s, a position that almost everyone must begin with the retailer, you can expect a combination of standard retail interview questions and Trader Joe’s-specific questions, such as the one about your favorite product sold by the store.
Additionally, you will earn a bit more money at Trader Joe’s compared to entry-level positions at other grocery stores and supermarkets. It is highly recommended to apply with them. Let’s take a look at the possible interview questions and how you should respond to make a favorable impression on the interviewers.
What motivates you to work for Trader Joe’s?
Try to compliment their philosophy and how they differ from their competitors. We are what we eat, and by shopping at Trader Joe’s-your favorite grocery store-we can still be healthy, free of food allergies and intolerances.
Furthermore, you’ve probably heard a lot about the workplace community. You enjoy being a part of a hardworking team. Their working environment is ideal for your personality, and you won’t find a better match.
Finally, you believe you have what it takes to be a great crew member—after initial training, of course. You are driven, eager to learn, and enjoy working hard as part of a team. You have a keen eye for detail and a strong desire to provide excellent customer service. You see the job as a perfect fit because both managers and customers at Trader Joe’s value this attitude.
Continue reading: Interview Question: “What Motivates You?”
Please tell us about your previous employment. Why did you leave your last job?
Remember that Trader Joe’s is interested in more than just what you did and whether it had anything to do with retail or customer service. They also want to know how you interacted with your coworkers, what role you played in the team, what you liked about the job and what you missed, and, finally, why you left or want to leave.
Try to talk positively about your previous job. I recommend that you use “We” instead of “I” when describing any accomplishments or duties you had at the store. Give credit to your team members and don’t forget to acknowledge workplace team spirit. However, at the end, you should clearly explain why you eventually decided to leave your former employer…
They may follow up with questions about your experience, so try to be consistent. And keep in mind that a lack of experience is not a deal breaker at Trader Joe’s. They have an excellent training program in place. Lack of experience will no longer be an issue as long as they see that you have the right personality for the job and the right attitude.
What’s your favorite Trader Joe’s item?
The exact choice is irrelevant (it can be a dairy product, something healthy, or even wine), as long as you follow the following guidelines:
- Choose a Trader Joe’s exclusive product, preferably one of their own brand.
- You should be able to explain what makes the product unique in your opinion—it could be the origin, the ingredients, the taste, the quality, or anything else.
- Before the interview, speak enthusiastically about the product and learn everything you can about it.
- Because they may ask you a follow-up question here, and unless you have tried the product and read the labels, you may find it difficult to respond.
Tell us about a time when you went the extra mile for someone.
The interviewers are more interested in your attitude than the specific situation you describe. Of course, a work-related situation is your best bet, but it doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking. Perhaps you made a phone call for the customer to obtain more information about the product. Or you assisted them with their heavy bags to the car because you noticed they were struggling physically.
What works well at Trader Joe’s is an example of when you went above and beyond for a coworker. Maybe you took their shift on short notice because they weren’t feeling well or had an important meeting. Or you noticed that they were having difficulty with the workload in their section of the store, so you went there and assisted even though it wasn’t your responsibility.
Maintain a positive body language and speak enthusiastically about helping someone. They should get the impression that you enjoy going above and beyond because it makes you feel better about your job.
* You can also look over 7 sample responses to the question: Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond.
Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.
Let’s face it: even the best grocery store will have difficult customers. Some people will be dissatisfied with your service, others will blame you for something, and still others will be angry or upset simply because they had a bad day and decided to vent their rage while shopping.
Such situations are expected on the job, and you should assure hiring managers that you are prepared for them. You will do your best to please the customer, but their behavior will not have a negative impact on your work performance. You should do this while telling a story from the past.
Other questions you may encounter while interviewing for a position as a Trader Joe’s crew member
- Why are you interested in this position?
- What makes you a good candidate for this position?
- What Are Your Salary Expectations?
- This is a very repetitive job. What will keep you going day after day, week after week, while responding to the same tasks?
- What is your typical role on the team?
- How do you deal with change?
- What do you consider to be exceptional customer service?
- When are you available? When applying for a part-time job, what hours and days are you available?
- What would your former coworkers say about your personality?
- What does the term “community” mean to you?
What to wear to an interview at Trader Joe’s
The hiring managers at Trader Joe’s are not too picky about what you wear. As a general rule, you should not wear a shirt and tie to this type of job; it is simply inappropriate. You should wear a clean T-shirt, long pants (including jeans), and shoes with closed toes.
If you work for Trader Joe’s, the company will provide you with a “uniform” consisting of a shirt with the TJ’s logo and a jacket to wear if you get cold on the job. Pants are your choice, but you must wear at least one pair:.
Although tattoos are permitted at Trader Joe’s, I recommend that you cover any large tattoos with clothing. You desire the attention of hiring managers to be on your words, not your tattoos. It goes without saying that your clothing should be clean and ironed, although female interviewers care more about this than male, who typically do not.
Anyway, try to keep it simple, wear clothes that you are comfortable in and enjoy wearing, and concentrate on the things that truly matter: your interview responses and your impression.
Conclusion and future steps
The interviews at Trader Joe’s are average in terms of difficulty. The interview is significantly more difficult than most other grocery store and supermarket interviews. You will earn more money at Trader Joe’s, so they have higher expectations of you.
Consider your previous employment for a few minutes. Try to recall instances in which you went above and beyond (for a colleague or a customer), dealt with difficult people, demonstrated leadership, etc.
They will almost certainly inquire about a number of these instances. Additionally, you should prepare for the more common retail interview questions, such as “Why Trader’s Joe?” and “What is your favorite TJ product?”
Last but not least, try to inject the room with enthusiasm and positive energy. They should get the impression that you genuinely want the job, enjoy being a part of a hard-working team, and are prepared to bring something to the table–not necessarily years of experience, but definitely the right attitude and a friendly approach to your new coworkers…