Common Questions When Interviewing for a Cashier Role

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When you are interviewing for a position as a cashier, regardless of industry, you need to highlight your focus on customer satisfaction and accuracy.

Employers are also looking for candidates who possess skills like basic accounting, computer literacy, and familiarity with products. In short, they want to hire someone who’s good with money and good with people. Your goal is to show that you’re both; and to demonstrate that you’re a pleasant, reliable person to work with, as well as a positive public face for the company. For many customers, you’ll be their only point of direct interaction with the organization, so it’s essential that you show you’ll make a good impression.

While most job interviews share common questions regardless of the type of job, there are some specific questions you will likely face when applying for a role as a cashier:

1. What does excellent customer service mean to you? As a cashier, you will be working with the public at all times. It is essential that you provide excellent service and that your standards of service match your potential employer's.  In your answer, highlight the importance of good service, identifying solutions and resolving issues to the customer's satisfaction.

If possible, offer examples of times when you went the extra mile to provide customer satisfaction. (Reminder: it’s important to be positive. The unvarnished truth might be that the customer was a pain, but it will be more persuasive if you spin the story to focus on your ability to give excellent customer service by resolving their issue.)

2. Do you prefer working alone or as a part of a team? Cashiers typically work independently, but working within a team is a key part of the job; you will work closely with stockers, floor managers, and others. As you respond, stress that you can work independently and can thrive on your own, but that you appreciate the support and expertise a team can give you. Emphasize your ability to communicate with others and support your colleagues.

3. What if a coworker calls out sick and you're on your own? This is a common issue in service industries. When short-staffed, you can face long lines and frustrated customers. In this situation, it's important you recognize the role of politeness and efficiency. If even working at your fastest the lines keep lengthening, you need to tell the employer you would consult with your manager about calling in other workers or asking other employees to take over another register.

It may be tempting to answer this question by emphasizing your ability to handle ever-increasing volumes of customers, but even the world’s fastest cashier needs help now and then. The hiring manager doesn’t want a candidate who insists that he or she can do everything without help, that’s just not realistic.

4. How are you with handling money? A key part of a cashier's job is handling money, so trustworthiness and integrity are important. In your answer, highlight your experience managing money, your past employers' feedback on your honesty and your accuracy in managing the cash drawer.

5. Tell me about a time you have excellent service. For this ask, paint a vivid description of the situation, so the hiring manager understands what happened and what actions you took. Highlight when you went above and beyond the standard response of a cashier and focused on the customer's response.

Tips for Answering

The hiring process for a cashier is usually pretty similar to that of other jobs. You will face common interview questions, such as, "What are your strengths?" or "How would you describe yourself?" But because cashiers have so much interaction with both customers and money, there are additional questions specific to the role that determines your levels of customer service and integrity.

By answering the questions thoroughly, using concrete examples from your past work experience or schooling, you can set yourself apart from other candidates. Using specific instances in your answers gives your answers more weight and credibility, allowing the employer to see how you'd succeed in the role. Preparing ahead of time can allow you to appear confident, poised and professional, excellent qualities for someone who will interface with customers.

Finally, don’t forget to dress professionally for the interview, even if the job itself will involve wearing a uniform. Choose neat, clean, conservative clothing, and avoid heavy makeup or perfume. Your goal is to impress the hiring manager with your skills and experience, not grab their attention with your attire.