This article looks at potential questions a sales assistant may face in a job interview and provides examples of how they may be answered.


What are the general duties of a sales assistant?

Sales assistants help customers identify products or services they wish to purchase and are responsible for arranging and replenishing stock, taking payments and offering general assistance.

Duties include:

  • Ensuring customer satisfaction and creating a comfortable and welcoming sales environment;
  • Ensure the store is fully stocked and in good condition;
  • Offer recommendations to customers;
  • Take payments;
  • Handle deliveries;
  • Keep up to date with new products and provide accurate descriptions of current products;
  • Follow company procedures and protocol;
  • Now let’s move on to a few example questions that are likely to crop up in an interview.


How would you deal with a difficult customer?

Sales assistants are often required to deal with disgruntled, sometimes angry customers who can be difficult to reason with. All customers are valuable to the company so you will be expected to find a speedy solution to any problem, so the customer can leave happy, hopefully with their desired product.

Sample answer: “I always aim to provide the very best service and put the customer’s needs first. I do not take any criticism personally and listen to the customer’s complaint carefully so I can provide the best possible solution. An angry customer usually calms down once they have been allowed to air their frustrations, so it is best to wait for an opportune moment before replying and offering a solution.”


What qualities does a person need to become a good sales assistant?

Despite the ambiguous nature of the question, the interview is really asking what makes you a good sales assistant. Creating a list of skills and personal traits which help you do your job well is the best preparation for this sort of question.

These skills can include; soft selling, hard selling, pitching a product and building good client relationships.

Sample answer: “I feel an effective sales assistant requires an ambitious and persuasive personality. The word ‘no’ should not be final and a good sales assistant should be able to convince a customer why they would want to buy a specific product, providing detailed information as and when needed to strengthen their pitch.”


Why do you want to work for this company?

This is your chance to big up the company and praise its service and products, in order to expand your answer you can also pick out specific parts of the job description which appeal to you.

Sample answer: “Your company is well known for its high levels of customer service which I have always admired. I have also worked in similar markets in the past, selling to a similar demographic and feel I would fit into the organisation well as I pride myself on the quality of service I provide to clients.”


What do feel is the most rewarding aspect of working in sales?

This is your chance to show your enthusiasm for the role as your potential employer will only be looking to add highly motivated sales people to their team. A good way to answer this question is to talk about how you enjoy building relationships with the customer, or how you like to challenged by a target-driven workplace.

Sample answer: “I feel the most rewarding part of working in sales is the rapport you can build with customers and the satisfaction when they leave the store happy. As well as building customer relationships, I also thrive in a challenging and competitive environment which requires me to push myself.”


Will you be comfortable working in a different environment?

Sometimes when you are moving from one sales sector to another, for example, clothing to technology, the interviewer will look to assess your adaptability and what your transferable skills are. Your potential employers will be keen to find out what you have learned in previous roles which can make you a success for their company.

Sample answer: “I feel the similarities between my previous role and this one, outweigh the differences. My years of experience in sales allow me to adapt to different products and selling environments and I am confident my customer service skills will allow me to overcome any potential obstacles. In order to perform to the best of my ability I will also conduct thorough research into the products on offer so I can provide accurate information to customers.”


A work colleague has failed to turn up to work on time so they can replace you on the following shift, what do you do?

In this question, the interviewer is looking to assess your thought process and how you would cope in a challenging situation. If you have experienced a similar situation in a previous job then you can describe your actions, if not, just use a bit of common sense and say what you think the employer wants to hear.

Sample answer: “I would contact the colleague in question and try and find out where they are and when they think they will arrive. If I fail to get in touch with them or they are going to be very late then I will talk to my manager and try and find a solution. I consider myself to be a flexible person and unless I have a very important engagement then I will be happy to continue working until the person arrives or a replacement is found.

We hope these example questions have given you a rough idea of what you can expect in your interview and you feel better prepared and confident. Remember to dress smartly, plan your route and ensure you arrive early to make a good first impression.”

Good luck in your interview.

You can find the latest sales assistant vacancies at Simply Sales Jobs.

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