Cashiers handle a variety of customer service duties including purchase and exchange transactions, issuing refunds, honoring coupons, and responding to questions. A Cashier’s performance can enhance or diminish the reputation of your establishment so it’s essential for your candidate to be personable, efficient, and eager to participate in your training program.
A qualified candidate will have good math skills, basic computer skills, and a keen attention to detail. Look for someone who is inquisitive about your merchandise and has the ability to upsell and cross-sell products or services. Dependability for meeting shift schedules, and the stamina to stand during shift hours, are required.
General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.
Below are Cashier interview questions to help you get started:
What does excellent customer service mean to you?
What you want to hear: A strong candidate will recognize the importance of the Cashier’s role to the overall operations of the business. Listen for a candidate who will explain how they greet customers warmly, answer all questions, handle transactions smoothly, and resolve any issues or complaints. The candidate’s response should also highlight how excellent customer service can enhance the store’s reputation, increase customer loyalty, and drive up sales.
Red flag: A candidate unfamiliar with the meaning or value of customer service, either from a previous job or as a customer themselves, will require significant training before being ready to perform in the role.
This job can feel repetitive after handling lines of customers. Are you comfortable with that?
What you want to hear: Experienced candidates will already be familiar with the repetitive nature of the role, and should share techniques they use to stay focused and accurate. For example, they might use breaks to walk around or read, or come up with new ways to greet or engage each customer, or ask their supervisor for tasks unrelated to the register during slow periods. A candidate new to the role should acknowledge the likelihood of tasks feeling repetitive and share examples of how they’ve handled similar situations in other kinds of work.
Do you prefer to work alone or as a team?
What you want to hear: A Cashier works independently when handling a customer, but must be a team player in other functions of the job. For example, the Cashier will interact regularly with stockers, store managers, assistant managers, and trainers. Look for a candidate who can thrive on their own but also knows when to seek the support of, and participate with, colleagues.
What would you do if your car broke down on the way to work?
What you want to hear: Look for a candidate who recognizes the importance of being consistently on time for work. They should understand how being absent or late affects the scheduler who has to scramble to make staffing changes, and teammates who may have to pick up the slack. Despite best intentions, however, situations do occur beyond our control, such as a car breaking down or illness. The key is that the candidate has a plan for prioritizing the situation. For example, they might say “If my car broke down, I would first make sure I was in a safe place, then I would call for roadside service. While I was waiting for assistance, I would immediately contact my work supervisor to let them know what was happening. I would then keep my supervisor updated as directed so that they could make the best staffing adjustments possible until my arrival.”
Red flag: This question is designed to challenge the candidate’s judgment. A candidate who doesn’t know how to manage an unexpected situation such as car trouble is a risk for missing shifts or being late without timely communication.
A customer hands you a $10 bill for a purchase of $2.28. What bills and coins should they receive back?
What you want to hear: The candidate might say “the correct amount of change is $7.72, and I would need to hand back one $5 bill, two $1 bills, two quarters, two dimes, and two pennies.” This question is intended to challenge your candidate’s basic math skills and ability to think on the spot.
Red flag: Although Point of Sale systems and other technology have made transactions easier for Cashiers, it is still important for a candidate to have basic math skills. A candidate who hesitates in calculating an answer to the question, or simply gets it wrong, may make errors requiring additional register reconciliation time at the end of the work day.
A customer gets agitated when you won’t accept a return item. How would you handle the situation?
What you want to hear: It is expected that a Cashier will at times encounter a customer upset about something. What is important is that the candidate is able to maintain composure, listen to the complaint, and attempt to independently resolve the situation. A strong candidate might say “If a customer tried to return an item after our 30 day return policy, I would first explain the policy to the customer and show them that, say, 45 days have passed since the date of purchase. I would let them know that I feel bad about the circumstances but explain that the policy applies to all purchases and customers. If the customer persists, gets more agitated, or demands to speak to a supervisor, I would acknowledge their frustration and ask them to be patient for a moment while I call my supervisor.”
Red flag: A candidate who appears to get overwhelmed by a forceful customer, or who might respond in kind to any form of anger or frustration, is a risk for escalating the situation and damaging your store’s reputation with that customer and all other customers who are witness to the incident.
Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Cashier position.
Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:
- Are interested in providing excellent customer service
- Have a command of basic math skills and Point of Sale systems
- Will thrive performing repetitive duties throughout a shift