Cashier Interview Questions
Cashiers are often the main point of contact between a business and their customers. They handle transactions by scanning products and bagging them while itemizing and totaling the customer’s purchases. They take money for payment and return the appropriate change to the customer as well as approve debit or credit transactions.
They also are charged with accepting manufacturer and company gift cards and coupons and recording these transactions by paper or computer. At times, they will need to communicate with a manager to override any items that are not ringing up correctly or address customer complaints. They must also keep their work area clean and presentable.
Cashier responsibilities may include:
- Ringing up customer purchases and ensuring prices are accurately reflected
- Bagging purchased items
- Returning the appropriate amount of change to customers
- Providing a pleasant experience for customers
- Wiping down and sweeping their work area
Customers like to shop at stores where they feel welcome. In order to provide a pleasant customer experience, a skilled cashier will:
- Possess great interpersonal skills
- Work quickly in high-speed environments
- Utilize basic mathematical calculations to ensure the till is balanced during their shift
- Communicate clearly with other co-workers and management
- Maintain a professional demeanor at all times
Entry-level positions as a cashier can be obtained with little to no experience. Employers will want candidates with a pleasant demeanor who can perform basic arithmetic in their head. Prior experience in customer service can help make a candidate more appealing.
If you’re getting ready to interview for a position as a cashier, you can prepare by researching the company as much as possible. Learn about the 9 things you should research before an interview.
Salaries for cashiers range between $20K and $31K with the median being $24K.
Factors impacting the salary you receive as a cashier include:
- Degrees (high school diploma, associate's degree, etc.)
- Years of Experience
- Reporting Structure (seniority of the manager you report to)
- Level of Performance - exceeding expectations
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Cashier Interview Questions
Question: What motivates you to want to work as a cashier?
Explanation: This is a general question which the interviewer will ask early in the interview. The purpose of the question is to get you talking, learn more about you and your background, and get some information they can use to ask you additional questions.
Example: “The main reason I want to work as a cashier is that I enjoy interacting with people, and this job gives me the chance to do that. I also like working in retail environments and helping people find the goods they are looking for. Lastly, I enjoy the challenge of working with money and making sure all transactions are completed accurately.”
Question: Can you describe what excellent customer service means to you?
Explanation: Since delivering excellent customer service is a significant part of a cashier’s job, the interviewer is asking you this general question to determine if you understand this. Providing the interviewer with a definition of what you believe excellent customer service to be and why it is essential is the best way to answer this question.
Example: “Customer service is the key to any successful retail operation. As a cashier, I am likely the last person the customer will see before they leave the store. Therefore, I have the opportunity to make their experience exceptional and invite them to shop with us again. My approach to customer service is based on the experiences I have had while shopping. I always go back to the stores where the employees make me feel welcome and important and are there to help me.”
Question: Do you have experience handling financial transactions and dealing with cash, credit cards, and checks?
Explanation: Since the primary job of a cashier is to ring up a customer’s purchases, collect their payment, and give them change if necessary, financial transactions are something with which you should be very familiar. You should be able to describe your experience with this as well as provide examples of how to do this correctly.
Example: “I have had several jobs working as a cashier and handling financial transactions. I’ve learned that the key to this is to pay attention and not to be distracted by the customers or anything else occurring in the store. If I need to speak with the customer, I will stop ringing up their items or providing them change. I then return to this once I am finished interacting with the customer. I take pride that my cash drawer is always balanced at the end of any shift I’ve worked.”
Question: Which do you prefer - working by yourself or as part of a team?
Explanation: The purpose of this question is to determine how well you work in a team environment. Virtually every retail operation involves teams of employees. It is critical that you are able to get along with your co-workers and that everyone works together to achieve the business objectives of the store.
Example: “I much prefer working as part of a team rather than working alone. Cashiers are just one member of the store's team. It is important that everybody in the store cooperates and works together. We need to support each other and take up the slack if one of our team members is absent or needs a break.”
Question: What would you do if one of your co-workers called in sick and you had to take over their duties?
Explanation: This is an example of a follow-up question. The interviewer is asking this to expand on the answer you provided to the previous question. You should be prepared for follow-up questions any time you give the interviewer a response to an earlier question.
Example: “This has actually happened to me on several occasions during my career as a cashier. It is not uncommon for workers to call in sick, especially in the evenings or on weekends. I’m always willing to pick up the slack when the shift is down one worker. When this happens, I usually get together with the other team members on the shift, and we discuss how we can split the duties of the missing worker. We know we’re successful if the customers never notice.”
Question: What would you do if a customer accused you of providing less than perfect customer service?
Explanation: As mentioned earlier, customer service is critical to the job of a cashier. When dealing with the public, it is very likely that someone will complain about the service you provided. The interviewer is asking this question to see how you would respond to such a situation. When asked a behavioral question similar to this, the best way to respond is to describe the actions you would take to resolve the case positively.
Example: “Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, some customers will not be pleased with the service I am providing them. This may not be a direct reaction to what I did but may be situational or have nothing to do with what is going on in the store at all. Regardless of the cause, I always respond to the customer politely and positively, seeking to understand why they are upset and how I might resolve the situation as best I can. While I keep the customer’s needs in mind, I also look after the welfare of the store, making sure to follow the store’s policies.”
Question: What would you do if your manager asked you to do a task differently, even though you knew you were doing it right?
Explanation: This is an example of another behavioral question. The best way to answer behavioral questions is by using the STAR format. You first describe the Situation, then talk about the Task you need to complete, discuss the Actions you should take, and finish with the results you seek to achieve.
Example: “While it’s rare, I have had the experience of a manager asking me to change the way I did something, even though I knew I was doing it correctly. In one incident, a new manager suggested I reverse the order of my cash drawer. I knew that by doing this, I would be violating the store’s policy and making it more difficult if someone had to take over my register. I patiently explained this to the manager and also discussed why the current method worked best when providing change to the customers. They saw the logic behind the way I was currently doing things and agreed that we should keep it the same. They then thanked me for taking the time to explain this to them.”
Question: Some people find the job of cashier to be repetitive and monotonous. What would you do to stay motivated in this position?
Explanation: This is an operational question. The interviewer will ask an operational question to determine how you perform a task or do something related to your job. The best way to respond to an operational question is directly, briefly, and perhaps providing an example.
Example: “This is an interesting question because the one thing I like about being a cashier is that no two days are the same. While sometimes it does get a little monotonous scanning people’s purchases, I look for ways to make it interesting. These include making positive observations about a person’s appearance, asking customers about their experience with the store, and seeing how quickly I can reduce my line.”
Question: Have you ever had an experience where you found it impossible to be courteous to a customer? Can you describe it to me?
Explanation: This is another behavioral question. The interviewer is asking you to describe your response to a negative situation. You can respond either with an example of an actual experience or project what you would do if something like this were to happen in the future. The key is that the outcome should be positive, or if negative, you should describe the lesson you learned.
Example: “I did have a situation like that in my last job. A customer was yelling at me about not being able to find the merchandise they were looking for. Although it was not my fault and I tried to satisfy the customer, they were just not interested. It seemed like all they wanted to do was yell at me. Once I realized this, my strategy changed to just getting them out of the store as quickly as possible. I was able to do this without the incident impacting any of the other shoppers. What I learned is that if this occurs again, I should probably get a manager engaged and let them deal with the problem.”
Question: If you received a $50 bill for a $23.89 purchase, can you explain how you would make change?
Explanation: This is another example of a behavioral question. These types of questions address the specific functions of the job and ask you to describe how you would accomplish the task. The best way to respond to a behavioral question is to walk the interviewer through the process you would use.
Example: “The first thing I would do if presented with a large denomination bill would be to use the counterfeit pen to make sure it was authentic. Next, I would place the bill on top of my drawer so it was still visible but did not get mixed in with the rest of the cash. Then I would make change with a $20 bill, a $5 bill, a $1 bill, a dime, and a penny. I would count this out to the customer. Once complete, I would put the $50 bill under the cash drawer with the other large denomination bills.”
Additional Cashier Interview Questions
Have you used a POS system before?
In your opinion, what do you deem the most important aspect of a cashier's work?
You have an angry customer who is arguing about the price of an item during checkout. What would you do?
How do you handle working in high stress situations?
Have you ever had a disagreement with a co-worker? How did you handle it?
You are working a very busy shift and have a long line of customers waiting to be rung up. A guest comes to you complaining they couldn't find a product. What would you do?
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