Career skills Interview Guides

21 Top Nordstrom Interview Questions

Getting ready for a job interview at Nordstrom? You’re in the right place – we’ve got you covered with how to answer the most common Nordstrom interview questions!

This prestigious retailer is known for its exceptional customer service, so it’s no surprise that their interview process is thorough. In this blog post, we delve into the 21 most common Nordstrom interview questions. Not only will we reveal what these questions are, but we’ll also provide you with strategic tips and sample answers to help you make a strong impression.

For other resources on preparing for and getting a job interview, check out our Career Skills Overview.

21 Common Nordstrom Interview Questions

Nordstrom, like many companies, uses a mix of general, behavioral, and job-specific questions in their interviews. Below are some questions that are commonly asked in interviews at Nordstrom, although the exact questions can vary depending on the specific position.

  1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
  2. Why did you apply for a job at Nordstrom?
  3. How do you define good customer service?
  4. Describe a time when you provided excellent customer service.
  5. How do you handle a situation where a customer is not satisfied?
  6. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question?
  7. How familiar are you with our product line?
  8. What is your experience with sales goals and meeting quotas?
  9. How do you handle pressure and busy work environments?
  10. How would you handle a difficult coworker?
  11. How do you keep current with fashion trends?
  12. Can you describe a time when you had to manage multiple tasks at once?
  13. Tell me about a time you failed and how you handled it.
  14. How have you handled a situation where you needed to take initiative?
  15. Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?
  16. How do you handle constructive criticism?
  17. If you were on the sales floor and had no customers, what would you do?
  18. Are you comfortable with a job that requires standing for long periods?
  19. Why did you leave your last job?
  20. What can you contribute to our team?
  21. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Remember, for behavioral interview questions, it’s a good idea to structure your responses using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to clearly and concisely convey your experiences.

About Nordstrom

A short history of Nordstrom

Nordstrom, Inc. is a leading fashion retailer that was founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin. The company’s roots date back to 1901 when the duo opened a shoe store in Seattle, Washington. They began as a small shop, but with a commitment to quality products and excellent customer service, they soon found success.

Photos of the original Wallin & Nordstrom department store.

Over the years, Nordstrom gradually expanded its merchandise offerings to include clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, and fragrances. By the early 1960s, the company had begun to offer a broader range of clothing for men, women, and children.

The company expanded geographically as well, growing from its original Pacific Northwest base to become a national retailer with locations across the United States. Its first store outside of the Pacific Northwest opened in 1975 in the city of Orange, California.

The late 1990s and early 2000s marked a period of significant growth for Nordstrom, both in physical retail locations and online presence. The company launched its e-commerce site in 1998, which has since grown to account for a significant portion of their sales.

What is Nordstrom known for today?

Nordstrom is known today for several key attributes:

  1. High-Quality Products: Nordstrom offers high-quality merchandise from top designers and brands. Their product lineup includes clothing, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, and home goods.
  2. Exceptional Customer Service: Nordstrom is widely recognized for its superior customer service. The company goes above and beyond to ensure customers are satisfied, offering services such as personal stylists, hassle-free returns, and online chat assistance.
  3. Nordstrom Rack: This is Nordstrom’s off-price retail division, offering customers a wide range of fashion at reduced prices. Nordstrom Rack stores and the online platform have become very popular among bargain-hunting fashionistas.
  4. Inclusive Sizing: Nordstrom has made significant efforts to offer more inclusive sizing, with many pieces available in a wide range of sizes to cater to all body types.
  5. Innovation and Online Presence: Nordstrom has a strong online presence, and they have been innovative in blending online shopping with their physical stores. They offer services like ‘Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store’ (BOPIS) and ‘Reserve Online, Try In-Store.’
  6. Diverse Product Line: Besides fashion, Nordstrom has also diversified into other areas like home décor, gourmet food and gifts, and wedding suites.
  7. Fashion Authority: With its curated collections, designer collaborations, and trend-spotting acumen, Nordstrom is seen as an authority in fashion. They are known for their fashion-forward offerings and for being a destination where customers can discover the latest styles and trends.
  8. Community Involvement: Nordstrom is also known for its community involvement and philanthropy. The company contributes to various charitable causes, especially those related to caring for kids and empowering youth.

Nordstrom Interview Questions and Answers

When answering these questions, it’s important to be honest, but also to tailor your responses to the specific role and company. Here’s a general idea of how you might respond to each

1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Interviewers typically use this question to get a brief overview of your career history and better understand your qualifications. You can structure your response chronologically, focusing on your career and education, and highlighting relevant skills or experiences.

Example answer: “I graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising from XYZ University. After that, I worked in retail for three years where I developed strong customer service skills and gained extensive knowledge about the fashion industry. Most recently, I worked at a boutique store where I was responsible for meeting sales targets and providing styling advice to customers. I am passionate about fashion and I’m always eager to learn about the latest trends.”

2. Why did you apply for a job at Nordstrom?

This question gives you an opportunity to show that you’ve done your homework on the company. You should relate your answer to your career goals, your interests, or the company’s reputation.

Example answer: “I admire Nordstrom’s reputation for delivering exceptional customer service and its commitment to quality products. I have always been impressed with Nordstrom’s focus on customer relationships and believe that my passion for customer service would make me a great fit. Furthermore, I am interested in the professional growth opportunities Nordstrom offers to its employees.”

3. How do you define good customer service?

Your response to this question should align with Nordstrom’s values, which include providing exceptional service and creating an inviting shopping experience for customers.

Example answer: “Good customer service means consistently exceeding customer expectations. It involves being knowledgeable about the products, actively listening to the customers to understand their needs, providing prompt and efficient service, and handling complaints in a respectful and professional manner. It also means going the extra mile to make the customer feel valued and appreciated.”

4. Describe a time when you provided excellent customer service.

For this question, use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to share a specific example from your past.

Example answer: “At my previous job (Situation), a customer was looking for a specific dress in a size that we didn’t have in stock (Task). I took the initiative to call other branches, and luckily, I found one that had the dress. I arranged for it to be shipped to our store within a day (Action). The customer was extremely grateful and became a regular customer, frequently asking for my assistance when she shopped (Result).”

5. How do you handle a situation where a customer is not satisfied?

Again, use the STAR method to demonstrate how you handle challenging situations in a way that aligns with Nordstrom’s emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Example answer: “In my last role (Situation), a customer was upset because an item she had purchased was faulty (Task). I apologized for the inconvenience, reassured her that we would solve the issue, and immediately offered a refund or exchange. I also gave her a discount on her next purchase as a token of our apology (Action). The customer appreciated the response and continued to shop at our store (Result).”

6. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question?

Convey your commitment to delivering quality customer service by stating your willingness to seek help and find the accurate answer.

Example: “If a customer were to ask me a question that I don’t know the answer to, I would assure them that I will find out. I would seek help from a knowledgeable colleague or supervisor, or use our internal resources to get the information. I believe it’s important to ensure customers are given accurate information and feel valued.”

7. How familiar are you with our product line?

If you have knowledge about Nordstrom’s product line, share this. If not, express your eagerness to learn about the products.

Example: “I have always admired Nordstrom’s wide range of quality products and brands. I am familiar with many of the items you carry, but I am also eager to learn more about the full product line so that I can best assist customers.”

8. What is your experience with sales goals and meeting quotas?

Highlight your past experiences and achievements in sales and explain any strategies you used to meet and exceed goals.

Example: “In my previous role, I was given both daily and monthly sales targets. I would often exceed these by providing excellent customer service and effectively matching products to customers’ needs. I am confident in my ability to meet Nordstrom’s sales expectations.”

9. How do you handle pressure and busy work environments?

Stress your resilience and ability to stay organized and calm under pressure.

Example: “I am accustomed to working in high-pressure, busy environments. I find that maintaining a positive attitude, staying organized, and prioritizing tasks effectively helps me to manage pressure well. I believe these skills would help me thrive in Nordstrom’s fast-paced retail setting.”

10. How would you handle a difficult coworker?

Show your problem-solving skills and commitment to teamwork by discussing how you would constructively handle a conflict with a coworker.

Example: “I believe effective communication is key to resolving workplace conflicts. If I had an issue with a coworker, I would seek to address it directly yet respectfully, clarifying any misunderstandings. If the issue couldn’t be resolved one-on-one, I would involve a supervisor or HR to mediate the situation. It’s important to maintain a harmonious team environment for everyone to perform their best.”

11. How do you keep current with fashion trends?

Show enthusiasm and an active engagement in the world of fashion, using specific examples of where you get your news and inspiration.

Example: “I follow a variety of fashion blogs, influencers, and designers on social media, and regularly read fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Additionally, I enjoy visiting local boutiques and attending fashion events or shows when possible. It’s important for me to understand not just the trends, but the drivers behind them, so I can provide informed advice to customers.”

12. Can you describe a time when you had to manage multiple tasks at once?

Discuss a specific situation where you had to juggle multiple responsibilities. Highlight your ability to prioritize tasks, remain organized, and maintain a calm demeanor.

Example Response: “In my previous retail job during the holiday rush, I was responsible for handling customer queries, managing the cash register, and keeping the store tidy. I prioritized tasks based on their urgency and was able to effectively manage all responsibilities by staying organized and focused. This experience has strengthened my multitasking skills significantly.”

13. Tell me about a time you failed and how you handled it.

Choose a scenario where you made a mistake or failed, but learned a valuable lesson. Show how you took responsibility for your mistake and took steps to correct it.

Example Response: “In my previous role, I incorrectly processed a return which led to a discrepancy in our daily financial report. Once I realized my mistake, I immediately informed my supervisor and corrected the error. This incident taught me the importance of paying attention to detail and double-checking my work, especially when handling financial transactions.”

14. How have you handled a situation where you needed to take initiative?

Illustrate a time when you proactively addressed a situation or problem. Show that you’re a self-starter who can identify and seize opportunities to improve things.

Example Response: “In my last role, I noticed customers often had questions about certain products that the team couldn’t answer promptly. I took the initiative to create a detailed product knowledge manual for the most inquired items. This tool significantly improved our team’s efficiency and customer service quality.”

15. Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?

Provide an example where you exceeded a customer’s expectations. This will showcase your commitment to providing excellent customer service.

Example Response: “Once, a customer was looking for a specific product that was sold out at our store. I called other branches to locate the item and personally arranged for a transfer. The customer was highly appreciative and became a regular. It was a reminder that going the extra mile can create a loyal customer.”

16. How do you handle constructive criticism?

Show that you see constructive criticism as an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Example Response: “I see constructive criticism as a crucial part of personal and professional growth. When I receive feedback, I make sure to listen carefully, take it in a positive spirit, and work on the areas where improvement is needed. I believe it helps me to hone my skills and perform better.”

17. If you were on the sales floor and had no customers, what would you do?

Demonstrate your proactivity and dedication to maintaining a well-run store.

Example Response: “If I were on the sales floor with no customers, I would use that time effectively. I would tidy up displays, restock products, or learn more about the products to better assist customers. I could also use this time to strategize ways to enhance customer service or meet sales goals.”

18. Are you comfortable with a job that requires standing for long periods?

Be honest about your physical capabilities to handle the job.

Example Response: “Yes, I understand the demands of a retail job, and I’m physically capable of standing for long periods. I’ve previously worked in similar environments and have always maintained my energy and positive customer service throughout the day.”

19. Why did you leave your last job?

Keep your answer positive and focused on your future goals, rather than dwelling on any negative aspects of your past job.

Example Response: “I enjoyed my time at my last job and gained valuable experience. However, I left to seek new challenges and growth opportunities. I am particularly drawn to Nordstrom’s commitment to customer service and employee development and feel this aligns with my career goals.”

20. What can you contribute to our team?

Highlight your unique skills, experiences, and attributes that will add value to the Nordstrom team.

Example Response: “I have a strong background in retail sales and a passion for fashion. I am known for my excellent customer service skills and ability to exceed sales goals. Moreover, I have a positive attitude, and I’m a quick learner, always eager to gain knowledge about new products. I believe these qualities would make a significant contribution to your team.”

21. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Show ambition but make sure your answer aligns with the career path in the company.

Example Response: “In five years, I see myself growing within Nordstrom, taking on more responsibilities, and contributing to the company’s success. I hope to have developed deep expertise in the retail sector and be in a role where I can mentor new hires, sharing the knowledge and skills I’ve gained.”

How to Prepare for a Nordstrom Interview

Preparing for a Nordstrom interview involves several key steps:

  1. Understand the Company: Research Nordstrom’s history, values, and culture. This includes understanding the company’s commitment to exceptional customer service and how they differentiate themselves in the retail market. Familiarize yourself with Nordstrom’s various brands, including Nordstrom Rack and Trunk Club.
  2. Know the Role: Understand the role you’re applying for. What skills and experience does it require? How does the role contribute to the overall goals of the company? This will help you tailor your responses to show that you’re a good fit.
  3. Review Common Interview Questions: Review common interview questions and prepare your answers. Practice articulating your experience, skills, and accomplishments clearly and confidently. Consider the list of 21 most common Nordstrom interview questions we discussed earlier.
  4. Understand the STAR Method: Nordstrom often uses behavioral interview questions, which ask you to discuss past situations and how you handled them. Prepare for these using the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action, Result. This helps you organize your responses and highlight your problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  5. Know the Products: As a retailer, Nordstrom will expect you to know about the products they sell. Visit a store or browse their website to get an idea of the product range, designers, price points, and current trends.

Nordstrom Phone Interview

Phone interviews are often the first step in the hiring process. Here are some tips to help you succeed in a phone interview with Nordstrom:

  1. Do Your Research: Just as with an in-person interview, it’s essential to research Nordstrom beforehand. Know its products, services, culture, and recent news. This will help you answer questions and show your interest in the company.
  2. Choose a Quiet Location: Find a quiet, distraction-free zone where you can talk freely. This will help you focus on the conversation and prevent the interviewer from being distracted by background noise.
  3. Prepare Your Responses: Review common interview questions and prepare your responses. Have notes handy, but make sure you don’t sound like you’re reading from a script. Practice talking about your skills, experiences, and career goals.
  4. Listen Carefully: Without visual cues, it can be more challenging to understand when the interviewer has finished their question. Take a pause before you respond to ensure the interviewer has finished speaking.
  5. Speak Clearly: Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Avoid using fillers like “um” and “like”. Remember to articulate your thoughts in a structured manner.
  6. Be Enthusiastic: Show your enthusiasm for the job through your tone of voice. Without visual cues, your energy level needs to come through in the way you speak.
  7. Have Questions Ready: At the end of the interview, you’ll likely have an opportunity to ask questions. Have a few questions ready that show your interest in the job and the company.
  8. Follow Up: After the interview, send a thank you email to the interviewer expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to speak with them.

Remember, a phone interview is just as important as an in-person interview. Treat it with the same level of seriousness and preparation. Good luck!

What to wear for a Nordstrom Interview

When preparing for a Nordstrom interview, consider the company’s image as a high-end retailer and the fact that they’re known for their fashion-forward merchandise. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Dress Professionally: Even if the job position is not a corporate role, it’s essential to present yourself professionally. This conveys respect for the interviewer and shows that you’re serious about the opportunity. Opt for business casual attire as a safe bet.
  2. Reflect the Brand’s Style: Nordstrom is a fashion retailer. Reflecting their style in your interview attire can show that you understand the brand. Before the interview, spend time browsing Nordstrom’s website or visit one of their stores to get a sense of the styles they sell.
  3. Avoid Overly Casual Clothes: While Nordstrom’s employee dress code might be somewhat relaxed, an interview is a more formal situation. Avoid wearing overly casual clothes like jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers.
  4. Comfort is Important: You want to be as comfortable as possible during your interview. This doesn’t mean wearing sweatpants, but rather avoiding clothes that are too tight, too loose, or could cause a wardrobe malfunction.
  5. Grooming Matters: Make sure you’re well-groomed for the interview. This includes neatly styled hair, clean and trimmed nails, and if applicable, conservative makeup.

Remember, your interview attire should show that you understand and appreciate the aesthetic of Nordstrom. It can also give you an extra boost of confidence, which always helps in an interview setting.

By Taylor Thompson

Taylor is a co-founder at Purpose Built Ventures, where he helps launch mission-driven companies. Before Purpose Built, Taylor led growth at Almanac, strategy for Curious Learning, and product at PharmaSecure. His work helps 100,000s of people collaborate at work, 4 million children learn to read, and protects billions of medicines from counterfeiting. He has hired dozens of people, helped raise more than $50 million, and contributed to as a researcher with Clay Christensen. Taylor is an Echoing Green Fellow, and he has degrees from Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School.

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