Assistant Store Manager Qualifications and Interview Questions

Assistant Store Manager Qualifications and Interview Questions

Job interviews are not a dime a dozen – how your interview plays out has a little something to do with the position you're applying for.

While some questions will be the same for everyone a company interviews, no matter the position, there are specific additional questions that businesses find are important when they're looking to hire people in managerial positions.

If you're looking to become an Assistant Store Manager, it helps to know what that job entails, what experience you need to be qualified, and what questions you can expect to answer while you're in the interview.

Here is an overview of all these items to help you be prepared.

What Does an Assistant Store Manager Do?

The title Assistant Store Manager sounds just like what it is – you assist the Manager of the business you work at. You may even do their job when you're working opposite shifts or when they go on vacation. It's part of the track you'd go on to become a Manager yourself.

You usually need a few years of experience in a particular business setting to be qualified as an assistant manager, but you don't always need previous managerial experience. You need to be a good mentor, able to lead a team, and you need the drive for keeping a business going (even on the tough days).

Here are some of the actual responsibilities Assistant Managers have on a regular basis:

  • You must create an environment that is welcoming to the customer, ensuring that every person that walks into your business is greeted and assisted – whether you do that directly or assign employees to do it, you need to make sure it gets done.
  • You'll need cash handling skills and the ability to keep track of inventory, order inventory, and dealing with loss prevention. A business' money is in more than just the cash registers.
  • You must have leadership skills – this means being able to lead a team, teach and mentor other employees, and assist in hiring/firing of employees.
  • You need to know how to use all of the tools the company has, from cash registers to those things behind the scenes. Assistant Managers need to be able to set goals for sales and assist the team in reaching them. You'll need to know how to forecast performance and sales.
  • You will help with planning marketing and traffic driving opportunities.
  • You will assist with scheduling.
  • You must be able to communicate with your Store Manager to talk about all of the above things, including employee and store performance.

That's a lot of work to do, and you also need to perform any duties that are assigned to you by your direct supervisor (usually the Store Manager). To qualify for a position as an Assistant Store Manager, you need to acquire some specific skills that will allow you to perform all of the duties listed above.

Skills you should have, prior to applying for a job as an Assistant Manager, include:

  • You need to have business skills – There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in businesses, you need to know how to make a business work, from pulling in new customers to keeping the currents customer happy.
  • You need skills in conflict resolution – As a manager, you're going to deal with employee conflicts and customer conflicts. To do that, you need to be able to be calm while solving problems of all kinds.
  • You need financial skills – As an assistant to the Manager, you need to be able to handle money – more than just running a deposit to the bank. You need to know how businesses work financially and how to pull in money while avoided any monetary losses.
  • You need to be able to do the job of everyone on your team – You can't lead a team well if you aren't able to do what they do. By running the register and getting on the sales floor, you show your employees that you respect their position and you show them that you can do the job too, which makes you able to run the business.
  • You need some design skills – You'll be in charge of displays and set-up of products, so you need to have an eye for what looks good, or at least the ability to follow instructions on how corporate wants things to look.   
  • You need strong communication skills – You need to speak well, write well, and you also need to be a good listener.

To qualify for an Assistant Manager position, you need one to three years of experience doing some of the above things – like communication skills and financial skills. You don't have to have management skills, but you have to have a proven track record of being able to be in charge.

Setting Yourself Up for an Assistant Manager Position

Once you've decided that you want to be an Assistant Manager, your first step should be to tailor your resume to this position.


Even if you don't have any managerial experience, you want to make sure that the descriptions of your previous jobs focus on how you've lead teams, worked with managers to grow a business, been in charge of cash or inventory, and how you've used your superior communications skills (with coworkers, your supervisors, and with customers/clients).

You also need to prepare for your interview a well. This will be the moment when you can prove that you have excellent communication skills, and it will be a chance to explain how your previous employment skills make you qualified as an Assistant Manager, even if you've never actually been in charge of a team of employees.

Here are some of the questions you're most likely to face when in an interview for an Assistant Management position, and tips on how to answer them.

1. Are You Comfortable to Hiring and Firing Employees?

As an Assistant Manager, you will have responsibilities when it comes to staffing the business you work for, and you will also find yourself in charge of dealing with insubordination. That means that you need to be confident and comfortable in the hiring process, and you need to be OK with the firing process as well.

If you've had experience helping with the hiring and firing at a previous job, this is the time when you should let them know about it. If you don't have any experience, you want to show (in words) that this is something you'd be comfortable doing – you understand that this is part of keeping a business running smoothly, and not all employees are right for the job.

2. What Is Your Process for Dealing with Difficult Employees?

boss reprimanding staff​​​

All Managers find themselves facing issues with employees some time – not all employees give their all to the job. You may find that you have employees that can never get the job done, or never show up on time for their shift, or even those that always try to leave early. If you let your employees be in control, they will continue to do these things.

How do you talk to employees? Are you able to stay professional even when you're extremely frustrated with an insubordinate employee? If you have anger issues and fly off the handle when you're under stress or pressure, Management is not a role for you.

3. Are You Available to Work Long Hour, Sometimes Under Stress?

As a Manager, or Assistant Manager, you are often required to work long hour – it's part of the job. You need to be prepared for that commitment ahead of time. Not only are there long hours, but you will also be working them under stress sometimes (an employee called in last minute, so you have to stay longer to work in their place, or you've dealt with numerous customer complaints throughout the day).

In retail, holidays are extra busy and post-holiday as well – as people come in with returns and exchanges. You may even expand your business hours around certain holidays, which means more hours on the clock. If you're concerned about not having time with your family, you may want to reconsider an Assistant Manager position, especially in a retail setting.

4. How Would You Handle an Upset Customer?

As a member of a management team, you'll be dealing with more than just troubled employees – you also need to be able to handle customers that are upset. You need to make sure that you know how to speak them in a calm manner and in a way that they don't feel like you're talking down to them.

As an Assistant Manager, you may be the only upper management on hand when a customer is unhappy. That means you need to be able to deal with the issue without going to the Store Manager.

5. Are You Able to Take on the Role of Mentor for New Employee?

How well the employees working for your business do has a lot to do with how well they've been trained by people in upper management. You need to be a people person that can to train and mentor employees starting at all different levels.

Are You Ready for a Management Career?

Getting a job as an Assistant Store Manager is a great place to start your career in Management.

Make sure that in your current job, no matter how low on the totem pole you are, you're doing all you can to hone your skills.

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