Top 25 Trader Joe’s Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

trader joes interview questions

By Mike Simpson

In 1958, Pronto Market – the company behind Trader Joe’s – launched. After realizing they shared too much in common with 7-Eleven, the company pivoted, creating what is now known as Trader Joe’s. The company blossomed into the 530-store grocery chain people know and love today. For fans of the store, tackling Trader Joe’s interview questions and landing a position can seem like the perfect option.

As with most grocery stores, positions are often available at Trader Joe’s. However, that doesn’t mean the competition for those spots isn’t fierce. If you want to make sure you stand out, you need to nail the Trader Joe’s interview questions. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Answer Trader Joe’s Interview Questions

Before we dive into any example Trader Joe’s interview questions and answer, let’s take a moment to talk about how you want to approach the questions. In many cases, the ones you’ll encounter are reasonably common. However, any hiring manager can throw in something unexpected.

By having a solid strategy for answering interview questions, you can navigate ones you didn’t see coming with greater ease. So, how do you develop a reliable approach? Well, it all starts with research.

Before your Trader Joe’s interview, spend time really getting to know the job description. It’s chocked full of tidbits about the skills the hiring manager is after and the experience they’d like to find. Plus, you’ll usually see a few clues about the traits they’re hoping to see, too, as well as some insights into the company culture.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to dig deeper. Review the Trader Joe’s mission and values statements for more information about the culture and its operational priorities. Check out social media to get even more insights, particularly when it comes to culture.

Finally, check out recent news to learn more about the store’s or company’s achievements. Along with giving you some unexpected details to work into your interview answers, you’ll learn even more about the culture.

With the research out of the way, it’s time to focus on how you answer the various Trader Joe’s interview questions. If you encounter traditional ones, the hiring manager is mainly looking to see if you have certain knowledge, experience, or skills. If you do, you can say “yes,” and then back that up with an example of when you’ve used it. If you don’t, admit that, but pivot to talk about how you’d acquire what they’re after or highlight your willingness to learn.

When it’s time for behavioral and situational questions, having an example or discussing how you’d approach the situation is essential. Usually, you can go well if you take the STAR Method and combine it with the Tailoring Method. That strategy morphs your answer into a compelling story that’s highly relevant, increasing your odds of standing out.

Top 3 Trader Joe’s Interview Questions

As a large chain, Trader Joe’s hires for a wide range of positions. That means not everyone going for a job at Trader Joe’s is going to encounter the same interview questions.

However, most people start their Trader Joe’s career as crew members, handling traditional retail and cashiering duties. Since that’s the case, we’re going to focus on interview questions in that arena.

Here’s a look at our top three Trader Joe’s interview questions and answer.

1. What’s your favorite product at Trader Joe’s, and why?

On the surface, this question seems very straightforward. However, it actually accomplishes far more than you’d expect.

First, it gives the hiring manager clues about your product knowledge or first-hand experience as a shopper. Second, it helps them gauge your enthusiasm for the product line.

When you answer, stick with a product that’s part of the Trader Joe’s brand. The type of product isn’t as important as choosing something that’s exclusively Trader Joe’s, as that will make your answer more impactful in the eyes of the hiring manager.


“My favorite product does vary a bit depending on my mood. I have to admit, the Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning is outstanding, and I use it to give a wide range of meals amazing flavor. It’s great on fries, lovely on a roast, and I’ve even mixed it into bread dough, which was delicious.

However, when I need a treat, the Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups are hard to beat. The classic pairing is the perfect mix of sweet and savory, and the Trader Joe’s version is the perfect size for a quick snack.”

2. How do you stay motivated when handling repetitive tasks? 

Many retail roles have some repetitive elements. For example, if you’re stocking shelves, you’ll grab a box of product, pick up the item, and place it on the shelf. Then, you’ll keep doing that until the box is empty or the shelf is full. Finally, you’ll get a new box and start over.

Cashiering isn’t necessarily better. Greet the customer, then scan, scan, and scan some more. Bag it all up, take a payment, and repeat.

Since some aspects of the job are usually a bit tedious, the hiring manager wants to know that you can remain focused, customer-oriented, and motivated without someone standing over your shoulder.


“How I stay motivated when tackling repetitive tasks may vary depending on the type of work involved. For example, if I’m stocking shelves, I’ll find a way to compete against myself. I might see how quickly I can fill one shelf or empty a box. Then, I try to beat that time, all while ensuring safety and maintaining exceptional work quality.

If I’m cashiering, I focus on the customer to add some variety. It’s the one part of the role that changes every few minutes. One option I’ve found that’s particularly effective is to get the customers talking about a product in their purchase.

For instance, I may say that I haven’t tried the pasta they’re buying – even if I may have – and ask for their opinion. It’s a great way to learn what customers enjoy about a product and can give me insights into products I haven’t explored personally. Plus, the customer gets a chance to share some expertise, which often makes them happy. In the end, it’s a win-win and is great for keeping me motivated.”

3. What does integrity mean to you?

Integrity is one of the Trader Joe’s core values, which is why this question can come up. Often, the biggest challenge is that this interview question isn’t common in the grand scheme of things, so many candidates aren’t entirely sure how to approach it.

Since integrity is more of a concept, describing various traits that you feel are hallmarks of a person with integrity is often the best strategy. It allows you to curate your own definition, ensuring you can convey what it genuinely means to you.

MIKE'S TIP: As mentioned above, digging into the Trader Joe’s values can give you insights, allowing you to incorporate details into your answer that align with the company. However, don’t recite any of what you find there verbatim. This question is asking what integrity means to you, so you need to showcase your personal perspective, too. Otherwise, your answer will seem like a miss.


“In my opinion, integrity is acting in an honest, transparent, and responsible way. It’s not just about doing the right thing, in a general sense; it’s about making choices that benefit the community.

Additionally, integrity means living up to your promises, essentially aligning your words with your actions. Commitment, respect, and authenticity are also part of the equation. Integrity is all of that rolled into one, allowing a person to act honestly and responsibly as they move through the world.”

22 More Trader Joe’s Interview Questions

Here are 22 more Trader Joe’s interview questions:

    1. Why do you want to work for Trader Joe’s?
    2. What does excellent customer service mean to you?
    3. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.
    4. Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?
    5. Tell me about a time when you exhibited leadership.
    6. What’s your availability? Are you flexible, or are there limitations?
    7. Do you enjoy engaging with customers?
    8. Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker. How did you handle it?
    9. How would your former manager describe you? What about your past coworkers?
    10. If you spotted someone shoplifting, what would you do?
    11. Can you tell me about a time when an employee went above and beyond for you? What made that moment stand out?
    12. What separates Trader Joe’s from competitors in your eyes?
    13. How do you typically fit into a team? What sort of role do you play?
    14. If you could change one thing about Trader Joe’s, what would it be?
    15. Which of your traits do you believe will help you thrive in this position?
    16. Have you ever had a disagreement with a manager? How did you handle it?
    17. If a customer wanted an item, asked for your help, and you knew that the product was out of stock, how would you handle it?
    18. Tell me about a time when you helped a coworker overcome a challenge.
    19. If a customer wanted you to recommend a product to them in a specific category, what questions would you ask to help find the right fit?
    20. Describe the Trader Joe’s experience in three words.
    21. If you didn’t get a job at Trader Joe’s, what other employers would you consider?
    22. What was your favorite part of your past jobs?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Trader Joe’s Interview

At the end of your Trader Joe’s interview, you’ll typically get a chance to ask the hiring manager a few questions. This is a critical opportunity. Depending on the questions you ask, you can find out more about the job, environment, company culture, and more.

Plus, asking questions makes you seem engaged and enthusiastic. After all, a disinterested candidate wouldn’t try to learn more, so your questions are a way to assert your interest.

As you speak with the hiring manager during the interview, some questions may come to mind that you can ask now. However, it’s also a good idea to have a couple of questions on standby. That way, you’ll have something to ask when the moment arrives.

Here are five good questions to ask at the end of a Trader Joe’s interview:

    1. What attracted you to Trader Joe’s? Has the company lived up to your expectations or exceeded them?
    2. How would you describe the current team dynamic? What about the position supervisor’s management style?
    3. Are schedules usually predictable, or are people commonly required to work different shifts?
    4. What’s the onboarding process like, and is training beyond onboarding available?
    5. What do you like most about working for Trader Joe’s? What do you like least?

Putting It All Together

Ultimately, getting a chance to answer the Trader Joe’s interview questions and hopefully snag a position is exciting. Use all of the tips above to your advantage, and make sure to practice your answers to the questions. That way, when it’s time for you to sit across from a Trader Joe’s hiring manager, you’ll be ready to impress.

Good luck!

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.