Interview Questions

Barnes and Noble Most Likely Interview Questions & Answers

Barnes and Noble is one of the largest bookstore chains in the US. It employs 20,000 people from the US. The chain has around 630 retail stores in around 50 states in the US. It has become the default bookstore where you go physically and get the books you want while enjoying coffee in the adjoining cafeteria. The book business has completely gone digital at the moment. Traditional bookstores are shutting shops. Barnes and Noble have also tied up with Amazon to supply hardcover and paperback books.

Barnes and Noble Most Likely Interview Questions & Answers

In the 1880s it was started by the name of Arthur Hinds and company. After a major reshuffle in ownership in the 1990s the company got its name ‘Barnes and Noble’. Now it stands as the largest physical bookstore chain in the US. It will be a privilege for you to work in this company. But the competition to get a position here will be hard. In this piece, I will help you with the interview. You will get to know what type of Questions will be asked, How you shall reply to them. Let’s start:

Why Do You Wish to Work at Barnes & Noble?

The question here is straightforward. To be at a place like Barnes & Noble you need to have some base in reading and general knowhow of books. You need to tell the panel why book reading is important for you and why you prefer to work at a reputed institution like Barnes & Noble. All these aspects should be elaborated on. As much as the emphasis lay on book reading. Equal attention should also follow for customer service. You need to emphasize, How book recommendations fascinate you. Barnes & Noble is not just a bookstore chain. It is a bookstore with a cafe space. You can talk about How you love the idea of coffee along with a good book.

How Much Experience Do You Have Working at a Bookstore?

If you are a book lover, you might have worked in a small bookstore. You need to be honest about How you dealt with the people that visited the bookstore, How you helped them find the book that they needed. In case you do not have any experience working at a bookstore. Then you can suggest your experience in customer relations. Focus on your communication and people skills. You can talk about working in customer service or retail. In case you have no professional experience and are completely a newbie, try to mention a lot of books and why you love suggesting books to people. Also, answer with enthusiasm so that the interviewer conversing can also feel your inclination towards reading.

What Working Hours Will You Be Choosing?

Barnes & Noble employs a ton of people who have other jobs. The working hours here are mostly flexible. Try to have an orderly hour of your day before deciding the shift you might be taking. Show some willingness to sacrifice your personal schedule. That helps your character to come off as generous. It also creates a good impression that you are serious about the job. Try to tell them that you are willing to work on a weekend day, so that you can show the recruiters How dedicated you are to the job.

What Books Are On Your Reading List Currently?

If you are a voracious reader, ideally you should mention at least 10 books. If you can do that, the interviewer will be impressed. Talk about the titles and give a brief on the stories, themes, and messages that you extracted from each book. Mention books that are on the best-selling list. Barnes & Noble is often dependent on the sales of books. Having basic book knowledge is very important prior to you recommending books. They will evaluate your answer critically to this question.

How Do You Handle Conflicts in Your Personal Life?

First, try to understand the intent behind the question. The interviewer is asking this to ensure How you are as a person when you will work with other colleagues. The best way to answer it is to try dissolving your ego and seeing what will be the immediate steps you will be taking to put an end to any conflict.

Tell the panel, how you will try to put yourself in the shoes of the person who is grieved. Try to understand their point of view and where they are coming from. Understand their reactions and what led to the conflict between you and the other person. And then try to resolve the issues through mutually beneficial discussion.

Further in this question, you can add up on how do you handle stress too.

How Will You Handle Customer Complaints of Them Not Being Able to Find the Book They Need?

This question is intended to check how quickly you respond to a messy situation. They want to judge How your responses are when certain problems occur. In events like these, you need to be very calm and maintain composure. You have to apologize to the customer. Then see if there is a fixed date for the book to come in the inventory. Tell them to come on that particular date. In case, you do not know, you can assist in getting it online, and telling them to collect it from the shop once arrived. Tell them that you will inform them once the package arrives.

Why Should We Hire You?

This question serves for the interviewer to judge your talents and skills. Going to a bookstore to get a job will require you to have some idea about books. Try to show some of your skills in that area. Convince them why you are the right fit. You can use the exhaustive rigorous reading that you have been doing in your favor. Also, try to mention why specifically Barnes & Noble. Substantiate in a better manner all your reasons. Be confident when you mention your skills. It really helps when you can be confident about your skills regardless of other things.

The best part about this question is the infinite opportunity you get to include convincing arguments about why you should be selected. Here, to being with, you can mention the skills & experience which you bring to the role. Then you can mention the various book fairs you went to. The motivation you owe to become a serious bookseller. Multiple books that you have read to be able to make an informed suggestion to another person regardings books they need to read. Try adding a bit to your sales pitch too. At the end of the day, it’s all about sales. Know about the current best-selling books both fiction and nonfiction.

Do You Have Any Sales Experience?

This question is as direct as it sounds, the interviewer wants to know if you have done some groundwork on sales. Have you ever had a situation where you have sold something to someone? One thing you need to know is that at the end of the day Barnes & Noble is a bookstore. It subsists on sales.

You need to be comfortable with your sales pitch or else you will not be the right fit for the job. Barnes & Noble also has a website that they maintain. People can visit the website and buy new books. You will be given the task to convince people to buy products from the website.

As compared to other questions, this can be a hard one to answer especially if you have no sales experience. Reading is more of an intimate activity. While sales is an outdoorsy activity. Even if it’s done indoors, it relies on abilities that people develop through interaction, communication, and deliberation. But in situations like these rely on your gut and go with your intuition rather than overthinking the situation.

How Will You Sell a Book to Someone?

This question is very common in a bookstore interview. This is a perspective-finding question. It tries to see how job seekers see their role.

You need to be well versed with a book in order to sell one. You will be having customers who might be reading a lot. They can ask you questions about books. They can also ask your opinion about two different books in order to help them select one. You have to be intelligible in books and know at least a brief on common books that people search for. At least you need to know about the genres that they come from. Once you know you can share it to the customer and the benefits he/she can get from the reading.

Do You Have Any Knowledge About Our Product Line?

This question focuses on How much you know about Barnes & Noble from a business perspective. You will be asked about their products and the kind of stuff they sell. It’s important to always look into the company’s products before going for an interview. Try to go through the products that the business is dealing with. For instance, Barnes & Noble as a book chain also has a website, where they have enough products to give you an idea about their target audience, product type, etc. For instance, the chain also has a cafe attached to it that serves Starbucks coffee. They sell coffee beans both online and in cafes. Mention the outliers that fundamentally people might not know.

How Did You Come Across This Job?

This question is a bit tricky. It tries to check whether you got the job while you randomly searched or you had applied separately with a prior conscience. Try to be a bit rational and prepared regarding this line of questioning. Tell them How you went out of your way to look for hiring vacancies at Barnes & Noble bookstores in your area. That will build confidence in the interview to consider you for the job. It also paints you in a positive light and makes the interviewer feel sure that you have always been Barnes & Noble fan and hence, you will do your job efficiently.

Barnes & Noble Hiring Process

The hiring process at Barnes & Noble as far as I can tell is pretty straightforward for some positions. You need to fill in the application form and then submit it to the nearest Barnes & Noble bookstore. They will give you a call for an interview on a particular date. You need to give the interview, if you are selected they will give you a call. Now, let’s sum up the roles that the Bookstore chain offer in its foray:

  • Bookseller
  • Sales manager
  • Cashier
  • Seasonal Bookseller
  • Barista

For a Bookseller position at Barnes & Noble, the interview process is difficult as well as very competitive. There are very few slots that a lot of people compete for hence the cutthroat competition. It depends as far as difficulty is concerned, in suburban areas the interview is a little harder and might involve a lot of stages.

Mainly there are five stages that follow:

  • Resume checking and shortlisting
  • One on one interview
  • Aptitude test or assignment
  • Two rounds of personal interviews again for the technical test
  • Human Resources round

All these stages are important. In some instances, they do miss the first one-on-one interview and assignment in case there are time constraints.

Sales Manager
For a Sales Manager, the situation is a tad bit different. There isn’t a lot of competition. Also, sales manager questions tend to be direct and straightforward. Your acumen is judged by your experience and the companies you worked for previously.
For a Cashier position, the situation is more or less similar. It’s to the point and a fairly easy interview. They will ask general questions and the decision will be based on your aptitude test and work experience to handle encashing work.
Seasonal Bookseller
For a Seasonal Bookseller, the interviews take some time. For instance, there will be an interview on the phone at first. Once you get shortlisted you will be called for a One on One interview. There can be a little delay in the interview, mainly 30 minutes. Once done, you will be replied to about the status of your application.
Barista is an easy job category to crack at the bookstore. All you need is just some work experience. Interviews do not take long hours. It gets completed in a few minutes and the questions are basically related to experiences.

How Much Does Barnes & Noble Pay Part-time?

There is no single salary paid to employers throughout the US, as wages differ from state to state. In big cities, salaries range from $11 to $18.79/hr. Hourly salaries in increasing order starting from $11 for a Barista, $12 for a cashier, and $13 for a bookseller. It pays $16 for a sales associate and goes as high as $30 for a travel consultant. Packers and Movers also take the bulk of the salary including the Warehouse keeper which is $22-$27/hr.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work at Barnes & Noble?

You have to be at least 16 years old to work at Barnes & Noble. If you are underage they won’t accept your application. There is no upper end, in case you are not extremely old. They will ask for prior documentation to confirm your age. And that’s true for all the positions they offer, from Barista to Bookseller, from cashier to warehouse keeper, from packer to travel consultant, from merchandise manager to cafe manager.

Barnes & Noble Interview Outfit

For Women

When you go for an interview at a place like Barnes & Noble you are expected to come in Business casuals. Wear close-toed shoes preferably black. Wear a white blouse that gives contrast to your bottom wear.

If you want to accessorize try accessorizing with complimentary colors with your outfit. It should not be shiny or brightly colored. Rather choose dim accessories that add character to your look. Wear a bangle or a chain along with some small earrings. Do not wear both bangles and chains as it can focus attention on other aspects of your personality and not on the interview.

If you want to put on makeup, you can put some lip gloss and a little contouring that makes the skin color uniform. Try to wash your face and get rid of artificial spots on your face before doing makeup. Do not wear short skirts instead use knee-length skirts, and tight ones. Your blouse can be cream, off-white or white colors depending on your preference. If you want to try other colors, off colors can be preferred as opposed to bright colors. If possible try to keep your skirt and shoes black.

For Men

Try putting on casuals if you have applied for positions like Bookkeeper, Barista, or Cafe Manager. Polo Tees are a good choice in terms of upper wear. You can wear jeans or khakis either brown black or blue and it should be formal. For bottom wear, you can try off-colored casual shoes. Formal shoes can also be preferred.

In case you have applied for a more professional position like in the Sales department or Merchandise manager, try to go in with a white shirt paired with a tie with dense colors like red, dark green, maroon or blue. And pair it with formal pants either black or silver. Pick the formal shoes that you traditionally wear to the office. Putting on a business suit is optional depending on your comfort.

Try to hide neck tattoos, piercings, and body paint if you have them on you. This brings unnecessary attention.

Apart from these specifics, you may checkout the Interview Attire related content which is published on our blog.

Conclusion on Barnes and Noble Interview Questions & Answers

This write-up provides you insight on How to answer questions in case you are called for a Barnes & Noble interview. It covers a wide range of questions that have a bearing on all types of positions that the bookstore offers. Comparatively, Barnes & Noble requires a bit of insight into books even if you come in for a sales job. You need insights and command over your reading. This reading enables you to have an idea and the tangent you can take while answering questions.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Hi there, I am Atish Ranjan! I have been into work and business for more than 11 years now; I have given and taken numerous interviews over the years.
Thus, I started to share my knowledge & experience with you! Hope you enjoy reading here.

About the Author

Hi there, I am Atish Ranjan! I have been into work and business for more than 11 years now; I have given and taken numerous interviews over the years. Thus, I started to share my knowledge & experience with you! Hope you enjoy reading here.