20 Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is a specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries, body care, and dietary supplements. The company was founded in 1955 and now has over 150 stores in 19 states across the United States.

If you’re hoping to land a job at Natural Grocers, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions about your qualifications, work history, and availability. In this guide, we’ve assembled a list of Natural Grocers interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Interview Process

The interview process at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage can vary depending on the position you are applying for. For some positions, like Cashier or Crew Member, the interview may be brief and focused more on personality than skill set. For other positions, like Nutritional Health Coach, the interview process may be more thorough, with an initial phone interview followed by an in-person interview. Overall, the interview process is generally positive, with managers that are friendly and seem interested in getting to know you.

1. What is your favorite thing about living a healthy lifestyle?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you’re passionate about healthy living. When answering this question, it can be helpful to share an experience or story that shows how much you enjoy being healthy and active.

Example: “My favorite thing about living a healthy lifestyle is the energy I have throughout the day. I love feeling energized and ready to take on whatever comes my way. It’s also really rewarding when someone tells me they notice a change in my appearance since I started eating healthier. That makes me feel like all of the hard work was worth it.”

2. Why do you want to work at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are a good fit for their company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention something specific about Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage that attracted you to apply for the position.

Example: “I applied for this position because I was impressed with your commitment to providing healthy food options at affordable prices. As someone who has always been passionate about nutrition, I would love to work in an environment where I could share my knowledge of natural foods with customers. I also really like how much emphasis you place on customer service, which is important to me as a consumer.”

3. Can you tell me more about your experience in the health industry?

This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your background and how it relates to the position. If you have experience working in a health food store, be sure to mention that along with any other relevant information.

Example: “I worked as a cashier at a natural foods store while I was going through my undergraduate degree. It was a part-time job, but I learned so much about the industry and what customers look for when shopping for healthy products. I also took some nutrition courses during my studies, which helped me understand the benefits of eating well.”

4. How would you handle an irate customer?

This question can help the interviewer assess your customer service skills. Use examples from previous jobs to highlight how you handled a difficult situation and helped resolve it.

Example: “In my last position, I had a customer who was upset because they couldn’t find their favorite product on our shelves. I apologized for the inconvenience and explained that we were in the process of phasing out that product line. The customer seemed satisfied with my answer and said she would try some of our other products instead. She ended up buying several more items before leaving the store.”

5. Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation, how did you handle it?

When an interviewer asks you this question, they are trying to learn more about your problem-solving skills and how you react when faced with a challenging situation. Use examples from previous jobs or experiences that highlight your ability to think critically and solve problems.

Example: “In my last position as a customer service representative for a software company, I had a client who was upset because the software we sold them wasn’t working properly. They were very angry and wanted me to give them a refund immediately. Instead of giving them a refund, I spent some time on the phone with them explaining why their software wasn’t working and what steps they could take to fix it. After talking through the issue with them, they understood our side of things and agreed to wait until we fixed the issue.”

6. Do you have any experience working as a cashier or handling money?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have experience working with money and handling cash. If you do, share a story about how you handled the situation or what you learned from it.

Example: “I worked as a cashier at my local grocery store for two years while I was in college. It was a part-time job, but I really enjoyed interacting with customers and helping them find their favorite products. One time, a customer came through my line who had a lot of coupons. They were trying to get all of their groceries for free, which is something we don’t allow. I politely explained our policy to them and helped them understand why they couldn’t use so many coupons. In the end, they paid for everything and left happy.”

7. Describe a time where you were able to turn around a low-performing employee.

This question can help the interviewer determine your leadership skills and how you handle underperforming employees. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a time where you helped an employee improve their performance or helped them find another position within the company that they were more suited for.

Example: “I once had an employee who was consistently late to work. I met with them one-on-one and discussed why being on time is important in the workplace. We also discussed what we could do to make sure they would arrive to work on time every day. After our meeting, the employee arrived to work on time for two weeks straight. They then informed me that they found a new job closer to home and would be leaving us.”

8. Provide an example of a time where you went above and beyond for a customer.

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you are willing to go the extra mile for customers. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think of a time when you helped a customer in need or went above and beyond to help them find what they were looking for.

Example: “When I worked at my previous job, we had a customer who was looking for a specific type of organic food but couldn’t find it anywhere. After searching through our inventory, I found out that we didn’t have any more of that product left. Instead of telling the customer we didn’t have any more, I called other stores within a 50-mile radius to see if they had any more of the product. Luckily, one store did have some left, so I drove there to pick up the product and brought it back to our store.”

9. Are you comfortable working on commission?

This question is asked to determine if you are motivated by earning a commission. If the company offers commissions, they want to know that you will work hard and be productive in order to earn more money. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention how much you enjoy working on commission because it encourages you to do your best.

Example: “I am very comfortable working on commission. I find that it motivates me to work harder and perform well at my job. In fact, when I worked as a sales associate for a clothing store, I was offered a commission and found that it helped me sell more than ever before. I would love to have the opportunity to work on commission again.”

10. Would you be willing to work nights, weekends, and holidays?

Employers may ask this question to see if you’re willing to work outside of normal business hours. They want employees who are flexible and can help the store succeed, even when it’s not busy. In your answer, try to show that you’re open to working these shifts and will do what is necessary to make sure customers have a positive experience.

Example: “I’m happy to work any shift as long as I get my eight hours of sleep each night. I know that some nights are busier than others, so I’ll be ready for whatever comes my way. I also understand that sometimes things happen that require me to stay late or come in early. If that happens, I’ll always be available to cover for someone else.”

11. Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision quickly without consulting your manager.

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of how you make decisions on your own and how you handle them. Use this opportunity to showcase your problem-solving skills, ability to think critically and overall decision-making capabilities.

Example: “When I was working at my previous job, we had a customer who came in looking for a specific type of vitamin that they couldn’t find anywhere else. They were very adamant about finding it, so I went through all of our inventory to see if we had any left over from other shipments. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any more in stock, but I did remember seeing some boxes in the back room. So, I asked my manager if I could go into the back to look for the vitamins. She agreed, and I found the box with the remaining vitamins. The customer was thrilled.”

12. What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you view yourself. They want to know what skills you have that will help you succeed in the role, but they also want to make sure you are aware of any areas for improvement. When answering this question, be honest about both your strengths and weaknesses. Try to focus on your strengths first so you can end on a positive note.

Example: “I am very organized and detail-oriented. I always make sure to double check my work before submitting it. This is something I’ve been doing since I started working, so it’s become second nature to me. My weakness is that sometimes I get too focused on details and forget to look at the big picture. I’m working on remembering to do this more often.”

13. Have you ever worked with a team that was not performing well? How did you manage it?

This question is a great way to see how you handle conflict and motivate others. When answering, it can be helpful to mention the steps you took to resolve the issue or improve performance.

Example: “I have worked with teams that were not performing well before, but I always try to find out why they are struggling first. In my last position as a manager at a restaurant, one of my servers was having trouble remembering orders. After talking to her about it, she told me she had recently started taking medication for anxiety. She felt like this was affecting her work performance, so we talked about ways she could manage both her job and her health.”

14. What type of schedule are you looking for?

This question is a way for the interviewer to learn more about your availability. Schedule flexibility can be important, especially if you have children or other responsibilities that may require you to work different hours from time to time. When answering this question, try to show that you are flexible and willing to work any shift as long as it fits into your schedule.

Example: “I am looking for a full-time position with regular hours. I would prefer to work five days per week, but I understand that sometimes things come up and we need to adjust our schedules. I am available to work any shift as long as it fits within my preferred hours.”

15. What qualities should you look for in an effective leader?

This question can help an interviewer determine your leadership skills and how you would apply them to a new role. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention qualities that you have or ones that you’re looking to develop in yourself.

Example: “I believe the most important quality of an effective leader is their ability to inspire others. I’ve found that when leaders are able to motivate their team members, they can achieve more as a group than if they were working alone. Another quality I look for in a leader is someone who’s willing to take on challenges and learn from them. By being open-minded and flexible, leaders can adapt to changing circumstances and find solutions to problems.”

16. What certifications do you have related to nutrition?

This question is a great way to show the interviewer that you have experience in your field. If you don’t have any certifications, consider taking some courses or enrolling in an online program to get one.

Example: “I am a certified holistic nutritionist through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and I also hold a bachelor’s degree in health sciences with a concentration in nutrition from Colorado State University.”

17. Do you think you can sell $2000 worth of vitamins per month?

This question is a test of your sales skills. The interviewer wants to know if you have the ability to sell high-ticket items and meet quotas. Your answer should show that you are confident in your selling abilities, but also realistic about what it takes to achieve this goal.

Example: “I think I can do this, although it will take some time to get there. My previous employer had a quota system where we were expected to sell $2000 worth of vitamins per month. It took me six months to reach this goal, but once I did, I was able to maintain it for the rest of my employment.”

18. What is your approach to helping customers achieve their nutritional goals?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you will interact with customers and provide them with information about products. Use examples from your previous experience to show that you are a customer-focused employee who is willing to go above and beyond for customers.

Example: “I believe it’s important to listen to what each customer wants and needs when they come into the store. I ask questions to learn more about their goals, such as whether they want to lose weight or if they’re looking for specific vitamins or minerals. Then, I use my knowledge of our inventory to find items that fit their needs. For example, I recently helped a customer who was looking for calcium supplements. After asking her some questions, I recommended a supplement that contained both calcium and magnesium.”

19. How will you help our company grow?

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is a growing company, and your interviewer may want to know how you can help the company continue its success. Use examples from your previous experience that show your ability to work with others and achieve goals.

Example: “I believe my communication skills are one of my greatest strengths. I am always willing to ask questions when I don’t understand something or need clarification. In my last position, I helped grow sales in my department by 10% within six months. I did this by asking customers what they liked about our store and what we could do better. Based on their feedback, I made some changes to our displays and added new products.”

20. What makes you qualified to give advice on nutrition?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of the industry and how you can help customers make healthy choices. When answering this question, it’s important to highlight your experience in the field and any certifications or training you’ve completed.

Example: “I have been working as a nutritionist for five years now, and I am also a registered dietician with the American Dietetic Association. In my role at Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, I would love to help customers find products that fit their dietary needs. For example, if someone has diabetes, I could recommend some of our low-sugar items.”


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