Powell's Books Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Powell's Books Interview Questions

Updated Mar 24, 2017
18 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Entry Level Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Powell's Books.

    Interview

    It was a group interview of about 8 people. They asked us different job experience and customer service questions. They also asked about our favorite books to read and to give a recommendation of one of the recent books we read.

    Interview Questions

    • Pick a book that you last read and give us a brief recommendation for it.   Answer Question

  2.  

    Clerk Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Powell's Books.

    Interview

    Interview was group. I was amazed to see myself with five young people less than half my age. Really Powell's? You don't think older people have physical strength or endurance? if you had given an interview with any real substance you would have discovered that just in the last ten years I have traveled solo to five continents and backpacked across China, so screw u. You would have given me the opportunity to tell u the reason my credit score is in the toilet is because I had a horrific accident seven years ago and all my medical debts could not be overcome. I would have been fantastic in your store, except I'm old and you're afraid. After reading these reviews I think I have figured out that Powells is a bit of a mill. Also, they say they will either call or email so they send the message of "Don't bother applying again" by doing neither. I'll buy my books on amazon, thx.


  3. Helpful (1)  

    Inventory Team/Cashier Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ weeks. I interviewed at Powell's Books (Portland, OR) in February 2016.

    Interview

    positive and professional. in a group with 3 others. Some others had obviously bailed. Group interviews are unavoidably awkward, but the HR people were very friendly and compassionate and patient.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe for me a book you're reading, as if recommending it to a customer.   Answer Question

  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Interview Review


  5. Helpful (1)  

    Business to Business Manager Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Portland, OR
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Powell's Books (Portland, OR).

    Interview

    This was one of the strangest interviews I've ever been in. It was with 3 individuals, and my immediate feeling when I walked in is that they didn't want me there. They explained in a robotic, scripted way that they'd be asking 10 long questions, but it was apparent they had no interest in asking the typed questions on their pages. Not a single question pertained to me as an individual or my skill set. They didn't even ask about the current role I was working in a different company, which was quite similar in many ways to the position I was interviewing for. They never once went off script of those ten questions until I asked my own at the end, which they seemed uncomfortable with.

    Instead, every question invited you to describe a very specific instance of something you did in a previous job. The questions were so long and meandering, questions of the type that not even presidential candidates are asked in debates, that it was hard to keep track of all the different points I was supposed to be making in my answer. Those ten questions could have easily been 50, and could have been much better asked in a back-and-forth with the interview candidate for a much better assessment of skills and capabilities. I understand that it was a way to glean how I behaved in past instances, but not having been in that exact role I'd been interviewing for, the questions seemed impertinent. The only thing I came away with after the interview was that they were already intending to hire someone internally and had to go through the interview process anyway. Maybe it had something to do with the fact they're unionized.

    I was not offered the job, but the environment was so impersonal, unfriendly, and odd that I wouldn't have taken it anyway.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe a specific instance in which you had to make a quick decision. What factors influenced your decision, what led you to that decision, why do you think that it was the best decision? (probably more parts to this question but impossible to remember.)   Answer Question

  6. Helpful (1)  

    Contact Center Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Portland, OR
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Powell's Books (Portland, OR) in October 2015.

    Interview

    First round was a group interview with 5-7 people. The two interviewers asked each person the same question, and we went around the table, taking turns answering. After everyone had answered, the person next to whomever answered the last question first had to answer the next question first.
    Callbacks involved a 2 person panel interview where both interviewers took turns asking the interviewee a question (some questions had follow-up questions). After the 6 main questions, there were scenario described, and the interviewee had to describe how they would handle the situation.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe a time you experienced or witnessed good customer service.   Answer Question

  7.  

    Holiday Cashier Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Portland, OR
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Powell's Books (Portland, OR) in October 2015.

    Interview

    The interview process was basically a group round-table with about 8 people and 2 interviewers. They were hiring cashiers for the holiday season which means they needed quite a bit of people and needed them relatively quickly. I don't think they hire for regular positions this way, but I don't know for sure. It felt relaxed and the group format gives you an opportunity to stand out by listening to other's answers. You are all asked the same question and then you take turns answering around the table.

    Interview Questions


  8. Helpful (2)  

    Hiring and Training Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Powell's Books.

    Interview

    I applied online and the process probably took 3 to 4 weeks from application to offer. I went to one interview, with a panel of 3 staff all from HR as the job was in HR. Frankly this was one of the most comfortable and enjoyable interviews I've ever gone on. They were friendly and genuinely interested in my background and skill set. Instead of being grilled by them, we were having a conversation about the HR process at Powell's. Following the interview I was offered a job a week later.

    Interview Questions

    • How do you know if someone would be a good hire?

      Tell us about your current job responsibilities.

      How do you manage many deadlines and competing timelines in the workplace. What do you do if you think you won't make a deadline?  
      Answer Question

  9.  

    Marketing Coordinator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Portland, OR
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1+ week. I interviewed at Powell's Books (Portland, OR) in June 2015.

    Interview

    I was contacted shortly after the jobs closing date. The interview lasted about 45 mins. I wanted interviewed by two, friendly people. They asked generally straight forward interview questions, I didn't feel that there were any curve balls. They contacted me in the time frame they said they would to let me know I didn't get the job. While disappointing, it was nice to hear back in the stated time and not have to be left hanging or have the process drawn out.

    Interview Questions

    • What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?   Answer Question

  10.  

    Cashier Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Portland, OR
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Powell's Books (Portland, OR) in June 2015.

    Interview

    group interview, 6-8 people present, a rotation of 5 questions or so going in reverse order. Answer orally to the group when it's your turn. Try to think on your feet when others speak their answers, use that time wisely to prepare.

    Interview Questions

    • I can't remember, but other reviews do.   1 Answer

  11. Helpful (1)  

    Inventory Team/Cashier Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Portland, OR
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Powell's Books (Portland, OR) in May 2015.

    Interview

    7 people were interviewed at once. Two hiring managers asked us six questions in rotating order. I answered the first question first, the second question last, the third question second-to-last, and so on. We interviewed in a private conference room at the back of the store. It takes about an hour (plan for it to take longer, within 15 or 20 minutes). The hiring team took notes while we spoke, and promised to contact us within the week - either to dismiss us, or schedule a private interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe a book you recently read, as if you were selling it to a customer.   Answer Question
    • Describe a time when you received excellent customer service, and explain why it was so great.   Answer Question
    • Aside from loving Powell's, and reading books, what made you apply for this position, and how does your past experience make you a great fit?   Answer Question
    • This is a busy, fast-paced job. Describe your approach to multi-tasking.   Answer Question

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