Powell’s Books Job Interview Questions & Tips

Hiring Process Overview

Job seekers looking for work at one of the half dozen or so Powell's Books stores in the Portland, OR, area need to apply for available positions online or inquire about possible vacancies in-person in order to secure interview consideration. Whether applying for jobs online or in-store, qualified applicants typically hear from company hiring officials within a couple weeks and schedule interviews by phone or email. Candidates invited to participate in the interview process usually meet with hiring managers in small groups with other potential employees. An additional one-on-one interview sometimes follows group interview sessions.

Potential Interview Topics

Hiring managers generally interview between five and ten job seekers at one time. Applicants take turns answering common Powell's Books interview questions like:

  • "What did you like best/least about your former job?"
  • "Can you describe a time when you received excellent customer service; what made it so exceptional?"
After completing the group session, prospective employees sometimes meet with interviewers individually and respond to additional questions. Schedule availability serves as a popular talking point at one-on-one interviews, with candidates often having to confirm ability to work part-time, full-time, weekend, or irregular hours.

Tips for Success

Applicants selected for interviews should wear dressier attire to demonstrate professionalism and stand out from the rest of the group. Exhibit a sociable personality by greeting the other group interviewees enthusiastically and speaking up during the session. Take a moment to form responses to common interview questions and try to answer each query positively, even when discussing negative issues. Stay relaxed, smile consistently, and regularly make eye contact with hiring managers and fellow applicants to show active involvement in job interviews. Upon successful completion of the Powell's Books interview process, new employees typically undergo training for a week before officially starting work.


  • Dodo Mimi says:

    I just had a group interview at Powell’s. You don’t need to bring anything but MAKE SURE that you have parking for more than two hours – one girl in our group had to leave in the middle to put more quarters in her meter, and the interviewer was very obviously put off. So much so that the girl must have decided it wasn’t worth coming back (we never saw her again!!).

    Everyone was dressed differently (there were eight of us) and it didn’t seem to matter much, although the people who looked especially sloppy did stand out a bit.

    The way I understand it from the way it was explained to us at the beginning of the interview is that if you make it to the group interview, they already think that you have what it takes to do the job. I got the feeling they just wanted to weed out people based on personality/friendliness/eloquence.

    You don’t need to bring anything, but there is some writing so a pen would be helpful (they have some to borrow).

    The interview was very structured and at no point were we jockeying for position or “competing” to answer first/show how assertive we were. We went around in a circle and it was all very polite. There were no practice exercises. It was chill. Phew!

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