Half Price Books Career 101: All You Need to Know

Half Price Books Career 101: All You Need to Know

Half Price Book is an American bookstore chain that sells new and used books, records, CDs, collectibles, magazines, videos, DVDs, and game software. Currently, they have 127 stores and outlets in 17 states. Being spread through so many locations, Half Price Books are always searching for potential employers interested in joining them, from entry-level jobs such as booksellers and cashiers to managerial level job to help keep the bookstores running smoothly. However, how does one start their career at Half Price Books or Half Price Books Career?

This article will be for all of you interested in pursuing a career in the retail book industry and would like to start at Half Price Books, but especially for fresh graduates or experienced individuals. We’ll dive into details about all the necessary information that you’ll need to prepare for employment at Half Price Books.

Job Opportunities | Half Price Books Career

All job listings at Half Price Books are available on their website, accessed through the link https://hpb.applicantpool.com/jobs/. However, there’s also an option for printable applications, available for download here: https://halfpricebooks.com/jobs-new/halfpricebooks-application.pdf. Half Price Books are partial to motivated and enthusiastic people who are interested in working in a fast-paced, fun retail environment. An important aspect of starting a career at Half Price Books is that they are an equal opportunity employer that uses the promotion system from within, so most employees start by working as a bookseller and then working their way up.

Other notable application information is of the following:

  • Minimum Age Requirement: Half Price Books requires their prospective employee to all be 18 years old by the time they’re holding the position.
  • Hours of Operation: The bookstore is open every day with the following opening hours. Monday – Saturday: 10 AM – 10 PM & Sunday: 10 AM – 8 PM

Why Should You Join Half Price Books?

Simple! Because in addition to be able to work in a fun and fast-paced environment, employees at Half Price Books will also receive these benefits:

  • Competitive pay
  • Discounts on merchandise
  • 401(k) retirement plan
  • Group medical insurance, including dental and vision, for qualifying employees.
  • Life insurance
  • Paid sick days and vacation days
  • Employee Assistance Program

Salary & Profession Outlook

Operating across 17 states means that Half Price Books has an abundance of positions in need of filling, especially entry-level jobs such as booksellers to keep the bookstores open and running every day. Fortunately, Half Price Book is also actively expanding their bookstore’s chains nationwide, and this provides a wide array of employment for corporate careers. That’s why the company is looking for people dedicated to corporate and managerial work to ensure the business is running smoothly. The company also accepts individuals looking to work full-time and part-time, making Half Price Books the perfect place for high school, college students, and even retirees. Some of the available positions at Half Price Books are Sales Associate, Book Store Clerk, Book Seller, Production Designer, Assistant Manager, Store Manager, General Manager, Business Analyst, and Financial Analyst.

While the company desires work experience in retail, individuals seeking employment at Half Price Books but are discouraged due to lack of experience do not need to worry. The company will prepare new employees with basic customer service skills through their training program, which teaches employees how to excel in customer service. 

  • Booksellers: Bookseller is one of the most sought-after jobs in Half Price Books, and employment for this position is always open. Booksellers are extremely crucial to the business. They are responsible for ensuring excellent customer service while also having to do maintenance (such as inventory checking and restocking, and purchasing used items for resale). According to Glassdoor, the average salary of Half Price Books’ bookseller is $11 per hour. 
  • Managers: Managers are responsible for supervising and ensuring that the business remains profitable by recording product sales. They are also responsible for ensuring that the teams are achieving their target sales. On average, managers are paid around $48,801 per year, while the assistant manager has an annual salary of $33,565.  
  • Store Inventory Merchandiser: In retail work, it’s important always to keep the shelves full of products, and that’s essentially what a store inventory merchandiser is responsible for. They’re responsible for guaranteeing the availability of stock items within the given budget not to disturb the company’s operation and finance flow. Store inventory merchandiser at Half Price Books is paid an average of $14 per hour. 

How is the Application Process at Half Price Books?

Half Price Books provides two main methods of applying to their company. The first one is an online application, while the other one is through the Half Price Book Application PDF. We’re going to explain the step-by-step detail of each method below.

Here are the steps to start your online application:

  1. First, go to the company’s website (https://hpb.applicantpool.com/jobs/). Select your chosen job title.
  2. On the right side of the job page, you’ll need to fill in your basic information (Name, email, phone number, and your preferred method of communication)
  3. Click the “Apply for this Position.”
  4. You’ll need to go through several other sections that include your educational background information, employment history, references, and standard work assessment questions. 

However, Half Price Books are different in the sense that offline applications are still very much appreciated. You can start by downloading the application form on https://halfpricebooks.com/jobs-new/. Applicants should remember that the Half Price Books Application PDF is only valid for thirty days. 

On the form, you must fill in several information about yourself and answer the pre-interview questions.

  1. Personal Data: This section requires basic information about your identity and your eligibility to work in the US. You must fill in your name, email, phone number, address, and whether you’re at least 19 years of age.

  2. Placement Information: Applicants must fill in their desired position at Half Price Books and their preferred employment type (full-time or part-time). In this section, you’ll also need to give details about your availability to work at weekends, the start date for your employment, mode of transportation to work, job referral sources, and your history of working at any other Half Price Books bookstores.

  3. Educational Background: Applicants are given up to three slots to fill in their education history. The most appropriate institutions to highlight are high school, college, and trade/vocational schools (as well as their locations, majors/minors, and degrees). The final section is used to list down information about the relevant skills, experiences, skills, knowledge, training, aptitudes, or interest that will be useful for the job you’re applying to.

  4. Employment History: In this section, you’re asked to write down the last 4 most recent employments. This includes the start until the end date of employment, your employer/company’s name, your previous salaries, job titles & duties, and your reason for living the job. 

  5. References: To ensure a thorough background check, applicants are asked to list several references that include relatives, former employees and previous alliances used.

  6. In Case of Emergency Notify: This section is specifically provided for applicants to write down their emergency contact (name, address, relationship to you, and phone number).

  7. Questionnaire: To complete Half Price Books’ Application PDF, applicants must fill in a brief questionnaire that serves as the pre-interview questions. The questionnaire asks both professional and personal questions, such as “Describe your retail or other customer service experience” and “What types of books, movies, or media are you interested in?”. Applicants should expand on all their answers as much as possible to give the hiring managers a clear understanding of their character and work ethics.

What Are The Interview Questions Like?

Like any other interview, applicants who have passed the application phase will be called to do a one-on-one interview with the hiring managers. Usually, applicants will first interview with the assistant manager and then with the store manager. The interview session mostly includes questions about your retail and/or customer service experience, work schedule availability, and literary interests. 

Some of the questions that you’ll find both in the pre-interview and interview session are of the following:

  • What is your favorite book and/or other entertainment media?

If you’re applying to be a bookseller, having extensive knowledge or interests in your products is a must. This type of question aims to see how you’d fare in dealing with customers who sometimes ask for book, media, and music recommendations or looking for a specific product type. Considering that booksellers are very much on the frontlines of a bookstore’s customer service, how you answer this question will give the hiring managers a glimpse of your customer service capability.

  • What time of day are you not available for?

It’s good to remember that time and work availability are extremely crucial in showing how dedicated you are to your job. Hiring managers will be more open to employing an individual if their schedule is flexible. That’s why try to answer this question as honestly as possible and emphasize how high the work at Half Price Books is on your priority list, especially if you have other responsibilities. 

  • What aspect of working at Half Price Books appeals to you?

It’s always a great idea to ask yourself why you chose to apply to a particular company beforehand, whether you’re interested in the book retail industry, or if your decision is driven by the same ethical values that Half Price Books holds. 

Overall, the hiring process at Half Price Books is quite brief and takes about a week from the application submission. However, it’s not unusual for applicants to receive news in several weeks due to the high volume of applications.

Should you do a follow-up?

As states above, the hiring process at Half Price Books usually takes up a few days until a week for the applicants to be notified. However, if you have not been notified in more than a week, it’s worth it to reach out to them.

Other Interview Tips 

Half Price Books tend to favor individuals who are dependable, pro-active, and have strong communication skills. Be sure to highlight these qualities during the interview session.

  • Half Price Books’ working environment tends to be casual, and some stores are quite lenient on tattoos. However, applicants should still wear professional attire and keep a clean appearance when arriving at the interview. 

  • Half Price Books very much appreciate intensive knowledge about literature, movies, and music. Taking the initiative to talk and give educated recommendations during the interview would also be highly appreciated. 

  • Ask relevant questions to show your excitement, curiosity, and preparedness to learn more about the company. 

  • To stand out better to the hiring managers, make sure to upload your resume in the online application and bring your resume with you during the face-to-face interview session. 

  • When applying to Half Price Books, make sure that you’re not involved in businesses that sell and buy books, magazines, and recorded media as there will be a conflict of interests.

Further Information

In addition to providing the best job benefits package, Half Price Books is also a morally responsible company that is deeply passionate about promoting literacy through donations, such as Million Books Donation Project, where they managed to donate 11,1 million books since 2012 and 1,000,557 books in 2019 alone. Another example of Half Price Books’ commitment towards literacy is their Educator Discount. This discount aims to help schoolteachers and librarians save up 10% of their book purchases at Half Price Books.

Half Price Book is also committed to doing its part in keeping the environment safe. The company holds an environmental philosophy and green initiative approach to their business, where they continuously reuse, recycle, and resell resources to keep books out of landfills. So, for those of you who are equally as passionate about literature, education, and keeping the environment safe, Half Price Books is perfect for you!

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Half Price Books Career 101: All You Need to Know

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