Publix Super Markets is the United States’ largest employee-owned grocery business. Publix operated 1,239 retail food shops in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee and was founded in 1930 by George W Jenkins. In addition, Publix produces its own dairy, bakery, and deli items and distributes them to all its locations. Publix was ranked No. 12 on Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2019, up from No. 47 in 2018, and was placed No. 7 on Forbes’ 2017 list of America’s Largest Private Companies, making it Florida’s largest private company. In addition, Publix was named No. 7 on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in the Food & Drug Stores sector in 2018. So, in this article, we will be presenting top Publix interview questions with sample answers over here.
Publix has long honed its reputation as an attractive work environment for prospective job seekers. This has enabled it to draw from the pool of highly qualified and motivated job seekers. They have carefully tailored their recruitment process to ensure that only the crème de la crème is employed. Their interview questions are carefully crafted to enquire and search for their core values in prospective employees. A breakdown of their interview questions reveals their recruitment ideals.
Publix Interview Questions
Given below are few interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself (Marketability).
Anyone can narrate a whole epistle about who they are and their abilities. However, this question is designed to showcase the applicant’s ability to sell themselves to the recruiters. Recruiters know that it is important for everyone to convince a customer to try a new product. Therefore, this question is designed to get you to tell them who you are, what skills you possess and how relevant it will be to the organization (work fit), and how your previous experiences translate to the new position. This is usually the introductory question, and it is where you are expected to convince the recruiters that they should go with your application instead of anyone else.
You are expected to have done a little research on the organization and tell them how you believe your skills translate to fit the position that they are looking to fill. It is important to be confident but not cocky in trying to market your skills, as recruiters always expect the applicant to walk the thin line between assuredness and arrogance. For instance, an applicant can start by saying;
“Hi, I am Andre Pazzini, a certified auditor with over a half dozen years of expertise in forensic auditing and tax appropriation. I believe my extensive experience managing the accounts of my previous clients will suit your organizational needs as I see that you are hiring an internal auditor to get your books for external auditing. However, I believe I can do more than this, as I can point out better ways to run your accounts to prevent double taxation and get you refunds on previous overdrafts”.
- How would you handle a customer with difficult behavior (Customer Service)?
Every company values employees that have good social skills and can defuse tension in the workplace efficiently. As the company is in the service industry, this is important as they want to ensure that when some customers are getting on the employee’s nerve and being difficult, the employee will keep their cool and maintain their professionalism. Therefore, this question aims to get the applicant to draw on his experience and narrate how he would hypothetically manage such a situation.
It is usually best to follow the company’s line in such a situation. Service industries generally employ the customer is always right mantra, which encourages the employee to try to see things from the customer’s perspective, calm the customer down, and apologize for any shortcomings on the part of the organization. This will help the customer to feel valued and reassured that their grievances matter to the company and they will be addressed. When faced with this kind of question, it is best to answer with a patient answer like.’
“When dealing with a difficult customer, I will try to be empathetic to their plight and listen to their complaints. I will further notify them of company policy in the area that is causing them distress. I will try to assist as much as possible and further notify them of other company policy that may be of further problem to them in the future”.
This assures the recruiter that you acknowledge and understand those difficult customers are still customers and should be treated with the same attention as even the most loyal customers.
- Where do you see yourself in five years (Growth)?
This question is not unique to Publix recruiters but is a widely used question to gauge the ambition and growth potential of the applicant. The question requires the applicant to bear the innermost part of their mind about where they hope to be in five years. It shows your aspirations and dreams, and the recruiter can use this to evaluate how you will fit into the role and whether your personal growth plan is by that of the organization. Most applicants start by stating grandiose ideas without a clear plan of how to execute them. It is usually best to bear in mind that the recruiter is asking how you intend to grow within the organization’s context. You are expected to explain how your personal growth will benefit the company and how it will translate to the organization’s success.
You are expected to outline your vision for personal growth professionally, the growth you envision for the company, and how these two fits together are significant in the recruiter’s eyes. You cannot intend to be a country president and not tell the recruiter how this applies to the job you are applying for. It is always best to link your personal aspirations and organizational growth. For instance, when asked this question, you can answer;
“In five years, with the effort and dedication that I will have put in, I see myself in the management of the company in recognition of my immeasurable contribution towards the growth and expansion of the company.”
This shows that you want the organization to grow, and you are growing alongside it due to your efforts in engineering this growth.
- What is your greatest weakness? (Self-Awareness)
This question is tricky. Most applicants begin to open up about their perceived weaknesses, not understanding that the question is about just one weakness. You have to talk about your greatest weakness in a work-related setting. The recruiter wants to identify how well you know yourself. They want to know if you fully know your abilities and shortcomings. This is necessary to understand tasks that they are not suited for in the organization but rather perform tasks that they excel in. It is usually best to consider the skills necessary for the position applied to before answering. It would be amiss to say that you lack people skills in a sales job interview or are not athletic when interviewing to coach. It is best to give a false negative answer that exposes a weakness but appears so that it is positive. For instance, when asked this question, the applicant can answer by saying;
“When I am engrossed in work, I tend to lose focus on time and end up working long and late. This helps my productivity and efficiency. However, I am currently attending a time management class to get this under control.”
This passes the message that you are a workaholic who will work overtime when required and that you won’t shirk your responsibilities if hired.
- Tell me about a time when you’ve resolved a problem for a frustrated customer (Problem-Solving).
All companies understand that their operation relies on the satisfaction of customers to move forward. Therefore, it is important to them that an employee doesn’t alienate a customer but rather goes out of his way to bring the customer satisfaction with the product or service offered. That is why this question is usually posed to applicants to gauge from their experiences how they have previously gone beyond the call of duty to help out a customer in their time of need. In addition, this question requires the applicant to draw on their wealth of experience in dealing with human beings at large to recognize that frustrated people rarely make rational people. Therefore, it becomes imperative that the job seeker show that they are not easily frustrated by difficult situations but rather will find a way to work towards its resolution.
It is important here to note that there may be instances where the job seeker has not had previous experiences. At such times it is best to relate how you have helped anyone out in a frustrating situation. This question can be answered thus;
“I previously worked in supply and stocks department when a middle-aged lady was looking for a specific brand of female hygiene product that she has bought from our store for years but which had been recently discontinued by the producers. She was getting hysterical as this is the only brand she has used all her life. I had to carefully calm her down and explain the discontinuation of the product to her. I equally led her to the hygiene aisle and showed her complementary products that are just as good as her preferred brand. In the end, she opted for an alternate brand for her use”.
This example narrates to the recruiter how you are willing to take charge and defuse a situation that you are not responsible for. It also showed your initiative in solving the problem for the customer.
- Why did you leave your last job? (Commitment)
Most employers are curious about this as they want to know how committed you are to hold down jobs. Organizations hate waste of resources, and nothing is as wasteful as the time spent on training a new hire, only for them to quit in a couple of weeks. This turnover of staff is not good for organizational stability. When they ask this question, they want to know if you have a history of organizational misfits or inability to get along with coworkers.
This question is best answered by telling the truth as most times. They will call the references you have provided for a background check. It is important to state a motivation for a change of job rather than an inability to get along with colleagues or follow organizational guidelines. An example of an appropriate answer to this question is;
“At my previous job, it was a small establishment, and after being there for two years, it became apparent that I have learned all that I can learn from them, and there was no avenue for my career progression with them. So I moved on with their best wishes for an opportunity to advance my career and gain new skills and insights into the industry at this prestigious establishment”.
This shows them that you are ambitious and eager to learn to both grow yourself and their organization further.
- What are your work accomplishments? (Objectivity)
This question seeks to determine what you have achieved at your previous employment or if you are one of those workers that merely show up and do the bare minimum. This question calls into the need to remember all the projects and leads you have taken on initiatives to better the organization that you worked for. In addition, it requires you to state how you tangibly contributed to the growth and functionality of your last employer. This is relevant to recruiters as they don’t just want someone who will fill up the quota but who will actively participate in running the business.
Here it becomes a bit allowed to stretch the truth and toot your own horn on your accomplishment. You do not have to recite everything you did at your previous employment but rather the key operations you were responsible for enacting. A typical answer to this question can be;
“As the auditor at my previous place of employment, I ensured the digitization of the company’s accounts which have long been kept on ledgers instead of the digital mainframe as is required in the modern world. I painstakingly went over decades of records, imputing each entry into the new database to conform with international standards. This was strenuous work but one I dutifully undertook for the advancement of the company”.
This shows the applicant is going beyond the call of duty for the sake of the organization and also shows commitment to change in the fulfillment of an objective.
- Why do you want to work with us? (Motivation)
This question is usually the ultimate mind trick employed by recruiters. Most applicants, at their core, just want a job that pays well and offers great benefits. This is especially important with the current financial situation of the country. However, recruiters want to know that it is not just the salary that attracts you to them, but other needs that they are meeting. This is where it is important to flatter the recruiters themselves.
While any job can offer great benefits, this is where you explain to them how well you think your skill set will fit in with their organizational vision and how you think that they can help you grow just as much as you can help them. At this juncture, you should talk about your hopes for the job, how you expect it to bring you career progression, more exposure to skills and technologies relevant to your field. You should also point out how flattered you would be to work with such a reputable organization and how you would never do anything to sully their image. A typical way to answer this question would be;
“I have long been a huge admirer of the way your organization has been able to solidify its hold in the supermarket and grocery business while maintaining an outstanding level of professionalism and best practices. I wish to work with you to broaden my skillset on customer satisfaction further and further understand the dynamics of a large-scale supply chain associated with running a chain of supermarkets. I hope to gain significant insights into the grocery business as a whole and be a better supermarket administrator because of it”.
This shows that you are not just applying because they have a job opening or because you need payable employment but rather because you understand the need for your advancement in life and theirs at the same time.
It is important to go into these interviews as if you are going into a conversation. Recruiters interview many people regularly and know when someone is reciting a line for them. It is best to be relaxed and speak honestly about your hopes and dreams for the job. It is best to be honest upfront about your abilities than lie and be found out during training or on the job. We hope these questions help you in your upcoming interviews.