How To Get Hired At Trader Joe’s? (Interview Tips and Tricks)

Trader Joe’s isn’t your average supermarket. Instead of the 50,000 various products supplied by other supermarkets, Trader Joe’s locations have only 5,000, with 80% bearing one of its brand names.

When getting interviewed for a Crew Member position at Trader Joe’s – a job that practically everyone has to start with the retailer – expect a combination of standard retail interview questions and some Trader Joe’s specific questions like what your favorite Trader Joe’s is.

We conducted extensive research into how to get hired at Trader Joe’s. We have included some sample interview questions you may face and how you should answer them to make a great impression on the interviewers.

How To Get Hired At Trader Joe’s in 2023?

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To get hired at Trader Joe’s, you must first fill out an application. Applicants for Trader Joe’s positions must submit hiring materials in-store at a preferred location and then wait for a manager to call them to schedule an initial interview.

You must go through two in-person interviews to land a job at Trader Joe’s.

The grocery shop allows interested employees to shadow a supervisor, or “Mate,” and subsequently a “Captain,” who is the store manager. The initial interview with the Mate usually serves as an icebreaker, allowing the recruiting office to understand better the candidates seeking open roles.

The second interview expands on the issues discussed during the first Trader Joe’s employment interview with additional in-depth inquiries.

What Are The Most Common Interview Questions, And How Should You Answer Them?

Trader Joe’s interview questions are frequently brought up during interviews for part-time and full-time job candidates. Questions about strengths, limitations, conflict resolution, favorite items, previous employers and co-workers, and reasons for wanting to work for Trader Joe’s must be answered.

When answering frequent Trader Joe’s interview questions, candidates have the opportunity to elaborate on various answers and display personalities.

Why Do You Want To Work For Trader Joe’s?

It is essential to acknowledge their ideology and how they set themselves apart from their competitors. For example: “We are what we eat, and if you shop at Trader Joe’s – your favorite grocery store – you may still be healthy, free of food allergies and intolerances.”

Furthermore, you have likely heard a lot about the work environment’s sense of community. It would be best if you said you enjoy being a part of a hardworking group and that their working atmosphere is an excellent match for your personality, and you won’t find a better match anywhere else.

Last but not least, you are confident that you have what it takes to join a fantastic crew – after completing the necessary training, of course. Emphasize how you are driven, eager to learn and enjoy putting in long hours, and consider yourself a team player.

Highlight your keen eye for detail and a strong desire to provide outstanding customer service. You see the position as a beautiful match because both supervisors and customers at Trader Joe’s admire this mentality.

Please Elaborate On Your Previous Employment. Why Did You Decide To Leave?

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Keep in mind that Trader Joe’s isn’t simply interested in what you accomplished but whether it had anything to do with retail or customer service. They also want to know how you interacted with your co-workers, what role you played in the team, what you liked and disliked about the job, and why you quit or wish to quit.

Try to talk about your previous job in a favorable light. When describing any accomplishments or even obligations you had at the store, we recommend using “We” rather than “I.” Give recognition to your team members, and don’t forget to compliment the workplace’s team spirit.

However, you should clearly explain why you eventually decided to quit your previous employer in the end.

You might be asked some follow-up questions regarding your experience, so be prepared. Remember, at Trader Joe’s, a lack of knowledge isn’t a deal-breaker. They have a well-developed training program. Lack of experience won’t matter as long as they realize you have the correct personality for the job.

What Is Your Favorite Trader Joe’s Product?

It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you follow these guidelines:

  • Choose a product that is only available at Trader Joe’s, preferably something from their own line
  • You should be able to describe what makes the product unique in your opinion, whether it’s the origin, ingredients, taste, quality, or something else
  • Before the interview, speak enthusiastically about the product and learn something about it. Because Trader Joe’s may ask you a follow-up question here, and you may find it challenging to respond unless you have tried the product and read the labeling

What Jobs and Careers Can I Apply For At Trader Joe’s?

The Crew is preferred to be met in person by Trader Joe’s. Many sites will not accept an online application. Because every position at a Trader Joe’s shop requires interaction with customers, they want to see how you manage yourself in a social context.

If you apply online, you should receive a response within three weeks.


It is a fast-paced environment, but it encourages creativity and employees to have a good time. Because a different Captain and their Mates run each store, the management team is vital in maintaining a positive atmosphere.

Physical labor is required for in-store operations. Employees must be able to lift 25 pounds regularly and up to 50 pounds on occasion. You may be required to use a hand truck capable of carrying up to 200 pounds, and you may be required to labor in sub-freezing temperatures.


For almost any company, this is the beginning point. Everyone does a little bit of everything, so you understand how the store operates.

They all entail connecting with clients to provide a pleasurable experience that encourages them to return. You will be assigned to a team based on the store’s needs. Because they place such a high value on customer service, applicants must be truly friendly and eager to assist others.


Crew members who have demonstrated a commitment to their people, both co-workers, and customers, are selected for these jobs. They are one level up from the Crew and one level down from the Mates.

There don’t appear to be as many Merchants as Crew or Mates in each store. As an assistant shop manager (Mate), they have slightly less responsibility and somewhat more than Crew.

Office Crew

Because these roles reflect the company’s back-office activities, they often don’t change hands. Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, and other departments fall within this category. There are only two offices: one on the East Coast in Boston and one on the West Coast in Monrovia, California.

These jobs are more likely to be full-time than those you’d find in a store. They could also pay a salary rather than an hourly wage.


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The store manager, or Captain, is in charge of the store. They lead their teams of Crew members and plan their location’s strategy. Like the rest of the staff, Captains do not have offices and instead work on the store floor. Store managers are exclusively promoted from Mates.

Trader Joe’s offers its Captains many leeways when it comes to the shop. They make the rules. Their choices influence whether or not that site will be an excellent place to work for its employees.

How Much Does Trader Joe’s Pay?

Trader Joe’s pays reasonably well for retail work, while shop location is essential. Jobs in California often start a little higher than in other places, while living costs are more significant.

The longer you work there, the more vacation time you’ll get compensated for. Except for Captains, all store employees are paid hourly. Depending on the employment, Office Crew can be salaried or hourly.

The corporation offers a solid retirement plan to full-time employees. They provide a 10% contribution to your compensation. Compared to other companies such as Target, this is extraordinarily generous. Employees can also make pre-tax contributions to the plan.

Crew $11-$20/hour depending on location, plus raise potential of 7-10%
Merchant $18-$30/hour
Mate $18-$30/hour
Captain $93,000-$115,000 annually
Office (Buyer) $60,000-$75,000 annually
Office (QA Project Management Coordinator) $20-$25/hour

How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At Trader Joe’s?

To work at Trader Joe’s, you must be at least 16 years old. The Crew is the most likely position for a younger employee to find because management usually comes from inside.

Part-time occupations are common in entry-level positions. During store hours, all personnel is on the floor. Workers from the outside are occasionally hired into the Mate job.


When applying for a job at Trader Joe’s, the most important thing to remember is to make yourself stand out. The Trader Joe’s interview process is best navigated by someone with a playful and fun-loving personality. Applicants should have a good sense of humor and a genuine passion for cuisine and customer service.

Trader Joe’s, for example, serves millions of people each year. Trader Joe’s employment interviews favor knowledgeable individuals who can assist consumers in often high-stress work conditions. The Trader Joe’s recruiting process takes at least a week to complete, with some applicants taking up to three weeks to meet all of the requisite Trader Joe’s interviews.

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