Knowing what to expect in an interview can be crucial when looking for jobs in the e-commerce sector. By thinking about potential interview questions, you give yourself time to get ready. This might help you be prepared for any questions the interviewer may have.
If you’re applying for the role of an e-commerce specialist, you’ll find 10 questions to ask in an e-commerce interview. You’re also in luck if you’re applying for the position yourself because the solutions to some e-commerce questions are provided below.
Question #1: Tell Us About Yourself
The usual icebreaker “tell us about yourself” is one of the most hated interview questions for ecommerce among the applicants. No wonder: they’re ambiguous, it’s hard to identify what answer the interviewer really wants to hear.
In reality, the interviewer lets you loosen up a bit and gives you a chance to introduce yourself. Relate your latest accomplishments in ecommerce, speak of your background experiences, and zero in on your motivations. Use this ambiguity to show the best side of you.
Question #2: How Would You Describe the Core Features of Ecommerce?
The beauty of this question is that it has no right answer. Each candidate will have their own understanding of ecommerce core features based on their prior experience. But there’s one thing they should know for sure: how ecommerce differs from traditional commerce.
An expert ecommerce manager might draw on their strategic decisions through the parts of the marketing funnel or relate to process automation, such as third-party system integration to manage orders and inform future business decisions.
An ecommerce newbie may think of digital promotional campaigns, must-have website features, and all the other aspects that differentiate the online shopping world from brick-and-mortar stores.
Your task as an interviewer is to use this question to evaluate the seniority of your candidate and their level of awareness of the ecommerce context.
Question #3: What Are Different E-commerce Models?
This is one of the interview questions for ecommerce beginners or interns. The applicant should relate to B2B, B2C, and other types of e-commerce businesses. You might want to dig deeper into the peculiarities of the model your company uses.
This question also allows you to detect how closely your candidate watches e-commerce latest advances. For instance, the COVID pandemic has accelerated the adoption of a new ecommerce model — direct to consumer (D2C) — thus, calling for operational changes within the organization.
Question #4: What Are the Disadvantages of Ecommerce to Organizations?
A superficial applicant might think this question is too generic and calls for a high school essay. But in reality, a recruiter is asking you one of the most important ecommerce job interview questions: what are the current common risks for ecommerce and how do you mitigate them?
That’s where you showcase your risk management skills. Ecommerce has a lot of hazards, be it privacy & security concerns, customer relationship issues, or immense online competition. Show how you can make your way around these difficulties and which strategy you would apply to overcome the risks.
Question #5: What Are Some Examples of Ecommerce Companies That Inspire You? Why?
Learning the taste of your potential ecommerce manager can say a lot about their marketing approach. Which brands they are drawn to, how they justify their choice, what their pain points are — this info shows what kind of consumer and, above all, marketer a person is.
As an applicant, choose a few brands you’re trying to emulate in your work. It can be something as famous as Microsoft leveraging mixed reality technology in their marketing campaigns. Or a niche fashion player like Carbon38 transforming their customers into brand advocates with user-generated content and an Ambassador program. Show your future employer what drives you and how it aligns with their company’s values.
Question #6: Tell Us How You Organize, Plan, and Prioritize Your Work
One of the main e-commerce manager’s responsibilities is to meet the organization’s goals while maintaining deadlines. Something which is particularly hard to do when the project goes into the firefighting mode during the high sales season.
As an applicant, you want to showcase your time management skills to the max. Walk the recruiter through your daily work routine, explain how you assess the value of your tasks (urgent vs low-priority), and show how you adapt at the times of organizational uncertainty.
Be realistic. No recruiter will believe a candidate who completes a gazillion top-priority tasks per day, never delegates, and manages to maintain a perfect work-life balance. Be honest about how you organize your workload; otherwise, you’ll be just competing with yourself.
Question #7: Why Us [the Name of Your Company]
“Why us” is one of the e-commerce questions that close an interview. At this point, the future ecommerce manager should express their motivation to work for the brand.
This question is extremely important for recruiters hiring for motivational fit. If the employee’s expectations and aspirations align with the company’s values, the ecommerce manager will most likely stay within their role for good.
A few tips for an applicant to answer the why-us question:
- Do your research: make sure you know the company and their product inside out.
- Articulate your values and align them with the company’s culture: do you believe in the same (or at least similar) things your brand does?
- Ask deep questions: these might concern the info on the brand you haven’t found online or the recruiter’s expectations of you as an ecommerce manager.
- Avoid generic answers: the interviewer will be hardly captivated by answers like “because I need the job” or “because I want to work in a top-tier ecommerce company like yours”.
Question #8: Have You Ever Used an Ecommerce Platform to Start an Online Store?
Even though an e-commerce manager won’t build a store from the ground up or resolve code-related issues, you want them to be well-versed with the e-commerce platform your store uses. The reasons are manifold as the e-commerce specialist will
- work closely with website developers to monitor the selection of the platform, payment gateways, security practices, etc.;
- use a particular CMS to publish content on the website;
- overlook the inventory details in the inventory management system or in the ERP;
- communicate with the third-party shipping vendors, issue invoices, manage order completion processes.
…and many others.
So even if you haven’t used an e-commerce platform to start an online store, make sure to mention those you’ve worked with. You might provide an e-commerce platform overview and focus on the one that you’re most proficient in.
Question #9: What e-commerce technologies are you proficient in?
You might not need to code as an e-commerce specialist, but you must be familiar with ecommerce technologies available on the market. The more, the better.
The required tech stack will vary from one job position to another, but will most likely include knowledge of CRM, ERP, PIM, shipping & fulfillment systems, etc. Here’s what Jerry Bernhart, one of the veteran executive recruiters in ecommerce, pays strong attention to:
As for technical skills, this is not an all-inclusive list, but I look for candidates who have familiarity with the following:
• Web Analytics tools • Strong knowledge of search engine marketing, and all of its variations • Social media analytics tools • Ecommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify or Demandware • Online advertising tools such as Google Adwords, Google Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) and display ads • Experience working with the major social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google.
You might still need to hire e-commerce developers for the coding expertise. But proficiency in ecommerce software will simplify the work of a skilled ecommerce specialist and make your brand more agile in a competitive online business context.
Question #10: Have You Ever Used Analytics Software With Your Ecommerce Sites?
If the answer to this e-commerce question is no, your candidate might be in serious trouble. An e-commerce manager must be highly adept at crunching and interpreting data, which is impossible without adequate e-commerce analytics tools.
Google Analytics is the minimum requirement. Other tools like Kissmetric or Crazy Egg with their behavioral tracking and visual analytics are also great to have in one’s skill arsenal. A strong candidate will be able to set the required analytics and draw data from them for more informed business decisions.