Navigating the Costco Interview Process: Tips and Insights

Costco interviews often start very soon after you apply for an open position.

There are several interviews a typical entry-level candidate needs to pass to get hired at Costco. These interviews are pretty straightforward, so there’s nothing to stress about.

Here’s what you can expect from a typical Costco interview process.

costco interview process (with blur background of a retail store)

What Are Costco Interviews Like?

There are typically two to three Costco interviews for most positions, usually bundled together on the same day. Often, the phone call is counted as the first interview, seeing the supervisor or manager as the second interview, and seeing the AGM/GM as the third one.

However, in the interest of keeping it simple, we’ll refer to the supervisor interview as the first one. After all, a phone call rarely consists of any questions and is just about scheduling an in-person interview.

For some people, this may still seem like too much for retail, but this is still nothing to fret about. Costco is known for having a bit more demanding hiring process for a retail company. However, the two interviews are often combined to happen on the same day, and often you’ll get hired on the spot.

How Long Does a Typical Costco Interview Last?

The length of a typical Costco interview can vary depending on the position and the interviewer. However, most interviews last between 30 minutes to an hour.

What Is Costco’s Interview Process?

Costco interview process typically includes these steps:

  • phone call
  • an interview with this supervisor or manager
  • an interview with the assistant general manager
  • drug test and getting hired

Next, we’ll describe what the Costco interview process looks like for a typical entry-level position, with questions to answer and tips to follow.

Costco’s Phone Call

First, you get a phone call to schedule an interview. You may be asked a few questions about your interest in the position, or they may just call to schedule an interview without asking much. This step is sometimes also called the first interview, but the actual in-person interview comes after this.

Costco’s 1st Interview

The 1st in-person interview is usually with the supervisor or the manager, or both. They’ll ask you about your experience, some hypothetical questions for your job position, and the typical interview questions for retail, as mentioned below.

Questions asked at the first Costco interview

The first interview will be focused on generic questions often asked in the retail industry where customer service is of utmost importance. Some of the regularly asked questions are:

  • Why Costco?
  • What do you know about Costco?
  • How well do you work in a team?
  • How would you handle a coworker not doing their part?
  • Tell me of a time you dealt with a difficult customer.
  • What do you consider good customer service?

To know how to answer these questions, check out my post about getting hired at Costco, and more specifically about passing the Costco interview. Based on the input from current and former Costco employees, I’ve advised on answering these questions in the best way possible, which can help you in getting the job.

Costco’s 2nd Interview

After the first interview with the supervisor, you’ll be passed to the assistant general manager for the 2nd in-person interview (usually the final interview). This is typically a relaxed interview where you may be asked about your hobbies, family life, and what you’re expecting from your career at Costco.

The 2nd and the 3rd interviews often happen on the same day, as well as getting drug tested and getting hired. Some Costco locations are desperate for employees these days, so you can expect a similar, fast-paced experience. 

You’ll rarely do these interviews for several days, but it depends on the role and how desperately Costco’s location needs new hires.

Tips for Nailing Your Costco Interview

Here’s some advice that can help you nail the Costco Interviews:

  • Research the company culture and values to show your knowledge and interest in Costco.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to demonstrate punctuality and responsibility.
  • Make yourself available as much as possible to increase your chances of getting hired.
  • Avoid using buzzwords that could come across as insincere or manipulative.
  • Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview to show your interest and initiative.
  • Ask about employee benefits, growth opportunities, company culture, and any specific job or team-related questions.”
  • Practice your responses to common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
  • Have specific examples of how you have demonstrated key skills and qualities, such as teamwork or problem-solving, in your previous work experiences.

Costco 3rd Interview

The 3rd interview at Costco is either a very quick interview similar to the previous ones, or it may just include the drug test and signing the background check papers. Oftentimes, it lasts only 5 to 10 minutes, so there’s nothing to worry about this one. You may be asked about your hobbies and similar.

This final interview is often with the hiring manager who typically just enters your info into the computer, and asks you to take a swab drug test. They’ll congratulate you, and tell you that you’ll be called for orientation soon.

How Long to Hear Back After the Interview?

Costco hiring managers will typically let you know within a few days and up to a week whether you’ll have an additional interview or if you’re getting hired. The time to wait after Costco interviews will depend on whether HR is actively hiring for that role and whether you’re applying during a busy season.

If they’re not in a hurry, then you’ll be waiting on a phone call or a final interview for at least a day or two, otherwise, you might be hired on a spot.

Tips for Impressing a Costco Interviewer

One way to impress a Costco interviewer is to come prepared with specific examples of how you have demonstrated the company’s core values in your past work experiences or personal life.

Costco values things like customer service, teamwork, integrity, and a strong work ethic. If you can share a story or two that showcases your alignment with these values, it can set you apart from other candidates and show that you have a genuine interest in working for the company.

Additionally, demonstrating a willingness to learn and a positive attitude can also leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.

What to Wear for Costco Interview?

For your typical entry-level job position, business casual is usually preferred. Avoid jeans and suits if you can. Slacks and khakis are a better choice with a button-up shirt. A tie is optional at best, and usually only suggested for managerial positions. 

men's dress code from business-formal to casual

In general, try to appear professional, with a clean-cut appearance. If there’s a chance you might be working that day, you should wear comfy shoes. If you must wear jeans, then avoid ripped jeans as well as t-shirts, and if you have a beard, trim it and don’t appear bushy. 

women's dress code from business-formal to casual

How to Follow Up After a Costco Interview?

Following up after a Costco interview can show that you are enthusiastic about the position and interested in the company. Here are some tips on how to follow up effectively:

  1. Send a thank-you email or note within 24 hours of the interview. Express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview and highlight some of the key points discussed during the interview.
  2. Follow up with any additional information requested during the interview, such as references or work samples. This shows that you are proactive and willing to go the extra mile.
  3. Be patient and wait for a response. If you haven’t heard back within a week, it’s acceptable to follow up with a polite email or phone call to inquire about the status of your application.

Remember to always be professional and courteous in your communication, and avoid coming across as pushy or demanding.


Does Costco Drug Test During Interview?

Costco may conduct drug tests during or after the interview process, but the specific timing and type of test may vary depending on the location. Typically, a saliva or urine test is administered, and you may be required to visit a lab or clinic accompanied by a manager.

What types of scenarios may be discussed during a Costco interview?

During a Costco interview, scenarios related to customer service, teamwork, problem-solving, and work ethics may be discussed.

How important is prior retail experience for a job at Costco?

Prior retail experience is not necessary for all positions at Costco, but it can be an advantage in certain roles such as department managers.

Does Costco offer any training or onboarding for new hires?

Yes, Costco offers training and onboarding programs for new hires to ensure they understand the company’s culture, values, and policies, and to provide them with the necessary skills to perform their job.

How does Costco’s interview process differ for management or executive positions?

The interview process for management or executive positions at Costco usually involves multiple rounds of interviews, including phone screenings, in-person interviews, and assessments, and may include more specific questions related to leadership, strategy, and decision-making.

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!