How to Get Hired at REI: Tips for Landing a Store Job

Working at REI is a great learning experience, and can be a good career for you, but how do you increase your chances of getting hired? For a typical store position, there are a few things you can do.

One of the main factors of getting a job at an REI store is to show off a nice, genuine personality. Your previous experience and product knowledge are a plus, but the main factor that gets you hired at the REI store is being able to get potential customers interested in the outdoors.

While passion for the outdoors and product knowledge is an advantage, your people skills are what get you the job at REI. Even if you’re not the best with people, you can learn these skills the more you work in retail.

REI is looking for employees with good personalities and positive attitudes who are authentic and genuine. So, just be yourself and try to show off your people skills.

How Do You Get Hired at Rei?

REI Coop store entrance
  1. Apply online. Before considering a job at REI, the first step is to apply online. You can do this by checking the local REI page or the REI jobs page. It’s not advisable to just walk into a store and ask for a job without first applying online.
  2. Highlight your interpersonal skills. REI hiring managers are looking for people with good interpersonal skills who are great team players. Most interviews are in a group setting, so it’s important to show off these skills during the interview process.
  3. Inquire about the job in person. While applying online is the first step, it’s also a good idea to go to the store and inquire about the job in person. However, make sure you have applied first and that it’s not the weekend when everyone is busy.
  4. Timing is important. Hiring at REI is slow and scarce from mid-January to mid-March. If you’re unwilling to wait, try to apply outside of those months. The hiring process will speed up from March onwards.
  5. Check for job postings. REI cannot accept applications if there are no job postings due to varying document retention laws regarding job applications. Therefore, it’s important to check for job postings regularly to ensure you are applying for available positions.
  6. Show your passion for the outdoors. REI is a company that values its outdoor culture and lifestyle. It’s important to show your passion for the outdoors and outdoor activities during the interview process.
  7. Research the company. Before going into an interview, do some research on the company and its mission. This will show the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in working for REI and are knowledgeable about the company’s values and culture.
  8. Be prepared for a group interview. As mentioned earlier, most interviews at REI are in a group setting. Be prepared to interact with other applicants and showcase your team player skills.
  9. Dress appropriately. REI is a company that values outdoor activities, so it’s important to dress appropriately for the interview. This doesn’t mean wearing hiking boots and a backpack, but rather dressing in business casual attire that shows you are comfortable in an outdoor setting.
  10. Follow up after the interview. After the interview, it’s a good idea to follow up with the hiring manager to thank them for the opportunity and express your continued interest in the position. This can help to keep you top of mind during the hiring process.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing a job at REI and joining a community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts.

How to get a part-time job at REI?

Working at REI part-time is possible, but it depends on the store. You may be able to work on weekends or weekdays on 4-hours shifts, and the actual time will depend on the store’s flexibility.

To get yourself a part-time job at REI, it may be a good idea to talk to the store manager and see what their needs are, and which shifts are available. REI managers are usually flexible and accommodating. 

Once you know their needs and times, you should select your availability during the application process, which looks something like this:

REI application form step_provide availability

To increase your chances of getting hired at REI, you should make yourself available as much as possible. This rule applies to every retail company out there, whether you’re looking to get a job at Walmart, Target or Trader Joe’s.

Is It Hard to Get a Job at Rei?

Getting a job at REI isn’t especially difficult, but you’d want to prepare yourself a bit, not just for the possible group interview, but also for the awkward HireVue interview. If you learn how to answer a few questions mentioned below, you can significantly increase your chances.

Requirements to work at REI

The minimum age to work at REI is 16, but some positions require applicants to be 18, like the “bicycle technician” job. REI considers applicants with criminal histories on a case-by-case basis. While drug testing isn’t required for job applicants, REI has a policy against drug and alcohol use on the job.

How Long Does It Take To Get Hired by Rei?

The amount of time it takes will depend on the store, and it could take anywhere from two weeks to a month. To shorten this time, try to apply after mid-March.

What Is REI Hiring Process Like?

Here are the steps for the typical REI hiring process for a store position:

  • Apply at their website
  • Do the HireVue interview
  • Do the group/in-person interview
  • Training for a week or so
  • Getting hired and starting work

Some stores may do things differently than the steps mentioned here, as they may ask you simply to answer some questions in text or do an online interview and then a phone interview. This will depend on the store and its hiring processes.

Rei Job Application Process

The job application process at REI can be easily started by going to their page to look for REI jobs, selecting the job you want, and following instructions. After you apply, you’ll get a confirmation and they should get back to you with further steps.

How to check if REI is hiring and where to apply?

You can apply for a job at REI by going to their main page to search for REI jobs, and you can search by state, city, store location, or job function. Once you find the position you’re applying for, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Apply”. 

REI Application form step1_provide resume

This will take you to the next steps where you’ll need to enter your contact information:

REI application form step 2_provide contact information

After that, you’ll need to confirm some of the other requirements for the job and set your availability as well.

REI application form step 3_provide other information and availability

This application process shouldn’t take long, but you should take your time. No need to make mistakes when you don’t have to.

REI Interview Process

The majority of applicants start with a pre-recorded HireVue interview. Once you pass that, you’ll be called for a group interview where you’ll be doing exercises and interacting with a team. 

An alternative route is to have a phone interview with an in-person interview afterward, and this will depend on the store. The entire REI interview process from start to finish typically lasts for about 2 weeks.

Tip: Your experience may be different than described here, and this is store-dependant. For example, it may be possible to skip the awkward HireVue interview, if you can get into contact with the hiring manager, or whoever is in charge.

Step 1: REI HireVue digital interview

First, you’ll probably have a digital interview video through the HireVue platform. This is pre-recorded by REI where you’ll be filming yourself answering 5 to 6 questions, which will be a recording of someone asking the question. You’ll get 2 to 3 minutes to answer each question, and a minute to prepare for each one.

You can prepare for the REI HireVue interview by learning how to answer some of the typical questions mentioned below. You may also want to learn what co-op is, and what are REI values.

For the most part, you’re not expected to have any previous product knowledge before doing this interview, though some stores will be looking for a specific skill set. Therefore, it’s possible to get hired at REI without knowing any products at all, but it’s still better to have this knowledge.

To pass the REI HireVue interview you just need to come off as a friendly and down-to-earth person, who is willing to learn and is generally enthusiastic about getting people interested in the outdoors. Try to be specific, and passionate in your answers to give yourself an advantage. Here are a few other tips to get prepared for the REI HireVue interview.

Overall, during this digital interview, you’ll have generic questions about yourself, why you chose REI, and your typical customer service questions. 

As you record these answers, you may also get a chance to re-do them if you somehow get interrupted. However, not all HireVue interviews will let your repeat an answer. It will depend on the store, and the type of position you’re applying for, so make sure you know this before you decide to re-do any of your answers.

After recording your HireVue answers, you’re done with the initial application process. If they reject you they usually don’t respond, but if you pass then you’ll get to step two, which is either a phone interview or an in-person interview, digital or otherwise.

Step 2: REI In-person Interview (group or 1-on-1)

After the awkward HireVue interview, you’ll get to the interview with a real person. This will be either a virtual online interview or an in-person interview, usually in a group. Some stores have regular in-person interviews or phone interviews instead of group interviews.

You can prepare yourself for these kinds of interviews by knowing what to expect at the REI group interview, and learning how to answer some of the questions. 

What are REI group interviews like?

REI group interviews are often done in smaller groups of 4 to 5 people each, where you’ll be doing exercises by either giving new ideas or solving some problems. These exercises are created to show off your skills of working in a group and your product knowledge, and it will act as training as well.

While some interviews may require you to give fun ideas without showing off your product knowledge, others will require a lot of it. For example, your group may be asked to choose 5 products for a made-up person, and then present your outfit to the group explaining one piece of the outfit.

Other times you may have to pick some products for a certain type of customer. Whatever you do in an interview will be judged to a point. Therefore, the most important is how you interact with people, so try to engage in conversations, and stay calm and relaxed.

Additionally, you may be asked some random interview questions of which you’ll have no warning, and you’ll have to answer in front of other interviewees. 

Everything you do will be a test, so try to do your best and don’t be shy to talk to others. These are usually relaxed interviews, so there’s nothing to worry about. 

REI Interview Tips (how to stand out)

Here are some tips for standing out during a group interview at REI:

  1. Be a team player. REI is all about collaboration, so make sure to show that you can work well with others. Listen to what your fellow applicants have to say, and build on their ideas when appropriate.
  2. Highlight your outdoor experience. If you have any relevant outdoor experience, make sure to mention it during the interview. REI values people who are passionate about the outdoors, and having experience in outdoor activities can help show that you share that passion.
  3. Show off your communication skills. During a group interview, it’s important to speak clearly and concisely, and to make sure everyone in the group has a chance to speak. Make eye contact with your fellow applicants and the interviewers, and try to build on what others are saying.
  4. Be prepared to share examples. REI interviewers often ask for specific examples of past experiences, so come prepared with some examples that demonstrate your relevant skills and experience.
  5. Be enthusiastic. REI is looking for people who are passionate about the outdoors and enthusiastic about sharing that passion with others. Make sure to show your excitement for the job and the company.
  6. Do your research. As with any job interview, it’s important to do your research on the company beforehand. Learn about REI’s values and mission, and come prepared with questions that show you’re interested in the company.
  7. Practice for the HireVue interview. If you’re asked to do a HireVue interview, practice beforehand to get comfortable with the platform and answering questions on camera. Consider recording your practice sessions outside to show your connection to the outdoors.
  8. Be yourself. Finally, don’t try to be someone you’re not. REI values authenticity and wants to hire people who are true to themselves. So be genuine, be honest, and let your personality shine through.

REI interview questions and answers

Tell us about yourself and what experience you have.

To answer this question you can structure your response so that you talk about your present, past, and future. For the present, you can mention what you do and maybe your recent accomplishment, for the past you can briefly explain what you did that’s relevant to this position, and for the future, you can say why you’re interested in this job.

Why do you want to work for REI?

You can answer this one by first, researching the company a bit and learning what they stand for and how they differ from the competitors, and then making a list of the favorite things about the job that aligns with your career objectives. You can mention how you like the culture, how you like working in a team, and how you think this job will help you develop professionally in the way you’re aspiring to.

What does good customer service mean to you?

After learning about REI’s mission, vision, and values, you can structure your response that will align with the company’s philosophy. Try to be honest, be yourself, and give an example of when you did great customer service at your previous job.

This may be a good time to re-visit the STAR method to learn how to reply to these kinds of questions.

Tell us of a time when you overcame adversity.

Here you need to choose an experience from your past that shows resiliency by providing context to the specific situation, your responsibilities at the time, and how you took action to face adversity. Even if you have no prior work experience, you can mention something from college or anything that shows your resilience, initiative, or just a mindset to overcome the obstacles.

Here are some other questions you may get during the interview at REI:

What outdoor experience do you have that would prepare you to work at REI?

Tell us of a time when you were given a task with little direction. What was it, and what did you do?

What are your favorite outdoor activities/hobbies?

Why are you a good candidate to work at REI?

These are more specific to each person and you need to look into what’s positive about your experience, be specific and then make it relevant to the job at hand. Make yourself appear a good fit, if not a perfect fit, and always try to show enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and grow.

How to follow up after the REI interview?

Follow up with the hiring manager to thank them for the opportunity and express your continued interest in the position. This can help to keep you top of mind during the hiring process. You can follow up via email or phone call, but keep it brief and professional.

Here’s a short email template you could use to follow up after an REI interview:

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to interview for the [position] role at REI. I enjoyed learning more about the company and the team during the interview process, and I remain very interested in this position.

If there is any additional information I can provide to support my candidacy, please don't hesitate to let me know. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,
[Your Name]


How long to hear back from REI after applying for a job?

It usually takes 1 to 3 weeks for REI to review and respond to your application, but the exact timeline may vary depending on the store and position. You can follow up with the hiring manager directly or email for an update.

Keep in mind that if you’re desperate for a job, you shouldn’t keep waiting after doing interviews, but keep on applying to other companies. Never put all your hopes in one single interview, because you’ll be losing time and momentum as you’re searching for a job.

What to wear to the REI interview?

REI interview dress code is generally casual for most of the store jobs. REI hiring managers don’t really care what you wear, as much as they care about your personality, so dress comfortably, and be yourself. What matters most at the REI interview is your attitude, and your customer service skills, not what you’re wearing.

  • Alex Mitch

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