How to Get a Job at Trader Joe’s? [in 2022]

Trader Joe’s jobs are high in demand due to their healthy work environment. Just like getting hired at Target, you’ll need to improve your chances. How can you do that?

One of the best ways is getting to know mates at your local store, as well as preparing yourself for the interview, by knowing what they look for in a candidate. This will make you stand out and assure the captain that you’re the right fit with their crew.

Since Trader Joe’s is selling products to people, and not just scanning items, they want someone who can be pleasant, friendly, and outgoing. And that’s what they look for in employees.

If you keep in mind that what they’re looking for are genuine people who fit into their positive and friendly working environment, you’ll have no trouble passing their interview and getting the job at Trader Joe’s.

How to Get Hired at Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe's sign entrance

To increase your chances of getting hired you should try going into the store and introducing yourself to mates. Once you apply online, go to your local store to meet at least one new mate. Make sure to make a personal interaction with whoever you’re speaking with.

Trader Joe’s gets a lot of applications each month, and they like to put a name to the face and to see if you are personable. So make sure you show them that you’re interested in them as people.

A good time to show up can be somewhere around 1 to 3 pm while lots of mates and crew members have schedules overlapping for shift change. Once you get noticed, they’ll remember you when they start hiring again and it will help you stand out.

Go down to the store, and meet in person

To further improve your chances of getting a job at Trader Joe’s try to increase your availability on your app. You’ll be far more likely to get hired with an open and flexible schedule, and you’ll also get more shifts when you start working, compared to restricted availability.

It also can’t hurt to call the store and ask what the store’s needs are regarding the hours for new employees.

How to check if Trader Joe’s is hiring?

There are three ways to find out:

Every application at Trader Joe’s is reviewed and responded to, regardless of whether the store is hiring or not. So you can apply at any time you want, for a mate position, or any of the crew positions, and the only difference will be the time when they’ll get back to you.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job at Trader Joe’s?

Even though hiring at Trader Joe’s happens constantly, it’s not the easiest place to get a job at. They have several interviews where they pick nice and genuine people who can be friendly towards the customers, and fit into their positive culture.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter what kind of a personality you are, introvert or extrovert, shy or open, tattooed or not – the TJ crew is full of all kinds of different people. They will hire you if you remain genuine, personable, and friendly.

How Long Does It Take Trader Joe’s to Hire You?

Your entire hiring process at Trader Joe’s should last about one to two weeks. There are rare occasions with only two interviews, sometimes on the same day, but you’ll usually need to pass several interviews over a week or two.

What Is Trader Joe’s Hiring Process in 2022?

Trader Joe’s hiring process consists of the following:

Very similar to the Costco hiring process, Trader Joe’s process in 2022 starts with applying online at their site, after which you’ll be immediately notified by email.

Then you’ll be called to set up an interview, or you can do that yourself after you get your email based on your application. After that comes the interview process of several interviews, first with mates than with the captain.

Finally, you have orientation and a few weeks of training by shadowing a skillful crew member to learn how to do the job.

Trader Joe’s Application Process

The application process begins by applying online at their website, after which you’ll immediately receive an email from them. You’ll also have a number in that email that you can call to set up your first interview yourself, or you can wait for them to call you back.

Trader Joe’s applications are always reviewed, no matter if the store is currently hiring. The only difference in applying outside of the hiring event is the time they get back to you. One of the most important Trader Joe’s job application tips is to have open availability, which increases your chances of not just getting hired but also getting the most shifts once you do get hired.

Open availability increases your chances

Should you apply to Trader Joe’s with a resume and cover letter?

It’s not required but is highly recommended, especially for a mate position. They need your resume to make sure you have proper skills and positive experiences in customer service, and you should write a cover letter to emphasize those positive customer experiences.

It’s also a good idea to take your resume into the store and ask for the manager (they wear Hawaiian shirts). Be friendly, say hi, and give them your resume. Strike up a conversation and they may even do a mini-interview with you. Try to be genuine and personable.

How long does it take to hear back from Trader Joe’s after applying?

If the store is hiring you should typically hear within a few days to schedule an interview. If the store isn’t hiring, then you should hear back within a few weeks, or a month. If you haven’t heard from them in a week, you can call to check.

How to check the status of your Trader Joe’s application?

You can check the status of your Trader Joe’s application online by going into the ‘My Application’ section on their website. If it says ‘under review’, it means that you’ll be contacted soon in regards to the next step.

What does “future consideration” mean at Trader Joe’s?

The ‘future consideration’ usually means that you’re potentially hireable, but they don’t have a job for you at this moment, or that you’re not a good fit.

Trader Joe’s Interview Process

Typically, Trader Joe’s does 2 to 3 interviews where the first two are usually with mates, and the last one is with the captain. It’s not unheard of to have more than 3 interviews, but this is rare.

If 2 interviews are too much, you can try your luck at Walmart. They may not even have an interview over there.

How do you prepare for a Trader Joe’s interview?

The best advice is to remember that they are looking for someone with a personality, who can be pleasant and friendly to the customers. They’re looking for people who honestly love TJ’s products and are enthusiastic about selling them. Present yourself as such a person.

A few things to remember:

  • Be open, honest, and enthusiastic about Trader Joe’s and its products.
  • Show evidence that you’re able to create meaningful relationships with customers. Have a story ready about how you did that in your previous jobs.
  • Be as personable as you can. Be nice and friendly. They want someone who is a kind person and can say ‘hello’ to the customers. That’s it.
  • If you’re leaving a job to work at Trader Joe’s, prepare to explain that in advance

Trader Joe’s interview questions

Here’s what to say to some of the main TJ’s interview questions:

  1. Can you tell me about yourself?

You should answer this in regards to your job and your education. Mention proven success relevant to customer service using the STAR method, focus on your strengths and highlight your personality.

  1. Why do you want to work here?

Before you answer this, learn about Trader Joe’s and then make a list of things you like about the job position, which you can relate to your skills and personality. You can say that you like helping people or working in a team, how you’re a friendly person and you think you’ll fit in their culture and their healthy work environment. A few examples of how to answer this question.

  1. Why do we need to hire you?

For this question, you should study the job posting, and then tie your background to the job. You can say how your experience, skills, and personality make you a great fit for this job because you’re friendly, have a relatable experience with customer service (tell a story), and you like working with customers.

  1. Have you ever had to deal with a difficult customer?

They’re looking to hear a story from you about how you dealt with an annoyed or angry customer, and how you solved the problem successfully. You can learn how to answer these types of questions using the STAR method.

  1. What are your weaknesses?

Choose a weakness that won’t prevent you from succeeding in that job. Be honest, and tell them a real weakness, which you’re currently working on improving, such as trouble providing constructive criticism or having trouble asking for help.

During the 2nd interview, they’ll try to get a sense of the type of person you are, with questions such as:

  • What didn’t you like about your last job?
  • What is your favorite product at Trader Joe’s?
  • What motivates you?

Learn how to answer these questions by checking the video below:

What should you wear to Trader Joe’s interview?

Try wearing something like jeans, with closed toe shoes, and a nice shirt. Something professional but casual. Do not wear a tropical shirt, that’s for managers of the store to distinguish themselves.

How long for Trader Joe’s to call back after the 1st interview?

Typically, you’ll hear back only after 2-3 business days after the 1st interview, but this can sometimes be as long as a week. It will depend on the store and its onboarding process. You may even be asked to stay after the first interview and do the 2nd one, but this is rare.

What is 2nd interview like?

The 2nd interview at Trader Joe’s will typically go a bit more in-depth, with questions about your qualities and personality. If it’s a crew position, you’ll probably be interviewed with two mates.

They want to make sure you’re a friendly person who cares about treating customers with respect, and they just want to get a good vibe from you.

How long to hear back after the 2nd Trader Joe’s Interview?

Since the 3rd interview is the one with the captain, the time to hear back from the 2nd interview will depend on how busy the captain is, but it’s usually under a week. If they don’t get back to you within a week, you should give them a call for an update.

What’s Trader Joe’s 3rd interview like?

Getting to a third interview is a great indication that you’re being hired. This is typically the last interview with the captain by the recommendation from the mates, and all you have to do is continue to give them the confirmation that you’re the right person for the job.

During the 3rd interview, you might get a few more natural questions from the captain. They value going above and beyond for customers, so try and prepare a story about helping a customer from your previous experiences.

Most Trader Joe’s captains want to hear about your work ethic, and how you handle mistakes, feedback, and criticisms. They want to make sure you can still keep a positive attitude and have the endurance to do all the physical labor.

What Is Orientation Like and How Long Does It Last?

Orientation at Trader Joe’s varies from store to store, but generally includes watching videos, doing the paperwork, talking to the captain, and then talking to a mate. You’ll probably be introduced to fellow crew around the store. It lasts about 3 hours.

What do you wear to Trader Joe’s orientation?

You can wear whatever shirt you want, as it doesn’t matter because you’ll be given a crew shirt during your orientation. However, make sure to wear comfortable shoes, such as your running shoes.

What Is Training Like and What to Keep In Mind?

As a crew member at a Trader Joe’s store, training is hands-on, where you’ll first watch a few videos, and then you’ll be shadowing an experienced crew member for 2-3 weeks to learn how to do your job in all aspects of the store.

This is a great opportunity to learn about how things are done at Trader Joe’s, so make sure to ask questions, and pay attention. Nothing’s too difficult, just don’t forget that they hired you for personality, so try to be nice and to smile when you can. Good luck!

Credits: Image by Mike Mozart, under CC BY 2.0


  • 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!