HEB is a privately held supermarket business that employs thousands of people in 340 chain grocery stores throughout Texas and Northeast Mexico. As an industry-leading retailer, HEB is known for treating its “partners” well, and therefore is a desired workplace for many. It’s no wonder then that when its stores conduct regular job interviews for open positions, the applicant pool can run deep. If you are considering a career move to HEB, then you need to prep yourself for the interview process.

A job interview is the time you need to sell yourself to a hiring manager. Once you complete and submit your application and receive a follow-up phone call, be sure you bone up on HEB as an organization, as well as arm yourself with some strategies that can help guide you through the interview process.

This article will give you some helpful pointers.

What Is HEB?

It is always the best policy to learn what you can about any business you want to work for and to which you have submitted an employment application. Here are some details about HEB you can carry with you into your interview.

What is now a large supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas first got its start in 1905 in Kerrville, Texas when Florence Butt opened the C.C. Butt Grocery Store on the ground floor of her family’s home. Her youngest son, Howard Edward Butt — for whom the business was named eventually — assumed control of the grocery store when he returned from World War I in 1919. He tried to expand it in other Central Texas locations, but failed until a second store in Del Rio succeeded in 1927.

Now, the company’s slogan is “Here Everything’s Better” and that may be true if its numbers reflect anything. In 2013, the business officially surpassed a total revenue of $20 billion. In 2014, Forbes ranked HEB on its list of “America’s Largest Private Companies” in the No. 15 spot. Based on revenues that same year, HEB was the 20th largest retailer in the United States. Several professional grocery organizations have given honors to this Texas business for its stellar performance.

Markets

HEB’s major markets in Texas include the metro regions of Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, Laredo and Houston. As of last report, the store employed more than 86,000 people, who work from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day of the week.

As a grocery store, you can expect the standard shopping experience. This includes various departments, check-out lines, etc. However, HEB stores now feature a “curbside” pick-up option and delivery option for those who place orders online. The curbside option allows customers to place advance grocery orders for prearranged pick-up times, and then HEB gets the order bagged and ready before the customer’s arrival. The delivery option is just what the name suggests: customers place online orders and HEB brings the orders to their homes.

Departments

Much like you would find in most grocery stores, HEB’s departments include a deli, bakery, delivery, customer courtesy / bagging, produce section, pharmacy and others. If you would like to work for HEB, it occasionally hires employees to work the following in-store positions:

  • Sanitation/Janitor
  • Bagger
  • Cashier
  • Stocker
  • Customer service representative
  • Deli
  • Pharmacy personnel

Besides these jobs, there is a great variety of other opportunities available, such as the logistics department, corporate offices, technology services, manufacturing, warehouse, transport and more. Some jobs are more or less physically demanding. Some are more sedentary. Some will require lots of walking.

HEB Interview Questions and Answers

As part of the company evaluation process, the job interview is conducted to figure out your personal traits, experiences, to see if you will “fit” the store’s culture and more. Questions also will be asked related to the grocery store industry. Applicants might be asked about their availability, previous employment, job skills and intentions for their employment within the company.

HEB hiring managers use interview questions to allow applicants to promote themselves and otherwise highlight personal qualities that make them a good fit for the company.

Basic Interview Questions
  • How would you define customer service?
  • What challenges do grocery stores face as a business?
  • Why are you seeking employment with HEB?
  • Are you OK with the idea of working in a fast-paced environment?
  • What could you offer HEB?
  • Would you call yourself a people person?
  • Can you successfully multi-task?
  • What is your greatest personal achievement?
Advanced Questions

For those positions that involve more independence or working alone, questions like the following will be asked:

  • Can you work well without supervision?
  • Are you a self-motivated worker?
  • Do you enjoy working alone?
Supervisor Questions

Applicants for supervisory jobs will be asked questions like:

  • Would you call yourself a natural leader?
  • What attracts you to a managerial position?
  • How would you describe your work ethic?
Teamwork Questions

Again, depending on the position you are seeking, current and former employees said they were grouped with others and presented with teamwork questions to solve. Interviewers bring up scenarios to gauge applicants’ perspectives on problem-solving and customer service. These questions are more involved and require critical thinking.

  • Image you find a messy restroom. What do you do?
  • Describe what do you if faced with an upset customer?
  • How would you deal with someone caught stealing?

HEB Interview Tips

It is critical to go into your HEB interview with a good handle on the process and some pathways to a successful meeting. You must be prepared in how you look and how you present yourself. Here are things you can do to make you stand out as a prime candidate:

Know What to Expect in the Process

Understand that different stores interview job applicants in unique ways. There are times when HEB conducts one-on-one questioning. At times, HEB also incorporates a group setting into its interviewing process. You could be interviewed just once or you could be interviewed for a second round.

Know How to Present Yourself

On the application, you will disclose a good deal of information about yourself. You will be asked about your educational background, work experience and personal information. That’s why you should understand ahead of time that all of these topics are fair game in the interview.

Know How to Tailor Your Answers to the Position

This article speaks to a broad scope of work. However, you will be interviewed for a specific position. Will you be working by yourself stocking aisles? Will you be in the deli with a team? Will you manage a whole store? All these positions will require very different answers.

For those positions that are more independent, you should answer in such a way that shows you are self-sufficient. Describe experiences and traits about yourself that highlight your ability to work alone. If you are interviewing for management, then discuss roles in which you supervised. Work each answer around the job.

Know How to Be Warm and Personable

It is important that you be friendly throughout the entire interview. This grocery chain values employees who have kind personalities. As most every position revolves around customer care, the one conducting the interview will want to establish that you can work well with the public.

Know to Demonstrate a Customer Service Orientation

When asked about customer service, be sure to communicate that you are passionate about it. As a company, HEB looks for those who will treat each customer with respect while paying careful attention to their needs. When they feel confident you can make people feel welcome, you stand a greater chance of being hired.

Know to Remember Multitasking

The grocery industry is busy and you’ll always be on your toes. Multitasking is the name of the game at HEB. There are many elements to deal with at once. While discussing your strengths, convey any experience or achievements that involve handling multiple duties at the same time. Never let yourself sound intimidated about the prospect of having to juggle lots of people and things.

Know How to Dress for Success

A clean, well-groomed appearance is critical. Wear tidy and appropriate clothing to convey a professional posture. For entry-level jobs, start with business casual as your baseline choice of clothing. If you are seeking a job in management or in the corporate office, then wear business formal clothes.

Know to Be on Time

Showing up late for an interview will give the impression you are not dependable or serious about the job. The manager will take immediate notice if you are tardy. Arrive 15 minutes early as this will make you look eager for the job.

Know Your Facts about the Company

Polish up on HEB facts. Knowing information about the company will help you stand out in a favorable way. You will look invested and interested in the company. This is the “over and above” factor that will put you ahead of the pack. It could help with your interview questions. And, this allows you to organize your answers around the HEB organization.

Rehearse What You Want to Say

If you have done all the above, then you will have a lot of information flying around. That can be overwhelming. So, take time to sit down and rehearse what you want to say and the information you need to communicate. If you go in unsure or unprepared, it will show and this will hurt your chances.

Conclusion

Being strong at interviewing requires that you have a good understanding of yourself, how to work effectively and the business to which you’re applying. HEB has a forward-looking future, so your interview needs to reflect that you want to be part of their vision. Many people will interview for open positions. So, this is the time for you to put your best foot forward and separate yourself from the crowd to land that job.