Is It Hard to Get Hired at Whole Foods? (Insider Tips!)


Working at a prominent grocery like Whole Foods has excellent benefits for full and part-time employees, as it opens multiple avenues for their future careers. But it also leaves many wondering is it hard to get hired at Whole Foods?

Here’s what I know from working there 20+ years:

Yes, it can be hard to get hired at Whole Foods. They typically get a larger pool of applicants than they have positions for. They also run background checks & screenings before interviewing. To get hired there, it helps to have a friend working there and to be persistent, but not pushy, with the hiring leaders.

But how to get a job at Whole Food? Do Whole Foods hire on the spot, and do they need a resume?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more.

Keep reading!

How can I get a job at Whole Foods? 

Whole Foods has an entire section of its website dedicated to its hiring process. They want you to take the time to get to know the company before you apply. And applying is not as simple as just hitting an “Apply” button.

Whole Food is a popular place to work, and for a good reason, so follow these steps as suggested on their site, and you’ll be well on your way to working at Whole Foods.

Research

Do some research about the company to find out what makes them tick. Follow them on social media. Go through their website. Or talk to friends and family who already work there.

If you walk into an interview and have no idea what makes Whole Foods different than a Safeway, Kroger, or Publix, that will be a huge red flag to them.

Look at available jobs

Head over to their careers page and read the job descriptions. They have lots of positions available. You might find at least one position that appeals to you.

Submit your application

Be sure that it’s accurate and complete without any errors.

Include a cover letter and resume. It may feel unnecessary, but these are an excellent way for a potential employer to get to know you. It also shows a level of professionalism than many others won’t have.

Keep them short and sweet though; 1 page each. No endless stream of letters of recommendation that no one is ever going to read, or long lists of references no one is ever going to call.

Resumes just need the 1-3 most recent jobs you’ve done unless there’s something highly relevant from your past that you spent years doing.

Ultimately, you’ll stand out from the sea of other applications.

Talk with a recruiter

After you’ve submitted your application, a recruiter may reach out to you via email.

Ultimately, they usually get way more applicants than they have jobs for. So they don’t have time to personally call everyone. If you do get selected, they’ll schedule a quick, informal call.

This is your first impression of the company. Be sure to ask the right questions and tell the recruiter a little bit about yourself. Be engaging, not too long-winded, but don’t just answer with “yes” or “no” either.

Get them excited about the possibility of hiring you.

Talk with a hiring manager

Next, you’ll talk to a hiring manager for a more in-depth conversation. This will be slightly more formal and more tailored to the job you’ve applied for. In most cases, this will be over the phone or a quick, casual meeting in the store; not an interview.

The hiring manager could be someone from HR. But more likely, they will be one of the department managers in the store (what’s called a Team Leader).

You’ll want to look them in the eye, smile, and connect with them in a casual, friendly way.

Even if the employees in the store are wearing shorts and T-shirts, take the time to dress to impress. I don’t mean a suit or fancy dress. But dress a little bit nicer than everyone else. It will help you stand out.

Panel interview

The final and sometimes the scariest step is the panel interview. You’ll speak to a group of your peers at a single interview. Depending on the position you’re applying for, this panel could include some, if not all, of the following people:

  • The store manager (what they call Store Team Leader)
  • Department manager (what they call Team Leader)
  • A regional buyer or coordinator for the department you’re applying for
  • Someone from Human Resources at the store (or sometimes regional) level
  • 2-4 team members from the department you’re applying for

In the end, I’ve seen panels as small as 3-4 people and some as large as 20. But somewhere around 7-8 people is probably more the average.

The panel takes the final decision on whether you’ll get hired.

I wrote this recent article that covers everything you need to know about getting a job at a grocery store. I even include a few insider tips that I learned over the years from hiring thousands of people at Whole Foods Market.

Just click the link to read it on my site!

How long does it take to get hired at Whole Foods?

It’s going to depend on several factors.

If there is a position with high demand, you’re likely to get hired faster than if there is a position with less urgency.

It’ll also depend on how busy the Team Leader is and how many applicants he or she is interviewing. When I got hired at Whole Foods, I walked in and filled out an application. Then I got called 2 hours later for an interview and started that evening.

But times were a little simpler back then.

According to some reviews on Indeed, you can be hired on the spot or in 2-3 weeks. If you feel like it’s taking longer than you’d like to get hired, reach out to the hiring manager.

Politely introduce yourself and indicate that you submitted a resume. You would like a status update and perhaps a quick chat. Don’t be pushy, but make it known that you are interested in the position.

Once you get hired, keep in mind that working at a grocery store can be very stressful at times.

It’s essential to remain calm during those most stressful times. Try not to get overwhelmed, and if you do, be sure to have some coping mechanisms in your back pocket.

If you aren’t sure what I mean by “coping mechanisms,” I wrote this recent article that talks about what coping mechanisms can help reduce stress. I also talk about what it’s like to work in a grocery store as well as how to handle demanding customers.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do Whole Foods hire on the spot?

Sometimes, but it is probably not likely.

Typically, getting hired at any job takes a bit of time. However, positions with high need will be the positions that will fill the fastest.

Background checks, and high competition for available spots, and tighter HR restrictions all limit how quickly the hiring process moves.

That’s why it’s good to know all the different positions available. I have a recent article that talks about all of the various positions in the grocery store and what it takes to work in those positions.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

However, there are many things you can do that will increase your chances of not only getting hired but getting hired quickly.

A friend working at Whole Foods would be the first step. Having a friend in your corner is like having an inside line into the company, especially one that is well-regarded among peers.

Things like having a positive attitude, an affinity for punctuality, and ample availability will all be beneficial in getting you hired quickly.

Do you need a resume for Whole Foods?

You don’t need one for lower-level positions, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. If you are pursuing a leadership position, you should absolutely have a resume on hand.

Having a resume will just be another way for you to stand out in the crowd. A resume, along with a cover letter, shows that you are serious about getting a job.

It shows dedication and that you are putting in the time to really make an impression.

If an applicant is going to put in the extra effort to submit a polished resume and cover letter, there’s no telling what kind of employee they will make. I imagine it would be someone that I’d want to work next!

Over the years (I first became a Team Leader there in 1992), I literally hired thousands of people. I’ve seen it all in terms of applications, resumes, interviews, etc; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s ALWAYS better to be over-prepared and overly-professional than it is to be under-prepared and less-professional.

So have a resume. Show up for your interview early and patiently wait. Dress to impress.

How do I ace a Whole Foods interview?

Acing the Whole Foods interview is a lot like acing any other interview.

Make sure you’ve researched the company. A standard question at just about any interview you’ll have at any company is, “Why do you want to work here.” You must be able to answer this question honestly. You won’t be able to do that if you don’t even know what the company stands for.

Whole Foods Market has been around almost 40 years at this point. Things have changed a lot and will continue to change. But there are, and have always been a few core things that make Whole Foods special and popular.

Luckily, I detail that in a recent article.

If you aren’t that familiar with the company, my article can give you a lot of insider tips and knowledge. So definitely click that link to check it out on my website.

Be honest and be yourself. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but you have to try not to be intimidated.

A big part of the hiring process is the panel interview. Before the panel interview, you’ll have a chance to talk to Team Members. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions and really get to know about the position for which you are interviewed.

Talking to Team Members is the first step to knowing what to expect from the panel interview as well as forming relationships.

Maximize your time with the Team Members. Ask questions. Get to know them to be fully prepared for your panel interview.

Whole Foods makes it easy to be ready for the application process as well as the interview process. In fact, they have an entire web page devoted to applying for and getting a job at Whole Foods. Be certain to read it carefully before your interview

Did I clear all your doubts about getting hired at Whole Foods?

It can be a challenge to get a job at Whole Foods, but don’t let that discourage you from applying.

It’s challenging because they are a popular place to work and treat employees well. If you stand out in the sea of applications, you are very likely to get hired.

Submit a cover letter with your application and follow-up if necessary. Research the company as well as the position you are applying for.

And be ready to make an excellent first impression.

Jeff Campbell

Hi! I'm Jeff Campbell. I was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades. I worked in 9 stores in 4 states, not counting the hundred-plus stores I've assisted in other ways. I was a Global All-Star, a Gold Pen Winner, and won Top-10 Store (company-wide) 3 times in addition to Best New Store (company-wide).

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