Applying to be a loss prevention manager or officer can be both interesting and challenging. Whether you’ve been on the scene for a while or it’s your first job, the requirements of the position are constantly changing. Depending on where you’re applying, it will require more technological know-how, more customer service skills, or more program-creation.
The key is not being great at everything, but in knowing how to pull out the information your interviewer needs to know, based on the position they want to fill.
What Is A Loss Prevention Officer or Manager?
The basis of a loss prevention officer’s existence is preventing loss. This might be monetary loss, loss of physical goods or services, or even loss through fraud and embezzlement. There are, in general, 4 technical parts to this job.
Monitoring. Being aware of the daily routines of the business or company, learning the patterns that are normal or regular.
Identifying. Noticing anything out of the ordinary or irregular, and discovering what it is.
Responding. Creating a plan of action to address the identified problem, and carrying it out.
Strategizing. Planning how to prevent similar or future incidents from happening.
Top Loss Prevention Interview Questions
Do you pay attention to detail?
- Are you detail-oriented?
- Share a situation when your attention to detail helped you prevent loss.
The interviewer is testing your monitoring and identifying skills. They are asking if you are able to notice when something is out of the ordinary.
How to answer:
- Through a situation. “After reviewing the time log for a certain month, I noticed that there were some overlapping shifts by over an hour. I decided to see if a certain employee was time-padding.”
- If you are a fresh graduate, you can share a situation from a school organization or your internship.
- Pattern it this way: “This is what I noticed was ordinary; this is what I noticed was different, and it helped me discover something that prevented loss.”
How do you evaluate a person’s behavior?
- How can you tell when someone’s acting differently?
- Share a situation where you noticed someone was behaving out of the ordinary.
Like the first question, this tests monitoring and identification. It helps to answer through the same pattern of “this is ordinary—this is different—this is what I discovered.”
How to answer through a situation: “There was a day that I noticed an employee would not eat at the same time as the others. Instead, s/he would take their meals quickly in the locker rooms at another time. I discovered that . . .”
How did you respond to the discovery of a theft / loss / shoplifting?
- Tell us about a time you actually discovered loss. What did you do?
- What’s your plan of action if you found someone stealing / embezzling?
The interviewer wants to know how you respond after you’ve discovered a case of theft or loss. There are two things they want to know: if you have a plan of action, and how you will handle the situation.
How to answer:
- Clarify the situation of loss in the example, or create your own. Is it shoplifting? Is it embezzlement? Is it time-padding?
- Start with probable cause. “If I see a person shoplifting . . .” “After establishing that fraud is happening in this area . . .”
- Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the law. “After the shoplifter leaves the store premises . . .” “After the employee has been served with a memo but behavior did not change . . .”
- Take customer service and the company’s reputation into account. “I’ll approach and show my credentials before asking them more about the theft.” If it’s a shoplifter, your main goal is to retrieve what was stolen. If it’s an embezzler, it might be more of asking them to face an incident report.
- Close the incident. “I’ll recommend we ban the shoplifter from the store and write up a report for future incidents.” “I’ll provide the necessary documents and evidence to Human Resources for the incident report. I’ll also monitor lunch breaks and overlapping shifts more closely to prevent something similar from happening.”
What is something you did that reduced theft / loss / shoplifting?
- What are some programs you put into place to prevent loss?
- Was there a time you created a process that reduced theft / stealing?
The interviewer wants to know how you plan for loss prevention. You can start with a story of a loss that happened and how you prevented it from happening again, or describe a situation where you noticed there was potential for loss and you fixed it.
Usually, the story is key to the answer. Even if the situation is hypothetical and you have to think on the fly, even if the plan is extremely simple, make it as detailed as possible. “Every quarter I review the cash records.” “Every week I create a report of areas where the most items go missing from the inventory.”
Principles to Answering an Interview
Tell a story. The interview is the first place you can show off how well you think on your feet. Answer as many questions as possible with an example, a story, or a situation.
Be open about what you still need to learn. When asked if you have prior experience in a certain situation or field, answer that you welcome the opportunity to learn more about it.
Do your research. The position you apply for hints at the kinds of questions you will receive. What is that store’s greatest concern, shoplifting or employee behavior? How can you be the loss prevention officer they need?
- 1 What Is A Loss Prevention Officer or Manager?
- 2 Top Loss Prevention Interview Questions
- 3 Principles to Answering an Interview