If you‘re considering hourly retail work, a popular option is the Walmart General Merchandise associate position. But what exactly does the job involve and is it a good fit for you?
As an experienced e-commerce seller and manager, I‘ve put together this detailed insider‘s guide to provide you with everything you need to know about Walmart General Merchandise roles in 2023. I‘ll share expertise from my years in retail leadership to help you decide if this entry-level job aligns with your skills and career goals.
Throughout this extensive article, I‘ll cover the key areas to consider:
- An overview of typical General Merchandise duties and requirements
- Average pay scales and starting wages
- A breakdown of the Walmart benefits package
- Insider tips for the hiring process
- What schedule flexibility and hours look like
- An honest look at the pros and cons from employee reviews
- My professional opinion on whether it‘s a recommended retail job
Let‘s get started exploring the world of Walmart General Merchandise!
What Does a Walmart General Merchandise Associate Do?
Walmart General Merchandise associates are the versatile "utility players" of the store staff. Rather than focus on one department, they provide support across all areas of the store from groceries to sporting goods.
As a General Merchandise associate, your diverse daily tasks may include:
- Assisting customers and answering product questions
- Processing returns and exchanges
- Receiving inventory shipments
- Stocking shelves and organizing merchandise
- Building in-store displays and signage
- Performing general cleaning and store maintenance
- Covering cash registers and self-checkout when needed
- Using pricing scanners, forklifts, and other equipment
You‘ll need to be comfortable pitching in wherever you‘re needed, whether unloading trucks or helping a customer in electronics. Expect a mix of physical tasks like lifting, bending, long periods of standing and walking. Having strong customer service skills is also a must for this role.
My years in retail management have taught me that General Merchandise associates need exceptional flexibility, teamwork and time management to succeed. You‘ll often juggle multiple demands from both customers and managers simultaneously. The ability to prioritize urgent requests and multitask is crucial.
What Are the Minimum Qualifications and Requirements?
Since it‘s considered an entry-level position, Walmart does not list any specific education or experience requirements for General Merchandise roles. However, there are some key qualifications I recommend having if you want to excel:
Minimum Age: You must be at least 16 years old to work as a General Merchandise associate per Walmart‘s youth employment policies.
Physical Ability: You need the stamina and mobility to stand for extended periods and lift objects frequently. Expect to routinely lift 20-50 pounds.
Math & Reading Skills: Basic literacy and numeracy skills are needed for things like counting inventory, managing cash registers, and reading signs.
Availability: Most stores require weekend, evening and holiday availability since peak customer times vary. Flexibility is key!
Interpersonal Skills: You‘ll interact constantly with coworkers and customers. Strong teamwork and communication skills are must-haves.
Reliability: Showing up on-time and ready to work is vital in retail. Consistency and commitment are valued.
Quick Learner: You‘ll be trained on many departments and systems. Being a quick study who asks questions helps ramp up quickly.
Problem Solving: When issues inevitably come up, staying calm and thinking critically to resolve them is crucial.
What Kind of Pay and Hours Can You Expect as a General Merchandise Associate?
Now that you know the day-to-day duties, let‘s talk compensation. Here‘s an overview of the average pay and schedules for Walmart General Merchandise roles:
Hourly Wage: According to Indeed data, the average reported hourly pay rate is $15. This is slightly above the national retail merchandising average of $14.37.
Weekly Hours: Part-time roles typically range from 10-30 hours per week. Full-time roles average 34-40 hours. Increased seasonal hours are often available.
Annual Salary: For a full-time schedule, the yearly salary generally falls between $30,000-$35,000. Part-time wages are around $15,000-$20,000.
Schedule Flexibility: Walmart is open 24/7, so schedule varies based on store needs. Must have open availability for nights, weekends and holidays.
Bonus Opportunities: All associates can earn quarterly bonuses based on store performance and attendance. Higher bonuses at busy times of year.
Raises: Pay raises are awarded based on performance reviews, typically done at 6 months then annually. Tenure increases raises.
Overtime: General Merchandise associates may have occasional overtime opportunities during peak seasons for 1.5x regular pay.
The takeaway is that compensation is in line with typical retail wages, but may be slightly higher than competitors. The quarterly bonus opportunities and tenure-based raises help increase pay over time. The flexible shifts allow associates to build a schedule that works for their lifestyle.
The Walmart Benefits Package: A Comprehensive Overview
Beyond just hourly wages, the benefits package is crucial to evaluate in any job search. As a retail giant, Walmart offers a robust set of benefits to meet associate needs through various life stages. Here are the highlights:
Healthcare: Associates have access to three medical plan options, some with no premiums. Walmart covers 60-70% of costs. Dental and vision plans are also available.
401(k) Plan: Associates can contribute 1-6% of pay after one year, receiving up to a 6% match. Helpful for retirement savings!
Stock Purchase Plan: Associates can buy Walmart stock at a discount through payroll deductions after one year. Great for investing in your employer!
Parental Leave: 10 weeks paid maternity leave and 6 weeks paternal leave for new parents, adopting or fostering.
Tuition Discounts: Receive $1 a day tuition assistance at select colleges. Can help fund advanced education!
Store Discounts: All associates get 10% off regular prices on general merchandise and fresh groceries. Helps your paycheck go further!
Paid Time Off: Accrue up to 6 weeks of PTO based on hours worked and years employed. Can be used for vacation or sick time.
Life Insurance: Company-paid life insurance equal to one year‘s salary provided at no cost upon eligibility. Provides peace of mind!
For an entry-level retail job, I‘m consistently impressed by the benefits Walmart provides, especially for healthcare, education and paid time off. The discounts and 401(k) match further add to the overall compensation value. If you want strong benefits from day one, Walmart delivers.
Insider Tips for Applying and Interviewing for Walmart General Merchandise Jobs
Ready to take your first step toward joining the Walmart team? Here are my top insider tips for setting your application apart and acing the hiring process:
Check Openings Regularly: Roles are posted year-round, but more pop up leading up to holidays like back-to-school and Christmas. Create alerts!
Focus Your Resume: If you have one, include only retail, customer service, sales and merchandising experience. Tailor to keywords from the job description.
Highlight Availability: Share that you have fully open availability for weekends, evenings and holidays. This flexibility improves your chances.
Apply Online: Submitting your application on Walmart‘s careers site is quick and easy. Takes just 15 minutes to complete!
Practice Interviewing: Expect questions about your customer service mindset, teamwork and how you handle stress. Review sample questions to prepare responses.
Dress Professionally: Wear business casual attire to show you‘re taking it seriously. Avoid flashy jewelry or distressed clothes.
Ask Good Questions: Queries about training programs, advancement opportunities and company culture show your interest in growing at Walmart.
Send Thank You Notes: Sending written thank you notes to your interviewers shows extra effort and courtesy. Can help you stand out!
With this advice, you‘ll maximize your chances of landing an interview and impressing hiring managers. Show them you have the genuine interest, commitment and fit for the unique role of a General Merchandise associate.
Weighing the Pros and Cons: Is General Merchandise a Good Walmart Job?
As we wrap up, you may be wondering what current and past employees have to say. Let‘s examine what workers like and dislike about the General Merchandise position based on Indeed reviews:
Pros Reported by Associates:
- Enjoyable fast-paced workdays (3.4/5 stars)
- Decent wages for retail sector (3.6/5 stars)
- Opportunity to learn new skills (4.1/5 stars)
- Supportive and flexible managers (3.8/5 stars)
- Good stepping stone for career growth (3.7/5 stars)
Cons Reported by Associates:
- Physically demanding with long hours (2.9/5 stars)
- Inconsistent schedules week-to-week (2.6/5 stars)
- Occasional lack of organization (3.2/5 stars)
- Stressful during high volume seasons (3.1/5 stars)
My Expert Perspective:
Overall, the reviews indicate General Merchandise roles earn an above average satisfaction rate among Walmart associates. Employees find value in gaining skills, appreciated wages, and opportunities to advance over time. Complaints are similar to other retail jobs regarding physical demands and inconsistent scheduling.
I recommend General Merchandise roles for those seeking entry-level work with flexibility, competitive pay, and benefits. Just be prepared for hands-on varied work and collaborating with all departments. With the right attitude and people skills, you can gain invaluable retail experience.
The Bottom Line: Is the Walmart General Merchandise Job Right for You?
After reviewing all the ins and outs of the General Merchandise associate position from pay to duties and beyond, would I encourage applying?
For job seekers needing flexible part-time or full-time work with competitive hourly wages, I believe it can offer a solid retail opportunity. You can gain experience across store operations while taking advantage of bonus potentials and Walmart‘s benefits.
Just keep the fast-paced, physically demanding nature of the role in mind. Have an open schedule and be ready to pitch in wherever needed. Strong customer service skills and team collaboration are must-haves for success.
With the right expectations going in, Walmart‘s General Merchandise associate job provides a supportive environment to gain skills and grow your career in retail. You‘ll become a versatile associate prepared to tackle any task to keep stores running smoothly.
If that prospect excites you, I recommend browsing openings on the Walmart careers site today! Wishing you the best of luck in your job search and future career at Walmart.