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Why Trader Joe’s Employees Love Their Jobs

By: Charlotte Couch
Mar 8, 2021 • 6 min read

Why Trader Joe’s Employees Love Their Jobs

Are you thinking about applying to work at Trader Joe’s? Check out this article first!

Trader Joe’s has quickly grown into one of the biggest grocery chains in the country. Customers love Trader Joe’s for its low prices, unique products, and friendly workers. From the outside, it seems like a great place to work. The employees always seem enthusiastic and happy to be there. This got us wondering – what’s the catch? Is this job really all it’s cut out to be?

In this blog, we’re taking a thorough behind-the-scenes look at Trader Joe’s. For most people, their experience as a Trader Joe’s crew member was fun and enjoyable. Crew members receive numerous perks and benefits from working at Trader Joe’s, such as regular food tastings and the potential to move up the ladder. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at these enticing benefits while also discussing how you can get a job at this popular grocery chain.

red and green apples on brown wooden crate

About Trader Joes

Since its humble beginnings in 1958, Trader Joe’s has grown into one of the largest grocery chains in the United States. As of November 2019, there are 503 active stores nationwide.

Unlike most grocery stores, Trader Joe’s mainly carries products from its own brand. Described as a “neighborhood grocery store,” Trader Joe’s offers gourmet foods, vegetarian dishes, imported foods, organic produce, and other “alternative” food items. One of the brand’s main appeals is its set of environmental-friendly business practices. To consistently deliver a high-value experience for customers, Trader Joe’s will:

  • Buy direct from suppliers to offer great prices for customers.
  • Purchase in bulk
  • Remove low-performing products and replace them with new ones.

The Trader Joe’s brand reputation is so strong that the chain even has its own podcast. You can catch episodes covering Trader Joe’s unique business practices, corporate environment, and more on Inside Trader Joe’s. The podcast hosts may talk about anything from their holiday shopping lists to the newest products to hit the shelves.

Top 8 Reasons Why People Love Working at Trader Joe’s

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the Trader Joe’s brand and mission let’s take a closer look at employee benefits. Employers that offer great benefits packages tend to indicate an investment in their health and future. Most people agree that Trader Joe’s lives up to this standard.

1. Generous Employee Discounts

Like most retail stores, Trader Joe’s offers a nice discount to its employees. All crew members get a 10% discount on all of the store’s products. This includes both food and merchandise. Grocery store prices can quickly add up, so having a 10% discount on all of your items can go a long way. Alcohol may or may not be included depending on your work state. If you are already a big Trader Joe’s fan, this perk will be a sweet cherry on top of your great benefits package!

red and green apples on fruit stand

2. Annual Raises

Trader Joe’s also gives regular raises to all of its employees. On average, a crew member can earn a 7%-10% raise. These raises are given every six months to employees who excel in their respective roles.

In response to the Seattle pay-hike mandate, Trader Joe’s temporarily raised its wage for hourly crew members by a total of $4. Previously, the company raised its wage by $2 before implementing another $2 raise in February 2021. However, the company has also announced it would be cutting its regular midyear pay raises for the upcoming year.

3. Insurance and Retirement Plans

Trader Joe’s offers retirement fund contributions equal to 10% of eligible crew members’ annual salaries. Crew members do not have an obligation to make a matching contribution. Employees can also save additional amounts of pre-tax pay.

Medical, dental, and vision insurance are also offered to eligible employees. Right now, Trader Joe’s covers about 83% of insurance premium costs. This keeps the employee expenses at around $85 a month.

trader joe's employees

4. Paid Time Off

Employees can also accrue paid time off during their time at Trader Joe’s. The company will contribute 3.6% to 7.5% to a crew member’s PTO account. This adds up to 5 to 10 days a year. However, there is no cap on these accruals.

5. Internal Promotion Opportunities

Trader Joe’s is known for promoting internally. According to the company website, 78% of supervisors or Mates started out as Crew Members. 100% of Captains were promoted from Mates. The company will promote based on performance, so passion and dedication will be key for your growth.

6. Regular Food Tastings

One of the best benefits of working at Trader Joe’s is attending regular food tastings. Not only do you get to enjoy some delicious free food, but you are allowed to taste and assess different products before they hit the shelves. These tastings are important for giving you thorough and helpful insight into the store’s products for customers. You will be able to speak informatively about the flavors, textures, and tastes of the various foods currently offered.

trader joe's employees

7. Friendly Working Environment

Most employees can honestly say that they enjoy working with their fellow crew members. Part of this could be attributed to the hiring process. Hiring managers tend to look out for people with outwardly friendly and nice personalities. This allows both customers and employees to enjoy a genuinely friendly and pleasant experience at the store.

8. Decent Pay

Staff members get a decent starting base at around $10 – $24 / hour, depending on their location and experience. Managers can make over $100,000 a year. Not too bad, right?

Working During the Pandemic

Demand for grocery store workers has grown since the start of the pandemic. If you’re feeling a little nervous or apprehensive about working at a grocery store, you aren’t alone. It’s important to see how companies are protecting their workers during the pandemic.

According to the company site, Trader Joe’s has implemented numerous measures to protect crew members and customers. These measures include:

  • Requiring crew members and customers to wear masks while in the store
  • Conducting regular wellness checks with all crew members before the start of each shift
  • Reducing store hours
  • Improving routine cleanings
  • Offering additional paid sick time for crew members
  • Adding temporary plexiglass barriers to check stands
  • Limiting the number of people in stores

trader joe's employees

How to Apply

So, how do you apply for a job at Trader Joe’s? Within minutes, you can send a job application for a store near you through their online job portal. For store positions, you can also apply in-person. There are three job categories you can explore:

  • Store Crew — The Trader, Joe’s store crew, is considered the brand’s heart and soul. You’ll see them working the cash registers, stocking the shelves, making deliveries, and more.
  • Store Leadership/Mate — A Mate serves as a leader to the crew while also supporting and guiding them. You can also spot them at the cash registers or helping out customers.
  • Office — Behind the scenes, two office crews are based in Monrovia, CA, and Boston, MA. The offices include Merchandising, Marketing, Operations, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Finance departments. But while most of their time is spent at their desks, they still carry extra Hawaiian shirts if the stores need some extra help.

For your application, you will need to submit your resume and availability. The online application will also ask you why you want to work at Trader Joe’s.

Interview Process

If HR likes your application and thinks you could be a great employee, they will reach out to you to schedule an interview.

The interview questions might vary depending on what role you apply for. If you apply to be a crew member, the hiring manager might ask questions like:

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What do you know about Trader Joe’s?
  • How would your former employer describe you?

In general, Trader Joe’s hiring managers are looking for bubbly and outgoing people who can interact with various personalities.

Tips for Deciding if a Job is Right for You

Now that you’ve gotten the job offer, it’s time to decide if a job at Trader Joe’s is really something you want. If you’re looking for a part-time job to help support you for school, Trader Joe’s is a great option. If you want to work at the corporate branch of a top-tier consumer goods retailer, you can’t go wrong with Trader Joe’s corporate.

Websites like Indeed and Glassdoor feature real feedback from past and current employees. If you want to get a larger grasp on the company and its work environment, it might be useful to check out these sites if you aren’t sure whether working at Trader Joe’s is the right move for you.

trader joe's employees

Tips for Working at Trader Joe’s

Congratulations! You’ve gotten a job at Trader Joe’s! Whether you are a crew member or corporate associate, you will be playing a crucial role in the company’s operations and brand image. To make sure you start off on the right foot and set yourself up for a successful career, make sure you follow these simple tips:

  • Don’t forget to study the products.
  • Take the time to get to know your co-workers.
  • Be a team player
  • Have fun — you’re going to have a great team at Trader Joe’s

Have you worked at a Trader Joe’s branch before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments! We love learning about your experiences.

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