Trader Joe’s Application for Employment and Careers

It’s not too often that you hear rave reviews from past and present employees about working at any grocery store chain. However, that is exactly what submitting a Trader Joe’s application represents; you have a chance to join forces with many very happy employees.

Working at Trader Joe’s

The one thing that sticks out the most when employees describe working at Trader Joe’s is that the environment is fun and extremely pleasant. The above-average salaries and benefits are a big reason for this but there are many other reasons, as well.

The following is a list of the pros and cons of working at this store as reported by employees.


  • Very friendly work environment
  • Employees care for each other 
  • The pay is very good
  • Excellent employee benefits
  • Management can be very understanding and lenient
  • Schedules are flexible
  • 10% employee discounts
  • Consistent pay raises
  • Excellent opportunities for advancement


  • Breaks are short
  • The work can be physically demanding
  • You have to work lots of weekends
  • You are on your feet all day
  • The work can become repetitive
  • Having to deal with rude customers

Is Trader Joe’s Hiring?

Trader Joe’s is constantly hiring but due to the lack of employee turnover and a relatively small number of stores, you’ll have to check to see if there are stores in your area that are ready to employ you.

The first thing you should always do when you visit their official job opportunities page is to see the map located at the top of the page. This map will let you know if there are any job openings within your area.

Another great tip is to visit the store you’d like to work in and ask if they are hiring. Make sure you are able to make a good first impression with everyone you meet at the store; they could be your future workmates!

History of Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s began in 1958 as a chain of convenience stores in the Los Angeles, CA area. The first store known as Trader Joe’s actually opened nine years later in Pasadena, CA.

Currently, it has over 530 stores throughout the United States and employs1 over 10,000 people.

Trader Joe’s Job Openings 

Trader Joe’s is not your typical grocery store chain. The jobs available are very simplified in that there are only three basic positions; crew, mate, and captain.

If you’re working a crew position, you are basically a general associate performing duties such as working the cashier, stocking shelves and engaging with customers.

A mate is actually an assistant manager and works under the guidance of the captain, also known as the store manager.

Typically, a Trader Joe’s store has several mates working under its captain!

Trader Joe’s Crew

A crew member performs all the basic duties of an associate but stands out as a unique employee from other grocery store chains.

This is because Trader Joe’s encourages employees to express their individuality. This means they are looking for people with great personality skills who aren’t afraid to show their true selves!

If you’ve ever walked into a Trader Joe’s, you will instantly see how friendly crew members treat their customers. They treat them warmly, and they don’t hesitate to be funny and entertaining at times!

This job doesn’t require anything other than having the ability to engage with customers and making them feel like visiting Trader Joe’s is an “event” instead of something routine.

Even though a high school diploma or its equivalent is preferred for this position, it is not a requirement.

Mate (Assistant Manager)

Crew members who perform exceptionally well eventually get offered a mate position. As a mate, you continue your daily duties such as operating the cash register and bagging groceries.

The difference is, you become a leader of your team of crew members. In other grocery store chains, this job would be titled assistant store manager.

Although many employees are promoted from within to this job, someone on the outside can be hired as well as long as they meet the minimum qualifications.

These minimum qualifications include more than 2 years of experience working in a management capacity or more than 3 years of recent retail experience.

Additionally, a bachelor’s degree is preferred.

Still, many crew members with just a high school diploma, GED, or even a high school dropout can rise up the ranks and be promoted to this position in a fairly short amount of time!

As a mate, you are on track to eventually become a captain (store manager).

Captain (Store Manager)

As a captain at Trader Joe’s, you will run the entire store and supervise your mates.

The only way to get hired as a captain is to be promoted from being a mate. Trader Joe’s does not hire store managers from the outside.

Without a doubt, you’ll have to prove yourself to be an exceptional mate to be able to be considered for this job in the future.

Apply to Trader Joe’s in Person

The best way to apply is to do so in person. It’s possible to submit your Trader Joe’s application online, but it is not preferable.

This is because this company would rather meet an applicant in person than reading details about an applicant online.

Remember, Trader Joe’s is all about finding personable people who can provide excellent customer service as well as a unique shopping experience for its customers. When you apply in person, the staff members can already see if you fit the type of person they are looking for!

Therefore, print out the Trader Joe’s application pdf, fill it out carefully and completely and visit the store of your choice.

Once again, be mindful that you need to make a great first impression. So, wear comfortable clothing that suits you and fits your personality.

Try to be as personable, friendly, and lively as possible when you visit the store and meet a hiring manager. The worst thing you can do is look unapproachable, unfriendly, with the personality of an open tuna can!

If you have no choice but to apply online, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official careers page.
  2. Scroll down and click the link that says “Search for Jobs.“
  3. Scroll down to where it says “Search Crew Opportunities“ and click the link.
  4. Enter your state and click “Search.“
  5. Click on your desired position and you will be redirected to a page that describes the job.
  6. Click the “apply now“ button and begin the application process.

Trader Joe’s Application Process

If you submit your application online, you can expect to get a callback for an interview within 2 to 3 weeks if you qualify. If you apply in person, it’s not uncommon to have an interview set up within 1 week.

Either way, you’ll have an initial interview in person. It isn’t unheard of to get hired after just one interview but you usually have to go through two interviews to get hired.

Once you finish your second interview, if the company wants to hire you, you will be notified usually within 1 to 4 weeks. Of course, sometimes it can be much sooner, within a week!

Trader Joe’s Hiring Age 

Trader Joe’s requires a minimum of 16 years of age to be able to work at their stores. A 16-year-old can work a part-time crew member job and put themselves on a path to success within a few short years.

High school students who wish to already join a great company while they continue their studies in college may want to consider a part-time crew position at the age of 16. It will give anyone a great chance to earn extra money to cover educational expenses and beyond.

Does Trader Joe’s Drug Test Before Hiring?

Although Trader Joe’s does not usually drug test before they hire someone, they have been known to do so on occasion.

If you are someone from the outside trying to get hired as a mate, it is possible that you will get drug tested as well as having to submit to a full background check.


As a crewmember, you get a 10% discount on all of Trader Joe’s products.

Full-time crew members also receive a 10% contribution from the company towards their retirement plan. You don’t even have to match the 10% the company gives you!

Full-time crew members benefit greatly from the comprehensive health benefits program. This is because Trader Joe’s covers just about 83% of the insurance cost and the crew member only has to pay approximately $85 a month.

As you gain experience, the amount of days you get for paid time off also increases. 

Final Thoughts

Working at Trader Joe’s, in my opinion, is like working at no other grocery store chain.

The pay scale is excellent from top to bottom. The benefits are tremendous and unbelievably inexpensive for its workers.

The working atmosphere is extremely pleasant and fun. Many employees say working there is like being with family members and getting paid for having fun.

There’s not much more to say other than submitting a Trader Joe’s application as well as working at H-E-B and Publix, which are three excellent choices. Take your pick.

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