whole foods employee helping a customer

12 Surefire Tips to Get a Job At Whole Foods

People who get a job at Whole Foods have a career that supports physical health, personal growth and giving back to the community. The natural grocery chain appeals to people who want more out of a job than just a paycheck.

Unfortunately, the company’s reputation and belief system make it an extremely popular place to work. Job candidates have to get noticed from among the 1.5 million applicants Whole Foods gets each year.

The bottom line is jobs with Whole Foods are difficult to get.

So difficult in fact, the company says it has a lower admission rate than Harvard. In 2019 Harvard’s acceptance rate was 4.5% with fewer than 2,000 students getting the nod to study there.

But, don’t let this bit of rain dampen your plans to get hired at Whole Foods. Here are 12 tips to put the hiring odds in your favor.

Before You Apply for a Job With Whole Foods

1. Spend Time at Whole Foods

If you don’t already shop there, shop there. Spend time in the store. Talk to employees. Ask them to help you find something or watch them interact with other customers.

How do employees act with each other? Do they seem happy to be there? I went to an interview (not at Whole Foods) where the employees all looked miserable. It was a huge red flag.

What vibe do you get from Whole Foods employees? Do they recite canned responses or do they genuinely answer the questions? Look at their products, the store layout. Can you see yourself working there?

What about the commute? Is it easy to get there or is it an hour and a half drive? Can you afford to live nearby?

2. Do a Simple SWOT Analysis

In marketing, a SWOT Analysis gives you the lay of the land. What are the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?

Strengths and weaknesses are the good and bad points the company can control. Opportunities and threats are outside forces that help or hurt the company.

This research will help you answer the tricky interview question why do you want to work here?

Strengths — Brand Recognition and Customer Loyalty

Whole Foods has built its strong reputation by transforming the mundane act of grocery shopping into a fun experience.

According to the company’s web site, “We create store environments that are inviting, fun, unique, comfortable, attractive, nurturing, and educational. 

Our stores are community meeting places where people can join their friends and make new ones.”

Weaknesses — Pricing and the Parent Company

Pricing has long been a weakness for Whole Foods. Some people simply can’t stomach paying more for something that they can get cheaper somewhere else.

Despite attempts at offering discounts to Amazon Prime members and lowering prices, Whole Foods is seen as expensive.

Opportunities — Growth In Organic Foods Revenues

According to a 2017 report, the global organic food & beverage market is expected to grow from $91 billion in 2015 to $320.5 billion by 2025.

Even better news — fruits and vegetables accounted for 37% of the revenue share in 2015 and will generate $110 billion by 2025.

Millennials are driving this change in shopper attitudes. More than 63 percent of them say they are trying to eat less processed foods.

A whopping 80 percent of them are willing to pay more for better quality food and transparent sourcing.

All of this is a good indicator of continued growth for Whole Foods.

Whole Foods Threats

The biggest threat is competitors like Walmart and the economy.

Although Walmart and Whole Foods are philosophically as different as they come, they are fighting for your grocery dollars.

Writing a Whole Foods Resume

Your job search starts with finding jobs with Whole Foods that exemplify your skills and experience. The match has to be spot on.

Companies such as Google, Apple, and Whole Foods have the pick of the litter from qualified candidates. The job descriptions are not a wishlist, but a list of minimums.

Your resume has to accomplish two things. First, it must communicate that you exceed every part of the job description. Then it must convince the person reading it to contact you for an interview.

3. Customize Your Resume to Get a Job at Whole Foods

Tailor your resume to a specific job. It shows recruiters that you are serious about getting hired at Whole Foods. Remember, this is equivalent to applying to Havard. You need to bring your A-game.

The Whole Foods hiring process is all about getting to know its prospective employees. If you show them that you are a great fit for the job you are applying to, then you may get an interview.

4. Use the Job Description to Write Your Summary Statement (Statement of Qualifications)

Whole Foods’ job listings are divided into sections. Each section provides valuable information about what the company’s priorities are, who they are looking for and how you can impress them. The Job Description section will tell you what you need to say in your summary statement. Let’s go through an example.

Whole Foods Job Listing Screenshot

This job description is simple. Your summary of qualifications should focus on your packaging design experience, preferably in the food industry. If you don’t have packaging design experience, do not apply for this job.

5. Match the Core Responsibilities with What You Are Looking For in a Job

The next section in the Whole Foods job listing is the Core Responsibilities. This is a gut check to see if the job duties align with what you are looking for in a job. This is Whole Foods’ sell on why this job is so great.

You need to ask yourself: Can you do these things? Do you really want to do these things? Are they things that will make you happy? Here are the Core Responsibilities for the packaging graphic designer.

Notice the words used in the list. Can you follow brand guidelines and direction from a supervisor? You won’t get the creative freedom to design whatever you want.

You must surprise and delight customers with your designs, but there are also regulatory requirements from the FDA that will crimp your amazing ideas. Can you balance fun with fundamental?

Also, you will be coordinating all photo shoots. So say goodbye to sitting in your dimmed cubicle meticulously measuring your use of white space. You have to wrangle with photographers and food stylists. Is this a dealbreaker?

Part of finding your dream job is to be honest about how well it will fit. Don’t apply to jobs that almost fit. Wait for the right one. It will be amazing.

6. Whole Foods’ Must-Haves Tell You Exactly What Your Resume Should Say

The Must Have/Be section is what Whole Foods wants from you. No exceptions.

The hiring process is so competitive, that you have to go above and beyond this list to really stand out. If you are missing an item, cross the job off of your list.

Here are the must-haves for the packaging designer.

Think of the list of must-haves as a ranking of what is most important to Whole Foods.

They want to see your work. That will advance or eliminate you quickly. All graphic designers should have a portfolio.

Be sure to include the link prominently in the contact information section of the resume and in your cover letter.

Your resume should show that you know the technical aspects of using vectors in print design, that you can follow directions, you take criticism well and that you pitch in no matter what the task.

Be sure to list all software and job skills that are in the must-haves on your resume. Make it easy for them to make a match.

If you don’t live in that location, say you are planning to relocate there.

7. You Must Submit a Cover Letter

Whole Foods recruiters want a cover letter. Send them one.

Not only do resumes with cover letters stand out, but their hiring managers appreciate them because they make your application more personal.

On that note, don’t just send them a rote template, although this one is a good start. Be creative.

Look at your resume and elaborate on items that demonstrate your talents in packaging design. 

A highly-effective cover letter tactic is to choose four of your strengths and describe how you use them in your current job. Your strengths are many, but try to choose the ones that most align with the Whole Foods Core Values.

Whole Foods store in Houston.

8. Learn the Core Values and How They Relate to the Job You Want

  • We sell the highest-quality natural and organic foods.” In many of the job descriptions, you are expected to monitor the freshness of the products.
  • We satisfy and delight our customers.” Delight is the keyword here. What have you done above and beyond to delight customers?
  • We promote team member growth and happiness.” (employees should want to develop their Whole Foods career, not just work a job. What is your goal?
  • We create profits and prosperity.”
  • We care about our communities and the environment.” What do you do for your community?
  • We practice win-win partnerships with our suppliers.” Win-win situations. The benefits of working together.

9. Go Where the Whole Foods Jobs Are

Consider moving to have more of a chance at getting hired at Whole Foods. This could also mean starting out part-time.

I am not saying you should settle for something you don’t want. Just get a foot in the door to a high-demand company and work your way up.

Top 5 Cities for Whole Foods Jobs (Full-time)

  1. Austin
  2. San Francisco
  3. Delray Beach
  4. Seattle
  5. Vancouver, B.C.

Top 5 Cities for Whole Foods Jobs (Part-time)

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Brooklyn
  4. Delray Beach
  5. Vancouver, B.C.

Whole Foods has 500 stores located nationwide and in the United Kingdom. You can get the most recent numbers here.

About the Whole Foods Interview

If a recruiter thinks you’re a good candidate, you’ll get an email to schedule a 15-minute phone screen.

Then you’ll be asked to speak to the hiring manager over the phone or in-person. Next comes the panel interview.

The panel interview is granted to the top handful of candidates. But before the interview happens, you may be asked to do Due Diligence.

10. Due Diligence is Serious Business

Due Diligence has two purposes: One, it is a way to prepare for the panel interview by researching who you would work with and getting to know the core values in action. Two, you can assess how well you would fit in and if you are willing to happily do the work that is asked of you.

During this exercise, you can’t just spy on people on LinkedIn. You are expected to visit the store or call team members to find out how the department is performing. The information that you gather will come up in your panel interview, so pay attention and take notes.

Why It Works

The approach from Whole Foods makes a lot of sense. Most job interviews offer a limited view of the candidate and the company. Using the Whole Foods method, you get to chat with your prospective co-workers to learn more about the role and what they expect from you. You can get a pretty good idea if you are going to like your new job.

The panel interviewers will choose the person they want to hire. It’s a long process, but once you’re in, you’re in.

If you do not get selected, you can apply for other jobs, but focus on 2-3 at a time. If you apply for everything, it makes you look as if you don’t know what you want.

11. Wear Business Casual to the Interview

According to users on Glassdoor, common interview questions involved the Whole Foods Core Values.

People were also asked: If you were an animal, what animal would you be? The company also asks every candidate why they want to join Whole Foods.

12. Say Thank You

Yes, the company gets a gajillion thank-you notes, but it wants you to send a sincere note or email. Be specific, mention how stoked you are at the opportunity.

Be honest.


While careers at Whole Foods are hard to come by, with some persistence and patience, you could reach your goal.

Concentrate on showing the company how you can demonstrate their values and keep at it.

Ask yourself why you really want to work there. Come up with three answers that you could use.

They don’t have a million job candidates because they are a meh place to work for. A job with Whole Foods will be worth the effort. Good luck and go get ’em.