A complete guide to a career at Instacart

Last updated: September 21, 2023
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A complete guide to a career at Instacart
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Instacart has over 750 retail partners and more than 600,000 shoppers. It's a game changer in the grocery industry, as customers can purchase from their favorite brands without leaving the house.

Instacart has a range of jobs available, including personal shoppers, customer service specialists, and brand ambassadors. If you're ready for a career change, Instacart is a company worth considering.

Before you send in your application, there are a few things you should know. In this ultimate Instacart careers guide, you'll learn about the application process and the types of benefits you may receive.

Plus, we'll explain how Instacart's background check works and tell you where to start your job search.

What is Instacart?

Apoorva Mehta founded Instacart in San Francisco in 2012. Customers can use the shopper app to order groceries and have them delivered to their door. Alternatively, an in-store shopper can pick and pack a customer's order — readying it for curbside pickup.

Instacart is a leader in grocery delivery, with services available in both the US and Canada. In fact, in the US, the company has a grocery delivery market share of 45% and over nine million app downloads.

Depending on the location, Instacart offers same-day delivery for online groceries. Customers also have the option to order up to two weeks in advance.

Instacart partners with a range of stores, including ALDI, Costco, Kroger, and Sam's Club. Shopping at smaller, local grocers is also available.

It's a tech-savvy online grocery delivery service that has a positive company culture. You can work as an independent shopper or apply for a part-time or full-time job.

What do you need to work at Instacart?

For most Instacart jobs, the minimum age requirement is eighteen years old. You need to be eligible to work in the country and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

To work as a food delivery driver or truck driver, you'll need a valid driver's license, vehicle insurance, and a clean driving record. You'll also need a reliable vehicle and a smartphone with access to the internet.

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Some roles require lifting over 30 pounds, and you can spend long hours on your feet.

To work at Instacart, you'll need attention to detail. For example, full-service shoppers make sure groceries are fresh, and they give customers updates in real time.

Other skills that'll help you stand out include customer service, communication, reliability, and time management.

If you have experience in the retail, tech, transport, or food industry, that'll also be an advantage.

Each job will have unique requirements, so always read the job description before you hit the apply button.

How do you apply for a job at Instacart?

If you want to work as an independent contractor and choose your own hours, you can apply for a job as an Instacart full-service shopper. You'll need to create a free account here.

For those who don't have transport and want to work as an in-store shopper, you can start here.

For both options, you'll need to enter a few details to kickstart your account. For example, Instacart asks for your first and last name, email, cell phone number, and zip or postal code. Before you can proceed, you have to agree to the terms and conditions.

Next, you'll need to download the Instacart app. You can do this via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, depending on which device you use. Once you've gone through the sign-up process, there'll be a background check.

Visit our Instacart application guide for more details.

There are also other exciting opportunities available with Instacart in finance, sales, customer experience, business operations, technical delivery, and software engineering. If you want to apply, head to the Instacart careers section on the company's website.

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Or, you can browse Instacart positions on our job board. You can create a Jobcase account, set up job alerts, and chat with other like-minded individuals.

Instacart interview tips

Not all Instacart jobs require an interview. For example, if you want to work as an Instacart shopper, you'll just need to fill out the application and pass a background check. In some locations, an in-store grocery shopping trial may also be required.

For hourly roles, an interview can be part of the hiring process. If you're asked to meet with a manager, make sure you arrive about 10 minutes before the start time.

Practice your interview questions and answers before the day comes. Focus on any relevant experience you have, as well as your transferable skills.

You can target your answers to the job type. For example, if you're going for a customer service role, you can focus on your communication skills, teamwork, and experience in the retail, grocery, or restaurant industry.

Take a copy of your resume to the interview, and choose neat and tidy attire. For most job interviews, business casual is the safest dress code.

Sometimes, Instacart interviews happen via video chat or phone.

Instacart interview questions

Got an invitation to an Instacart interview? Here are some of the most common questions you may be asked:

  • Why do you want to work at Instacart?

  • Tell us about a time when you gave excellent customer service.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

  • What do you know about the Instacart brand?

  • How do you work as part of a team?

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

  • What is your availability?

  • Do you have any experience in the grocery industry?

  • If you made a mistake at work, what would you do next?

Does Instacart do a background check?

Yes, Instacart does a background check before you can start work. Once you give permission, a third-party company will prepare a background report.

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Instacart often uses Checkr for the background check process. Sometimes, it uses another company called Sterling.

Most criminal background checks go back 10 years. They flag any felonies or misdemeanors found in local, state, and national databases. Instacart wants to know that you'll be a low risk to customers, partners, and other team members.

If you're applying to work as a food delivery driver, there'll also be a driving background check. Because you'll be on the road representing Instacart, a safe driving history is on the company's priority list. Any serious offenses, such as reckless driving, DUIs, excessive speeding, or leaving the scene of an accident, are red flags.

Instacart can use the background check to verify the information on your application, including your education and previous work experience.

The background check is toward the end of the application process. If you do have issues in your past and have made changes in your life, you can explain your circumstances in the job interview.

Read our comprehensive guide to learn more about the Instacart background check process.

Does Instacart do a drug test?

For most Instacart positions, there's no drug test. As long as you pass the background check, you'll be eligible for the job.

Don't forget that your background check will show any offenses, So, if you've ever been charged with a drug or alcohol-related crime, it'll show up on your record.

What are the top Instacart employee benefits?

If you work for this online grocery delivery service, you'll get a few perks. Even though an Instacart shopper is an independent contractor, they can have benefits.

For example, there's shopper injury protection, which connects you to healthcare providers. You can get coverage for medical expenses and income support for you and your family in the event of a workplace accident.

You'll get access to a platform called Care, which helps you with a range of services, such as childcare support and tutors. Plus, some employees are eligible for sick pay and student loan assistance.

Learn more about Instacart shopper benefits in our guide.

Those on an hourly wage may be entitled to additional benefits. For example, eligible employees can get a 401(k) retirement plan, with some of their pre-tax income set aside for their retirement.

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There are also health benefits, including medical, vision, dental insurance, and reduced-cost prescription medication. Depending on your hours, you may even be eligible for sick leave and vacation leave.

If you'd like to know more about the specific employee benefits that come with a role, check out the job description. You can also ask the hiring manager during the job interview.

What is the average Instacart salary?

The salary for Instacart shoppers can vary. Because they work as independent contractors, there's no set rate. You can choose your own hours and work as much or as little as you like.

The online shopping platform will show you how much you'll make per batch. Plus, you can earn tips and make more during busy periods.

What's the average for food delivery drivers? In the US, it's between $9.00 and $22.00 per hour.

Don't forget that there are also other roles available at Instacart. If you want to work as an in-store personal shopper, the average rate is $14.00 per hour.

A customer success specialist can make $18.00 per hour, while a social media specialist can make $22.00 per hour.

Senior positions come with a higher salary. For example, operations managers make $30.14 an hour, and account managers make $35.69 per hour. Software engineers make around $55.58 per hour.

What jobs are available at Instacart?

There is a range of current Instacart job openings. To help you decide which position to apply for, here's a rundown of some of the top positions:

1. Shopper

There are two types of Instacart shoppers. The first is a personal shopper who visits stores and collects fresh groceries for customers. They drop these orders off at the customer's door, often with same-day delivery.

Instacart food delivery drivers are independent contractors. They can choose their own hours and often work around other commitments.

The second option is to work as an in-store Instacart shopper. They're usually paid hourly, and they pick orders that are ready for collection.

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For both of these roles, you'll need to have excellent communication skills. You should be tech-savvy and able to navigate the Instacart app. Teamwork, reliability, and good time management are also essential skills.

There are both ongoing positions and temporary opportunities available for Instacart shoppers.

Experience as a professional driver, warehouse team member, or retail worker will be beneficial.

2. Shift lead

Shift leads work with retail partners to support in-store shoppers. They train new team members and give them feedback.

Shift leads understand how the shopping process works and know the layout of the store. They make sure shoppers work as a team to prepare orders on time.

They check that orders are accurate and that all grocery items are fresh and in-date. If they notice any issues, they'll report them to their manager. And if a shopper has a concern, they can find a solution.

Shift leaders are familiar with all Instacart policies. To work in this role, you'll need leadership skills, communication skills, and organizational skills.

3. Brand ambassador

Instacart is one of the leading food delivery companies, but it also has other product offerings. Brand ambassadors promote their products to customers.

For example, the company is looking for ambassadors to showcase virtual carts. These can be used for in-store shopping — without the need for a cashier.

When customers enter the store, the brand ambassador will greet them and explain how the product works. They answer questions and provide assistance if required.

They ask customers about their product experience, and they take this feedback to management.

To be successful, you'll need to be friendly and have excellent communication skills. You should be a fast learner and confident using the mobile e-commerce platform.

Brand ambassadors need to be well-presented and enthusiastic. Experience in sales, retail, or technology will be an advantage.

4. HR generalist

If you have experience in human resources (HR), you can apply for a job as an HR generalist.

This can be a remote or in-office position, and successful candidates are up to date with labor laws. They work closely with new managers to make sure they're following local rules and regulations.

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If an employee has concerns about their work situation, they can discuss them with HR. HR generalists are also familiar with benefit entitlements and company policies.

They're there during exit interviews and can answer any questions the interviewee might have.

Those working in HR need excellent communication skills, confidentiality, and analytical skills. Computer skills are also essential.

5. Customer service representative

Instacart customer service representatives answer phone calls. They speak to both customers and shoppers and offer support. They answer questions and troubleshoot issues.

If someone has a complaint, a customer service rep will use their conflict management skills to diffuse the situation.

Customer service representatives are proud to be part of the Instacart brand and try to give everyone a positive experience. If they don't have the answer, they'll follow up.

Customer service representatives need excellent phone skills. They're good at communicating and have superb time management skills. If you have experience working in customer service or a call center, that'll be an advantage.

These positions can be remote or hybrid, depending on where you live.

6. Social media specialist

Instacart social media specialists provide customer service via social media. They use a range of online platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to connect with customers, shoppers, and partners.

Instacart social media specialists work with marketing and PR teams to create content.

For example, they create videos and images, and they also write posts.

Social media specialists help promote the Instacart brand and respond to questions and comments.

These tech-savvy team members read reviews and look for common issues. They compile reports so that the company can make improvements.

Excellent written communication skills and graphic design experience can help you get the job. You should also feel confident using different social media platforms.

Where to get an Instacart job

Think Instacart is the company for you? To apply for a full-service shopper position, you can start your contractor application here. Alternatively, you can apply for an in-store shopper position.

If you'd prefer, there are also hourly and salary roles available. Head to the Instacart website and check out the careers page to see what's available in your area. You can browse by department or enter a search term.

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Remember, the Jobcase job board is updated regularly. You can browse Instacart positions and see the other companies hiring nearby. You can search by company name, position, and location.

All about Instacart careers

Instacart is a popular grocery delivery service. The company has a number of job vacancies, with roles such as Instacart shoppers, shift leads, brand ambassadors, HR generalists, customer service representatives, and social media specialists.

If you're thinking of applying, there are opportunities for both independent contractors and full- and part-time employees. Full-service shoppers can choose their own hours and make extra cash when they need it.

The application process starts online, and you'll need to pass a background check. To work at Instacart, you'll need excellent communication skills and to be a team player. Those in driving positions will need a reliable vehicle and smartphone.

Looking for a new role? Head over to our job board. We also have more articles and guides in our resource center.



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