What it Takes to Be a Mystery Shopper

At first glance, mystery shopping seems like a job that pretty much anyone can do. However, after just one shop, I realized that it’s really not.

Mystery ShopperI believe people who demonstrate these 8 qualities make the best mystery shopper candidates.

  • NOT Lazy: Seriously. Mystery shopping is a job that requires self-motivated people. There is no one breathing down your neck all the time. You just have to do it and communicate with the mystery shopping company some along the way. If you think there’s a chance that without a boss right by your side making sure you’re actually working, you’d end up melting into your couch day in and day out, mystery shopping may not be a good choice for you.
  • Timely: People don’t just make up deadlines for fun. Deadlines exist for a slew of different reasons. If you are incapable of getting stuff done on anyone’s timeframe but your own, being a mystery shopper might not be the right job for you. While mystery shopping does give you more freedom than the average 9:00 to 5:00,  you still have to meet deadlines.
  • Outgoing: If most people would describe you as shy, you’re probably not the best candidate for mystery shopping. Keep in mind, this job requires you to make phone calls and talk to random strangers face to face.
  • Quick on your feet: We’re not looking for Jerry Seinfeld here, but to be a successful shopper, you’ve got to be quick. Regardless of how much time you spend preparing for a shop, you’re guaranteed to run into a situation where you’re put on the spot. If you don’t think you can come up with a believable answer to a question you weren’t expecting, this isn’t for you.
  • Direction Readers: When was in 5th grade, my teacher, Ms. Songster, handed out an exam. At the top of the paper, it said, “Draw a smiley face beside your name and turn the test in to get an automatic 100.” We didn’t even have to take the test to get the grade, we just had to read the directions. That was the last time I didn’t read directions. As a mystery shopper, you have to read the shop contract specifications or you’ll miss something!
  • Homework Doers: Mystery shopping requires you to do a little research. You can’t just go into a situation blind. If you’re interviewing for a job, you don’t show up to the interview with no knowledge of the company. Being a mystery shopper is very similar. Starting your shop contract without doing any research is a mistake you’ll only make once.
  • A mystery shopperObjective: You can’t be Mister Nice Guy all the time. I know it’s hard because most people you shop will have good and bad qualities. You can’t let your personal feelings toward someone affect the way you evaluate them for a shop. (Especially the ones you really like who don’t really do that great of a job.) There’s definitely something to be said for being a likable human being and you can totally say it in the report, but it doesn’t mean you can give them points on other stuff.
  • Observant: If you’re the kind of person who could talk to someone for an hour and not remember what color they were wearing five minutes after the conversation is over, then mystery shopping is probably not for you. Being a mystery shopper requires you to keep your eyes and ears open all the time. If this isn’t your thing, then neither is mystery shopping.

If you think you’ve got all of these qualifications covered, sign up to be a mystery shopper. Mystery shopping can be a very fun and easy way to make money on a very part-time basis, but it’s not for everyone.


Lindley K