8 Eye-Openers for Hiring Great Retail Employees

Jane Hurst
Guest Contributor

Store associates are a source of competitive advantage, and the right staff can make all the difference between success and struggle.

One of the biggest problems for retailers is finding great employees. After all, many people see retail jobs as stepping stones to bigger and better things, and have no intention of sticking with this type of job for any longer than they have to. But, this doesn’t mean there are no great retail employees to be had. If you are a retailer, you need to be able to weed through the applicants to find the best talent, people who will be proud to do their jobs, and who aren’t going to turn around and quit for something else in a few months.

Let’s take a look at eight things you can do in order to hire the best retail employees.

1 – Offer Better Hours

Many retail outlets only offer part-time hours, so employees end up working short shifts. While this does help you to avoid paying overtime, it is not worth it in the long run. You end up with employees who are working two or three jobs, and are never fully immersing themselves in the culture of your business.

2 – Don’t Hire Competitors’ Leftovers

You may think that by hiring someone who has worked for your competitor is a good move because they have experience and training. But, they don’t actually have the training to work for your company, and there is likely a pretty good reason why they are no longer working for your competition. You need people who are fresh and new.

3 – Don’t Hire Based on Experience

It is not always the best idea to hire someone who has experience in the world of retail listed on their resume. In fact, it is often best to hire someone who has never worked in the industry at all. This gives you a chance to train your employees the way you want, and they won’t be bringing old habits with them. Look at their skills, particularly people skills.

4 – Watch Them in Action

Rather than holding interviews in the office or at the food court, walk through the store while you are talking to candidates. Watch how they react to various situations, how they interact with others, etc. This is not only going to make the interview more relaxed, it is also going to give you an opportunity to see if the candidates are a fit with your business.

5 – Look for Excellent People Skills

In retail, it is of the utmost importance that you hire employees who play well with others. Not only do they need to be great team players, they also need to have terrific people skills to help them deal with the public on a daily basis, no matter what the situation.

6 – Don’t Hire on the Spot

Even if you think that you have found the absolute best candidate and don’t want to look any further, don’t hire on the spot. Ask your candidate to call you back at a specific time the following day. This is going to give you some time to check their references and interview others, just in case there is someone who is even more qualified.

7 – Sell Your Company to Potential Candidates

If you are interested in hiring candidates , you need to be able to convince them that yours is a company they would enjoy working for. Tell them about the company history, the environment you are trying to create, if you offer employee benefits, etc.

8 – Don’t Go with Your Gut

You may think you have found the perfect employee, but remember, no one is perfect. Don’t always trust your first gut instinct, but rather, do more digging to find something that may not be so great. This is going to put your mindset into a more balanced perspective.

About the writer: Jane Hurst is a writer, editor and avid traveler from San Francisco, CA. Find her on Twitter.

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