Finding great retail employees can be challenging, especially in times of record low unemployment rates. Here are your Tips For Hiring Great Retail Employees:
The National Retail Federation says that only 11 percent of retail workers are teenagers. Most retail workers are actually adults… adults with bills. And with a lower than average wage [$10.43 per hour for a retail sales associate versus average earnings of private nonfarm U.S. employees at $27.83 per hour], many retail workers are working multiple jobs and require flexible schedules. Because of this, retail managers should keep schedule flexibility in mind when looking for great employees.
Retailers often rely on the busy holiday shopping season for added revenues, and boost hiring to help. But adding staff for the holidays can be challenging due to increased competition and, for permanent job seekers, the fact that many of the positions being offered are temporary.
One great strategy is to start your recruiting process before the holiday season, even as early as the summer. This can help you assess and lock-in more talented employees before your competition.
Retailers should consider the types of employees they need before starting the process. Then, look for the best ways to reach that audience. If you’re hiring unskilled seasonal employees, you might consider using job boards like Craigslist. If you’re seeking higher-level employees with more experience, then the LinkedIn or Indeed platforms might be a better place to advertise those positions.
You can also ask your current or former employees to act as recruiters. Those who know that you offer a great place to work can be great evangelists.
So… you’ve found your outstanding job candidates… now it’s time for interviews. What questions should you ask? HubSpot suggests you should ask, “Why do you want to work in retail for our company?” Ideally, an applicant will provide an answer that reflects a fondness for your brand and your merchandise. The candidate might also answer that they like interacting with people. If he or she focuses on money or other personal topics, this might be a sign of a bad fit.
Here’s another great idea. Most retail job interviews are conducted in a back office so that there are few interruptions. A retail executive, told Vend that he recommends taking the candidate out to the sales floor. Then you can watch how the candidate interacts with other employees and possibly customers.
Another good topic to discuss during the interview is “customer service”. Today’s customers have plenty of choices, and feel entitled to receive great service. Good customer service skills include listening, patience, empathy, and a desire to help others. Ask the candidate, “What do you consider good customer service?” HubSpot suggests the ideal responses to that question might include something like “each customer should be valued” or “the customer should leave the store feeling appreciated”. If candidates respond about themselves, seem to lack empathy, or are more interested in just ringing up transactions, they may not have the soft skills needed for good customer service.
Even WITH low unemployment rates, employers can find better retail employees by: being flexible with scheduling; beginning recruitment efforts early in the season; looking for candidates where they’re looking for work; ensuring candidates are going to be passionate about your brand and culture; and performing service-based interviews including evaluating candidates in a real-life setting. These tips can help you to attract, screen, hire, and ultimately retain great employees for your retail business.
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