Hire the Right Retail Staff: 4 Pointers

No matter how good you may be at spotting talent, most retailers can use a refresh when evaluating their hiring processes. It’s no secret that employees are among a business’s most valuable resources, but you need to have the right people to run a productive, efficient, successful business.

The first thing you need to do is evaluate the extent of your business’ need to expand its staff. Data from a people counting solution will provide valuable insights that show when traffic is heaviest and lightest. Use this data to determine if you have enough staff to cover the busiest times without having to pay overtime (especially in light of pending overtime law changes).

When you confirm that you need additional employees, here are four tips that can help you find the best candidates for positions with your company:

  1. Write a Better Job Description. Finding the right employee all starts with how the job description details the position. An employment ad that’s too vague may not attract the right kind of people. Be sure to include the kinds of abilities, skills, traits and talents that your ideal candidate would have. For example, a store associate should be friendly and warm and have great people skills. A stockroom worker would need to be able to lift heavy objects and manage time efficiently. By highlighting specific characteristics you’re seeking, you’re more likely to attract and hire the right talent.
  2. Put the Word Out. Beyond listing a job ad in your local newspaper or on employment websites, there are things you can do to get the word out about your vacancy. Mention your opening on social media platforms such as Facebook. Who knows: maybe someone who “likes” your store would love to work for you. LinkedIn is an important platform on which to share job openings. Someone already in your network may be looking to make a career move. And when you need to hire the right retail staff, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. Let family and friends know you’re hiring; you never know who they’ll tell and just how far word can spread quickly.
  3. Be a Great Interviewer. So you’ve found some interesting candidates who have made it to the interview stage. Don’t drop the ball at the most important step in the hiring process. To hire the right retail staff, ask pointed questions to determine if they’re a good match for the position. A quick search of the Internet will yield myriad sites listing common interview questions. Some of the best and most fruitful ones are:
  • Is the candidate self-aware? Does she know her strengths and weaknesses and how to handle them?
  • What motivates the candidate? Is it simply money (or the lure of an employee discount), or perhaps it’s the opportunity to move ahead in his career? Or maybe it’s the pleasure that comes with working with and helping people.
  • What are the candidate’s soft skills? And how can they use them to excel in the position you’re hiring for?
  • How does the candidate react to stress? Throw out a hypothetical scenario — or one based on actual data from your people counting solution about having to serve a recent onslaught of customers — and see how the candidate says she’d manage it.

Remember that the interview process is a two-way street. Encourage the candidate to ask you questions, too. This will ideally resolve anything she’s unclear about and it will also give you a good sense of the things that are important to her.

  1. Are You Compatible? Hiring is a lot like dating. To hire the right retail staff, avoid a premature “breakup” by figuring out early on if the candidate you’re considering is compatible with your business and culture. For example, someone who doesn’t adapt well may not be a good fit for your fast-paced environment where workers must learn new skills constantly. Or maybe a left-brained individual would not excel selling wares in your artsy, crafty store. Try to get a bead on the candidate’s work ethic; does she do the bare minimum or is she enthusiastic and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty?

The next time you have an opening at your business, keep this primer close by for reference. A people counting solution will help you base the need for additional staff on data, and these four tips will prepare you to hire the right retail staff.

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