To Hire or Not To Hire?
One of the biggest mistakes that retail businesses make when hiring employees is to believe that one size fits all. Businesses are different. Even in the same industry. You need to be clear about who fits within your organization. It is nearly impossible to hire a great retail employee without first understanding what makes a great retail employee.
According to Grant D. Robinson of the firm People Values, “Three of four new employees will disappoint during their first week on the job.” The number one reason is that they don’t fit the culture of the organization.
That means the smart move is to determine the qualities that make your best employees successful and then use those traits as the jumping off point for finding new employees.
Identify Your Best Retail Employees
Do you know who your best retail employees are? Chances are when you analyze the qualities of your most successful employees you will find some similarities. For retail, that may mean top-notch communication and customer service skills, the ability to self motivate, a strong work ethic as well as flexibility and reliability.
A recent study from the University ofSouth Carolina’s Moore School of Business suggests the importance of identifying the traits of successful retail employees. Specifically, the researchers found that “many retailers maintain a certain amount of skepticism about the value of investing in frontline service employees.” However, “no matter what methods a store employs to hire its employees, it is important to match people to the demands of the job as well as the goals and realities of the organization.”
Therefore, your first move should be to identify the personal qualities that work well in your business. Do this by talking to those in the know: your best employees. Make it a point to seek their input regarding the qualities they feel are necessary to do their job well. In addition, talk to store managers to get their viewpoint. It is always beneficial to compare what management feels are the necessary skill sets with what the actual workers feel are important.
Take your time and develop a good understanding of what differentiates the very successful employees from the average or poor workers. Utilize this benchmark every time you hire a new employee.
Carefully Screen Candidates before Hiring
One of the biggest mistakes that employers make (retail or otherwise) is to have a knee-jerk reaction when it comes to hiring. Generally, this happens when filling a last-minute need. Retailers wind up hiring any old warm body. However, if you want to find and hire the best retail employees, give yourself plenty of time and use these five tips.
Utilize multiple methods of attracting candidates. This might include using local non-profit associations, employee referrals, online job postings and government services. The wider you cast your net, the better chance you have of finding a more diverse talent pool.
Screen candidates thoroughly. According to CareerBuilder.com, people frequently “embellish” their resumes. The most common falsehoods people admitted to using were:
38% embellished their job responsibilities
- 18% lied about their skill set
- 12% had been dishonest about their start and end dates of employment
- 10% falsified an academic degree
- 7% lied about the companies they had worked for
- 5% were untruthful about their job title
Use behavioral interviewing techniques. Behavioral interviewing delves deep into each candidate’s background and work experience by asking open-ended questions that require a more analytical and thoughtful response.
Consider pre-employment assessments. Look for valid, reliable assessment tests or as hiring consultant Dr. Pierre Mornell suggests, give an assignment before the interview. Have them visit one of your stores. It helps to assess the candidate’s level of motivation and allows you to ask for their observations during the interview.
Conduct background checks. Hire a service if you must, but make sure to check references, validate social security numbers and use credit (be sure it is legal in your state) and/or criminal background checks. You may also want to visit the National Retail Mutual Association retail theft database.
When it comes to recruiting, it makes no sense to reinvent the wheel or rush the process. Figure out what already works, and you stand a good chance of duplicating your success.