Hiring in Retail: How to Build Your Superstar Team

A great retail employee showing excellent customer experience

Cris Willis

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The first quarter of 2021 for independent retail stores has been much like last year with pandemic lockdowns, limited capacity, consumer uncertainty, and changing rules.  However, with the increase in the number of vaccines being given, it is possible that in the 3rd quarter, the U.S. could be reaching herd immunity.  As more and more states and communities open up to larger gatherings and consumers feel safer out in public, people will want to get out of the house, be together and share experiences. One of the things that people have missed is “retail therapy.”  The Associated of Psychological Science reported “that more than half of Americans have admitted they have tried “retail therapy” to boost their mood at some point in time.

By 2023 e-commerce will make up 22% of global retail sales. That means 78% of retail sales will still come from an in-store experience.  You need to have a Super Star Staff that provides a wonderful and memorable experience for your customers.

It is time to rethink staff development and your hiring process.

As the country starts to reopen and the traffic in your store picks up, you need to hire some new associates. Do you have a consistent set of steps you use to attract applicants, screen candidates, and bring on new team members?

You need to attract the best candidates and have a hiring process that makes sure you hire your company’s best fit.

Let people know you’re hiring

First, it starts with a great help-wanted ad and posting it in the right places for your business.  Always be on the lookout for great people in your community.  You never know where you might find your next great associate.  To learn more about The Secret To Finding High-Quality Employees, watch this video from WhizBang! Training.

Have a professional application

Second, you need to have an application for employment that every candidate fills out. If you do not have one, you can use many online resources to create or download one. Your application should ask for all the essential facts you will need to determine whether or not to hire the candidate.  

Every job application needs to ask these basic items:

  • Applicant’s name, address, phone number
  • Position applying for
  • Days/hours available to work
  • Part-time or Full-time
  • Education – High School, College, Trade School, etc
  • Work Experience for the past five years or more – Business name and contact information, title, how long with the company, the reason for leaving, list of the skills learned, and duties performed at each job.
  • Military Service
  • Felony Convictions
  • Citizenship or proof of legal right to work in the community
  • References

Be sure your application has your business name on it and a place for the date that the applicant fills it out.

Be organized in your interview process

And lastly, you need to have an organized interview process. Be sure to do the following:

  • Have a standard set of questions you have prepared to ask every candidate.
  • Ask personal questions like “What do you like to do for fun?” or “What do you do to keep yourself organized?”.
  • When you hear an answer that intrigues you, use the follow-up question, “Tell me more.”
  • Be comfortable with silence. Don’t be tempted to fill it prematurely; let the candidate think and formulate their answers.
  • Take good notes and immediately after the interview. Write down your thoughts and their specific strengths and weaknesses and summarize your overall impression.
  • Do background checks.
  • Narrow down your list and then conduct a second interview for your top candidates.
  • Choose carefully, never hire and hope they work out. Do not hire someone unless you truly believe they will succeed.

Give a solid job offer

Once you have selected your top candidate, it is time to extend a job offer.  Prepare an official job offer letter containing salary, benefits, start date, etc., and be sure to include a job description.  It is always best to have everything in writing to avoid misunderstandings and to make sure the new associate understands what is expected in their new position.

Read More: Hiring & Training Successful Associates

Build your superstar team

Creating a great staff full of superstar employees is one of your most important jobs as a retail store owner or manager.  For a complete Staff Development guide and everything else, you need to know to run an exceptional retail store, check out the Retail Mastery System. This system contains 11 modules covering these essential retail skills:  marketing, staff development, digital marketing, customer service, selling, store operations, visual merchandising, inventory management, assortment planning, financial management, and personal business skills. Each section has video lessons, sample forms, checklists, templates, spreadsheets, audio tracks, and more.

Cris Willis

Cris is a business coach for independent retailers. With 25 years of experience owning and operating a family business, she now guides retail owners to make smarter decisions regarding inventory management, marketing, sales training, product assortment, and more. When not at work, she loves to travel the country with her husband in their motorhome.

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