During our April 29, Webinar, Karen Barry of The Friedman Group talked about interviewing and hiring retail salespeople and how most companies get it wrong.
Also, join us for our next webinar in the series titled:
The number one constraint in retail is recruiting, hiring and training salespeople in a short period of time.
In order to be successful in finding great people, you have to start by asking yourself ,on a really deeper level, what the traits are that you are genuinely looking for in salespeople..Of course, it is not a one size fits all process, but there are traits that all high performance retail salespeople possess, regardless of brand and demographic. These include:
How do you attract and evaluate a pool of candidates that have those skills and the specific ones you are looking for that match your company culture?
First, realize it’s important to attract as many applicants as possible, not narrow the number of people who apply for the job right away, so that you can increase your ability to choose.
Start off by being prepared with a thorough, detailed job responsibility checklist of what your sales staff does on a daily basis. This can be used as a sales hiring tool because it helps you keep account of what you are hiring for. It also helps you create questions that will immediately weed out unqualified applicants.
Require a completed application regardless of if they submitted a resume. At this stage, include the legal requirements of hiring including providing your EEO statement and sexual harassment policy.
Provide a welcome letter, a one pager answering the most common questions applicants will have. It’s a great timesaver and it gives you a sense of their comprehension. This letter should include information on compensation, benefits, a brief list of job responsibilities and what to expect in the interviewing/hiring process. Abide by all legal guidelines here. This applies to phone conversations as well. And make sure all interviewers understand and practice these legal guidelines.
After you’ve weeded out the unqualified applicants, you are ready to move on to the first interview stage where you continue the process of disqualifying applicants.
First interviews should be short and should involve input from the direct supervisor because they have to live with the choice, so you need their buy-in.
The purpose of the second interview is to qualify the applicants, by making a good match with your store, staff and culture. This should take you an hour. This stage is about expectation, not discovery. Here’s where they learn the truth about what life will be like on the job, so there are no surprises. You ask them experiential based questions here. In addition, here are 5 good questions to make them think:
Here is also the time to test them on job related math, reading writing and computer skills to determine whether we can teach them and also to make sure they don’t freak out when you ask them to calculate a basic tax percentage or other basic skill used a lot on the job.
Think you’re done?? Not quite!!! Your job doesn’t end after the last interview. Common mistakes to avoid are:
Retailers are champions of attrition and finding staff replacements after someone quits, not a moment sooner! But the key is to keep your hiring funnel full all the time with potential candidates by committing to bringing a specific number of candidates in per week/month for first interviews. Keep the recruitment machine alive regardless of current need. Because constantly looking and talking to people is an essential part of any staffing system. And you are less likely to be held hostage by poor performers!
So if you are like most retailers you don’t have a waiting list of perfect applicants?