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How to Hire and Recruit for Retail Positions

Posted by Eric Friedman

retail sale bread

Hiring and recruiting for retail positions can be a daunting task. We are all consumers in one way or another and have faced long lines and rude employees at our local retailer’s. In order to have the most efficiently run business you can, your employees must be rated highly. If they are, customers will take notice and keep coming back over and over because of the excellent customer service they receive.

So, how do recruiters hire specifically within the retail industry? I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to look for when trying to find your next employee.

Staff Fluctuations: One of the major challenges that recruiters face when hiring for the retail industry is the high level of staff fluctuation and turnover rates. According to a recent survey by the Hays Group, retailers are reporting a 33 percent increase in part-time staff turnover since 2011, up to a whopping 67 percent! And the first part of 2012 showed an increase in turnover for one in five retailers. One way to combat this increased turnover is to create a culture that encourages growth in your company. Recruiters who hire to promote are going to be much more effective in the long run and will gradually reduce the turnover rates.

Application Process: In the retail industry, you need to make the application process as simple as possible. Take out complicated application questions and requirements. Make it easy for someone to talk with a real person by phone or email if they have any questions. Better yet, let them come in to get a better sense of your company’s culture. Look for something that sets a candidate apart when reviewing applications. Also, make sure you have a state-of-the-art applicant tracking system in place to manage the influx of resumes.

Hiring for the Holidays: A topic in itself, hiring for the holidays takes a special kind of recruiter. Not only do applicants come in at over 10 times the normal rate, but also the hiring must be quick and candidates must be trained even more quickly. According to a recent annual report completed by the National Retail Federation, nearly 600,000 workers will be hired for the holiday season (typically from the day after Thanksgiving through the new year). A few tips to one-up your competitors in seasonal hiring are as follows.

Hire Your Own Customers. Who better to hire than the people who already know and love you? Your customer base provides an excellent source for recruiting prime candidates. It’s also a very easy audience to reach, since they’re always in your store shopping.

Attract Retirees. A lot of potential seasonal employees are retirees. More and more, they’re providing an attractive option for seasonal work because they’re not as busy as younger workers and they can have more flexible work arrangements.

Start Before Your Competitors. Start recruiting in October. It’s never too early to begin putting an extensive search strategy in place when looking for seasonal workers. Make sure that your pipeline is full of candidates who fit the job description you are hiring for.

Before you start recruiting for employees that fit your retail landscape, follow these suggestions and you’ll have a prime workforce before you know it.  How do you recruit for the retail industry? 

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About Eric Friedman

Author

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business, and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how best to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.

2 COMMENTS Join the discussion
  • Betty May, 29, 2013

    Heh… sounds so much like the problems when you get to hire staff for call centers. If you think it was hard finding 5 people to sell your products in a remote town, think what a logistical catastrophe is trying to hire 300 call center support specialists at once in an outsourced office in New Delhi. Been there, done that, please no more.

  • Romain Bohnim May, 30, 2013

    It’s horrible when you work as a recruiter for a company that its main activity is retail. So, so, SO little retention numbers scare the hell out of you. You are constantly looking for people to fill positions in god knows what little town, while you got no connections there. One of the hardest things a recruiter has to do, if you ask me.

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Guest May, 30, 2013