Alongside your stock, your staff members are the most valuable assets in your store. They are the public face of your business and can make or break a sale, not to mention determine whether a customer comes back (or not).
At a time when it’s easier to shop from the couch rather than head into a bricks-and-mortar store, you want to give customers a reason to buy from you and not an online retailer or the chain store down the street. For small businesses, this usually means offering an exceptional customer experience that shoppers won’t get elsewhere.
This is why hiring the right people is so important. Here are a few tips to help you attract staff that will help, not hinder, your business.
Define the role
Before you can even begin to think about advertising a position, you need to define the role you want to fill. Do you need someone full-time, part-time or on a casual or fixed-term basis? Are you replacing a team member or is this a new position?
When drafting a job description, be specific. Consider the tasks you need done and the skills necessary to do these tasks. Write down the daily duties and responsibilities of the position along with any physical requirements, desirable personality traits and qualifications or prior experience.
If possible, spend some time with an employee currently in the role and get their perspective—they may have a different take on the job and what it involves. For example, beyond being able to operate your POS, you might realise you also want someone who can manage your Instagram account or help with merchandising. Reviewing what a current employee does in the same or similar role can give you more insight into the person you need to hire.
Advertise the job
Once you’ve perfected your job description, it’s time to advertise the role. Depending on the role, to find the right person you will usually need to do more than stick a ‘help wanted’ sign in the window. Begin by asking your current employees if they can recommend anyone suitable—they will know what’s required in your store better than anyone.
Don’t forget to post about the job on your store’s social channels. Who better to have working for you than your biggest fans—your customers? If you have the budget, post your job opening online through sites like Seek, Indeed and LinkedIn.
Now the applications are flooding in, you can begin to review your candidates. Use the CVs and cover letters you receive to narrow down your top picks and bring them in for an interview. This is the most important part of the hiring process because, although a CV is a great starting point, chatting face-to-face will give you a better idea of each candidate’s personality—something that’s vital to assess if they’re working on the sales floor.
Interviews can be intimidating, particularly for high school students looking to land their first job, so treat the interview as more of a conversation and encourage the applicant to do most of the talking. Situational questions like ‘I’m looking for a present for my mum, what can you recommend?’ or ‘You don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, what do you do?’ are great ways to determine how skilled a candidate is at selling, upselling, and dealing with unexpected issues.
Train them up
Whether you’re after a part-time sales assistant or a store manager, every new hire will need some training and with retail staff turnover so high (PwC found nearly one in every four new retail employees will leave their job in their first 12 months) it’s worth establishing training programs to streamline the process.
You want to create simple training manuals that ensure every employee is competent and confident in their role and understands your brand and goals. Helping employees feel connected to your store will make them more likely to stick around, and make them work harder while they’re there.