Hire For Attitude and Train For Skills


Having recently run a series of training courses for Chemmart Pharmacies on “How to recruit the best person” this famous quote from Beechworth Bakery owner, Tom O’Toole, always comes to mind. And Tom should know, as the Beechworth Bakeries level of service has always been of a high standard.

Unfortunately a number of retailers think that they need to hire someone with experience as it will be quicker to get them up to speed – they are already trained, have lots of product knowledge and be ready to go from day one. This certainly can be the case, however what a number of experienced people also bring with them is their baggage – set in their ways, don’t like to change from the way they do things, uncomfortable with new processes etc. When this happens you know you have made a big mistake!

Now don’t get me wrong, if I’m having an operation I hope the Doctor has done years of training and it’s not his first op!! In retail, however, most processes can be taught except the ones that come with us – our personality and attitude. These two things are what makes us the person we are and by the time we are adults it’s very hard to change.

So if you want your staff to smile, greet customers with eye contact, initiate conversations and provide amazing service, they have to have this personality and a positive attitude already inside them. You can train them how to use your POS, about your products and systems, but you can’t train them to smile.

During your recruitment process you must see the person face to face and ideally before the interview so you can assess their personality and attitude. Ask them to come into your store to fill in an application form before the interview will ensure you get to see them before making a decision on taking them further. If they live too far away, set up a Skype call. For anyone whose role is dealing with customers face to face, it is critical you meet them before the interview to assess their people skills.

During the interview you need to continue to assess their personality and attitude by observations and by asking questions such as:

“Tell me how you serve customers?” “What’s your Point of Difference when you serve customers?” “Tell me about a recent difficult customer experience you have had recently.”

These questions are designed to find out about their personality and attitude. You will also need to observe the interviewee during the entire interview to assess their body language – is it positive or negative?

I’ll be posting a few more recruitment tips over the next few weeks. Recruiting the right staff member is essential if you want your business to be at the forefront of providing an exceptional customer experience.

Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.