One of the topics I regularly discuss with retailers and one of my favourite training courses to run is how to recruit the best possible person. I and my team have recently completed a series of twelve 1 day training courses on this very subject for a client of ours with a fantastic feedback.
As I have mentioned before, most owners or managers don’t get trained in how to how to lead and coach, they learn on the job. Most learn by making mistakes and finding out the hard way.
It’s very similar to learning how to recruit, most owners or managers have little or no formal training in how to do this. Of the roughly 140 attendees who attended our training sessions, very few had received any formal training. Once again they learned by doing it and made mistakes along the way – unfortunately, most were still making the same mistakes!!
By mistakes I mean, they weren’t following a rigorous process to find the best people, they were accepting the best of the bunch they had in front of them. I don’t believe that is good enough in today’s very competitive marketplace, you have to hire the best to be at your best when taking on your competition.
Even with various recruitment tools and resources provided, a number of the attendees didn’t realise the value of these until we specified how to use these more effectively. The challenge these days is that applicants are extremely well prepared for an interview, they learn how at school, or go onto Google to find out questions they will be asked and even how to respond.
If we want the best we have to define what we want in advance, be creative in looking for them and get beneath their pre-prepared façade to find out about the real person. Here are four tips to help you out:
- Define what the perfect person looks like – what are the key personality traits you want? Smiling, holding eye contact, initiating conversation etc. What qualifications and experience (if any) do they need to have. Define the important aspects before you start the process.
- Be creative in trying to find these people. If you are finding enough great candidates with your existing process that’s cool, if not change it. I’m sure we have all heard of Zappo’s in the US, the amazing online shoe retailer. When they recruit they don’t simply ask for resumes, they ask for a video cover letter. What a great idea, which is becoming more common these days.
- Arrange to talk to and see applicants before the interview at a set time. Ask them to come in to fill an application form or to show them around – anything to get them in before the interview. Why? They are not coming in for an interview so their guard is down, do they arrive on time? Can they converse with your staff? Do they smile and maintain eye contact? Little things, but they build into a larger overall picture.
- Have a structured interview process that you follow with every applicant. Ask the same questions so you can compare their answers. Have a list of open-ended questions so they have to do most of the talking. You must have two people at the interview so you can take notes. Probe for more information and really listen to their responses.
I hope these tips are helpful, recruiting the right person is critical as I have already mentioned and it’s not easy. Yet, if you get it right your customers and other staff will thank you for it.
Roger 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.