Why Hiring People With The Right Attitude is Critical

Your people are your greatest asset, however, they can also be your greatest weakness too. Hire the wrong person and it can be an absolute nightmare – team disruption, poor customer service and wasted time having to follow up to try and get this person back on track.

I fundamentally believe that to hire the right person, you have to focus on the attitude you want that person to bring to the role. This is why I still can’t believe how many businesses when they advertise, mention the words “must have experience”. I’m talking about retail, and not hiring a brain surgeon who, if needed (hopefully not!), I would love to have lots of experience – particularly a great track record of success!!

In the words of Tom O’Toole, the famous Beechworth Baker, “retail is pretty simple, not easy, but simple”. And when you boil it down he’s right, most frontline roles in retail require someone who is friendly and helpful to make the customer feel welcome and provide that initial positive feeling. They can work on their product knowledge over time which is also essential but I don’t think, in most roles, needs to be a high level from the start.

I am oversimplifying to make a point, but from my experience, the key attributes we want from our staff is being able to connect with customers and provide that amazing experience. These attributes are all behaviours linked to someone’s personality – smiling, maintaining eye contact, initiating conversations, building rapport etc. All dependent on personality and extremely hard to train, if not impossible. These are things you have to hire – as the saying goes “Hire the smile”. You can train product knowledge, merchandising standards, and other processes.

People with a great attitude are also open to learning and are goal focussed. These are two key things we want from our people, they need to want to learn so they can get up to speed. They may start off behind the eight ball on product knowledge (and other areas), but with the right attitude, they will do what it takes to bridge the gap very quickly. We want all of our team to be able to achieve certain KPI’s. New people usually start off a bit under what is required, however, the ones with great attitudes learn fast and strive every day to be better. This is what we want from all of our team I’d suggest.

So, how is your hiring process? Are you relying on experience or are you open to taking on anyone with a great attitude so you can mold them to what you want?

A number of companies these days, require applicants to send in a video as part of their application process. I came across this brilliant video of a person applying for a job with Zappo’s (the very successful US online shoe store now owned by Amazon). I thought it was worth sharing based on what I have written about attitude, I’d certainly give him a chance!!

Enjoy the video.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” 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.