*How to Hire Great Team Members*

Hiring employees, never mind ones that will be meaningful contributors, is more challenging than ever. But use these interviewing techniques to improve your chances of choosing great people.

People are the lifeblood of every retail business. I have said this many times before and I will always believe it. As you work on adding to your team for the holiday season, don’t default to hiring anyone that is looking for a job. It’s tempting in this challenging employment environment, but there is time and the potential to find and hire great team members. Hopefully the guidance below helps a bit!

How to Interview & Hire Great Team Members

Hiring new employees and retaining them may be more challenging today than ever. Per CNBC (10/12/21), “A record 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, led by food and retail industries”. People are quitting for varied reasons, including ongoing Covid concerns (including health risks and requirements to enforce masking and vaccine mandates), childcare issues with schools open again, reduction in “work from home” programs and the ease of finding new (and in theory, better) employment.

Whatever the reason, this trend is creating the need to hire new staff to fill these vacancies. In an environment such as this, there is a tendency to lower expectations of candidates and hire “warm bodies” (anyone that will show up for work). While it’s hard to argue that this may be necessary from time to time, this is a short-term solution at best. Hiring people that are not a great fit with your business will do little to grow or even sustain your business and the likelihood is high that these individuals won’t last very long with you.

So, despite the hiring challenges, it still makes sense to be focused on hiring and retaining the very best talent. If you don’t try you won’t get. Once you begin hiring quality individuals, and employing tactics to engage and retain them (see our “10 Ways to Stop the Employee Exodus” issue), I would argue it will hep you attract better talent in the future. It’s the proverbial “win-win” situation. Not easy but well worth the effort.

The beginning of this process is interviewing. Meeting a candidate, checking their pulse, and if there is one, saying “you’re hired” won’t cut it. After interviewing and hiring hundreds of employees (maybe more actually), I have developed my best practices for meeting candidates and determining their potential fit. I am certain that investing the proper amount of time and utilizing the proper approach when interviewing pays itself back many times over. Try it, you may be surprised, even in this difficult environment. Here we go:

Finally, here are two short articles penned by Marc Lore, the founder of Diapers.com, Jet.com, and later the head of e-commerce for Walmart. He has specific and very interesting theories on hiring. These are both worth a read and consideration of how his perspectives might be applied to your business. Here you go:

How to Increase Your Chances of Hiring a Superstar

SPOTAK: The Six Traits I Look for When I’m Hiring

Career Lessons:

Trust But Verify: this is related to good interviewing and hiring skills but goes beyond that as well. Way, way back when I was managing my very first retail store (a Kay-Bee Toys in Chestnut Hill, Mass. for those interested), I had hired a full-time cashier (let’s call her Liz for the sake of this story) to essentially run the front end of the store Monday - Friday. I didn’t know much about hiring best practices but I did the best that I could. We chatted at length, I asked all of the classic interview questions, and even checked references. Everything seemed fine and I went ahead and hired Liz.

Liz seemed to fit in great. She learned quickly and did her job well. The front end was maintained well, guests were processed quickly, and the cash drawers balanced out almost every day.

As time went on, I shifted my focus away from Liz and her role into other areas of the store as our sales were growing quickly and there was much to do. Normally I would have done some follow up such as auditing the cash drawer during the day (remember, this was prior to POS registers), doing spot validations on refunds and overrings, etc. But I had a ton of faith in Liz and essentially left her to run the front end without much oversight.

Bad decision!

Retail News You Can Use:

U.S. Christmas Retail Crush Comes Early as Supply Chains Buckle

Retail Jobs Are Treated As A Temporary Bridge To Something Better. But Why?

Cool Pics:

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Quotes of the Week:

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” – Henry David Thoreau, American writer

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.” – Simon Sinek