Retailers: Why You Keep Picking the Wrong Employee Time after Time
By Bob Phibbs
As a retail consultant, one of the most valuable pieces of retail advice I'm asked about from an owner or manager is how to select employees that are worth investing in.
All too often, applicants that seem like a solid bet during the hiring phase turn out to be disappointing.
Understanding why this happens continually, then building a strategy to prevent it from recurring in the future, is the key to hiring strong-performing employees that can sell your merch time and time again.
Five Common Situations That Often Lead To Employers Making Bad Hires:
Scrambling to fill an open shift.
Employers who need to find someone quickly to fill a vacant shift often find themselves in a bind, particularly if the hours are traditionally undesirable (think Friday nights or Sunday mornings, for example). During the interview, candidates will often say whatever they think they need to say to get the job, but if the going gets tough when the job actually starts, they can leave you high and dry...and right back where you started. Have them write down availability and pledge not to change for 90 days.
Giving current employees too much input.
Present employees might like a particular candidate and push management to hire them, but there's a good reason employees are employees and managers are managers. Basing hiring decisions on quantifiable attributes rather than employee recommendations will lead to a much higher success rate over the long term. A new employee isn't there to "fit in" but do better; that won't happen if you are hiring for comfortability.
Hiring based on a "good gut feeling."
While the adage that you should "trust your gut" may prove to be true, this approach is no more reliable than hiring someone based solely on employee recommendations. As an important piece of retail advice, prioritize tangible assets far ahead of any good gut feelings you may have for a particular candidate. If you really like someone, find a reason not to like them, find a fault or shortcoming so you have a balanced picture. No one is all good or all bad. Then remember...a good hire often is a flip of a coin. It's how they take to your training where you'll really know.
Accepting the first applicant that comes along.
Again, this tends to happen when retailers find themselves in a bind and feel rushed to make a decision. It's always a better idea to take the time to do your due diligence than it is to place your trust in the first person who comes through the door who has availability. You don't won't win points with the rest of your crew if the bandaid employee doesn't show up to open a week later.
Hiring someone to help them out of a bind.
People who really need the job can turn out to be excellent workers, and there's plenty to be said for giving someone who desperately needs a chance the benefit of the doubt. But this approach is also fraught with risk, and sound retail advice and wisdom suggests it's better to put in the extra effort to be sure. While you might love your best friend and her family, if you hire the daughter because she "just can't get a job" - if she fails you probably won't feel able to fire her.
Preventing these types of situations at the outset is much easier if you know how to match your applicants to the everyday demands and rigors of your retail job.
Personality profiling offers one of the most effective and reliable ways to do this. That's why I developed a groundbreaking profiling test which employers looking to take the guesswork out of the hiring process can administer to job candidates.
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