Know How to Interview, Hire and Train


The Highly Successful Retail Manager (HSRM) knows the ‘cause’** is maximizing revenue and profit and that he must hire people who will further that cause.

The HSRM interviews with the purpose of hiring competent – potentially great – individuals who show indications of being able to move up in the organization.

In retail, a competent associate must have the ability to sell, whether completely developed or not.

The HSRM can spot potential and goes out of his way to hire candidates who have it.

Throughout the recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and training process, the HSRM keeps the Store Management Process in mind.

Before the HSRM even considers starting the interviewing process a Successful Associate Profile is developed based on successful people who are already in the role.

A Successful Associate Profile is not difficult to create.

Developing your own Successful Associate Profile

  • Make a list of all of the important functions required in the position.
  • Make a list of the competencies that a candidate would have to have in order to perform those functions.
  • Make a list of associates who possess these competencies and are very successful in the same position who are already in your organization.
  • Observe those associates performing each of the functions.
  • Make a list of the traits and characteristics exhibited by those associates while performing the functions.

Your Successful Associate Profile should not be lengthy; you cannot include so many requirements that you eliminate every candidate.

Choose the most important ones; the ones that contribute to the ‘cause’ and, as mentioned above, the ‘cause’ is to maximize revenue and profit.

**An important note here – revenue and profit obviously cannot be maximized simply by putting a high powered sales associate on the sales floor.

The associate must possess many more skills and qualities than just being able to sell merchandise.

If he does not, return rates will sky rocket and customer retention will suffer leading to the eventual demise of the business.

So, when we say the ‘cause’ is to maximize revenue and profit, it must be understood that a well rounded approach is required.

Contrary to what many believe, HSRM’s say that the very best time to lay out expectations of the position, is during the interview.

It’s true that interviews are for the purpose of determining if a candidate is the right fit for the employer and vice versa.

However, there is a lot to be gained by discussing expectations in the interview, particularly in retail.

There are many preconceived notions out there about what a position in retail involves.

Many retailers do not have high quality individuals working for them and that has to make you question their hiring practices.

But back to the point, the candidate sitting in front of you during the interview may have some incorrect information strictly based on what s/he has experienced in retail stores and may have the idea that a retail job is no big deal.

The HSRM cannot take that chance and that is why it is so important to let the candidate know what the real story is.

The interviewer, or HSRM, does not leave room for misunderstandings when it comes to expectations.

The interview is also a good time to discuss rewards, consequences of poor performance and possible growth opportunities.

That is not to say any promises are made or wage rates are discussed.

This should be a general discussion which is useful in letting the candidate know what you are looking for and what you expect to give in return.

In retail stores, we often encounter employees who, clearly, would rather not be doing the job they were hired for.

It is obvious from their attitude towards customers and in their overall performance.

A major benefit of making expectations – high expectations – clear during the interview is that it allows candidates to think seriously about whether they really do want the position you have available.

If they are just looking for any old job to make a few bucks until something better comes along, then they would quickly realize they are talking to the wrong person.

While HSRM’s make expectations clear during the interview, they cannot dominate the conversation as this would defeat the main purpose of the interview.

The HSRM is skilled at having these conversations in order to get all of the information they want and need from the candidate while making their expectations known at the same time.

For example, an HSRM may ask the candidate ‘what do you believe would be your number one responsibility as a sales associate for x company?’

The candidate will respond and the interviewer will find out if the candidate knows that the number one responsibility will be selling.

If the candidate responds with something other than that, then the interviewer phrases the next question to probe a little deeper into the response.

During this exercise, at some point, the interviewer can make it clear that selling while delivering exemplary customer service is the number one responsibility of the position.

Plenty of time should be spent with this type of question in order to ensure understanding.

The HSRM has developed a level of intuition, or gut feel, to know whether a candidate has potential to do well in the role and to work well with the HSRM.

While intuition cannot be relied upon 100%, it certainly should be taken into consideration.

In fact, HSRM’s say they rely on intuition more often than most Human Resources personnel would recommend.

But, they find they are so often right that they just cannot ignore it.

HSRM’s know that one of the best ways to be successful is to surround themselves with competent people.

They have that in mind when they are interviewing and hiring and they have that in mind when they are training or setting out the training plan for the new hire.

They take training very seriously.

During the training process the HSRM can take advantage of many opportunities to clarify expectations until they are crystal clear to the new hire.

A solid training plan that is workable within time and budget constraints is what the HSRM relies on to ensure new hires are brought on board properly.

Having high expectations of an individual and then failing to provide them with the tools and knowledge they require to do a good job is counter productive.

It will lead to confusion and high employee turnover.

HSRM’s often rely on their more seasoned employees to handle most of the training of new hires. This accomplishes a couple of very positive things.

First, the more seasoned employee is hand picked specifically by the HSRM and there would be a good reason for that.

The HSRM can have confidence that the training will be up to the standard expected.

Second, the seasoned employee would feel rewarded and, therefore, motivated for having attained the status of ‘trainer’ even if unofficially.

It is a pat on the back for the seasoned employee and it also recognizes him within the workplace as the person, chosen by the superior, to perform this important function.

The HSRM does not delegate training without following proper delegation techniques.

There will be check points and follow up conversations to ensure everything is progressing as planned.

The HSRM will take time to discuss the progress of the training with the new hire as well as with the trainer.

For more insights, go to dmsretail.com

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