Retail Recruiting


“You should work in retail!” Is my new go-to line at the end of all interviews. – Johnny Jobs ‏@HR_Said_What

Somehow, I get the feeling “Johnny” was referring to the great characteristics most candidates who apply for retail jobs have, right? Or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.

Anyhow, the reality of being a recruiter or a hiring manager in a retail setting isn’t the easiest, especially if your organization isn’t paying much for the position that your hiring for (that’s a whole other topic to be discussed in another post but remember – you get what you pay for).

One of the biggest challenges when hiring for retail positions is to find that one candidate that has an awesome balance between both sales and customer service characteristics that will work well with your particular customer base. However, the more experience the candidate has, the more it may cost to bring them onboard (given that they’re not desperate for a position – which may or may not be red flag in and of itself). So where do you find this kind of candidate?

For starters, most large retail stores such as Nordstroms, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, and others have large retail sales staff to whom they offer development training to improve sales and customer service skills. Granted, it probably is not going to be an in-depth type of training, but most of these training programs will lay the basic foundation from which you can build upon should you bring one of these employees onboard. Is it wrong for you to capitalize on the investment of another organization? Who cares, if they really wanted to protect their investment they would be paying their employees more money, besides turnover is a part of any retail business, right?

To get you started on your search, you can use sites such as Indeed, Careerbuilder, Monster, etc to search for resumes that contain some mention of large retailers as part of their experience. You could also go out shopping with some business cards in your pocket just in case you run into an amazing rep that you think would be a good fit for you team and make them a pitch, however, this isn’t always very effective. The best course of action may be as simple as keeping a steady pipeline of qualified candidates from previous interviews and/or networking with other recruiters in your field.

I do invite your comments on other best practices for retail recruiting. Good luck in your searches! 

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