6 Tips for Retail Recruiting Professionals

July 1, 2019

Retail recruiting is a process that is central in the industry, but unfortunately it does come with some challenges. Since many stores have so many positions to fill (potentially at multiple locations), managers need to balance daily tasks with finding the best talent. On the other side of that coin, since retail is a huge industry with many job openings available, many businesses have to compete with each other to attract and retain the best local talent. Plus, as an industry with one of the highest turnover rates, many managers have a hard time keeping up.

While these challenges can seem daunting, a manager who is prepared and puts an action plan in place can maneuver through these obstacles and attract the best talent possible. If you are looking to strengthen your retail recruiting strategies and secure top-tier talent in your area, implement these effective and easy-to-follow steps.

Get Clear On Your Hiring Goals and Ideal Candidates

Before even starting the retail recruitment process and reaching out to potential hires, you need to determine what exactly you are looking for. Outline how many positions you need to fill, as well as the background and requirements you are looking for. Your goals may depend on the time of year you are hiring (such as if you are hiring seasonal employees), or the specific role or roles that you are filling. You could be looking for students who are looking for part-time or temporary work, or more seasoned employees who will be working full-time. You may also have certain time-sensitive goals, such as needing a certain number of employees on-boarded and ready to go by a specific date. Create this timeline ahead of time so that you have a detailed schedule to stick to.

It is essential to get clear on your goals and ideal candidate before diving into recruitment. It is a vital first step for effective and successful retail recruitment process, as it will help you decide where to look for candidates, and will help you more quickly determine if a candidate fits in with your needs. Developing a timeline with goals will also help you weed out the candidates who don’t work with your schedule.

Develop Your Brand to Attract Candidates

Creating a brand for your company is one of the key retail recruiting strategies. If you want to bring in the best of the best potential employees, you’ll need to develop an attractive, marketable company brand that makes you stand out amongst the competition.

A well-developed brand should showcase to potential employees what it is like working at the company, what the mission and values of the company are, what is expected of employees, and the benefits and perks you offer. This brand should be reflected not only in your job description, but across any hiring webpages you have and in the on-boarding materials—and, of course, within the actual company. You may want to develop a marketing strategy that can be shared on social media or your website, such as creating testimonials from current employees who can give an insider’s look into what it is really like to work at the company.

Your brand will help bring in a more impressive applicant pool, filled with candidates who connect with your company on a deeper level, and will likely be more inclined to stay long-term. Beyond that, a strong brand will also persuade current employees who are in-line with the values of the company to stay on board.

Write a Clear Job Description

Once you have your brand down, you’ll need to create a clear job description. A well-written job description is vital in the retail recruitment process. Surprisingly enough, many employers don’t write job descriptions that actually outline what the job entails. Many list the background and skills they are looking for, and neglect to inform potential employees what the job actually looks like!

Candidates want to know what they’d potentially be doing on a day-to-day basis, so be upfront with what will be expected of them. List out the typical duties of this job, as well as any specific physical or personality requirements, such as being able to lift a certain amount of weight or being a good people-person. If you have hired for the position before and have employees currently in the job, talk to them and see if there is anything you are forgetting. Also remember to include your brand and the benefits, as this will help attract talent and help with retention in the long run.

Turn to Current Employees for Referrals

You have an excellent recruiting resource at your fingertips: your employees. Turning to your current employees for referrals is one of the best retail recruiting strategies, as it can cut down on the time spent out in the field looking for new hires, and will often lead you to like-minded professionals who are just as valuable and skilled as your current employees. Set up a referral program that rewards employees for recommending quality candidates, and they will be much more inclined to come forward with great options.

Always Keep Recruitment in Mind—Even After the Positions Have Been Filled

If you have some experience in the retail world, you know that recruitment in the retail industry is never truly complete. There are seasonal positions that need to be filled, new employees that are needed when the store expands, and employee turnover is something that affects all businesses to some degree. In order to stay ahead of the game and keep your future self stress-free, develop a plan to build your talent pool. You can invite potential employees to join your talent network by going to local hiring events (or holding your own), or promoting through social media. You can even give customers the ability to sign up for job alerts—there is no better new employee than one who is already familiar with your business! That way, next time a position needs to be filled, you’ll have access to a network of talent that is ready to work, and will have a much easier time finding top-tier candidates.

Strengthen Your Retention Plan

The work doesn’t stop once you’ve secured the talent. A well-rounded retail recruitment strategy includes a plan for fighting against turnover rates. As mentioned, a strong brand that connects employees and potential talent to the company can help reduce turnover. Your retention plan can actually start in the hiring process. Take note of which potential employees show interest in growth in the company and staying for the long-term, and which seem more interested in short-term employment. Of course, short-term employees do have their place, but if you are seeking talent for a permanent position (as opposed to seasonal), you’ll want someone who is looking to stay put.

In addition to this, one of the best ways to improve retention is to create a supportive environment where employees want to stay. This includes providing constructive feedback to employees, and helping them strengthen their skills and confidence in their role. It also includes giving employees opportunities for growth within the company, through creating clear roadmaps for advancement within the organization. Communication is also key to creating a supportive and attractive environment. You will want to have an open line of communication, where you can speak directly to employees, and they feel comfortable coming to you with any issues or ideas. Of course, to top it all off, benefits and perks can also persuade employees to stay with you and not wander off to the opportunities at other local retail establishments.

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