By Ross Lebeter, Associate Consultant, John Gibson Associates.
Hiring the right team is one of the oldest challenges in retail sales. Getting the right mix of people in your team is crucial. To make it more difficult still, the ‘right’ people rarely walk through your door or apply directly for the job.
What to Look For The first thing to look for is a person with the right personality to fit with your corporate culture. Personality is key and it’s very difficult to assess personality in a formal interview scenario, where nerves can affect personality. In this instance you must trust your gut and assess their warmth and integrity. It can be said that a good, trust worthy recruiter can assist with personality identification – most candidates will be at ease and far more comfortable with a recruiter than they will be with a hiring manager in an interview situation. Embrace a good relationship with a recruiter, give them time to find the ‘right personality’ and then trust your judgement on the day.
Don’t get hooked up on skills and qualifications I have a mantra, ‘recruit for attitude, train for skills’. You can send employees on manufacturer training courses or to the group training facility in order to learn product details, process and wider industry knowledge. In one extreme, I have found that without any training at all a competent individual can learn the ins-and-outs of a department within three months. It may seem easier to recruit candidates with previous product or brand knowledge, but this will more than likely lead to just another average employee. However if you recruit someone with the right attitude and sparkling personality, you are on to a winner.
Don’t be afraid to hire a hot shot Some hiring managers are afraid of hot shots. It seems a risk to shock a steady team by bringing in a relentless, high performing employee. However, given the right personality, this individual can raise the bar and get the best out of their team mates. This type of person will also tend to bring an attitude aimed at turning problems into opportunities and will inspire a team to follow suit. These people often become indispensable and are prime internal promotion material for the future.
Expanding a Team In the current climate with business steadily improving, it can seem that the priority is to quickly bring additional people on board to manage the workload, rather than bring the ‘right’ people on board to drive the business forward. When looking to increase the size of a team, look to internal promotion opportunities first and foremost. This can be achieved quickly and you will also remove the guess work regarding personality and their ability to integrate into your team. They too will know the company inside-out, allowing a swift transition.
DO NOT RUSH! Should there be no obvious candidate for promotion, look to your recruiter to go and head-hunt exactly the type of person you require for your team. This can take time, however trust that your recruiter will locate and verify specific potential candidates who can genuinely benefit your business and compliment the team. Do not underestimate the importance of bringing the right people into your team. Quoting Apple’s Dan Jacobs, “it is better to have a hole in your team, than an asshole in your team!”