How to Hire Retail Employees

How to Hire Retail Employees

This blog covers how to hire retail employees most effectively. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide that covers every step of the hiring journey, from crafting an enticing job description to retention and recognition: 


In the bustling world of retail, a competent and enthusiastic team of retail employees can make all the difference. These individuals are the frontline ambassadors of your brand, interacting directly with customers and shaping their shopping experience. Hiring the right retail employees is crucial for ensuring customer satisfaction, boosting sales, and maintaining a positive store environment. 


We know this can be difficult, as more often than not, you’re hiring retail employees in volume, which puts a huge time constraint on the hiring team. To add to the challenges, hiring within a skill short market means you need to do everything you can to stand out, be that through your offering, or how you conduct your hiring process. 

Table of Contents

Crafting an Effective Job Description: 

A well-written job description is the foundation of successful hiring. It should clearly outline the responsibilities, requirements, desired qualities and benefits of the position. Here is a brief overview of what to include: 

blog image for how to hire retail employees

Compelling Overview 

Begin with an engaging overview of your company, highlighting its unique culture and values. This will attract candidates who resonate with your company and will encourage them to apply. 


Clear Responsibilities 

Outline the primary responsibilities of being a retail employee, that might include; providing customer service, sales transactions, understanding the products, inventory management, store maintenance etc. 


Essential Requirements 

Clearly specify the skills and qualifications needed for the position. It’s preferred for retail employees to have experience in customer service, communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution. They would also need knowledge of basic maths and technology skills. 


Desired Qualities 

Mention any additional qualities that would make a candidate stand out, such as enthusiasm, teamwork, a positive attitude, flexibility and adaptability. 


Benefits and Perks 

Highlight the benefits of working for your company, including career growth opportunities and employee perks. Important: Always display the salary on the job description / job advert. “Four in five (78%) jobseekers are less likely to apply for a job vacancy that does not display a salary.” HR Review. 

did you know occy provides copywriting support

Expanding Your Reach: 

Once your job description is ready, it’s time to cast a wide net to reach potential candidates. It’s always beneficial to utilise various platforms, including online job boards, social media, employee referrals, and even physical job postings in your store. Go where your audience is. Create an avatar of your ideal employee and think about where they spend the most time and are most likely to see your job advert. 

occy has a built in multi-poster

Screening Applicants: 

As applications start to flow in, in an ideal world you would carefully review each one. However, when you’re hiring in volume, it’s almost impossible.  

woman wearing glasses looking at a laptop

Some recruitment platforms have smart filtering, which can automatically decline / advance an applicant and even score or give them a ranking. You can set your preferences prior to the campaign going live, looking for specific criteria to fill. This means you can filter your applications based on experience, skills, and qualifications without spending hours on the admin.  


Why is this important when recruiting retail employees? Because applicants are applying to multiple jobs per day. Indeed suggests job seekers apply for 10 to 15 per week, which means reducing the amount of time it takes for you to reply to an application, will greatly improve an applicant’s engagement with your company and move the recruitment process along quicker, avoiding drop-offs.  


Conducting Interviews: 

The interview stage is your opportunity to assess candidates’ suitability beyond their CV’s. Video interviewing has quickly become the norm in the hiring process, and sticking to that strategy when hiring retail employees would streamline your process.  


As mentioned earlier, hiring in volume is time sensitive and being prepared before an interview is very important, especially if you want to get as much information as possible. Having pre-determined questions that you can ask all applicants will help to highlight the best candidates for you. Here are some examples for retail employees: 

retail employee stood in an aisle smiling

Experience and Background 

  1. Describe a situation where you went above and beyond to provide excellent customer service. 
  2. How do you handle challenging customer interactions or complaints? 
  3. What motivates you to work in a retail environment? 


Customer Service and Sales Skills 

  1. What techniques do you use to build rapport and establish trust with customers?
  2. Explain your approach to upselling or cross-selling products to enhance the customer experience.
  3. How do you handle situations where customers are dissatisfied with a product or service? 


Problem-Solving and Adaptability 

  1. How do you prioritise tasks and manage multiple responsibilities in a fast-paced retail environment?
  2. How do you maintain a positive and productive attitude when faced with challenges or setbacks?
  3. Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult or demanding customer. How did you resolve the situation? 


Communication and Teamwork 

  1. Describe a situation where you collaborated with colleagues to achieve a common goal. 
  2. How do you seek feedback and apply it to improve your performance? 
  3. How do you communicate effectively with customers from diverse backgrounds and with varying needs? 


Making the Right Choice: 

After conducting interviews, take time to evaluate each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Yes, it’s important to hire quickly when there’s a need, but this is possibly the most important part of the recruitment process. 


A bad hire can cost your company between £3,000 and £30,000 and can negatively affect your business in more ways than just monetary value. Read the full blog on ‘The true cost of a bad hire’ here. 


Onboarding and Training: 

The recruitment process for retail employees doesn’t end with a job offer. Once you’ve found your ideal candidates, provide them with a comprehensive onboarding and training program. This will familiarise them with your company policies, procedures, and expectations.  

two retail employees working

Successful onboarding and training will set your new retail employees up for long term success by: 

How Can Recruitment Technology Help?  

A centralised recruitment system can make the hiring process a whole lot easier. Using a recruitment platform like occy, you can gain access to tools perfect for hiring all the retail employees you need.   


Whether it’s professional job advert copywriting, job board advertising, or smart automations that speed up your recruitment process – you can build a strong retail team.  


Not ready to learn more about how occy could help you yet? Why not download our free eBook: 5 Steps to Attracting Candidates for more actionable ways you can get your ideal candidate into your business.   

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