The Right Staff Has the Right Stuff

From "The Weekly Retail Experience" come two articles on retail staff selection.  In the first, "Different Profiles of Retail Associates", author Doug Fleener describes five types of retail performers:

  • The Doer
  • The Hider
  • The Slider
  • The Blamer
  • The Leader

Actually, these types aren’t exclusive to the retail business.  You find them everywhere.  The names are fairly self-explanatory.  Obviously we’d like to hire nothing but Doers and Leaders.  Unfortunately the Leader, the most productive, can also be the most difficult to manage, especially for a weak manager.

In the second article, "How to Identify the Different Retail Associate Profiles Before You Hire Them", Fleener gives some very good advise on how to identify these types before you hire them.  He suggests that you  personally meet everyone who  comes into your store asking for an application.  This pre-interview meeting can give you some insight into the person’s personality outside of the formal interview when they’re likely to be more at ease.

Second, he suggests that you pay particular attention to the applicant’s energy level.  If they don’t impress you in asking for the job, they’re not likely to impress your customers either. 

Third, and I really like this one, ask them unexpected questions.  They’re most likely prepared to answer the questions that they think you’re going to ask.  But as we all know, customers don’t always follow "the script".  The time to find out if someone is able to think on his or her feet is before they’re on the payroll, not after.

Finally, take the applicant onto the sales floor and have them roleplay a selling situation.  Actors audition.  Why shouldn’t salespeople?

In our dealer surveys, many of you have indicated that hiring and training are major concerns.  Fleener’s suggestions should make that task a little bit easier.

Doug Fleener is a retail consultant, author, and speaker.  There are some good resources on his web site including a link to subscribe to his free newsletter.


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