Having great customer service is a major selling point for brick and mortar stores. The key to having great customer service goes beyond training; you need well trained staff that are able to represent your store well. College stores are often plagued with high turnover making the finding, hiring, and training of staff that much harder. Turnover is not only costly but it has a large influence on store operations. Business consultant Sheryl Bindelglass states “Each hiring decision has a dramatic impact on the future of your business”1 , so save yourself grief and hire right the first time.
Starting with recruiting, the hiring process should be very hands on. The key to recruiting excellent employees is encouraging and maintaining a positive work environment no matter the size of your store. If you have not already, develop criteria on who your ideal candidate is; this will help you recognize your ideal candidate when you come across them. The qualities of your ideal candidate should also come across in the job’s description.
Tip: When imagining your ideal employee, be very clear on their personality traits, qualifications, and the daily responsibilities of the job.
Now that you’ve established your criteria, the next step is getting the word out and lucky for you, college students love spreading the word. Reach out to your staff for personal referrals. If you have a flexible budget, offer a referral program that will give your employees incentive to seek out the best of the best. Utilize social media and your campus’s job site! Post on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts that you are hiring.
Tip: When posting the job online, add the job opening to the campus job site first. Use the job post link when advertising on social media. This will keep your social media posts shorter and you will be able to see how many people are interested in the position through Facebook Insights.
Once the résumés pour in with interested candidates, it’s interview time. During the interviews prepare a set of questions to ask every interviewee that address past behaviors in the work place. Encourage candidates to ask you questions; by doing this you can gain insight as to what they are looking for in this job. Wait a few days after the interview to make the hire.2
Tip: When picking candidates to interview, look at their résumé to see if they engage with other human beings (i.e. volunteering, team sports, clubs). With customer service positions it is important that your staff has experience with group activities.