So you’ve collected a crowd of candidates from a series of avenues, you’ve reviewed and refined their resumes, and it’s time to begin interviews. This is the climax of the entire hiring process—and one most of us botch. Many of us fumble when we get into that interview chair: What questions am I supposed to ask? How long is this interview supposed to last? Do I even know what I’m looking for?
Unfortunately, the answer to that final question is often “no.” Before you sit down with your first candidate, really consider what and who you’re looking for. Do you need a stronger staff for the floor, someone with experience in retail and customer service, or do you need someone with more extensive technical knowledge? What specific traits and skills are particularly applicable to your business and this position?
How will this person interact with your customers, and even their fellow employees? Take note of their personality traits: are they curious, outgoing, team players, good communicators? In retail, one of the most important aspects of the job is interacting with other folks—every new hire should be able to do so with expertise and naturalness.
Take into account the technical skills of the interviewee. Of course, some of these are obvious: if you’re looking to hire a mechanic, for example, he needs to be able to repair bikes. But some of these skills are more nuanced. “Technical skills in the [specialty retail] industry might also be on the sales side,” Dan notes. “There are sales technical skills that are good for retail: the ability to diagnose and solve problems, the ability to work under pressure, the ability to be influencing and negotiating, analysis and problem-solving skills with customers, the ability to manage time well and attention to detail.” Be sure to ask questions that seek out these specific skills in potential candidates.
Is this the kind of employee who can make a promise and actually keep it? Are they reliable and dependable? And, perhaps most important of all, are they going to keep this job for a long time? It’s important to asses their commitment to this position in the initial interview because if you don’t, you will likely end up in your current position once again. And as we all know, no one likes to hunt for a new hire.