Retail Recruitment: How To Select The Best Candidates


Guide to hiring for retail jobs

The backbone of any successful company is its workforce. This is especially true of retail, as your staff will be interacting with your customers directly on a daily basis, and the best workers will inspire them to return and tell their friends to shop at your stores. Selecting the strongest candidates is critical; this article provides some useful information and tips on how to select the very best using video hiring.

Just in time, too. Hiring has never been this difficult. Workers are quitting their jobs at historical rates. 85% of UK businesses have felt the impact, with 32% struggling to attract new talent. Retailers – those in the business of selling merchandise to customers – have had it especially tough. In the UK there were 105,000 job vacancies in retail in the three months to February 2022, up from 60,000 at the same a year earlier. That’s a huge increase.

It’s more important than ever for retailers to have a strong hiring strategy. The competition in retail recruitment is at its highest point in history. This means companies have to work harder and be a lot savvier when it comes to getting the best candidates for their businesses.

This article will show you how to select the best candidates in retail recruitment by highlighting important retail job skills, how to write the perfect retail job description, what retail job benefits to offer, and the best retail job interview questions, along with some ideas for attracting and hiring Gen Z job seekers using video. So, let’s get started.

The perfect retail job description

Writing the perfect retail job description is your first step in attracting the best candidates to your company. It’s the first thing they’ll see about the role, so it needs to stand out among hundreds of other job offerings.

It needs to be brief and to the point and list the key retail job duties and responsibilities. First, consider the tone, as this will affect the type of applicant. Is it a serious and professional retail job, or are you looking for a more informal, personable hire? Write your retail job description with this in mind.

Think hard about the job duties and responsibilities required. Be thorough. Take yourself through the role and write down the most important elements that will be carried out regularly. A retail job description template might look like this:

  • an introduction paragraph that describes your business (set the tone early)
  • a bulleted list of the key retail job duties and responsibilities
  • the experience required
  • a bulleted list of the key skills needed
  • the expected hours, pay and benefits (be totally transparent here)
  • finish with the call to action: how will they apply? Be specific.

Retail job skills that employees must have

What are the necessary skills for a retail job? While they might differ from company to company, most retail job skills will include versions of the following:

  • customer service skills
  • exceptional communication and interpersonal skills
  • proven problem-solving skills
  • time management and multitasking skills
  • ability to work well with the team
  • initiative
  • a keen eye for detail.

Again, it really helps in retail recruitment to walk yourself through the role and pick out what you’d like to see in your best candidates. Skills for retail jobs are all very similar but a good strategy is to look to the future. After all, a likely way to lose workers is by offering no training or progression, so think about potential management/training/team-leader skills that would be advantageous, such as team management and leadership.

Retail job benefits to highlight in a job post

There are a number of great retail job benefits that you absolutely should highlight in your job post. Here are some examples.

  • People skills – you’ll never meet as many people as you do working in retail, so a retail job is great for extroverts. It’s a chance to really work on your people skills, improve your communication, and problem solve quickly and diplomatically.
  • Experience – working in retail is a fantastic way to start your career on the ground floor and get some vital experience and connections.
  • Flexible schedules – there are often opportunities to decide what shifts you want to work.
  • Discounts – employee discounts are an added perk!
  • Exercise – not everyone is cut out for an office job, sitting down 9 to 5. Being on your feet most of the day keeps you active and burns those calories.

Retail job interview questions to ask applicants

The job interview is the best time to really get a feel for the candidate, so don’t ask bog-standard, retail-job-interview questions. Open-ended questions are a much better way of getting a feel for a candidate’s personality, and an interesting interview is more likely to get them to say “yes” if you offer them the role (they’re interviewing you as much as you are them).

Some good interview questions to ask applicants include:

  • What does good customer service look like? 
  • What do you think the most important characteristics are that an employee needs to have to be successful in retail?
  • Do you have a dream job?
  • How would you handle a difficult customer?
  • Which part of the retail job function do you least like?
  • How would your previous manager describe you?

Try using a video job post instead to attract more Gen Z job seekers

The range of retail jobs available is broad – from high-end fashion to homeware – and competition between employers means it’s currently very hard for retailers to stand out when there are so many vacancies, especially when following the standard template of posting a wordy job description on a website.

That’s why you should try something new by bringing your jobs to life with video. Get ten times more exposure and broaden your appeal to Gen Z job seekers by posting a fun, informative and eye-catching video job post. They’re easily shareable, easily integrated into job search engines, and have higher applicants than traditional posts. Start using video interviews for your next retail hire!

Use video interviews to save time and shortlist better candidates

Once you’ve selected your shortlist, why not use video interviews instead? Video interviews let applicants show you their personality as well as their experience. You save time screening and build stronger shortlists. Does viewing 30 applicants in 30 minutes sound good? Learn more here.

Want more tips? > check out our eBook – 7 Tips for Attracting and Hiring Gen Z.

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