Retail Hiring Homework

Hiring store level staff can be just as perplexing as hiring a store manager. Many feel no matter how much homework, it’s still a gamble or calculated risk. In a recent online question, a few successful retailers known to us were good enough to offer a couple of suggestions:

  • We have a simple skills test that includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Also we have a graphic of a ruler with arrows pointing to specific measurements. You’re right that, 95% of the applicants cannot read a ruler.

We have them figure a 5% discount on a box of 50 pieces at a certain price, and calculate sales tax at 8% on the total. (We have computer registers, but they should understand the concept). Get creative, but be sure to test only what they will actually be required to do.

  • The last few years we have done well hiring the attitude, and training the skill. We have also done well asking the staff for their recommendations. Once an Associate told me “You’re not going to offer her a job, are you? She tried to hire me to go over to Lowe’s.”
  • What we do is have the applicant fill out a basic application.  In addition to that, there is a small math test I give that basically lets me know if they can calculate BASIC math – you would be surprised at how many college kids do not know how many feet are in a yard.  After the applications, I schedule interviews based on first impressions and what I see on their applications.  Then I reevaluate how the applicant is doing a couple of weeks after they start with us.
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