Hiring, Leadership

Top Retail Hiring Challenges (and how to solve them)

Retail hiring isn’t for the faint of heart – we have some suggestions to make it easier for you this year. 

Hiring in the retail industry can be a tricky business – but it is always evolving which is part of the fun! Here are some common challenges that come up for retail hiring managers, and some suggestions for improvement from our hiring experts.

Retail Hiring Challenge #1: High turnover 

Retail is a fast-paced business that is always changing. At times, it can feel like employees are turning over as fast (or faster)  than your inventory. According to World at Work, hourly store employees have the highest turnover rate at 65%. Needless to say, the staggering rate at which people come and go is challenging for business owners.

Hiring Expert Solution #1: Always be hiring

We talk about this a lot at Acquire4Hire, and for good reason! Creating a backup database for job opportunities is just smart forward-thinking. With high turnover rates and busy seasons just around the corner, you will feel more relaxed if you have a database of candidates to call on when a spot opens up. This also opens the door for candidates who may not quite ready to leave their job yet but are looking for seasonal work. Keep the doors open and the applications rolling in.

Retail Hiring Challenge #2: Seasonal hiring

Seasonal hiring is tricky because hiring managers are required to predict how much help they will need – while also being cautious of moving their inventory quickly enough to pay this new and growing team.

Different kinds of retail stores have different busy seasons – usually in the winter or summer months. If you own a store that gets a lot of traffic during the holiday seasons (November – January) you probably need a lot more staff to help out during those months, and a lot less support during the spring seasons. Other types of stores, like a surf shop for example, will be extremely busy in the summer months and not so much in the colder season.

Regardless of when your busy season is, hiring is extremely important to consider well before you need the extra hands.

Hiring Expert Solution #2: Plan ahead

Prepare your job posts well in advance (and make sure they’re well done). That means you need to write accurate job descriptions that will attract the candidates you are looking for. Hiring platforms like Acquire4Hire make posting jobs a breeze. We help you organize your hiring process which can shorten your time from job post to hire.  Our hiring solution provides retail-specific job descriptions that can be customized for your stores. Learn more about how it works here.

It also helps to prep your workers for success before the busy season hits. When demands increase, workers who have not been properly trained might struggle with the extra workload. Make sure you’ve properly on-boarded and trained employees on the company’s best practices so that each person on your team feels confident in their ability to handle the uptick of work during the holidays.

Retail Hiring Challenge #3: Competition

Whether or not the stores around you are direct competitors for your target customers – they are direct competitors for recruiting employees, especially if they are offering higher hourly wages. If someone is interested in a retail position, it’s not uncommon that they would apply to multiple stores in the area.

Hiring Expert Solution #3: Focus on retention

The best way to attract new employees? Treat your current employees well. Most retail stores aren’t able to provide shiny benefits like gym memberships, tuition assistance, or even PTO. So how do you retain your valued workers? Find out what is important to them. Be a good leader. Focus on creating a great company culture, and offer plenty of opportunities for good employees to move up and take on new responsibilities. Your employees probably won’t stick with you forever, but that’s okay! If they have a great experience working with you, they’ll remember it for a lifetime. And hey, a great store discount doesn’t hurt either!

Retail Hiring Challenge #4: Attracting the right candidates 

There’s nothing worse than spending all of the time and effort it takes to hire a new employee, only to have them leave on the first day knowing it’s a bad fit for both of you. Attracting the right candidate can be difficult, especially for retail stores. In a time where online retail giants are dominating the industry (we’re looking at you, Amazon Prime) top candidates might not even want to take the risk of working at a brick and mortar shop.

Hiring Expert Solution #4: Employee referrals

Happy employees are your best advocates. When an employee enjoys their job they will talk about it with their friends and family! And better yet, good people know good people – so you’re likely to find some great candidates from employee referrals. Consider setting up a rewards program that will offer current employees an incentive to start thinking about referring a connection to your store. Employee referrals shorten the time-to-hire, cutting costs and increasing productivity!

Hiring can be overwhelming – especially hiring in retail where you need workers to survive. The good news? The retail industry is large, providing a wide applicant pool. Nearly everyone you ask has had a job in retail at one point or another. There are over 15 million people in the retail space and while one-click delivery poses a threat to brick and mortar, there are ways to help ensure your employees will stick around!  Remember, our hiring consultants are always here to help!

Let us cross hiring off your to-do list


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