So you have your small business up and running, the shop is fitted out beautifully, your customer base is growing and you’re all kitted out with the point-of-sale that makes it all run like a dream. But there’s one thing missing; the employees.
Small businesses just getting off the ground may overlook the importance of finding (and keeping) the perfect employees. A great product or service is key to gaining customers, but a bad experience on the shop floor due to customer service can lose them for good, no matter how much they may like your brand.
Whether you’re building your team from the ground up or need a replacement for an employee who is leaving, it’s vital that you put the correct time into your recruitment, to find employees that can transmit the values of your brand in the customer service they provide. Here are some key tips for finding the perfect new member of your team:
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We don’t just mean the usual suspect that is LinkedIn. Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram can all play a part. Make sure you post your vacancy on all these channels, who knows, your new employee might come right out of your current customer base.
Local Listings Sites
Gumtree is a powerful tool when it comes to getting in contact with local workers, though it is often overlooked due to questions regarding its trustworthiness. The only way for you to negate all that is to make sure you present yourself as the trustworthy business that you are.
Include links to your website and social media, so potential candidates can see you have a respectable following of happy customers. Include the address of the location where you expect them to work and a full job spec, including the salary, training and benefits package you offer. Your local paper is likely to have a job section too and their readership is sure to have a good understanding of your business’ local presence – maybe they’ve been in your store before and experienced your brand of customer service first-hand.
Indeed, Monster UK, TotalJobs, the list goes on. UK job sites are virtually endless; you don’t need to pay to be listed on all of them, but it’s definitely a good idea to register with at least one. As Indeed serves as a listing for most other sites, this may be one of the best jobs sites to start with.
Go Old School
The old poster in the shop window still works! Make sure you have a flyer ready with full details or the job, or just the application link where they can find them online. You could simply tell candidates this, but something physical like a job spec or even just a business card pointing to your website gives a much better impression than telling them to go to another source when curious candidates have made the effort to come directly to you.
Through your existing employees
Bonuses and rewards are a common method businesses use to get their current trusted employees to recommend new staff. As a small business, you don’t have to incentivise your team, but you should definitely let them know you are open to any candidates they recommend. If you are giving your staff a rewarding and fun place to work, there is no reason they wouldn’t want their friend to join them.
Alright, so you have your applications streaming in, now to narrow them down. You should ask yourself the following questions when sifting through applications:
- Are they experienced?
While you may be open to giving candidates a leg-up into the world of retail, you’re sure to benefit more from hiring an individual with some relevant experience. If this isn’t in retail, then it may be in hospitality or an area with many transferable skills. Depending on the responsibility and seniority of the role – e.g. will they be expected to help with employee management? - you should look for a certain level of experience so they can transition into their new position smoothly.
You might also want to consider the nature of their experience, if they were working in a high-street sports shop, for example, perhaps they aren’t best suited to your business offering bespoke perfumes. Still, you never know where you might uncover a hidden gem, so if you have a good feeling about someone, bring them in for interview.
- Will they fit in with the wider team?
You’re a small business so there’s no reason your candidate’s interview day can’t also be a chance for them to meet the whole team. Show them the shop floor, introduce them to your product, you can even give them a run-down of your payments system to see if they are happy to learn something new.
Give them the opportunity to decide if you are a good fit for them as much as they are for you. A candidate with no experience may still gel with your vision and existing team, just as a perfectly qualified candidate may fall flat when actually present on the shop floor. Not every employee needs to be the same – maybe some are quiet and some are wonderfully extroverted, they simply need to share the positive attitude that makes for a great team.
It may sound hard, but don’t worry, it’s really not that complicated to find yourself the perfect employee, so long as you can make them as enthusiastic about your brand as you are.