6 Valuable Skills to Look for in A Retail Employee

A recent study of the Quebec retail sector reveals that in 52% of establishments, personality and attitude are the top valuable traits when hiring a retail employee.

However, employers shouldn’t limit themselves by focusing solely on the personality of a job candidate.

When it comes to the retail industry where unpredictable circumstances arise, having a variety of “soft and hard skills” comes a long way.

Here are six valuable skills to look for in your next retail employee:

1. A Strong Communicator

Does your job seeker have a way with words and talk a lot?

Congratulations, they have the gift of gab.

Yet being a strong communicator goes beyond being a good talker.

It requires the ability to formulate your thoughts clearly and be an active listener.

After all, if you’re doing more talking than listening, you won’t be able to understand the customer’s needs.

A good way of identifying whether you have a strong communicator on your hands is by seeing how they respond in difficult situations.

Someone with great communication skills will be patient and be able to respond to their customer’s frustration with empathy.

Instead of talking their way out of the problem, they’ll be actively listening to their customers. As a result, they’ll know how to calm the customer down and meet their expectations.

2. A Problem Solver

When it comes to working in retail, dealing with dissatisfied customers is a scenario most encounter on a daily basis.

For this reason, the right job candidate must be able to possess an analytical mind.

In other words, they must be able to identify the cause of a problem and find the best solution possible.

How can you tell they’re a problem solver?

By tapping into their past experience and asking the following behavioural questions to them below:  

  • Tell me about a situation where you had to solve a difficult problem.
  • Describe a situation in which you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle.
  • Tell me about a time that you identified a need and went above and beyond the call of duty to get things done.

3. Ability to Work Well Under Pressure.

When working in retail, anything can happen: an unusual rush of work, a rude customer, a disorganized employee and the list goes on.

The right job candidate must know how to keep calm and stay focused on the task at hand.

When a problem arises, having the ability to react to the situation rather than the stress is a clear indicator they can handle a curveball thrown their way.

The essential part is knowing before hiring them whether they can handle stress.

Asking behavioural based interview questions will allow job seekers to recount their past experience handling stress.

By revealing “how” they handled it, you’ll be able to discover whether they can work well under pressure.

Some questions to consider asking:

  • What’s the most stressful situation you’ve faced at a job and how did you handle it? 
  • How do you prevent a situation from getting too stressful to manage?

Bottom line: Instead of getting easily overwhelmed,  the right candidate needs to be able to thrive in chaos and know how to get into a solution-oriented mindset.

4. Trustworthy

Without trust, there’s no relationship to build on.

You must make sure that the person you are recruiting is trustworthy.

Consistency in their actions such as showing up on time and meeting deadlines are some ways to convey trust.

Yet, a bigger predictor is seeing how they handle emergency situations.

Are they the first to contact you or do they keep you in the dark?

Accountability goes a long way in establishing trust.

For example, if an emergency arises and they can’t make their shift, will they go out of their way to find a solution and let you know asap?

Or will they assume all responsibility to you?

The help of a scheduling management app like Voilà!, can ease the burden of having to problem-solve your way out of an empty shift.

Instead of playing the time-consuming telephone game to find a replacement,  a cancelled shift can easily be exchanged with another available employee via the app.

On the employee’s side, they no longer have to play the ghosting game in fear of letting you down . Thanks to the smart scheduling feature, employees can take ownership of their cancelled shifts and the app will easily find a suitable replacement.

A rebuilt in trust while being resourceful?


5. Comfortable Using Technology (And Dealing with Numbers!)

Whether with a computer or a cash register, the ideal job candidate must know how to use technology in the workplace.

They don’t have to be the techiest people on the block, but if they’re not familiar with using technology in the workplace, they need to quickly learn how to adapt.

Since there’s a lot of transactions taking place, being comfortable working with numbers is another valuable asset to take into consideration.

 A simple miscalculation with a customer’s purchase will create unnecessary headaches for both the customer and employee. 

A great way of discovering whether a job candidate fits the bill is by simply asking them about their past experience using the desired technology or by testing them in real-time.

Speed, comprehension and accuracy are great indicators of knowing whether they’re capable of using your companies technology on a daily basis.

6. A Business Mindset

Even if the desired employee doesn’t consider himself an entrepreneur, being able to showcase your service/product in an engaging manner will work wonders.

For example, do they have the ability to delight customers just by presenting your product/service in their own unique way?  

Better yet, do they have successful experience persuading customers to make a decision and lead them to the buyer’s stage?

If so, congratulations, you have a talented salesman on your hands!

What other characteristics do you believe a retail employee should have? Let us know in the comments below!