• The average turnover in retail is slightly above 60%
  • 92% of HR professionals say that soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills
  • 89% point to lack of the right soft skills as the reason for bad hires

The retail sector is usually one of these that struggle with having too many applicants rather than too few. Now, however, the industry is still experiencing a post-pandemic labour shortage. In the US alone, the number of open positions is estimated at 956,000.

To make things worse, identifying skills retail employees should have to succeed on the job is more problematic than it seems, as portrayed by the overall turnover in the industry of over 60%.

Is a lack of interest in retail jobs the sole reason for the labour shortage? Or perhaps a lack of focus on the right skills exacerbates recruiters’ struggles? Let’s look at the top 5 skills retail employees should have to be a good fit and how your business can assess them effectively.

What Skills Retail Employees Should Have?

The necessary skills for being a successful retail employee often differ slightly depending on which retail branch you’re in. Nonetheless, 92% of talent professionals agree that soft skills are equally or more important than hard skills.

Additionally, 89% of them say that the lack of such skills is often the cause of a mis-hire.

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Thus, to find your next retail employee star and avoid high turnover, businesses should pay more attention to soft skills rather than previous work experience or education.

#1. Customer service mindset

Interacting with customers can easily be considered one of the most challenging aspects of working in retail. At the same time, finding a customer-service-minded employee is essential.

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Ultimately, if your staff isn’t good at selling your products and creating excellent customer relationships, your business won’t stay afloat for long.

In fact, 58% of customers globally admitted to having stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer service experience.

Can resumés tell you whether your candidate would be good at delivering the best service to your clientele? Unfortunately, no. But there are better assessment methods that allow you to evaluate this soft skill and many others. We’ll get to that in a minute!

#2. Team player

Teamwork lies at the heart of the retail sector. Whether your business sells clothes, food, or hardware materials, your employees must know how to cooperate with other staff members.

An effective team needs all members to work with the same goal in mind and understand each other’s responsibilities. On that note, not everyone is good at working in a group. Your recruiters need tools that allow them to identify a team player as early in the process as possible.

#3. Stress management

In a fast-paced environment of working in retail, being able to cope with stress is one of those soft skills that should be high on your ‘requirements’ list. Whether struggling to meet sales targets, being understaffed on a busy day, or simply having to deal with a demanding customer – your perfect candidate needs to be resilient to pressure.

#4. Multitasking & prioritising

Retail is perhaps one of the best examples of a fast-paced environment where employees must handle several tasks simultaneously. Helping a customer while restocking shelves or answering questions while making coffee – both are far from an unlikely daily occurrence. It’s thus imperative that candidates you decide to hire can cope with the workload and prioritise tasks effectively.

#5. Decision-making & taking the initiative

Connected to multitasking is a solid skill of making decisions – and making them on your own. A successful retail employee must be ready to always be on top of things and make quick, firm decisions, very often on the spot.

Having a worker who needs to be reminded about their tasks or constantly guided about what to do is a big no-no for any business. At the end of the day, employers want an independent staff, and it’s essential that you find candidates who will deliver.

How to Assess Candidates for These Skills?

Now that you know what soft skills retail employees should have to prove beneficial to your team, you also need a good strategy for assessing them.

If your recruitment relies heavily on resumé screening, you might find yourself in a pickle. As mentioned briefly, resumés generally don’t give you much insight into one’s soft skills as they focus on different facets. After all, can you really check if someone is good at managing stress or prioritising tasks by looking at their CV?

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Indeed, one’s past can shed some light. However, just because someone worked in retail for two years doesn’t necessarily mean they excelled (perhaps the employer didn’t have better options?). 

Therefore, you need a more fool proof method that speeds up your screening process and allows you to assess the hard-to-assess soft skills. The solution? Situational Judgment Tests.

What is a Situational Judgment Test (SJT)?

SJT is a multiple-choice test compiling scenarios an employee would commonly face on the job. The form of the test depends on your needs. However, as a general principle, there are no right or wrong answers – the responses are weighed based on what you consider essential and appropriate in your business.

The purpose of SJTs is to evaluate candidates’ soft skills and non-academic competencies. They help uncover one’s motivation and how one would respond in daily work situations.

How does it work?

Stage 1: Candidates complete a multiple-choice test with hypothetical work-related scenarios.

Stage 2: The tests are then automatically assessed based on the criteria set by you with our help.

Stage 3: Based on the results, you get a solid overview of all candidates’ soft skills, and thus you can make a well-informed hiring decision.

How does it improve your recruitment?

  1. Customised content – all SJTs are customised to your organisation and the position
  2. Digital process – SJTs are developed, distributed, and evaluated digitally
  3. Assessing the right skills – SJTs uncover motivation, decision-making, and many other soft skills
  4. Automated assessment – all tests are automatically evaluated based on the criteria
  5. Faster & well-informed hiring decisions – you get to quickly assess the right skills from a large candidate pool of as many as 350+ applications

Does it sound like something your business may use to improve and optimise recruitment? Innoflow offers Multiple-Choice Tests customised to fit your organisation precisely. Feel free to book a free consultation so we can walk you through the process!

The Right Method to Find the Right Retail Employee

Employees and their preparedness for the job are the foundation your business stands on. To ensure that this foundation is solid, you need a method that helps you identify individuals with the right set of crucial soft skills.

You decide to take a step forward – we help with the rest.

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