New Rules of Engagement: How Top Retailers Recruit Talent

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You’ve recently graduated (or are about to graduate) and you’re looking for a job in retail management. The bad news: jobs are scarce and the competition is fierce. The good news: smart retailers are reaching out for top talent in innovative new ways.

At this year’s inaugural Retail Recruiter Network meeting, identifying and securing talent topped the list of pressing issues faced by retailers. Clearly the rules of engaging and procuring success minded young managers have changed. Some examples:

Move Stores or Move Minds

Talent shortages in certain locations have prompted some companies to open offices in cities where talent is in abundance—major metro areas and cities with a fashion identity. Other retailers stress the advantages of work/life balance in smaller outlying cities. Many entry level candidates who live in outlying areas simply will not move to major metro locales due to the higher cost of living. These individuals are often strapped for cash to pay off student loans.

Store vs. Corporate Office

Many talented job candidates eyeing managerial posts regard working at the store level as a dead end or beneath them. They’ve worked in stores part time and during their summer breaks. They now want an office in a corporate setting where they see a clear path to upper management. Retailers are addressing this issue by underscoring the earning and career advancement potential that occurs at the store level. Recruiters and HR managers are unveiling programs that show the many facets of store management—hiring and training employees, managing inventory and analyzing financial reports. Some recruiters point to the success of those who started at the store level. Rising through the retail ranks, Lucy Kalkman began as a bagger at Jewel Food Stores in Chicago and became VP of Operations at Empire Today.

Better Branding

Top retailers know how to market their brand to consumers. But some fall short in selling their brand to talented job candidates. The need to sell the benefits, perks and career advancement opportunities a retailer can offer potential young stars as crucial in attracting the best and brightest. Companies are building their brand through Facebook ads and sending out young emissaries to sell the “cool” factor of coming aboard. In Is Your Employer Brand Social Recruiting Ready?, talent management and HR specialist Kirsten Smith advises companies to fully exploit Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to draw in and sell top candidates on their unique brand.

Social Media Talent Pools

Reducing the cost per hire and attracting a higher level of talent, social media has become a major employee recruitment tool for many retailers. In a 2012 Talent Acquisition/Recruiting Survey by Staffing Industry Analysts, 75% of recruiter respondents noted that the use of social media in recruiting was a smart move.  Some companies are creating Social-Media Talent Pools using staff to continually interact with prospective job candidates conversationally on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks where candidates gather. Others are jumping on the mobile bandwagon, connecting with potential candidates on the move.

Looking for a management career in retailing? Top retailers are looking for you—in some innovative new ways.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs/


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