Retailers Woo Job Seekers with New Incentives, Techniques

Posted by

While sales floor jobs and those requiring no degree are disappearing faster than two-bit candy bars, skilled high-tech, logistics and managerial positions are increasingly in demand. There’s no doubt that retail is changing, embracing new technologies and now, new ways to attract and keep the talent they need to succeed in this tough economy.

The Emergence of ROWE

To fill job posts with qualified candidates, retailers are pulling out all the stops, combining cushy perks, high salaries and innovative incentives. To lure the best candidates, Best Buy has implemented a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), which allows employees to decide how, when and where they get their jobs done. As long as employees meet their productivity goals, they can pretty much call the shots. ROWE turns the traditional work paradigm on its head, establishing a work/life balance that discards the 9-to-5 on-site workday in favor of simple productivity metrics. 

According to Integrated Retailing, the new ROWE rules allow salaried employees to work at the beach, at home or at Starbucks. They need only work as long as it actually takes to get the job done. Even attending meetings is optional. Best Buy currently has over 60 percent of its workforce under ROWE. Does ROWE work? So far, so good. Productivity is up by 35 percent and employees love it, citing more time for family and non-work activities, more energy, and a deeper sense of loyalty to Best Buy.

The Container Store Opts for Group Interviews

The Container Store, a nationwide retailer that specializes in storage and organization solutions, often holds group interviews to find staff who have the personality and energy to succeed. The company likes the group interview format because hiring managers can gauge appearance, communication skills and how candidates interact with each other. Their advice to candidates: show your enthusiasm, your resume, your ability to sell yourself, and “ask for the order”–the job. At one group interview, job candidates were given a homework assignment before the interview—find a product in the store that solves an organizational problem for the way you live. Some candidates came back with interesting iPad presentations and videos. Group interview managers noted that personality and drive trumps experience.

Publix Wants to Meet You—in Person

When more employers are asking for online applications, Patti Breckenridge, Recruiting Manager at Publix, a supermarket chain that employs over 140,000 people at 1,068 retail locations, prefers job candidates to physically apply for its retail positions. Why? Three reasons: 

  • Customer Service. They want job seekers to interact with a live person about questions they may have in working at Publix or the application process. It’s also a way for candidates to experience first hand how Publix treats people—customers and applicants.
  • Quality Control.  Publix wants job applicants that routinely shop at their stores. These candidates are familiar with Publix high standards.
  • Local Need. When they need help, they need it right now. Publix can’t wait for candidates to relocate to the local store. It’s another way to filter out candidates.

Looking to land a good job in retail? Get ready for some new recruiting techniques.

Image courtesy of Ambro/


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch