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How to Hire Retail Sales Associates: Job Skills

How to Hire Retail Sales Associates: Job Skills

By: Joanne Cleaver

Retail sales associates are face-to-face with customers, translating the retail brand’s marketing to a customer impression. A great sales associate makes customers feel welcome and glad they have come in to the store or called to place an order.

Conversely, an indifferent or neglectful sales associate can result not just in one sale lost on one day, but all sales lost for a lifetime from that customer. Thus retail sales associates must provide great customer service and demonstrate your company’s workplace ethics and mission with customers. 

The following recruiting tips will enable you to recruit and hire retail sales associates.

Key Skills for Retail Sales Associates:

Retail sales associates positions have few prerequisites as many retail salesperson jobs are entry-level. Accomplished sales associates typically prove their prowess by their track records, not by accumulating certifications.

  • Fluent English
  • Fluency in Spanish or other languages commonly spoken in your market
  • Clean, neat appearance and friendly manner
  • Aptitude for keeping up with ever-changing point-of-sale technology
  • Patience

Recruiter Tip:

Compensation structures vary widely for retail sales associates, and different pay structures motivate different types of sales associates. Be upfront and clear about what the job pays and how it pays.

Key Job Skills for Retail Sales Associates:

  • Enthusiasm for the product and the company brand
  • Ability to engage customers
  • Awareness of their own motivators: what keeps them stoked?
  • Willingness to be coached and to change

Recruiter Tip:

There’s a reason why stores post signs on their own doors that they are hiring: current customers who know and like the retailer -- as well as its point of view and products -- are prime candidates because they are already understand your company brand.

How to Retain Retail Sales Associates:

  • Commissions, bonuses and other performance incentives
  • Specialty training and expertise

Recruiting Tip:

“Let them know that they’ll get new job skills, whether they are with you for three months or three years,” says Bob Phibbs, whose company is The Retail Doctor. "Make sure they know that they will be gaining skills that they will need to be successful in any job.”

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