Hiring for Retail E-Commerce or Brick-and-Mortar Positions? Here’s What to Look for in Candidates

Drew Whitehurst | November 22, 2021

make sure you know the best ways to hire both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar employees700,000 retail positions need to be filled before the holiday season, and with the current labor shortage, retailers are unsure if there will be enough candidates to cover open positions. Deloitte projects retail sales to climb from last year, as much as 15% through e-commerce and 9% in brick-and-mortar stores, making efficient hiring for retail even more important.

So, there is no room to leave these open positions – well – open. With the boom in e-commerce, retailers need to be looking for candidates that fit both the profile of a traditional retail hire and the newer warehouse profile.

E-commerce has opened up a whole new population of candidates for the retail industry. Retailers do not solely need store associates to tend to the registers and restock shelves after the stores close. 

Retailers need storytellers, brand ambassadors, safety monitors, and tech enthusiasts for their distribution facilities and brick-and-mortar stores. The best way to make sure your store is well-stocked with employees and goods is to make sure you know the best ways to hire both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar employees.

Evolving Skills Of The New E-Commerce Candidate

Hiring managers tend to look for hard skills on a resume to sort through candidates, but when hiring for e-commerce candidates, soft skills can be just as important. Yes, a forklift license is nice to have in advance, but training the right candidate with all the other necessary skills shouldn’t be out of the question. Especially because when you take the time to train employees, they are more likely to stay with your company

With that in mind, here are the soft skills you should be recruiting for:

  • Detail orientated – Your candidate needs to be meticulous in restocking inventory and fulfilling orders correctly to avoid future customer service issues.
  • Reliable – You want people who will show up on time, every time.
  • Safety conscience – Accidents will slow you down, stop work, and most importantly, hurt your employees.
  • Tech-savvy – Automation and advanced software are commonly used tools in fulfillment centers for all positions. The right candidate is familiar with these tools and their functions.

How To Recruit Your Ideal E-Commerce Candidate

How can you find enough candidates with these skills in time for the holiday shopping demand to begin? After reading a resume with the hard skills you are looking for, reach out to the candidates you’d like to screen with an invitation for a one-way video interview.

We often hear that candidates won’t understand video interviewing technology… but in reality, recording a one-way video is as hassle-free as sending a Snapchat or uploading a Reel to Instagram. As an added bonus, the time to complete is often much quicker than a traditional phone screen (most candidates record their interviews within 48 hours).

The Brick-And-Mortar Candidate – A Traditional Hire Here To Stay

Brick-and-mortar stores are an ‘outdated way to shop’, according to e-commerce fanatics. But that reputation could not be farther from the truth. According to Forbes, retail is bouncing back. The pandemic took away the shopping experience for many. Now, consumers are eager to get that personal touch of shopping back in real life. To give customers the experience they are looking for, hire associates who represent your brand’s “personality” and provide shoppers with a personal connection. 

During the interview process, look for candidates who are friendly, patient, and empathetic. A smile can be what makes or breaks a purchasing experience. These soft skills are essential for the personal experience that consumers entering brick-and-mortar stores are looking for.

The flip side of this same coin is that candidates also need to be resilient. A series of customers expressing anger and frustration over situations beyond an associate’s control can be a lot to take at the end of a long shift. Associates who are not resilient will not be with your company for the long haul, putting you back in the position you are now – short-staffed.

Hire Top In-Person Retail Associates

You need to act quickly to reach these candidates before your competition. We think video interviews are a great way to first meet your candidates, but if you’re looking to bring them in for a second-round interview, why not try an interview scheduler

With an interview scheduler, recruiters send candidates a link to the recruitment team calendar – cutting down the back and forth of deciding dates and times. The candidates then schedule their interviews in an open slot. The best part for busy candidates is they can schedule interviews right from their phone, via SMS, resulting in 80% of candidates scheduling their interview within 24 hours of receiving the invitation.

interviewstream Can Help

It is critical for retailers and fulfillment centers to be fully staffed to meet the demands of customers. Recruiters need to be more efficient than ever when it comes to hiring the right person for the job. Whether you are filling positions in your e-commerce fulfillment center or your brick-and-mortar store, we can help you find the staff you need to fulfill the holiday demands and beyond.

Are you ready to speed up your hiring process without compromising on the quality of candidates you are bringing in the door? Contact a hiring expert today to find out more about how we can accelerate your company to fully-staffed status. 

About The Author

Drew Whitehurst is the Director of Marketing at interviewstream. He's been with the company since 2014 working in client services and marketing. He is an analytical thinker, coffee enthusiast, and hobbyist at heart.


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