The success of a jewelry store often depends on its employees. And although they must hold responsibility for succeeding in their roles, the owner has to ultimately take responsibility for their contribution to the store’s success.
This article provides a full guide for navigating the hiring process. The key factors we’ve identified are presentation, demeanor, experience, coachability, reliability and others as well as tips for interviewing prospects.
So, you’ve decided that you need a new employee. Either your staff is already too busy to handle the volume at your current store or maybe you’re planning on expanding.
What are boxes to check before starting the interview process?
This may depend significantly on your connections with the local community as well as the size of your organization and the location of your store(s). The larger your organization, the more your hiring will need to depend on a process-oriented approach, particularly when hiring decisions need to be made by a regional or store manager.
The best place to start may be with your local connections. Try putting the word out that you need a hand, and look for employees within your immediate and extended social circle, business or otherwise. Applicants who you already know or who are connected to your friends or family could be more trustworthy.
Meanwhile, maintaining good relationships with your current staff can be the key to getting sound referrals. Your store’s reputation is a determinant for accessing harder-to-get talent. The best salespeople won’t be willing to work at a store that has a reputation for treating it’s staff badly. So, keep in mind that HR is not just one silo!
When it comes vetting connections, also keep in mind that close personal relationships can get in the way of your objectivity. Hiring a friend who does not have the necessary skills may seem like a great idea at the time, but it could compromise your judgment both during vetting and when issues arise later. Jewelry stores are often family owned businesses, making this sometimes a significant hurdle to get over!
LinkedIn can also be a good place to post job listings, as people often use the platform both to look for jobs and to forward relevant job postings to others who may be interested in them.
In the next section, we go into a bit more detail about the qualities you should be looking for in a respective hiree.
This is not the end-all-be-all, but it’s still a necessary element. So, what elements of ‘presentation’ are relevant in the early stages? This begins with the way a job candidate treats others, speaks, dresses and acts. At first approximation, it could be the quality of a resume. When you meet, it will relate to attire, a reasonable level of respect, the ability to speak articulately, clearly and empathetically with yourself and with others.
It may sound a bit cheesy, but grace under difficult circumstances is another desirable quality. A well-known manager once revealed that as part of his hiring process, he would take prospects out to breakfast. He would then ask the waiter to deliberately mess up the prospect’s breakfast order to see how the prospect dealt with the ensuing confusion. Needless to say, those who maintained their composure and were kind and understanding gained a leg up. Grace during difficult or challenging circumstances is a sign that an individual has a wider breadth of experience and can empathize with others more broadly.
Reliability and responsibility are also major factors. The first test for reliability is punctuality. Showing up late to an interview, for instance, is just something that is almost never done among candidates who genuinely want the role and the responsibility that would come with it.
It is important to maintain standards and expectations. This translates to communication with the candidate, which will set clear guidelines. If you don’t know what you want, neither will the candidate, and this will lead to ambiguity, lackluster performance and friction in the long-term. Furthermore, a lack of communicating clear expectations early-on is actually unfair to the candidate, because under these circumstances, the goals for success are unknown.
Branding and Work Culture Fitment
This has less to do with experience and skill than with a candidate’s ability to mesh with the store’s brand presentation and its staff. Your hires are a representation of your brand, and they will often be the first to interact with and maintain customer relationships. Customers who enter a store for the first time and have a negative experience very rarely come back. Meanwhile, those who have an outstanding experience are not only very likely to return, but to also recommend your store to others. Average customer experiences will result in your simply not standing out and ending up getting lost in the crowd.
Vetting here starts with screening for things that may obviously be inappropriate and also finding individuals who embody your core values and those of your organization.
Interviews can often start out very casually, and keep in mind that small talk is an important skill for someone in a sales role. The candidate will need to be able to connect with customers on a personal level. This also gives the opportunity to learn more about the candidate. It creates the space for both good things and bad to reveal themselves in a way that highly structured interviews do not.
Cultural fitment can be difficult when it comes to hiring, but it should ultimately be answered by core values questions. Preoccupation with culture is often a sign of excessive politics or arbitrary standards. Style and understanding of the product itself is a factor in this that lends itself to jewelry knowledge, but it’s important to balance style with adaptability and skill, which will be better long-term indicators as to how your hiring will affect your bottom line.
Experience and Coachability
These are two somewhat opposing factors. Here’s why. A candidate who has lots of experience and a great track record of sales will probably not require nearly as much coaching. The thing to watch out for here is when the sales record is simply for a company that is wildly different fundamentally, and therefore the track record wouldn’t translate well at all.
With candidates who don’t have much or sometimes any experience, the question becomes about coachability. This entails the ability to listen carefully, to focus on the lesson, to understand and care about the purpose of the lesson, and to be able to map that lesson to reality and execute it consistently.
There is nothing wrong with hiring on a temporary basis, but if you’re working with someone who shows signs of focus early-on, you may actually be more eager than the candidate to work out a full-time arrangement, because that candidate will likely have more options and will be able to succeed elsewhere.
If you’re in a big city, you have access to a larger talent pool, and it should be easier to find applicants, but you’ll have to spend more time screening them. And, in this circumstance, there’s actually a much greater risk of choosing the wrong candidate, simply because it’s much more time consuming to vet them all properly.
If you’re in a small town, the talent pool is obviously far smaller, so your success will rely on finding someone who is coachable and also on your ability to train. Ultimately, also, the work environment and compensation will determine whether you’re able to keep skilled employees, and retention is a major factor in your business’s long-term profitability, because it will prevent you from having to teach the same lessons to new hires over and over again.
So, when it comes time to conduct the actual interview, what are a few useful tips? First, it helps to have questions down written in advance. These will help keep the interview structured in case you start getting sidelined.
You’ll want to ask questions about professional experience. Keep in mind, however, that the standard benchmarks for a good salesperson are often misleading. There are many spheres of life that require discipline, hard work and commitment. Your candidate may have been successful in an atypical way and may need a bit of encouragement to mention such relevant experiences. Past experience with overcoming challenges, irrespective of what they might be, is always an indicator of future success.
Ensure that the environment is kept welcoming and stress free. The candidate may already be nervous. It helps to keep notes on details that surface that are particularly relevant.
Also, encourage other staff members to drop in on the interview. Having the buy-in of team members helps vet a prospect significantly. This is important both for sole contributor roles and managerial hires. Staff may not be too thrilled if you hire someone to manage them who they’ve never spoken to or at least given feedback on.
Keep in mind that candidates may also be in a position to reject your offer. So, it’s important to be familiar with the kinds of offers other establishments are making in terms of salary, commission, allowances and other benefits. Also, money isn’t everything, so candidates may be willing to go elsewhere based on certain factors in the work environment.
This concludes our discussion on hiring for the time being. Best of luck in getting your staff expanded and up to speed!
Santa Prisca Silver is a wholesale sterling silver jewelry distributor. Check out our jewelry selection! We are the leading supplier of Mexican sterling silver bracelets. Alternatively, feel free to reach out.