Looking to Hire Customer Service Employees? Go Shopping!

What?  I don’t have time to go shopping --- I have 17 jobs to fill!  --- hear me out. 

Bebe is the most recent in an ever growing list of retailers who have announced that it will be shuttering stores. 

Bebe joins Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy's, and Kmart - all are closing either all or a large number of retail locations - and all have staff that are currently looking for their next job, or will be soon.  

Don’t wait for these employees to come looking for you --- go to them.  It’s the ultimate customer service simulation --- because it’s not one!  It’s real.    

Tell me about a time when a change has been introduced at work that has had a negative impact on you and how you responded to it. 

BAM--- your answer is right there, in the Macy’s housewares, clothing, and jewelry departments, and in Bebe, Kmart, J.C. Penney, and Sears stores nationwide.      

Years ago my track coach taught me to “run through the finish”. Don’t slow down because the finish line is in sight, keep powering through until that stripe of paint is solidly behind you.  Employees who continue to serve customers with a smile, work hard to solve their problems and answer their questions with energy, even though their organization has announced the closing of their store are “running through the finish”.   Those are the employees you want to recruit, and hire. 

Go shopping.  buy a coffee maker, winter coat, or pair of pants --- but mainly, watch for the exceptional employees who are running through the finish.  When you find them --- hand them your card and share that you are always looking for employees with skills like theirs, and  this is really important while you want to respect their commitment to their store through closing, you’d be interested in talking with them about the possibility of working with your organization after their store closes

Why do I recommend honoring their relationship with Macy’s, Sears, etc.?  Because the employees you are looking for are also loyal.   If an employee is willing to drop everything and walk away then and there, they will likely to the same to you down the road.  This is much the same as when a potential employee says “oh, I’ll tell them I quit tomorrow and can start with you the next day”.  YIKES!  Those words set off alarm bells for me. 

We wouldn’t want employees to leave us in a lurch – so we shouldn’t ask them to leave other employers in a lurch, lest we teach them how to interact with us. 

While it’s obvious that these employees would be a fit for retail jobs, I think it’s important to note that there are transferable skills here that would benefit those of you hiring in hospitality, recruiting for health-care, and looking to fillservice-sector jobs in nearly any specific industry. 

Now go shop --- and don’t forget a stash of business cards!