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!

Grab a Cup of Coffee, and Join Me!

Welcome the the HR-Undercover™ Blog.  Long overdue, and finally here!  Within these posts, I will share insights about the new employee experience.  Writings will cover everything from evaluating the need for an employee, through the candidate experience, the offer, and onboarding processes, right through to the one year anniversary of employment.  We'll talk recruiting, extending offers of employment, team building, first impressions, avoiding hiring bias, ensuring new hire success, retention, respect --- oh, I am geeking out thinking of all the aspects of the new hire experience that will be covered! 

There are a few things you should know.  First, I am an HR professional, not a professional writer, or editor. Please do not let punctuation, and/or grammatical errors scare you off!  That said, I will do my best without delaying posts for multiple edits, and revisions.  If you catch an obvious error, send me a note...you never know what goodie I will send in return!  Of course, if it has to do with my obsessive use of "...", and "-" I am afraid there is very little hope for change.  If Sister Seraphine couldn't deter my use of ellipsis and dashes all those years ago, I am afraid we are stuck with them.  That said, I am in favor of the Oxford comma.  

Secondly, I welcome your questions, comments, and emotional outbursts.  We may not agree on all things HR, and management, ...okay, let's simply accept now that we will have differing opinions at times. Let's further agree that I will respectfully put forth my insights herein, and you respectfully put forth yours in the comments, or via the contact us section of this site.  Different perspectives, and respectful discussion are key components to continuous learning - and I am a HUGE fan of continuous learning. 

Lastly, if there's something here you particularly enjoy, please share it (with attribution) via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc!

Now that we have that covered, what do you say we begin?