The cost of employing staff will rise further in 2017 thanks to increases in the National Living Wage and the introduction of pensions auto-enrolment.

It is therefore more important than ever to make sure every new member of your team is the right person for the job.

“Getting the right candidate who ticks all the boxes, is accountable and responsible is absolute gold dust,” says Ramesh Shingadia, whose business has achieved Investors in People status. “Recruitment is very costly but having the right staff really takes the pressure off you as a retailer,” he says.

Last week Ramesh was interviewing for his latest new team member and here he explains how retailers can get the interview process right.

Ask for CVs – you’ll need them

“We use Job Centres as well as the web to advertise for jobs and always ask for CVs,” says Ramesh. This provides a quick and easy way to identify those candidates which he may want to interview and provides the basis, later on, of any formal interviews. Because interviews take time, an initial read through means Ramesh only interviews candidates of the right standard.

Organise telephone interviews

As the CVs start coming through, Ramesh organises short informal telephone interviews which further helps screen candidates. The topics of these are kept general, outlining details of the role and why the person is interested in it – yet this tells Ramesh a lot. “It tells us a lot about their attitude, their behaviour and how articulate they are,” says Ramesh.

Arrange a first interview

Once Ramesh has spoken to a promising candidate, he will invite them in to meet him for a more formal interview. This is where the CV also comes in useful, acting as a prompt for the questions in the interview: “Here we will go through their CV talking about where they live, their relevant experiences, what they think their strengths are and what they find difficult,” he says.


Get a second opinion

During the second interview Ramesh will introduce a candidate to his store manager – who helps conduct the interview. He uses this meeting to discuss the role he is interviewing for further. Working this way means he can get a second opinion of his prospective candidates. “We will give them a number of scenarios – dealing with difficult customers,” for example. “It provides an opportunity to understand more about the way they think,” he says.


Arrange a “road test”

Ramesh then organises two mini-shifts before any contract is signed. “We will get them in for a one hour shift to show them through the departments and then half a shift where they will shadow a member of staff, working on the tills or running a counter. The member of staff has a training manual but will also feedback about their attitude,” Ramesh says.