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Now hiring: What retailers look for in new recruits


Chances are you, as a retailer, have a wish list of qualities you’d like to see in new employees.

At’s annual summit, leading retailers discussed what skills and experiences they expected of entry-level candidates.

During the convention, the National Retail Federation sat down with Ann Inc., OfficeMax, Sam’s Club and Belk, and compiled a list of must haves. Compare your vetting process to their’s and see it needs honing.

1)   Applicants should have some work experience under their belt. Whether it’s an unpaid internship or a part-time job, this will help the employee ease into the new work setting.

2)   Demonstrated project management skills, no matter how basic. Recruits should be able to work on their own, manage their time effectively and communicate well with people at all levels.

3)   Leadership skills are critical, whether they come from captaining a hockey team or leading a volunteer campaign at school.

4)   Strong interview skills, not just a strong resume. These retailers look for candidates’ ability to provide concrete examples when asked questions.

5)   A spell-checked resume. Enough said.

6)   Well-rounded interests and experiences. Applicants shouldn’t be all art all the time, for example – they should show an interest in business..

7)   A familiarity with data and an aptitude for analyzing it.

8)   Information Technology is, hands down, the hardest position for retailers to fill, according to these professionals. An interest in this area means extra points.

9)   The group was divided over whether retail experience is a crucial, but most agreed that a familiarity with customer relations was a bonus.

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