Use a Difficult Market to Improve Your Staff

Two related behavioral trends are emerging from this difficult market. First, the best talent pool we’ve seen in a decade is searching for their next opportunity, yet many jewelers are not taking advantage. Second, many members of lower management are intimidated by these potential hires and not recommending them.

Owners and top managers must take control of the hiring process. If some managers are interviewing great talent but giving excuses explaining why none fit, make sure their assessments are backed by facts. Personal preference shouldn’t be enough to reject candidates. Look to a candidate’s prior successes and evaluate how that history will translate to your business.

If managers are rejecting too many candidates, talk to them. Ask if they think their own job is in jeopardy, and why; there is usually something specific behind this lack of confidence. If their feeling is justified by their performance, use the situation as a motivator and encourage them to step up. Improving their individual performance will provide a model to other employees.

If someone has a big ego and wants to feel that he or she is the store’s best, point out that a better staff helps the whole team, including managers. You’ll find out quickly which employees will stand by you and do what it takes to make the store better.

Conduct interviews yourself, and compare your assessments to your managers’. Once you establish which managers most closely match your interviewing style and expectations, provide opportunities for them to mentor managers who need more training. This will sharpen their skills and give them opportunities to work with the executive team, making your employees feel valued.

No one is irreplaceable, which is an important message to send to all your employees. Carefully evaluate those who are interviewing new candidates and dismissing them with unfounded emotional excuses. Counsel and mentor them, reminding them that it’s OK to hire great people who may outshine them in skills or sales. In the end, it will make them look better and help the company.