When recruiting retail workers, there will be lots of different things you are looking for, depending on the specific position you are hiring for. I have written before about great traits that interview candidate should have, however in this article I will identify 6 key traits to look for that will benefit anyone in a customer facing role.


Confidence is one of the most important skills for working with the public, and retail workers need to be able to approach people without hesitation. This confidence should spread to the service they are selling, and they should be able to convince customers that this product is the best possible. They also need to be confident in dealing with difficult customers, while meanwhile maintaining respectful treatment of them.


This links to how retail workers should be positive and friendly, and this needs to reflect to customers face to face. While bad days cannot be prevented, customers are (understandably) less likely to want to shop in a store full of staff who look miserable. Being able to present themselves as positive and friendly, and always acting like they are happy to help customers, is beneficial to customer perceptions of your brand.


Similarly, empathy is a really important trait for retail workers to have. By being able to understand how a customer feels, and why they feel that way, retail staff can provide the best possible service to customers. Also, being empathetic when dealing with customer problems will mean that customers leave feeling understood, even if the result isn’t exactly what they wanted.

An honest and reliable retail worker is the best bet, especially as they will most likely be handling money. Making sure that you can trust the people you hire to work with money and do so sensibly is maybe the most important thing to consider when hiring. As well as this, having someone who you can rely on to turn up to all of their shifts and do a good job is absolutely ideal, especially in retail where being short-staffed makes everyone else’s day so much harder.


Multitasking is another retail skill that is beneficial, but this will improve the more they work. Doing several things at the same time, like making drinks while answering customer questions, is necessary when the workflow is constant. Retail staff have to be aware that, while customers need to be looked after, store duties cannot be neglected.


Finally, being able to solve problems quickly and effectively is important, as retail staff need to improvise almost every day. Whether this be working out in which order to do the tasks they know are at hand, being able to deal with customer questions or issues, or dealing with their co-workers, there are so many issues that can come up for retail staff. Also, being able to solve problems creatively is great for never before seen problems, and even things like being able to throw out ideas for in-store decorations or promotions. One of the best traits a worker can have is to be able to be flexible with their day, and adapt to things as and when they happen.


These are 6 of the key traits to look for in retail workers, and ensuring that employees have at least some of these skills will ensure that your company benefits from their employment. If you need help with optimising your job interviews, check out our free interview cheat sheet.