Case Study: Staffing a New Retail Location

Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

In this scenario we'll be looking at the challenges that come up when staffing a new retail location. Here, we'll examine some strategies you can using during both the hiring and recruitment process.

Challenges in Staffing

Staffing can be quite a challenge for managers. You want to make sure you are hiring the right people for the job, and that they will be reliable and efficient in their work. Today, we're going to look at a scenario of how to avoid common pitfalls during the hiring process.

Scenario: Hiring Staff for the Holidays

Deciding on the Positions Available

Filipe is a manager at Threads, an upscale clothing store in an outdoor shopping complex. His boss suggested they start to look for more staff to help with the upcoming holiday rush. One of Filipe's first challenges in his role will be to decide how many staff they will need and when they should start.

How do you think Filipe should approach this decision? He decides to look at hiring data from years past, as well as sales data from last year. He noticed that even though the holidays seem far off, their sales pick up substantially in late October. Filipe decides that he definitely needs to hire at least three new employees by the end of the month to cover the increase in traffic.


Now, Filipe needs to start the recruitment process for the job. In the digital age, it's not enough to simply hang a hiring sign in the window. Filipe starts by letting his current employees know that he is looking for help and asking for recommendations. He also posts the job on several online job boards and to social media. People who follow the shop and already enjoy the atmosphere and products could be a great fit for the store.

Filipe asks for an application including past experience and references to help him sort through the applicants. What kind of job experience do you think he should be looking for?

Filipe knows that people who have worked in similar industries would probably have the type of experience that would help them at Threads. He sorts through the applications looking for applicants that have previously working in the clothing industry.

He wants someone that can work the rushes of nights and weekends, so this availability is key. He already has enough people to work the day shifts, so anyone with only day availability is out. Threads is in a diverse neighborhood, so speaking more than one language is also a plus. Speaking only English won't rule candidates out here, but it's something worth looking for to Filipe.


Now that Filipe has some candidates, it's time to conduct interviews. Filipe decides to conduct the interviews at the store, as he wants to see the employees in the environment they'll be working in.

At first, he's struggling with what questions to ask. How would you advise Filipe? What questions are important for interviewing potential staff?

One of the most important types of questions is to ask are behavioral questions. These questions ask the interviewee to discuss a specific time they had to deal with a situation, such as a stressful interaction with a customer, having to stay late, or manage other team members. Filipe will make his questions as specific as possible to get a feel for the past behavior of the candidates.

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