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Industry News

Published on October 2nd, 2019 | by The GC Team

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Retail front line: personality and commitment?

Get Connected has always argued that the status of retail as a career, its ability to attract high-quality people and train and motivate them through career progression, are important elements of success, in both good and bad times. A couple of recent surveys by UK online job site CV-Library and CV writing company TopCV give some insights into what’s currently on the minds of retail employers and employees.

The employer survey reveals that “personality” has become the most important hiring criterion, with 91.7% of employees seeing it as “most important” when assessing candidates. It beat skills (83.3%) and experience (75%), and if employers have to choose between potential and experience, it’s potential that is now seen as well over twice as important. Confidence is also a top trait, with 83.3% of employers seeing it as key to impressing them. This creates a fine distinction for employers, given that “know-it-all” and arrogant candidates are among the least appealing.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said: “In the current market, where skills shortages are making it harder for companies across the retail industry to find the right hires, employers are increasingly opting to recruit on potential over experience.”

Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, added: “Historically, assessing job seekers was contingent on two factors – experience and skills – but our new survey reveals that more intangible qualities, such as personality, are determining which candidates rise to the top.

“Today’s hiring managers are tasked with assessing whether a candidate will fit in with the company culture, and this determination is primarily based on how the candidate behaves during an interview. The fine line between ‘confidence’ and ‘arrogance’ when making that first impression is everything – one’s personality can make or break an interview.”

A second survey, however, reveals that more than a quarter of retail professionals admit to “slacking off” in the retail workplace. The study, which surveyed 2,000 UK professionals, also found that despite this high number, nearly three-quarters (73.8%) of retail professionals consider themselves successful professionally. The reasons they gave for not always putting in the effort at work were: Lack of motivation (45.5%); Not being challenged (36.4%); Felling they’ve already achieved as much as they can (27.3%); Boredom (25.2%). 

Lee Biggins offered this advice to employees: “Most retail professionals consider themselves successful professionally, but in my opinion, professional success includes being energised by what you do – and our results show the opposite. The retail industry is demanding and when your heart isn’t in it, you’re bound to find yourself flagging at work. While we all have days where we don’t achieve as much as we’d like, this shouldn’t become a regular occurrence and it’s your responsibility to speak up. Explore the possibility of training and development opportunities with your manager – it could make all the difference to your attitude.” 

Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that, while only 16.9% of retail professionals felt they could get away with being lazy in the workplace, this number significantly increased for senior employees, at 76.3%. The “don’t do as I do, do as I say” attitude in senior employees may not be exclusive to the retail industry, but it’s a potential recipe for failure in any business.   

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About the Author

Get Connected is the top trade journal for the UK electricals industry. Its website is the fastest, most interesting and up to date in the business.



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