STORES Magazine - April 2011 - (Page 50)

NUTS AND BOLTS / RECRUITMENT Grooming Great Salespeople Exploring the makeup of the ideal department store cosmetic counter employee I BY FIONA SOLTES n his book Cosmetic Counter Survival Guide, veteran makeup artist Chris Scott writes of the importance of finding “that person” — the one that can be trusted to intuitively meet unique skincare and makeup needs rather than simply sell the latest product. That’s not only true for the customer seeking advice; it’s also essential for the store staffing the counter. Unlike other segments of a department store, Scott says, the cosmetic counter requires its sales force to regularly get up close and personal with consumers — and as a result, a top associate can’t just be a pretty face. It’s more important that the associate be able to build relationships, problem solve and be creative to get the job done. “A little bit of experience doesn’t hurt,” he says. “But when hiring someone, that’s not what you put your money on. It’s more about the kind of person that they are.” With more than 20 years in the industry, Scott learned his lesson through perseverance and gut instinct. In the meantime, The Bon-Ton Stores — with 275 department stores under six banners in 23 states — was coming up with similar findings. Its method? Statistics and psychology. Capturing the right candidates The Bon-Ton Stores, with dual corporate headquarters in York, Penn., and Milwaukee, had noticed something amiss among its cosmetic sales associates, known as beauty advisors. The roughly 3,650 employees, who supported 13 different cosmetic lines, had a higher turnover rate than associates in other parts of the stores. Denise Domian, senior vice president, 50 STORES / APRIL 2011 human resource operations for The Bon-Ton Stores, says cosmetics is a key differentiator for the company. Beauty advisors receive some 30 hours of training in their first 60 days, but too many were falling away within the first few months of employment. The organization already had an assessment tool in place for store associates overall, but it somehow wasn’t the right fit for those in the cosmetics department. “In the cosmetics area, there’s a greater degree of customer interaction and actual selling that goes on,” Domian says. “Much of the rest of the stores are serv- “In the cosmetics area, there’s a greater degree of customer interaction and actual selling that goes on.” — Denise Domian, The Bon-Ton Stores ice-oriented first, rather than selling-oriented. Based on feedback from our stores, we discovered that perhaps we were not capturing the best candidates.” Bon-Ton already had a relationship in place with Kenexa, a global provider of business solutions for human resources, and in 2008 began exploring new solutions. Kenexa’s assessment arm offers both off-the-shelf and custom tools for qualifying, hiring and promoting, so it came to the table with employee backgrounds in fields like business, statistics and psychology. Bon-Ton was using the Kenexa 2x Recruit applicant tracking solution, as well as assessments for sales employees and distribution center associates. Kenexa organizational consultant Tiffany Greene-Shortridge worked with Bon-Ton to create an assessment tool specifically for the cosmetics department (it had offered assessments for drugstores with cosmetics counters). The process began with five key areas that have been shown to predict individual performance and potential: experience, skills, abilities, personality and judgment. Then, over the course of several months, Kenexa interviewed high WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2011

Stores Magazine - April 2011
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Chain of Uncertainty
Digital Couponing
Energy Management
Social Media
Cross-Channel Metrics
Broadband Bonding
Workforce Management
Alternative Payments
Divisional Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - April 2011