The Importance of Hiring Smart as an Indie Retailer


Hana Dickman

Every business should engage in smart hiring practices to ensure they get the best employees, and due to the intimate nature of “indie” retailing, this process is especially important. Since you’re pretty much going it alone, a single mistake from a bad employee can cause financial repercussions that pull you under. Fortunately, there are several hiring practices that can minimize this risk and keep your business strong.

Clearly State Employee Expectations and Roles

When staffing a small business, you should always make sure that you’re telling potential employees exactly what’s expected of them. Even potentially great workers can become angry or disheartened if they take on a job thinking they’ll have one set of duties and then turn out to have another.

In the end, these negative emotions will not only affect you and other employees, it will affect your customers. One bad experience with a disgruntled employee can lose a customer for life, and when you’re growing a small business, this is something you can’t afford to let happen.

Ask the Right Questions During Interviews

One of the most important management tips for small businesses, especially indie retailers, is to ask the right questions during an employment interview. Make sure some of your questions address an individual’s interpersonal skills, dependability, common sense and flexibility. All of these traits are important in an indie retail environment.

If you make a hiring decision without inquiring about these traits, you can miss out on key information. For example, there’s little doubt that employees in an indie retail environment will constantly be working with the public, so what good is a person without interpersonal skills? On the area of flexibility, how much can a person help in growing a small business if they can’t work the shifts assigned to them? Make sure you fully prepare a list of great interview questions.

Commit to Checking Prior Employment

Staffing a small business can be difficult, so it’s no wonder why so many indie retailers skip a few steps during the hiring process. It’s important that you don’t go down this road. While it may seem like a good move to base your decision on a great interview, it’s important to recognize that many people are amazing at putting on a good face.

Because of this, you should commit to checking prior employment history. An individual with some of the greatest interpersonal skills in the world could also be one of the biggest flakes. You need an employee who is the full package, so taking the extra time to fully vet them could save your business.

Learn From Your Mistakes

You’re going to make mistakes; there is no doubt about that. This is an unavoidable aspect of growing a small business. These mistakes will come in many forms, but since staffing a small business is so important from the start, there’s no doubt that many of these mistakes will be linked to the hiring process.

The most important lesson is to actually learn a lesson. Did you not check references? Did you spend too much time trying to mold an employee who obviously wasn’t right from Day 1? When you recognize you made a hiring mistake, sit back and figure out what it was. From that point, learn from it.

The importance of making the right hiring decisions cannot be overemphasized. As an indie retailer, you don’t have the corporate backing that provides a buffer zone for other businesses. In reality, that’s what makes your company so special, but this means you must be extra vigilant with who you bring into your world.