Hiring is a major factor when you’re growing your fashion business to scale. Your modest team of a few talented professionals was perfect in your startup days but bigger plans and more initiatives requiring a suite of new responsibilities and skills calls for definite growth when it comes to your most important resource – the people behind your brand. Use these tips to help you make the wisest hiring decisions.
Here’s advice that holds true across the board, as well as specific hiring tips as they pertain to leadership positions and support staff.
First Things First
No matter the position you’re looking to fill, always begin by assessing personality and enthusiasm. Your new hires can’t just be talented. They’re also going to need to have the right personalities to build on the overall synergy of your team. Also, having the skills, experience and personality for the job won’t stand to benefit your brand much if they just don’t have the passion. The initial excitement can quickly wear off and you’ll find yourself trying to find new ways to motivate them or they may not waste much time before simply moving on.
Take a look at your potential hire’s background. The retail industry is huge but not all of its categories are easily transferrable. For example, a potential hire who has acted as social media manager for a tire company has had a totally different experience than someone who has done the same job for the fashion industry. Look for candidates with experience in your sector, with the exception of roles that aren’t sector dependent – such an executive assistant.
Finally, be sure to include a non-compete clause in the contract of every one of your employees. This prevents people from getting your secrets and then running away to apply them at the firms of your competition.
Welcoming New Support Staff to Your Team
While it’s tempting to mine personal contacts, here’s a big caution: don’t hire your friends as employees. Unless you feel comfortable telling them what to do and they’ll feel comfortable taking your instructions, these types of arrangements can quickly go sour.
When it comes to office positions, it’s best to hire seasoned professionals. If not, you’ll need to train on everything from communication to software which can be an expensive and time-consuming process. You also don’t know how much time it will take for them to get used to all of their new responsibilities.
Finally, don’t discriminate against people who may have too much experience based on only reviewing their resumes. These days, people go through multiple careers and they’re a lot more open to big life changes. If a candidate fits the bill and has a great personality, why not? Most of these potential hires tend to be independent contractors so just be careful that you aren’t breaking any labor laws. If you need them to work in a fixed environment for a fixed amount of time, it may legally be time to transition them into salaries.
Leadership Hiring Practices
For leadership positions, look for people who have experience doing the same exact role at another company. Don’t hire anyone who simply “thinks” they have what it takes and don’t get too impressed by resumes from big corporate backgrounds. Corporate candidates are used to working with bigger teams and bigger budgets so their experience tends to be worlds away from what you have to offer – unless they were part of a startup or incubator at the firm or somewhere else. Leadership positions will usually account for your very first salary hires so be extra careful about your contracts and HR procedures.
Before You Make the Hire
Now that you’re ready to hire top talent, make sure you have all of your on-boarding materials in place. Take some time to figure out what benefits you can offer generously to employees. Maybe you can’t afford dental and health but you can afford a one week paid vacation, a clothing stipend or a matching 401k. Next, get a comprehensive payroll system (such as Gusto) and have everything set for smooth accounts payable/receivable. Be sure you can pay everyone on time while also being able to follow up on receivables with ease.
You don’t have to scale up on your own. At Scaling Retail, we help businesses grow with a comprehensive array of custom services including capacity building, rebranding, wholesale sales strategy and product extensions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation session today.