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How to hire the right staff. A quick guide

E-commerce · 8 min read

13 unusually good ideas for hiring (and keeping) e-commerce talent

A quick guide in hiring the right staff for your business: 

1. Tweet to woo

Finding, hiring and keeping hold of e-commerce specialists is competitive. Break down the barriers of traditional recruitment when you’re searching for the best digital talent – your next top candidate could be a mere tweet away.

2. Ignore cover letters

You don’t have to spend time trawling through 100 cover letters from applicants. These days you can find (and advertise for) the digital stars of the future on Hubspot and Snapchat.  

3. Small is beautiful

Keep your team lean, and keep your hiring tactical. If you’re running a small business, take on people who do the actual work, rather than manage. A core team of just 5-8 people can have a direct and measurable impact on your e-commerce turnover, and could multiply your revenue many times over.

4. Play matchmaker

Hire the relevant people as you go along. Identify the competencies you need for future growth, and then match the skill to suit. For instance, if you want to build up direct sales from your website, employ someone with proven email marketing experience.

5. Expect less

Leading digital recruiters recommend looking for an e-commerce professional with skills across many areas, but no candidate can meet your every expectation.

A basic understanding of HTML and website development? Good. Hot on analytics with a sound knowledge of e-commerce business models and performance? Great. Experienced with online ordering, payment and fulfillment processes? Excellent. A good grasp of digital marketing tools and techniques? Grab them.

6. Phone a friend

Networking and word of mouth recommendations are still one of the most trusted ways for small to medium-size business owners to find talented employees. So ask colleagues and ex-colleagues if they’ve seen or worked with anyone brilliant. Ask friends in your industry, ask local colleges and ask your own staff. You could strike candidate gold.

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7. Look attractive

If you run Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts for your business make sure they stay refreshed and current. An active online presence will attract bright sparks to join your e-commerce team.

A recent survey reports that 53% of potential candidates will look at your company’s website before applying for a role, and 38% will look for your company page on LinkedIn. So update these regularly to highlight jobs and career openings. It’s also a great way to flag up that you are successful and you are growing.

8. Plug them in

Connect candidates to your business aims right from the start. Tell them where you want to take the business – and how you would expect them to help you get there.

A fat wage packet is no longer enough to attract and retain the best employees, so show them how their position will play a starring role in developing your e-commerce operations. Ask for their ideas and thoughts, and switch on their enthusiasm to be a big part of your business’s success.

9. Don’t trust their CV

It’s not about catching out a few exaggerations and embellishments. If a candidate looks amazing on paper but feels like a bad ‘fit’ for your company at the interview, trust your instincts and don’t hire them. They may be great at their job, but if they constantly clash with your team, work will become miserable for everyone. Especially you.

10. Beware the big fish

Bringing a big fish into your smaller business pond may sound exciting. But an e-commerce director who’s used to generous budgets and unlimited resources may not understand your business’s constraints, and could prove to be a mistake.

It’s also worth remembering that a heavyweight candidate may never have started small, or learned how to take a company up to the next level.

11. Feed the little fish

Don't miss enthusiastic graduates who directly approach your company with ideas to improve your website, Facebook page or Google search. Junior hires can bring enthusiasm and passion, and could add a cost-effective sparkle to your more experienced team.

12. Don’t employ anyone …?

If cash flow is an issue, consider employing freelancers or contractors. You can instantly add experience, specialist skills and local talent to your in-house team without the full-time overheads.

You could also consider sharing the workload on a part-time basis for a few hours or days a week, and use digital connectivity to offer remote working.

13. Look smart

Be ready to move quickly when you find The One (preferably within 10 days of interview) or you could risk missing out.

It can also be a good idea to ask new joiners to agree to a probation period. It could help protect you from an expensive hiring mistake.

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