Q&A: Jolyon Marshall on how to hire a shop floor star


Would you like to see your next employee as one of Professional Jeweller’s Shop Floor Stars? If the answer is yes, this recruitment advice by Jolyon Marshall, managing director of specialist jewellery and watch recruitment company, Jolyon Marshall Limited, may just make the difference between a good staff member and a great one.

Q: Is there anything you recommend looking out for on a CV?

If a campaign attracts an unexpectedly voluminous response, it can be a sign that your advertisement copy is too loose. One of the ways in which we in recruitment consultancy add value is that, following a face-to-face consultation, our consultants create bespoke copy that is specific to the requirements of our clients. A number of years ago I personally created and ran an assignment for a well-known writing instruments brand that attracted a response from just three candidates. Following our pre-screening processes, two candidates were shortlisted and interviewed by the client. So impressive was their quality that after two interviews the client could not choose between them, and employed both! In recruitment consultancy we have the advantage of constantly trawling in rich and rewarding candidates. It is all about pre-qualification, matching the candidate to the job role and, importantly, spotting the scope for transferability and areas of added value.

Story continues below

Q: What qualities should retailers consider when looking to hire a sales associate?

The four core needs are: flexibility; the ability to communicate product values; empathy; and enterprise. Without doubt it is important to retain a sales recruitment professional – especially as the profile of your customer becomes ever more sophisticated – and provide your target consumers with the appropriate welcome from the most qualified sales associate, to ensure that first sale builds a firm foundation on which a mutually rewarding purchasing relationship can flourish in the future.

Q: What interview questions really test a potential employee?

I don’t doubt that there are interviewers who pride themselves on pitching uncomfortable questions and revelling in the silence that follows. We however believe in engaging candidates in fluid conversation that relates to their track record and areas that particularly mark out one individual versus the others; giving interviewees the confidence to talk honestly about their specific jewellery trade career success and aspirations for the future. Many years ago I witnessed a business services company recruiting for sales personnel in a manner that did not sit well with me. The regional sales manager was keen to goad individuals into demonstrating their selling skills in a very false one-to-one interview environment. On the desk in front of him stood the obligatory interview notepaper, a jug of water and several glasses, and there was a waste paper basket on the floor. The question he posed went something like this: “So, prove to me that you can sell”. One particular applicant rightly felt insulted by this question, already being an established and successful sales representative, and did indeed think on his feet. He reached down to the waste paper basket, placed it on the desk in front of the client, crumpled the notepaper into it, held the jug of water at eye level, and placed his cigarette lighter inside the bin, as though poised to set the contents alight. He then asked the impertinent interviewer whether he would like to purchase said water. When the interviewer had agreed to the transaction, the candidate thanked everybody for their time and left — much to the relief of all concerned. In summary, I would counsel employers not to try to be ‘inquisitor extraordinaire’, but rather to be honest and genuine, work to a standard pre-planned meeting structure, and listen intently. Remember that all relationships (work related or otherwise) are a journey, and regardless of the end destination, if you are respectful and sincere, who knows what the outcome could be?

This feature originally appeared in the October issue of Professional Jeweller.


Related posts