Pre-employment tests for Retail Sales

Retail Sales

Retail sales positions have a reputation for high turnover. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that a poorly judged hire can cost a company $11,713, and this number is further magnified when taking into account the overall adverse effect a poor hiring decision can have on the rest of the retail team. Economic factors have also resulted in many retailers dialing back their hiring efforts, putting more pressure on each individual employee to perform at a higher level. A pre-employment assessment test or a sales aptitude test can go a long way towards increasing the chances of finding promising candidates. Applicants are scored based on qualities such as personal diplomacy, goal orientation and cooperativeness. These tests are statistically strong predictors of performance and character, indicating how outgoing and productive an applicant will be on the job. Hiring managers turn to these tools when they want to learn more about an applicant's compatibility. (Read our whitepaper to learn more about how to hire top salespeople.)

Besides making sure prospective employees are a good fit from a behavioral perspective, employers also want to know if applicants possess skills that are highly correlated to job readiness such as communication, verbal and math skills, and attention to detail. Many retailers administer the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) to ensure their new hires have these basic skills. Incorporating the CBST into their hiring process has helped retailers reduce turnover and increase sales. Because employee theft is sometimes an issue in retail, many employers also use integrity tests to reduce risk in this area. The Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP) is a behavioral risk assessment that measures characteristics such as honesty, integrity, and attitudes towards theft, helping hiring managers find candidates who are less likely to engage in counterproductive work behaviors.

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Fast Facts

Rank in HireSelect:
9 out of 1,100

Median wage in U.S.:
$22,900/year or $11.01/hr

Expected growth rate 2016-2026:

Number employed (2016): 4,854,300

Education level of Retail Sales:

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top 5 Skills and Abilities to Look For in Retail Sales

  • Oral Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Oral Expression
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public

Top 3 Tasks for Retail Sales

  • Greet customers and ascertain what each customer wants or needs.
  • Describe merchandise and explain use, operation, and care of merchandise to customers.
  • Recommend, select, and help locate or obtain merchandise based on customer needs and desires.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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