Paris Jewellers Director of Operations and Co-Owner Chau, was recently featured in CJ Magazine with her thoughts on hiring for alignment over experience. It is an honour to be included in this industry resource; please take a moment to read the full article below.
Hiring the Right People for your Business: Why Paris Jewellers hires for alignment over experience
“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” Jim Collins, Good to Great.
If thirty years as a family owned and operated retail jewellery company has taught us anything, it is that long term success starts with having the right people. Full stop. It is a lesson that we have learned through years of trial and error, but now know and practice with unwavering resolve. The right people, regardless of experience or credentials, are the key to elevating a company from surviving to thriving. When you look at organizations that achieve amazing results and continuously raise the standards in our industry, you will see that they consistently have team members in place who are absolutely aligned with the company’s vision, mission and values.
How do you determine who the right people are? First take a hard look at your company, and be prepared to confront some challenging tasks. Alignment and synergy within a team are the result of having a set of core values that are practiced and lived everyday in the organization. Your vision and mission need to be communicated to everyone in the company, everyday. If you don’t have these elements defined first, ensuring team alignment will be frustrating and waste valuable time and resources.
Defining the core values for Paris Jewellers was a big task. We had hundreds of ideas, and after countless hours of introspection, we were able to carve out something meaningful and memorable that would guide the future of our company. Core values are the fundamental beliefs of an organization that will serve as your touchstone for decision-making, especially when it comes to selecting the right people for your team. Over time, strategies and goals may change, but core values should always remain as your guiding principles.
The Core Values for Paris Jewellers are: Sincerity, Commitment to Quality, Responsiveness, Friendliness, and a Can-Do Attitude.
During the interview process, do not waiver when evaluating candidates against your core values. Skills can be trained, but beliefs and values are intrinsic and cannot be taught. The right people will inherently have the qualities you need for alignment. Often in this industry the first thing we look for in new hires is experience, which is absolutely an asset. But keep in mind that alignment, not experience, protects the company culture and ensures that there is no disruption when bringing a new team member on board. Additionally, look for people who are humble, determined, and willing to learn. These are also character traits that cannot be trained, and will serve as tremendous assets in the ever-changing retail landscape.
“People are not your most important asset, the right people are.” Jim Collins, Good to Great.
Almost as important as hiring for alignment, is creating a recruitment culture in your organization, where managers and leaders are always looking for great people, even when fully staffed. Recruiting great team members is not just the responsibility of the HR department. If everyone gets involved and is empowered to bring on the best people, everyone wins. When retail organizations are not actively recruiting, teams can quickly become short staffed. This leads to the company culture suffering, the team suffering, and the customer experience suffering. A recruitment culture will mean that staff shortages will be less likely, and consequently hiring mistakes due to lack of staff will be less common.
At Paris Jewellers our hiring process is thorough, and we adhere to a minimum of four steps before bringing on a new team member to our organization:
1) Pre-screen your recruit over the phone. Can you determine if their values are similar and aligned with your organization? If not, do not continue the hiring process, regardless of how many years of experience they have in the industry.
2) First interview in person. Delve deeper. Your pre-screen revealed that they are somewhat of a culture fit. Ask more questions, talk about your organizations core values, vision, and mission, and assess whether or not this recruit is aligned.
3) Second interview in person. Consistency is key. Do you still feel that this recruit is the right person? Open up the interview to include more skills related questions, but continue to evaluate whether or not they are in alignment with your organizations culture. We also recommend having another person from the company sit in, or conduct the interview so that there are two opinions.
4) Two reference checks are a must. Be open about what your organization is looking for, and then listen for the key characteristics you are looking for to be confirmed by the reference.
One final note, don’t forget that “like attracts like” and we are drawn to people who have similar characteristic to us. Chances are high that the great people in your organization have colleagues, friends, and acquaintances who could be a fit for your team. A simple but effective kick-start to your recruitment initiatives is an employee referral program within your company. Set up a recruitment incentive whereby a referral from one of your current employees that results in a great (aligned) hire, is rewarded and recognized. Celebrate these moments with your team! The right people in place, working together, can move mountains.
Paris Jewellers is a proudly Canadian owned and operated retail jewellery company. Paris Jewellers is celebrating thirty years in business, with twenty-eight retail locations across four provinces, and a comprehensive ecommerce store online at parisjewellers.ca.