Shrewd Hiring Strategy for Tricky Times
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Could Charles Dickens have described the state of multichannel retailing any better over the past few years? Whether your business is doing well or could be doing better, whether you’re in a hiring or layoff mode, a sometimes overlooked, cost-effective strategy for recruiting and developing top talent — and a critical source for your workforce — is the hiring of interns.
With so many computer- and tech-savvy young people out there, and technology and e-commerce playing such important roles in the future of the industry, some of the brightest, most talented people for your catalog’s current and future team could be right in your own backyard.
They’re students at local universities and colleges. They’re at vocational, tech, junior and community colleges. You can even find them in high schools.
Creating internship programs is a smart first move. Summer interns, in particular, can help with all sorts of projects, and the price is right, as interns are more interested in learning than earning.
Right Way, Wrong Way
Still, there’s a right way and a wrong way to hire interns. For catalogers on a budget, interns seem like a great way to increase the company’s talent pipeline without spending a ton of cash.
Garnet Hill has had a successful college internship program for nearly seven years. The apparel and home décor cataloger hires seven to 10 summer interns and two or three during the rest of the year. “A number of those interns are now working for us full time and are doing a solid job in merchandising, marketing and creative,” says Russ Gaitskill, president/CEO of Garnet Hill.
Internship opportunities at Garnet Hill are paid, and last six weeks to 16 weeks. The Franconia, N.H.-based company advertises these positions on its Web site and in local newspapers. This remotely located cataloger also promotes through relationships it has with nearby colleges and feeds off referrals from other students.