Beauty Store Business

DEC 2018

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beautystorebusiness.com | December 2018 49 WHAT'S IN STORE Anthony Qaiyum, president o the 143-year-old, Chicago-based Merz Apothecary would agree. The iconic store's enduring success lies within its reputation or a painstakingly curated range o health and wellness products and personalized service rom pharma- cists, herbalists, nutritionists and other specialized sta. As the company steps up its game in independent and niche beauty, men's grooming and ragrance brands–particularly with the recent all 2018 opening o The Shops at Merz– Qaiyum says that it has been necessary to implement a much more exacting process o hiring people who are skilled in customer service and have a keen under- standing o the beauty market segment. "We have had to cast our net wider to ind the perect-itting candidates than we had in the past, spending more time on screenings and interviews," says Qaiyum, noting his irm's searches run the gamut rom Craigslist and social media or entry- level openings to Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn and the Merz Apothecary website or senior positions. He adds that the com- pany does not go the job air route so its HR decision-makers can be laser ocused on the particular positions they're trying to ill. "There's no question that inding people with specialized knowledge looking or long-term work is especially challenging," he explains. "The candidate must not only exhibit a perect expertise it but also a cultural it–that he or she will embrace the Merz way o doing things and work well with other employees. We're doing more phone interviews ahead o time to dig through various red lags and issues beore a candidate comes in and interacts with others on sta. We want eedback rom those employees about how they eel about a given candidate becoming a unctioning part o the team." Qaiyum says that Merz's employee retention rate is proo positive that their targeted scouting system is eective, even i it's not perect (84 percent o the team has been employed or more than a year; 75 percent or more than 2 years). Although he admits a huge percentage o applicants miss the mark (those with lots o three-to six-month stints at dierent places), i HR gets ive to 10 resumes or a given job that are spot-on, the process is working. Once phone and in-person screenings lead to three or our o the strongest candidates, the company is more likely to hire a person who will stay and grow with the company. "The most important question we ask is, 'Do you love learning?' I not, this is probably not the place or [that candidate]," he says. "We write our job descriptions in such a way that discourages anybody looking or short-term employment. Given our pharmacy roots, we don't just view beauty as a sideline, so it's important to hire people who don't just sit on the sidelines. They interact with our customers one-on-one, and take a quality over quantity approach in terms o building relationships rather than going or a quick sale." Qaiyum adds that regular education initiatives and getting employees involved in the company's inner workings are instrumental in deepening their commit- ment. While Merz's employee education integrates interaction with national educators and ambassadors rom the store's brands, there are training sessions dedicated to Merz's history, business practices and instruction on how sales associates can create more collaborative relationships with those working in the back o the house and the warehouses. Courtesy o Innesree "We pay a wage that's higher than the industry standard, and know that we're taking care o them and providing things that are necessities in today's society." –Anthony Qaiyum, president, Merz Apothecary At Innisree, sales associates are encouraged to listen and ask plenty o questions beore recommending products to ensure that customers get exactly what they're looking or.

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