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Seventy-eight Percent of Retail Hiring Managers Plan to Hire New Employees for Upcoming Shopping Seasons, Survey Reveals

CHICAGO, September 3, 2003 - With popular back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons approaching, 78 percent of retail hiring managers say they are planning to hire new employees by the end of the year, according to's "Hiring Trends 2003" survey. Retailers are gearing up their departments quickly with 85 percent of these hiring managers reporting they are filling their open positions in one month or less.'s "Hiring Trends 2003" survey, conducted from June 25 to July 2, 2003, included more than 450 hiring managers across a variety of industries.

Retailers are anticipating a boost in sales once the $13 billion in tax credit checks is distributed to eligible taxpayers. The National Retail Federation is predicting that back-to-school retail sales will total $14.1 billion this year, and kids’ own spending will add $750 million to that total. Families with school-age children are expected to spend an average of $450.76 on back-to-school items, up from $441.60 last year.

"After reports of strong sales in most retailing segments in recent months, retail hiring managers are ramping up their staffs to maximize their sales' efforts for the busy back-to-school and holiday shuffles," said Lori McInerney, retail industry expert at "In fact, one-in-five retail hiring managers say they expect an increase in their recruitment budgets by the end of the year."

For 37 percent of retail hiring managers, a candidate's experience is the most important factor in their hiring process. Ranked second at 20 percent is a candidate's professional behavior exhibited during the selection process. Coming in at third with 15 percent of the hiring managers’ vote is a candidate's cultural fit within the organization.

"Bottom line, retail companies want employees who can sell their goods and provide great customer service," said McInerney. "If you want a retail position, you need to sell the employer on why you are the superior product to get the job done. Touting your experience and accomplishments up front, acting professionally, and showing the employer that you are a good fit for the company’s work environment will give you a competitive edge over other candidates."

McInerney recommends the following tips for job seekers interested in pursuing a position in retail:
  • Think like a salesperson. Be aggressive and call the hiring managers directly to get your foot in the door.
  • Remember to check for errors in your resume or cover letter. A survey of hiring managers from earlier this year found 47% of hiring managers will not even consider candidates whose resumes contain errors in spelling and grammar.
  • Arrive at the interview early. Retailers want to know you are excited about the opportunity and that they can rely on you to show up on time to open the store.
  • Talk to your friends. Many stores will look to employee referrals to fill their open positions.
  • Use’s online Skilled and Hourly product to maximize your visibility to potential employers. The product enables workers to apply for hourly jobs by indicating their work preferences, education and experience. Interested employers simply review the applications and stored profiles and contact qualified candidates.
Survey Methodology
The CareerBuilder survey, "Hiring Trends 2003," was conducted from June 25 to July 2, 2003 of more than 450 hiring managers. To collect data for the survey, CareerBuilder commissioned SurveySite to use an e-mail methodology whereby individuals who are members of SurveySite Web Panel were randomly selected and approached by e-mail invitation to participate in the online survey. The results of this survey are accurate within +/- 2.66 percent (19 times out of 20).

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