- The qualities that Nordstrom looks for in its employees couldn’t be more basic. First of all, the company wants its salespeople to be nice.
- “We can hire nice people and teach them to sell,” Bruce Nordstrom likes to say, “but we can’t hire salespeople and teach them to be nice.”
- The Nordstrom corollary to that philosophy is “hire the smile, train the skill.”
- Learning that Nordstrom provides little in the way of a formalized training program, Robert Spector once asked: “Then who trains your salespeople?” Bruce's simple answer: “Their parents.”
- On being asked by competitors where Nordstrom finds its gung-ho people, former VP Betsy Sanders said: “We got our people from the same employee pool they did. The difference between Nordstrom and its competitors was that the Nordstroms didn’t go around talking about how wretched their people were. The Nordstroms thought they had great people. And look at the result.”
- To this day, the company has very high expectations “and if you don’t make it, you’re out of there”.
People come to work for the company for four reasons:
- Opportunity for growth.
- Feeling that you are part of something meaningful. (“Selling clothes isn’t what we do. It’s filling people’s needs and making them feel better emotionally.”)
- Feeling valued. (“The more people are valued, the more connected they become. It perpetuates itself.”)
Keys to Success
- Previous industry experience should not be the determining factor.
- Hire people who enjoy people and who are excited about the job.
- Hire the smile, train the skill.
- Hire the personality and the confidence.
- Hire people who share your values.
- Involve potential coworkers or team mcmbers in the interview and hiring process.
- Treat employees with dignity and respect.
- Invest in the people who are cut out for service.