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How We Recruit Talent for Luxury Retail Brands

28th February 2024

What’s the difference between retail and luxury retail people?

Every retailer wants the best, most suitable talent. Every retailer wants people who’ll represent the best of the brand. Every retailer wants the right combination of skills and experience.
So what’s the difference between the people who work with mass-market high street brands and those who work in luxury retail?

We’d suggest the difference is in the expectations of the customer and your people’s ability to live up to those expectations. Wherever you shop, you’ll expect quality products at fair prices, sold to you by people who make you feel welcome and valued.

But when you buy from a luxury brand you expect more, not just from the product, but from the experience. Buy a luxury product, whether that’s fashion, tech or homeware, and you expect refinement in the product and in the experience of browsing, trying, buying, paying and packaging.

Luxury retailers break down the customer experience to its component parts and ask how each element of that experience could be more rewarding, more loyalty building, more aspirational, and more, well, more.

Why luxury retail recruitment matters

The thing is, it doesn’t matter how meticulously you craft the product or the experience if the person who will ultimately deliver that experience — the person who will be the human face of the brand for a particular customer — doesn’t uphold their part in the process.

It’s the same across the brand because every component needs to deliver. If the store manager isn’t committed to the highest standards. If the visual merchandisers can’t replicate the exclusivity of the brand in the store layout and design, or the customer experience leads don’t have the creativity and bravery to challenge convention, a brand loses its edge.

The right luxury retail talent makes a brand luxurious and keeps it feeling that way. And the right luxury retail talent requires the right luxury retail recruiters.

Why luxury retail recruiters really matter

Of course, it’s about finding the right people – people who embody the brand and will be the strongest advocates for it. In truth, though, you could say the same about all recruitment.

When it comes to luxury retail recruitment, there’s an added element.

They say there are two things you never want to see made: laws and sausages. To that we’d add a third: luxury recruitment.

Part of the appeal of a luxury brand is the allure. You never see the inner workings of a luxury brand. It all happens behind a veil. And yet the frustrating truth about all in-house recruitment is that whenever you launch a new exercise, you’re effectively asking lots of people to get excited about the prospect of working with you, in the full knowledge that you’re going to disappoint most of them.

For a luxury brand, that really matters. You want to foster loyalty. You want brand advocates to feel passionate about what you do. Turning them down when they apply to work with you doesn’t exactly fit the script.
The beauty of working with a luxury retail recruiter is that they run the initial ad that keeps you safely anonymous. They do the initial sift that narrows the field to just the genuine contenders. And they ensure that, when the remaining candidates finally discover who they’re applying to, you benefit from the positive PR of having selected them, rather than the negative PR of having rejected them.

How do we find the best candidates for luxury brands?

  1. We really understand the brand

    Luxury brands are an intricate combination of exclusivity, heritage, culture and service. The right skills and experience are vital, naturally, but nothing matters quite so much to a luxury retailer as brand fit.

    So we explore your culture and values to find out what makes you you. Then, whether the answer is creativity, daring, curiosity or something else, we place that at the top of our candidate wish list.

  2. Candidate skills and experience

    Every retailer requires a core skillset from its people. Often, luxury brands need many of the same skills as any other retailer, although they will typically require them at a deeper level.
    Attention to detail, something brands of every type may value, will be absolutely essential to a luxury brand where standards have to be maintained. Language skills that may be a bonus to some brands, may be crucial for a luxury brand which welcomes lots of overseas visitors to its stores.

    For a recruiter, the role is about not simply identifying that a candidate ticks the right skills boxes, but that there’s some depth to those skills and that they are able to apply their capabilities to the luxury environment.

  3. Recruiter skills and experience

    It’s about understanding what makes the luxury watch market tick. It’s understanding that high end fashion is about more than a look; it’s a statement, an ethos, a feeling. And it’s about knowing the right candidate doesn’t necessarily need to have a degree in fashion, because what matters far more is an understanding of, passion for and drive to make a difference within the brand’s world.

    Your choice of luxury retail recruiter matters, so we’d suggest it’s always worth talking directly to the people who’ll be handling your recruitment. You’ll want to check their track record with luxury brands. More importantly, you’ll want to check their understanding of your brand and its needs.

    We’ll be honest, whether you’re Hermès, Balenciaga or Tag Heuer, it doesn’t hurt to ensure they’re able to pronounce the brand name correctly too.

  4. Finding the talent no one else can

    The problem with talent is that it isn’t always actively looking for a new role. For that reason, your job ad is unlikely to connect with everyone who might be interested in working with you.
    Partnering with luxury retail recruiters really is the only way to connect with this passive market. After more than a decade of luxury retail recruitment, we’ve built a huge network of people whose skills and talents we already know. Ask us to find key appointments for your organisation and we can tap into this pool. Most will be perfectly happy and satisfied where they are. Some may feel it’s time for a new challenge.

    But the only way of finding and connecting with these candidates is through an expert recruiter.

  5. We deliver luxury too

    A luxury brand delivers luxury at every touchpoint. We believe that should extend to recruitment too. Candidates should receive the sort of hiring and onboarding experience they would expect from a brand they admire, even when it’s the brand’s recruiter delivering it.

Find exceptional retail talent with us

Set us to work on your luxury retail recruitment. Talk to us now.

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