I was recently invited to participate in a panel discussion at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business for a group of retailing students looking to gain insight into “the real world” of retail. Of course I immediately agreed to participate – it’s always so much fun to meet the young people who will be the next generation of retail leaders!
I was joined by several other retail business managers from around the area, and as we began sharing details about each of our career paths, it was interesting that all of our answers had a common thread regardless of the size or type of retail company we worked for: we all felt that the most important things in retail are the people you hire and work with on a daily basis; the training given to employees to ensure their success; and focus on a high-level of customer service.
The students had the opportunity to ask us any and all questions on their minds – and most were focused on hiring, motivation, and development. I shared a lot about The Container Store’s employee-first culture, our focus on hiring great people, and paying our employees well above the industry average.
The hour flew by! It was really neat to see the students so engaged and excited at the possibility of starting a career in retail. One of the students asked the panel about whether we’re hiring recent graduates. In addition to telling her yes J, I mentioned the importance of having a passion for what you want to do and to show that passion in your interview. Look for a career that you will love, not a job. That passion will translate to your blending of work and play. If you love what you do, you will be more successful than in a job that’s just a “job” to you. I’ve found that to be the case throughout my whole career – and especially true at The Container Store!
Rick W., General Manager, Dallas Northwest Hwy Store