Carlie Mueller manages talent and development at Lids, a leading North American sports retailer specializing in headwear and fan gear. To support company growth and combat high industry turnover, she and her team must recruit thousands of retail professionals every year.
So how does she do it? We recently sat down with her to uncover her strategies for success.
“The old days of posting and praying are done! You should constantly be researching and learning what competitors are offering because if you’re not willing to play the game, you’ll lose out on great people.”
What does it mean to you to be a Hiring Hero?
“My job is incredibly rewarding! It’s fantastic to be able to help provide support and strategic direction for so many employees and candidates. When we give someone a job offer, we’re opening up a world of new opportunities for them. That moment, when they accept the offer, that is just so special!”
What excited you most about working at Lids?
“I had never worked in talent management before but Lids saw that I had transferable skills and took the time to train and empower me to succeed here. Retail is such an incredible environment to grow in as a business leader. I love that I am able to bring thousands of people into an exciting work environment and set them up for long-term success.”
That’s great to hear. Can you talk about some of the early challenges you faced in the role?
“Stores were screaming for applications! Not only is retail known to have high rates of turnover, but we have certain seasons that are busier than others so we typically need to hire between 7,000 and 10,000 roles a year. On top of that, our store managers were all using different sites and recruiting strategies. We needed a unified way to get our jobs in front of people.”
How did you overcome those challenges and help your stores access more qualified candidates?
“We teamed up with ZipRecruiter to establish a unified approach for job posting and recruitment. Now, instead of posting on random sites, our store managers are using ZipRecruiter to source candidates and advertise new job openings. It’s given us the competitive edge we were looking for!”
“We go out of our way to get to know our candidates. We ask them questions and do everything we can to understand their unique skillsets. It’s important for us to look beyond the resume to uncover key transferable skills.”
With retail being such a competitive space, can you elaborate a bit more about how you’ve been able to land top talent?
“At Lids, we don’t just offer jobs, we offer opportunities. We promote from within and encourage current employees to talk with candidates and share their personal success stories. Hearing from someone who’s worked their way up firsthand tends to be a lot more appealing than hearing it from a recruiter. It establishes trust right off the bat and gets candidates excited about where they can take their career.”
Great! So, you’re not just looking to fill a seat, you’re looking for candidates who will grow with the company?
“100%. That is why we go out of our way to get to know our candidates. We ask them questions and do everything we can to understand their unique skillsets. It’s important for us to look beyond the resume to uncover key transferable skills.”
How do you help new hires succeed?
“Onboarding is a critical part of the employee experience and we take great pride in our Corporate Rookie Camp Orientation as well as our robust Store Training Plans. From day one, we have a structured plan in place for them, and we are always finding ways to enhance the onboarding process.”
Any more advice for other talent acquisition leaders competing to land retail talent right now?
“You have to get creative with the way you recruit and provide solid resources to support your TA team. We’ve certainly learned that. The old days of posting and praying are done! You should constantly be researching and learning what competitors are offering because if you’re not willing to play the game, you’ll lose out on great people.”
Join the Lids Inc. team! Committed to offering growth opportunities and promoting from within, Lids Inc. is always on the lookout for hard-working individuals to bring on board. Check out some of the roles Carlie and her team are hiring for right now!