• REI jobs require candidates with an authentic love of the outdoors – and a strong sense of purpose.
• REI SVP of HR Raquel Karls said job seekers must get real about what gives them a sense of purpose.
• The outdoorsy retail chain came up on Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards this year.
REI jobs aren’t for everyone.
If you loathe the mere idea of a day hike, you’re probably not going to align with the co-op’s mission of getting people outside.
And, according to REI SVP of HR Raquel Karls, they’re first-and-foremost looking for employees who share the brand’s values.
“You don’t have to be scaling mountains every day, but you have to have that passion for public lands, the outdoors, what we’re doing here,” she told Business Insider. “What we’re doing here is connecting you to everything you need to choose a life outside.”
REI workers must have a commitment to nature and an interest in helping people spend more time outdoors.
When it comes to figuring out which candidates will make for great employees, Karls said the co-op looks out people who share those values. Basically, the goal of the hiring process is to determine who’s committed to the co-op’s values and who’s just looking for a paycheck.
She told Business Insider that the chain’s hiring process allows it to stave off turnover and maintain a strong culture. The Hay Group, a management and consulting firm, found the turnover rate for retail employees in store roles was 65% in 2016. Karls said that the turnover rate for part-time REI employees in 2017 was 37%.
The retail chain also made Glassdoor’s 2018 Employees’ Choice Awards, coming in at No. 61. Karls is set to address how the company keeps its employees happy and engaged at Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work Tour.
Karls credited REI’s employee retention to its hiring practices and not settling for the wrong fit.
A great REI candidate should be able to speak to their passions during interviews.
“It comes back to understanding your purpose in life, your work, your community, and where do you like to play outside,” she said.
And, perhaps most importantly, you shouldn’t come across like you’re just in it for a salary.
“This is definitely a more-than-a-paycheck kind of place,” Karls said. “We just always make sure the person is here for the job or for the purpose. We look for people who are dedicated to a job, a career, and a purpose.”
You can avoid sounding like a paycheck-hunter simply by explaining how your values line up with REI’s.
“Most people aren’t going to fake that,” she said. “Most people are genuine and understanding.”
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