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The hard part begins for Target in Canada


Deciding back in January 2011 to spend roughly $1.8 billion to acquire 220 Zellers’ leases was easy compared to the challenge Target has undertaken more recently in Canada.

The company announced it has begun hiring for the first wave of 24 stores to open in Ontario and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Target needs to hires thousands of workers who will be at the front line of customer interaction in this first batch of stores. That means human resources types and operators need to be highly vigilant in their selection and training processes for two key reasons. Target won’t have a second chance to make a first impression with workers and its treatment of them so the on boarding process is crucial, but the same holds true with shoppers. Canadians know who Target is and many have encountered the store experience due to cross-border shopping, but the company will be looking to onboard millions of them in Ontario initially and other markets shortly thereafter. As this process unfolds, all of Canada will be watching, eager to see what all the fuss is about. For better or worse, social media will play a big role with employees and customers sharing their views of working for and shopping at Target.

On factor in Target’s favor on the hiring front is the fact that the unemployment rate in Ontario is comparable to that of the U.S. at around 8%. That’s not so good from a consumer spending standpoint but it does mean Target can be more selective in the hiring process as more people are looking for jobs. Target also stands to attract a large pool of applicants because it is the newest game in town. Even so, Target isn’t taking any chances which is why the hiring process has begun now. The first stores won’t open until March and each will employ between 150 to 200 people.

"Target is looking for talented team members with a wide variety of skills, abilities and backgrounds to help us bring the Target brand experience to life in our new Canadian stores," Bryan Berg, Target Canada’s SVP of stores said in a recent press release that doubled as a help wanted ad. "Whether candidates are looking for a career in retail or a flexible part-time opportunity, Target encourages all those interested to apply to join our store teams."

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