The ability to speak confidently and a focus on customers' needs are qualities that Luk Fook Jewellery looks for in sales candidates.
Group deputy general manager Shirley Wong says Luk Fook is looking to hire 30 to 50 sales executives in anticipation of the opening of new shops in Hong Kong. Sales executives offer professional advice to customers and help them choose jewellery.
"We want people with a passion for the industry," Wong says, adding that applicants are expected to have passed the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination and be equipped with two to three years of sales experience. Prior experience in jewellery retail is not necessary.
The company is also recruiting supervisors who will be involved in store operations. They will manage inventory, provide training to sales executives and assist with management and administrative duties.
Wong says the company welcomes applications from sales professionals with three to five years' experience in jewellery retail and who are well-versed with different types of products, ranging from gold and diamond, to jade and pearls.
Wong says Luk Fook offers systematic training to ensure the quality of customer service. Training opportunities include orientation for new hires, in-house courses on grooming, Putonghua, customer-service skills and product knowledge, and external courses such as enrolment in programmes from the Gemological Institute of America.
Ricky Yiu, a senior sales supervisor at Luk Fook, says one of his main responsibilities is to create a friendly environment for customers by providing guidance and assistance to sales executives, helping them deliver customer service of the highest quality.
Yiu says it is crucial for salespeople to understand the needs of customers. "I chat with customers to find out what they want," he says. "Sometimes they may be a little quiet, in which case I would break the ice by asking them where they come from, where in Hong Kong they have visited, and may even suggest tourist spots to them."
Yiu adds that sales professionals in jewellery retail must be kept abreast of the latest knowledge of all products available at the shops.
"Different customers have different needs," he says. "For example, mainland customers are keen to buy gold and diamonds, while east Asians, such as Filipinos and Indonesians, prefer pearl items. Customers from Western countries often look for coloured stones with fancy cutting."
Wong says jewellery retail offers good career prospects, as the development of second and third-tier cities on the mainland has led to a surge of tourists in Hong Kong - a trend that Wong expects to continue. The salary of sales professionals in the industry has been on the rise, she adds.
"Compared with other fields in retail, such as fashion, jewellery retail offers the opportunity for salespeople to work until retirement. As they become more experienced and knowledgeable about various products, they gain more respect," Wong says.
The career path in jewellery retail typically starts with the position of sales executive, who may be promoted to become a supervisor and then a senior supervisor, before taking on the role of a branch manager. It takes about five years for a sales executive to move on to the position of senior supervisor.
Yiu, who has been in jewellery sales for 13 years, says sales professionals should be persistent as they climb the career ladder.
"It takes time to familiarise oneself with the products. You have to learn new knowledge, work hard and improve customer-service skills all the time.
"There's a lot of room for development in this industry. The sense of satisfaction is immense once you've become a good salesperson, who is able to help customers find a necklace or a ring that they adore."