Writing the perfect sales assistant job description

Recruiter Advice - Writing the perfect Sales Assistant job description

Writing a job description may seem like a daunting task. But with a formulaic approach, you can ensure you include all the necessities while keeping your organisation’s tone of voice in check and allowing your personality to shine through to stand out in a competitive market.




Where do I start with a job description for a sales assistant?


Make a plan before you put pen to paper for the description. While it shouldn’t be a chore to write, there is a danger of being too vague, too. The result is hundreds of unsuitable applications to wade through and unhappy candidates at the other end if you don’t have time to respond to them. Taking the time to construct your job description properly will attract suitable candidates and keep application numbers manageable. 


What shall I include in a sales assistant job description?


Your job description should tell the candidate what they can expect from you and what you expect from them. Typically, a sales assistant will:


  • Greet customers in the store
  • Rotate and replenish stock and keep the store tidy
  • Arrange displays correctly
  • Place goods in a specific area during a sale or promotion to maximise sales
  • Meet predetermined sales targets and KPIs
  • Process payments at a Point-of-Sale unit
  • Handle complaints and queries


While factual, this is generic. Be specific and tailor it to your business, personality and ethos by considering…


What day-to-day duties and responsibilities will the sales assistant have?


As a customer-facing role, the sales assistant should expect to provide help, exemplary customer service and promote sales. In addition, as the living and breathing face of the business on the shop floor, a sales assistant’s duties should include honouring the brand and promoting a positive image of the company. From the supermarket floor to the luxury fashion house, a sales assistant directly reflects your brand and should therefore personify it. 


Daily sales assistant duties and responsibilities can be a variation of:


  • Assisting customers by advising them on products and helping to find what they need
  • Being up to date with pricing and product availability to assist customers quickly and efficiently
  • Ensuring stock levels are maintained and communicating with the broader team when they’re not
  • Processing customer payments and transactions such as returns and exchanges
  • Assisting visual merchandisers with window displays and in-store aesthetics 
  • Handling customer queries and complaints appropriately
  • Promoting offers and promotions and working towards KPIs you may have for store cards or rewards



Recruiter Advice - Writing the perfect Sales Assistant job description
Recruiter Advice – Writing the perfect Sales Assistant job description


How much experience does a sales assistant need to have? And, what kind?


Experience can vary between store and sector. If you are recruiting for a technology store, for example, and need them to hit the ground running with specific technical knowledge, specify that you are looking for experience in this area. Otherwise, a sales assistant can come from a variety of roles and sectors that require customer or public interaction, so experience within sales specifically may not be necessary. Instead, look for confidence and aptitude. 


There are, of course, people looking for jobs that have little to no experience that you shouldn’t overlook. For example, applicants fresh out of education or long-term unemployment are a blank canvas to enrich with your excellent training (which you should already be providing!). A new set of eyes in the business can invigorate a shop floor. 


Experience can be your biggest stumbling block in avoiding discrimination and bias, so be sure that you are inclusive in your terminology and open-minded with your expectations of applicants.


What education, qualifications, and training does a sales assistant need?


Focus on skills over education here. Depending on your sector and business needs, evaluate the stand out skillset that genuinely matches your business needs and leave room for interpretation. Soft skills will play a more dominant role in customer-facing positions as these are usually harder to train someone in versus strategic sales know-how. The basics should include:


  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Confident literacy and numeracy
  • Conflict resolution* 
  • Negotiation skills and persuasiveness to promote sales*
  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Initiative to go the extra mile
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving


*aided by further training



Recruiter Advice - A guide to writing the perfect Sales Assistant job description
Recruiter Advice – A guide to writing the perfect Sales Assistant job description


What kind of salary range can I specify for a sales assistant job description?


Retail sales assistant salaries are typically structured by an hourly wage. This is, in part, because turnover in sales assistant roles can be high, so hourly can make this more manageable. Overtime and shift changes are also better managed when working on an hourly basis. However, even if based on an hourly rate, some sales assistant job descriptions will list the annual salary band as candidates often want to see what they will be coming out with pre and post-tax.


Based on the Reed.co.uk average salary checker for sales assistant role salary averages, candidates can expect to see:


£10,065 – £40,750 with an average of £22,086 (Manchester sample)

£21,600 – £36,250 with an average of £27,491

 (London sample) 


It is essential to state your salary range in your job descriptions to differentiate yourself in a competitive market. Research shows that salary is the biggest factor for those looking for a new role. We also know, from user behaviour on Reed.co.uk**, that roles that display a salary receive 43% more applications than those without.


Do sales assistant job descriptions vary from industry to industry?


The most common sales assistant roles are in retail and the sub-sectors within it, for example:


  • Fashion
  • Technology
  • Food and Grocery


However, sales assistant is a fairly broad term, so it is crucial to tailor your description accordingly. Pharmacy sales assistants, for example, require more training or knowledge as they assist the pharmacist behind the counter and handle medication. If you are in a particularly niche market such as veterinary or equine, for example, then cite that a passion for the industry to aid further training and development will benefit the role and make a candidate stand out. 


**Analysis of jobs adverts on Reed.co.uk during 2020