Assistant Retail Manager


Ms. Casper, Dutchess Community College, SPRING 2008

It is Spring 2008. You are the Manager for the new concept “Staples and More” store at the upscale Empire Corporate Complex in Poughkeepsie, NY. Poughkeepsie was chosen as the city to unveil their new model, because it is home to many large corporate headquarters, especially IBM and excellent institutions of learning ensuring an educated workforce. You were chosen to head up this new endeavor because of your longstanding association with Staples. You have held multiple positions with Staples, starting in receiving, and have been a manager of high performing stores all across the country.

You are now in the process of hiring an Assistant Store Manager who will start on June 1st. Every year, Staples hires many graduating seniors to meet the needs of the ever-growing demands of their stores. These positions are highly sought after and the competition is fierce. Because of Staples's excellent reputation and the area’s high unemployment, you are swamped with applicants. Of critical concern to you today is to find an applicant to fill this new and innovative position in your Poughkeepsie store. Because this store will attract a high profile clientele, store appearance, product presentation, support of staff and understanding of all merchandise is a must.

You have interviewed three dozen highly qualified applicants who will be graduating in the spring of 2008. You've been hiring for other assistant manager positions for years and know the type person who would fit well in the culture and share the values of Staples. Every once in awhile an applicant comes along who shows you something special. You know immediately that this person would be of great value to the organization for many, many years, and you soften on driving a hard financial bargain because of the person's exceptional potential. You know what that “something special” is for this position, and you see it in Margaret Cleveland.

You interviewed Ms. Cleveland yesterday. You were impressed with her poise and her work ethic as revealed when she discussed her work experience with both her retail background and her ability to juggle school and work.

At the end of the interview yesterday you offered her the job as the Assistant Store manager for Staples and More with you in Poughkeepsie. You asked her to return today to set her salary and start date.

As the consummate professional and department head, you offer competitive salaries. tells you that for the job title “Retail Store Manager Assistant”, the title closest to your position, the salary range is $33,000 to $44,000 with a median salary of $40,000 for the Poughkeepsie area. The benefits or this position add another $19,000 to the compensation package.

Because Staples is such a desirable employer and so many fresh-minted graduates want to work for them, you typically pay new hires at the low end of the salary range.

Last year, Staples's starting salary for an assistant store manager position was $33,000. You don't see any reason to start any higher than that for this position since this is a very appealing job. In fact, three people have already accepted offers at that salary in comparable jobs at other store sites. The benefits package you are offering for this position is approximately $12,000.

You have to leave in 15 minutes to get to a Chamber of Commerce meeting in which you are the featured speaker on the new Staples and More.

When you and Ms. Cleveland sit down to talk, your opening lines to her are:

“We're so pleased that you want to work for the new Staples and More concept store. You'll be a wonderful addition to our team.

We have just a couple details to settle, then you can sign our contract, and we'll see you after graduation.

I am authorized to offer you a starting salary of $33,000.You will be entitled to the standard benefits package all new employees get, and we'd like you to start work in our Poughkeepsie store on June 1, 2008.

If that's okay with you, please read over this contract, sign it and you'll be one of the Staples family!”

See how she reacts. Listen to her. Write down what points might persuade you to raise this offer. Write down what language she might use that would make you hold the line and not raise her starting salary and why. Write down objections you would have if she wants more money. Discuss all this thoughtfully with her, because you want her to accept your job offer.

See what is the lowest starting salary that you can get her to accept and get her to accept a specific salary in the 15 minutes before you have to leave.

Remember, you made her a job offer because you were very impressed with her. Now it's time to get her to work at Staples and More.

Good luck.


Ms. Cleveland, Dutchess Community College, SPRING 2008

It is Spring, 2008. You will soon graduate with an associates degree in Business Technology from Dutchess Community College. You have a 3.5 GPA reflecting your outstanding commitment to your studies while having to work while in school.

You worked at the Gap all through high school learning how to dress well and help others with clothing choices. When you graduated, you were not sure what you wanted to do other than not fold clothing any more! Since your whole family loves computers, computer games and all technology, you applied for a job as a sales person at RadioShack. You worked there for 3 years full time until you decided to take college courses and began working part time while attending college.

You have learned a lot and realize that you are especially good with customer service and solving their problems. Many customers call to see if you are working, before coming to the store. You have been such a good employee that you were chosen as employee of the month seven times, and the manager offered you an assistant store manager position when you graduate. But you want to try something more challenging with a future!

You are the first in you family to go to college, and you decided to go to Dutchess County College where you could arrange you classes and continue to work. You decided to major in Business Technology, knowing it would give you a good overview of the business of a retail job. Your advisor at Dutchess suggested you take additional courses in accounting, advertising, communications, computer information systems and even psychology to give you a well rounded view of retail and experience important when going into management. You were lucky to be chosen to intern at Retail Design International where you learned about store design, merchandising and employee satisfaction and how everything works together to drive sales and enhance service.

You gained even more retail experience by volunteering at Goodwill Industries, helping to price, merchandise and wait on customers. You learned how to deal with diverse workers and cliental while there.

Every year, Staples hires many people to meet the needs of the ever-growing demands of their stores. You know that management positions at Staples are highly sought after, and that the competition is fierce. This year they are in the process of hiring an Assistant Store Manager, a new position for their new concept “Staples and More” store at the upscale Empire Corporate Complex here in Poughkeepsie, NY.



Ms. Casper, Staples and More Store Manager, who has interviewed you, was chosen to head up this new endeavor because of her longstanding association with Staples, starting when she was a student at Dutchess Community College. You googled her and know she is well thought of, but comes from a background similar to yours, and though tough, is considered a great boss and someone who might mentor you.

You’ve done your homework. tells you that the entry level Assistant Retail Store Manager in Poughkeepsie has a salary range of $33,000 to $44,000 with a median salary of $40,000. The benefits package for this position is worth another $19,000.

You’ve determined that your target salary is $40,000 which you firmly believe, given your excellent work experience, your education, your internship and volunteer experience has enabled you to fine tune your skills.

You want to move out of your present apartment and into something with more amenities and you have hefty student loans to pay off. Since you have lived here all you life, you would like to travel some and also enjoy more of the night life the city offers. After doing a budget you know the minimum salary you can possibly accept is $36,000 and that would mean living VERY modestly.

You were thrilled yesterday when Ms. Casper offered you a job. She asked you to come back today just to settle a couple details like salary and starting date and sign a contract.

You have the last appointment of the day. Ms. Casper must leave in 15 minutes for a Chamber of Commerce dinner meeting where she is the featured speaker.

Can you and Ms. Casper come to an agreement about a starting salary which you accept? Can you get her to agree to your target salary figure? Make notes on what you consider your persuasive points. Decide the sequence in which you will present these points. Make notes about the language you will use. Make notes about her likely objections and what you will say. Use every minute of the time to get her to your target salary.

This is your chance to start out with the best salary you can get. Remember, $44,000 is what you believe you’re worth in that job.

Go for it!