Hiring RDs: Finding the Right Fit for Retail

Hiring RDs: Finding the Right Fit for Retail

August 21, 2013

Allison Yoder, MA, RD, LD

Health and Wellness Supervisor, Eastern Region

Hy-Vee, Inc.

Registered dietitians are your most credible source of food and nutrition information. They have the skills and knowledge to translate food and nutrition science into practical information. As more independent and mainstream supermarkets hire staff dietitians, customers have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of weight management, nutrition and meal planning in store aisles.

Position Within the Retail Structure

Retailers should consider their company’s goals for health and wellness when hiring a dietitian. Reporting structure, including corporate, regional and store dietitian positions, and focus of the dietitian role are all influenced based on the company’s goals.

How to Hire a RD

Before interviewing, have a plan in place on what the RD role will be in your company. Will the dietitian play a role with marketing and advertising, product development, communications, employee benefits, or serve a larger role with consumer interaction, including media, in-store classes, cooking demonstrations and nutrition education in the aisles. Include all teams from operations (marketing department, legal team, pharmacy, communications, etc.)  to ensure that an ideal candidate is hired to meet your company’s unique needs. 

Essential Traits for Success

  • Personality – A retail dietitian should be outgoing and friendly. Your job is to make every customer feel at home – valued, comfortable and glad to come back. Retail is a people business; a smile can go a long way.
  • Communication – The ability to communicate nutrition messages into customer experiences is an important trait for a retail dietitian to possess.
  • Marketing – Retail dietitians seek out customers for their business. Understanding basic marketing strategies will allow for more successful promotions and customer interaction.
  • Product Enthusiast – There’s nothing like enthusiasm and genuine love for the brand and its product or service to keep the customers coming in, coming back, and telling their friends about it. Enthusiasm is contagious.
  • Business Skills – Obtaining a business skill set allows the retail dietitian to plan programs and promotions which show a return on investment (ROI) to the company, store or manager.

Not all dietitians are the same; determine the dietitian’s role based on company goals for health and wellness, and be specific on skills and traits when hiring in order to successfully meet your company goals.