Microsoft Retail Store Jobs Require Heavy Lifting

Microsoft recently posted several job listings for its first two retail stores, which are set to open this fall in Mission Viejo, Calif. and Scottsdale, Ariz. These are mainly sales, customer service, and technical advisory positions, and they require applicants to be able to lift and carry 75 pounds. The assistant store manager and technical trainer positions only require the ability to lift and carry 50 pounds.

What's clear from the job listings is that Microsoft plans to move a lot of product through its retail stores -- these will be more than just places for showing off Microsoft Surface and the Xbox. Microsoft also wants employees with technical backgrounds and who are good at both troubleshooting and dealing with people.

Microsoft will also focus on providing a customer experience that starts as soon as the customer enters the store, as reflected from the language of a job listing for a customer service associate. "This team member will be responsible for helping our customers understand the experience they should expect when they visit us and will act as 'tour guide' when needed to insure a successful journey and experience in our stores," reads the job listing.

Microsoft will likely use the stores to exert more control over the public's perception of its products, an issue that has become a major sore spot due to Apple's devilishly effective "Get A Mac" advertisements. Microsoft earlier this year hired former Wal-Mart executive David Porter to lead its retail store push, and in July hired George Blankenship, a longtime Gap executive with a track record of identifying top retail spots, as a consultant.

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Microsoft picked a tough time to get into retail, and the stores will be watched very closely, both by schadenfreude-hungry Microsoft bashers and by wary shareholders who've been getting restless in the wake of several weak quarters.