While large convenience store chains have HR departments, most independents do not. This means that, for owners and managers, hiring the right people and keeping them aboard becomes part of the job.
These tips can help independents hire and retain the best candidates and employees:
Screen candidates for attitude over skills. People can be taught to do just about anything provided they have the desire to learn and the work ethic to back it up. A less experienced candidate with a better attitude will perform better — and often want to stick around.
Hire fans. People who work at independent convenience stores almost always live nearby, which means they know the brand. Find those who are frequent customers and/or have sincerely high opinions about the store; their enthusiasm will keep them on staff and spread to the customers they serve.
Search everywhere. Taking the time to go beyond local job boards can turn up hidden gems. Get the word out via social media, from Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter, Instagram and even SMS. Also, take the time to check out Yelp and similar platforms for any negative comments you may need to refute or take action on. Prospective employees are already checking them out.
Don’t paint too rosy a picture. The best employees are invariably the kind of people who expect and appreciate frankness. Rather than focusing on the wonderfulness of the job, be straight about things like having to deal with difficult customers, relatively low pay and odd hours. The candidates already know these things but will like the fact that their new employer respects them enough to level with them.
Search in-house. The first place to find top-notch candidates for employment is among current employees. Going so far as to offer a cash bonus for recommended candidates who pan out is a win-win — and will even aid in team building.
Look backward. There is no substitute for background checks and references from previous employers. With teens seeking their first job, consult with teachers, coaches and guidance counselors.
Let them live their lives. Promising potential hires that they won’t have to work double shifts or insane hours can prove pivotal in differentiating your store from the chain competitor down the street.