How to Source Employees for Your Small Business – Convenience Store Decisions
Finding employees often starts, not with a job posting or a help-wanted ad, but with your business’s identity. Your identity is your culture. Your identity is your message. Your identity is the answer to the question, “Why would someone want to be part of my team?”
A small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owner must commit time and energy when opening a new company. When opening a business, merchants should seek to hire competent staff members with relevant experience.
To find the ideal applicant, you’ll need to put out word of mouth, advertise on social media platforms, place help-wanted signs, and post on job-seeker platforms, said Elie Katz, President and CEO of National Retail Solutions (NRS).
“Set guidelines for what you are seeking in a candidate. For example, it is essential to hire staff with a welcoming and warm personality, when focusing on customer service,” Katz said. “Ensuring that customers have a great shopping experience and customer retention and loyalty depend heavily on customer service. Other qualities to look for in an employee include teamwork, dependability, honesty, professionalism, and a strong work ethic.”
To start and successfully run a business, storeowners must advertise, seek candidates, and train employees to manage day-to-day business tasks and responsibilities. Katz offered four tips to help retailers accomplish this:
Advertising on Social Media
To post on social media for staff hires, locating appropriate platforms for the business is the first step. Facebook and Instagram are the best social media platforms for job postings. These two social media outlets target both young and older audiences, ensuring that a store owner reaches the right audience. Platforms like Twitter and TikTok should not be used to reach an older audience. Many people use those platforms for non-business-related videos unless they are a self-promoted start-up that caters to a younger crowd.
“You can also use other platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Career Builder. These websites will display what the business owner is looking for in a candidate, such as a salary, qualifications, job description, benefits and location,” Katz said. “The employer can also link a job application to the posting or create an application for potential candidates to fill out. In general, posting job offerings does not require any payment.
Retailers can also post a help wanted sign or attend school career fairs to broaden their advertising and reach more applicants. Many students strive to secure an internship or start working full-time immediately after graduation. An internship can be paid or unpaid, and helps a graduate gain experience and/or a portfolio for their resume. Establishing a relationship with various colleges for interns and entry-level hiring can yield direct referral leads.
Recruiting Potential Candidates
“Once several candidates have applied, it is time to sort through each one to determine which one is qualified and of interest to arrange an interview,” Katz said. “During the interview, it is important to read their body language; note how they respond to questions, their attitude, experience, and accomplishments. By doing this, you can assess if the candidate is a good fit for the position.”
The ideal candidate should demonstrate enthusiasm for the position, experience, and a positive outlook. Ask them how they’d handle a disagreement. Employees who don’t suggest solutions to problems or have a poor attitude about working with others may be unfit for the job. In a position involving customer interaction, it’s critical that the employee be a friendly, proactive team player, to ensure that customers have a positive shopping experience.
If a position you’re filling requires a particular skill, you can give candidates a take-home test to assess their proficiency. The test will help assess how knowledgeable they are in that particular topic—which can also help determine whether they are the best fit for your position.
“Contacting references and doing your research can be invaluable in really knowing their skills and personality. Don’t just call the names they provide you. If possible, ask others who know them personally or who have worked with them before,” Katz said. “Check their personal profiles on social media if you can locate them. You can tell a lot about someone from what they post online.”
The Hiring Process
During your interview, you can discuss what benefits are available for your employees, beyond just the salary. If you have a follow-up second interview, you’ll have the chance then to go into more practical details about the day-to-day operations of the position. Do you offer benefits, paid vacation, 401K matching, or bonuses? Address these questions before you hire.
More communication prior to hiring, means less surprises later. If you will require a drug test, criminal background check or other, make sure the candidate is fully aware of this. It’s always best to communicate in writing, to keep records of discussions and clarify your offer.
Training Your Employees
“If your business already has experienced employees, have them train the new hires to get them adjusted to the role while also showing them the ropes,” Katz said. “New employees will feel more comfortable with someone there to guide them, rather than doing the job on their own.”
Even experienced workers can benefit from the same orientation as new hires and have it serve as a refresher for them. There are different training methods for employees. Some include hands-on learning, job rotation, video training and instructor-led training. It helps a lot to have a user-friendly point of sale (POS) system to make it easier for newbies to manage the checkout counter. Ensure that your team is learning from and retaining the information from the training. Assess how well your training methods work and how to properly educate your staff so that they can do their jobs effectively.
If you are worried about how you can afford to hire more employees, consider a cash advance. With a cash advance, you can get the funds you need in 24-48 hours, contrasted with a bank loan which can be more complicated and time-consuming. While trying to find the best employees for your business, having the money on hand is vital to ensure you have enough to pay your employees and build your business, while also operating the store.
“You are off to a great start,” Katz said. “The excitement of growing a business is worth the hard work. Setting up your establishment properly and sourcing a great team of employees can be stress free if you approach it systematically, with a plan. Make lists, and set deadlines. Put out word to the local community and welcome assistance. You’ll be surprised how all the pieces fall into place quickly – and even with challenges, you’ll be able to proudly watch your business grow and thrive,”