You can make money two ways. Sell more or cut expenses, it’s pretty simple. Most of you have probably cut every expense line as much as you can right? Maybe not! Your dreaded labor line still offers you the biggest opportunity to increase your profit. I’m not suggesting cutting hours, wages or raises. The majority of our industry still has a huge opportunity with the unnecessary, overwhelming, overlooked yet generally accepted turnover expense.
It doesn’t have to be that way! If you chose to address the real root of the problem I promise, you will take more money to the bank. So, what’s the root of the problem? The issue that’s been overlooked due to egos and assumptions is a manager’s ability to know how to effectively interview and properly select the right candidate. I know some of you are thinking, “I can interview just tell me where to find good employees, that’s the problem, there just aren’t any out there”. But that’s not the problem. You see, I could tell where there’s a lake full of fish but if you don’t know how to fish you’ll still be hungry. Companies that have invested in recruiting seminars are often still frustrated because they have the same turnover and employee problems. So they look for a different recruiting seminar or increase their starting wage thinking that will do the trick.
Myths, Assumptions and Egos
There’s an assumption (or myth) that once someone is promoted to manager they magically should know how to hire a good employee especially since they’ve done the job. This is evident in organizations’ training programs. Most pre-installation programs only cover operational issues, banking, ordering, merchandising, etc. Yet the biggest problems and headaches they face are people problems. Unfortunately, operators are not given the education and skill development on how to conduct effective interviews.
Just because an operator knows what they need doesn’t mean they know how to adequately determine if the candidate posses the right qualities and competencies. And some operators aren’t quite sure of the key competencies needed in a successful cashier today. Their list usually consists of, can they work the shift that’s open, can they start now, do they have reliable transportation, do they seem friendly, do they have retail experience, and will they accept our starting wage. Getting a yes on that list is easy to find in an interview. It’s once they start the job you discover the problems. Merely discussing the candidate’s availability and previous work experience is just the beginning, yet all too often it’s also the end of most interviews and the employee is hired.
During seminars we conduct on this subject we also continue to hear from some folks especially with years of experience, “I’ve been managing for years, I think I know what I’m looking for.” Yet that same operator suffers from 200% turnover and he’s convinced it’s the poor pool of candidates. If that we true, then why have some companies in this industry done an amazing job reducing their turnover? They deal with the same pool, but they’ve educated and prepared their operators on how to figure out which ones are winners. They’ve addressed the “root” of the problem and they’re taking more money to the bank.
- Determine what really makes a cashier successful and develop specific questions to explore if the candidate can demonstrate from past experience that they posses those qualities.
- Don’t assume previous retail experience is a plus. Asking about handling cash doesn’t mean they’ll be on time and smile with your customers.
- Develop standard pre-written questions to ask every candidate. This allows you to compare apples to apples and avoid going with a gut feeling.
- Don’t ask questions on the go as you review the application. Review the application in advance and write the questions down before the interview. This prevents you from spending time thinking of the next question and not listening to their answers. You want as much time to watch and listen; body language can communicate something different than their words.
- Develop a rating system for their answers so you can measure candidates against the other.
Think all the time and money you invest in promotions and merchandising all in the hopes to sell more. Imagine if you spent just half that much time educating and building the necessary skills in your managers on interviewing. You’re guaranteed to reduce your labor expense, reduce manager burnout, improve your brands image, and customer loyalty all because you have right person behind the register.