There is something familiar about a convenience store (unofficially coined “c-stores”). Open early and closing late, the c-store was a regular stop throughout our lives for snacks and other daily staples. There was always a person behind the counter that greeted you with a friendly hello. Over time, you would get on a first-name basis with him or her and they would learn the newspaper your read or the type of gum you prefer. You would get used to a familiar face and then one day the person was replaced by someone new. But that someone was as friendly as the last and the casual relationship started its cycle again.
Today, the hyper competitive retail landscape is dominated by giants, such as Costco and Walmart. Yet, the c-store is resilient and rugged, and refuses to fade into history. Through the ongoing e-commerce revolution and anything-delivered-to-your-door service uprising, the c-store weathers the economic storm and marches on. They are still the most popular stop for slushees in the summer and for a pack of gum on the go. But inevitably, they have evolved and have melded with gas stations and fast food franchises to present a new, but familiar, and friendly environment that faceless retail behemoths cannot.
As c-stores have evolved, so has the world of the modern job seeker. Like never before, retail recruiting for c-stores has become one of the most unique challenges today. Most highschoolers that venture into the workforce target fast food chains and large supermarkets knowing that there are constant opportunities and their group of friends. And fresh university graduates likely never even glance at a job posting for a c-store which cannot offer benefits, opportunities for growth, and a someday corner office. Indeed, the lower pay and atypical shifts of a c-store are not the most appealing, but somehow there is always a friendly face that offers a smile as you walk through the door.
Any c-store owner or manager knows that the demands of running a location is a never-ending marathon. Many products are delivered, but there are always items that require hands-on shopping or may be on a fire sale at a larger retailer. Then the products have to physically be placed on the shelves, and technology has yet to invent self-replacing items. Some items such as coffee and hot dogs require constant restocking and there is always the challenge of maintaining a high level of cleanliness to keep customers walking through the door. After inventory is taken and spilled coffee is cleaned up, where is the time for retail recruiting? Are the managers that make a c-store successful always the right people to conduct recruitment? And when there is finally time to start thinking about hiring, where are the job seekers that will fill such an unpopular position? Are c-stores doomed to always recruit out of desperation and have to settle for low quality employees?
The most important factor to today’s hourly job seeker is being hired quickly. Essentially, when a store manager finally finds the time to sift through resumes and conduct interviews and hopefully conduct at least 2 reference checks, they must make a snap decision to ensure that they end up hiring the best candidate they can find. Clearly a daunting task for any store manager above and beyond their daily responsibilities.
Retail Recruiting Evolution
It might seem impossible on the surface, but there is hope for c-stores to recruit without lowering standards and having to settle. One of the answers is to look beyond the outdated “Help Wanted” sign and to embrace the power of the internet.
While a typical c-store position is not high on the list of job seekers, your job can offer unique benefits that larger retailers cannot. For example, the hours of a c-store can be offered in a far more flexible form than what large retailers demand, appealing to hardworking and motivated individuals looking to maximize their downtime. A good percentage of c-store staff can be filled with qualified individuals that already have jobs, but do not get all the hours that they want or need. Wording the job posting and contract the right way can be a simple and powerful way to attract great candidates that already possess excellent customer service skills and are motivated to put more in their bank accounts at the end of every month.
Another viable answer is to connect with Employment Services agencies that are sponsored by government or non-profit organizations that offer free training and job search skills for immigrants and the general unemployed public. These agencies can be an untapped source of strongly motivated job seekers from demographics that often get overlooked, such as seniors, persons with disabilities, or new immigrants with a strong work ethic that simply need assistance in connecting with jobs in an unfamiliar internet-driven world. The majority of hourly employees are under 25 years old, 33% are 25-44 years old and a full 28% are 45 or older!
The fact that they are inexperienced in writing a glowing resume or have lesser computer skills does not mean that they don’t have a strong work ethic or motivation. In the fast-paced modern world, c-store positions are one of the few jobs that still exist that do not require a minimum typing speed of 40 words per minute. While large retailers might only look to hire superstars with the best resumes and experience, it is absolutely possible to build a strong team in your c-store with undrafted hidden gems.
The truth of retail recruiting is that no matter how and where you look, the most valuable commodity is time. While most c-stores might believe it is simply too expensive to even consider Recruitment Outsourcing, consider how much you will need to spend on placing just a few job postings on the most popular job posting sites. Add to that the time required to sift through the resumes fast enough to contact and catch the best candidates and try to quantify how much that time is worth not only to one owner/manager, but all the owners/managers in all your stores.
Mindfield offers a team of recruiters utilizing the most updated technology that consult with you to provide all the aspects of retail recruiting where you and your managers cannot afford the time. Above that, Mindfield has the expertise in recruiting that can drive the hidden gems to you for a final interview and decision so that you can build a team of overachievers that are just looking for the right fit in the right opportunity. Recruiting for c-stores is a unique challenge. Perhaps it is time to seek a unique solutions provider.
This article was written by Mindfield and previously published on www.convenienceandcarwash.com.
Mindfield is a Recruitment Outsourcing Solutions provider that partners with companies to create powerful hourly workforces. Our solutions combine a recruitment team, simple to use technology and a data-driven hiring strategy that promises to improve the quality of your hourly workforce. This approach focuses on tying business outcomes such as sales performance, tenure, and engagement to the selection, hiring and measurement of quality candidates.