Hourly Employees

An applicant takes a pre-employment assessment

The Ultimate Guide to Pre-Employment Assessments

The Ultimate Guide to Pre-Employment Assessments 1016 528 Sprockets

What happens between the time a job seeker applies to your open position to the time they sit down for an interview? Sure, you might be reviewing their resume, skimming through their LinkedIn and maybe even Instagram, but how else are you learning more information about your candidate? 

In high turnover industries like hospitality, businesses can’t afford to waste time or money on candidates who won’t work out — that’s why some require pre-employment assessments before moving forward with their hiring process. Whether you currently use them or not, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about pre-employment assessments so you can determine the best recruitment strategy for your business and start hiring the best applicants every time. 

What Are Pre-Employment Assessments? 

Let’s start with the basics. Pre-employment assessments are tools used in the pre-screening step of the hiring process to predict an applicant’s likelihood of success. While there are several different types of tests, pre-employment assessments provide employers with details about their applicants to help them make smarter hiring decisions. It’s a sneak peek into how applicants will behave and perform in the workplace. 

Types of Pre-Employment Assessments

  • Job Knowledge Tests: Applicants are asked to demonstrate their expertise on processes they’ll encounter if they were to be hired.
  • Integrity Tests: These questions evaluate an applicant’s reliability and honesty. Candidates may also be required to pass a drug test.
  • Cognitive Ability Tests: The most common pre-employment assessment measures a candidate’s mental capacity to think through complex situations they may encounter at the workplace. 
  • Personality Tests: Analyzes personality traits to determine whether or not an applicant will fit in with the company culture and be an engaged, productive employee. 
  • Emotional Intelligence Tests: Gauges how a candidate builds relationships and resolves conflict, especially in high-pressure situations.
  • Skills Assessments Tests: Evaluates an applicant’s soft and hard skills.
  • Physical Ability Tests: Assesses a candidate’s physical strength such as lifting 50 lbs.

Are Pre-Employment Assessments Legal?

Yes, pre-employment assessments are legal on a federal, state, and local level in the United States as long as they are Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) compliant. There are a few laws in place to eliminate discrimination “against anyone on the basis of personal qualities that aren’t job-related”, including:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964: Prohibits failure to hire an individual based on race, gender, color, religion, or national origin.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: Illegal for employers to discriminate against people 40 and older. 
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: Employers cannot discriminate against anyone with any kind of disability.

It’s also important employers understand the validity of pre-employment assessments used in their hiring process. There are currently three primary forms of validity approved by the EEOC: 

  • Construct Validity: Whether a questionnaire measures what it claims to measure and in a way that is consistent with the definition of those dimensions. 
  • Criterion-Related Validity: Shows that the dimensions or scales are predictive of something tangible such as differences in scores on a scale related to work behavior or performance.
  • Content Validity: Demonstrates that the behaviors measured in the selection procedure are a representative sample of the behaviors of the job in question.

Pros and Cons of Pre-Employment Assessments

Pros:

  • Accelerates the Hiring Process: Employers are able to make smarter, more informed decisions about who they hire, therefore reducing costly employee turnover.
  • Increases Quality of Hires: When an applicant is willing to take a pre-employment assessment, it shows they are committed and are likely more interested in the position than an applicant who fails to complete a test. 
  • Provides Equal Opportunity: Every applicant will take the same pre-employment assessment ensuring a fair and honest process. 

Cons:

  • Partial Picture of the Candidate: Like resumes, some pre-employment assessments only provide a snapshot of an applicant’s character. It’s important to consider other factors and refrain from solely basing your decision to move an applicant forward in the hiring process based on these tests. 
  • Questionable Validity: Unfortunately, not all pre-employment assessments are accurate and truthful; some can have an adverse impact when used in the hiring process.

Are Pre-Employment Assessments Worth It If They Add Another Step to the Hiring Process?

The short answer is yes, pre-employment assessments help you narrow down which candidates you want to spend time interviewing. An extra few minutes of your candidate’s time could save you thousands of dollars, hours of time in your work day, and one heck of a hiring headache! 

Some pre-employment assessments like Sprockets’ solution eliminates the need for interviews. Our platform reveals which applicants share personality traits with a business’s current top performers based on their answers to a three-question survey that takes less than ten minutes to complete. Ultimately, it empowers owners and operators to build reliable, cohesive teams and reduce employee turnover. 

Candidate receives job offer on her smartphone.

5 Common Pitfalls That Hurt the Candidate Experience and How to Solve Them

5 Common Pitfalls That Hurt the Candidate Experience and How to Solve Them 1016 528 Sprockets

How a candidate navigates your hiring process ultimately impacts their final decision: will they join your staff or reject your offer for a competitor? Put yourself in your job applicants’ shoes. Is your hiring process truly a smooth, easy experience? What kind of feedback would they offer? 

Continue reading this blog to understand common mistakes business owners make and how to fix them. You can also accelerate your hiring process with Sprockets’ solution! The platform uses sophisticated technology to predict which applicants will succeed and stay long-term. Sprockets’ users even spend 37% less time hiring, empowering them to focus on running their business — with a simpler process. 

What Is the Candidate Experience & Why Is It Important?

The candidate experience refers to how a job applicant perceives the recruitment process, including the job search, application, interview, and onboarding stages. It’s crucial candidates have a positive experience as this could make or break their decision to join a company. Plus, a top-tier candidate experience will attract top-tier talent – before the competition.

Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them 

1. Poor Online Presence 

Failure to establish and maintain a strong online presence can negatively impact the candidate experience. Would you apply to a company that failed to showcase its milestone moments and company culture? It’s important to think like your ideal hire. 

For example, 79% of candidates use social platforms in their job search. If you aren’t regularly posting on social media, it’s likely your applicants might not even know your company is hiring. Your business might have a LinkedIn page, but are you active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well? When you post about employment opportunities, don’t forget to link to your website’s careers or application portal. Additionally, not every applicant is going to apply to your company on a laptop or desktop computer. 83% of job seekers say their phone is an important part of the hiring process. If you aren’t already doing so, consider implementing a mobile-friendly experience to increase your applicant flow and minimize dropoff.

2. Weak Job Postings

With over 10 million current opportunities, a vague job posting with unclear expectations and an absence of an hourly wage won’t stand out amongst the crowd. Applicants might assume you aren’t sure what type of employee you are looking for, even if that isn’t the case. On the other hand, if you include too much information, your candidates will feel overwhelmed. 

We recommend sticking to a word count of about 300 words as these types of postings get more applicants, according to LinkedIn. Take the time to explain your company’s mission, core values, and culture. Ideally, your posting should clearly and concisely convey the responsibilities and qualifications needed. We also suggest adding salary details if you are comfortable as 67% of job seekers are more likely to apply for a position when a salary is included in the posting.

3. Inefficient Interview Process

Wasted interview time can be draining for both the interviewer and interviewee, especially if the applicant doesn’t meet basic requirements. Avoid asking questions that could simply be answered by looking at a resume or with a quick social media search. Instead, focus on understanding your applicant’s personality so you can gauge whether or not they will be a good fit with your team. It’s always easier to train for skill and hire for coachability. 

We also suggest pre-screening candidates to eliminate spending time on someone who doesn’t meet the basic requirements. Plus, pre-screening empowers you to spend more of the interview talking about your company and the position versus asking applicants questions about themselves. (Hint: Sprockets simple red-yellow-green scoring system makes it easy to see which applicants share similar personality traits to your current best employees.) 

4. Lack of Communication

Think back to your job searching days. Were you ever excited about an opportunity only to never hear back from management? Failure to set clear expectations with a specific timeline can result in applicant ghosting. Remember, they’re likely to apply to multiple companies, especially if they are a top performer. One missed text, call, or e-mail could mean the difference between a good and bad hire. 

Be sure to contact your candidates quickly — even if you don’t think they will be a good fit. You can find customizable templates for easy communication in our blog: Best Practices for Job Offers and Rejections for Hourly Employees (Templates Included!).

5. Boring Offer Letter

Now that you’ve chosen who you want to hire, it’s time to send that all-star applicant an offer letter. Some people forget that this is another wonderful opportunity to emphasize the positive aspects of your business. At this point, it’s still possible your candidate could change their mind and maybe even leave for a competitor. 

In addition to all the standard information required in an offer letter, we also encourage you to incorporate your brand’s personality and voice. It can be as simple as adding a sentence about why you think this particular candidate would thrive at your workplace. This is your last chance to retain that specific top performer, so it’s important to make every word count! 

FREE GUIDE: Why Your Hiring Process is Broken and How to Fix It

The traditional hiring process is outdated and time-consuming. What we now know as “resumes” even date back to over 500 years old! Luckily, you already have the solution — your current top performers! Check out this free guide to learn how to leverage their talents to help your business thrive, even during the most challenging times.

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Excited job applicants receives an offer

Best Practices for Job Offers and Rejections for Hourly Employees (Templates Included!)

Best Practices for Job Offers and Rejections for Hourly Employees (Templates Included!) 1016 528 Sprockets

With nearly 6.5 million job openings available to workers in the past year alone, it’s important to understand how to communicate with applicants — even if they aren’t a good fit for your business. Continue reading to refresh your memory on best practices for job offers and rejections for non-exempt employees in the hourly workforce. We know your time is valuable, so we even included free templates you can customize to fit your business’s needs. 

Why These Points of Communication Are Critical

Each job seeker who takes the time to fill out an application for a position at your business deserves a response. The last thing you want is to burn bridges or create distrust with candidates. Whether they are a good or bad fit, here are reasons communication is key when offering and rejecting opportunities.  

Job Offer

The time to hire can take a couple days to a few months, depending on your industry. However, if you want a candidate to work for you, we recommend reaching out as soon as possible before they find a different opportunity. Top performers — especially those in the hospitality industry — usually receive multiple job offers, so the faster you respond, the better. This clear communication will set the tone and give your future employee a good impression of your company. 

Job Rejection 

Candidates who weren’t the right fit the first time around might be a great fit later. Re-engaging past candidates is a great way to increase your applicant pool and show people you’re willing to give second chances. Additionally, communicating your decision gives your applicants closure and leaves a good impression of your brand. 

(Hint: Sprockets’ hiring solution offers re-engagement campaigns to help you reach past applicants!)

Best Practices for Making the Offer

Congratulations, you found the perfect addition to your team! The next step is crafting a job offer. Don’t forget to check your state-specific requirements as they vary. Be sure to include the following items in your job offer:

  • Name of Your Company
  • Name of the Employee
  • Position/Title
  • Name/Position of Supervisor
  • Schedule
  • Start Date
  • Compensation
  • Non-Exempt Classification and Implications 
  • Duties
  • Policies
  • At-Will Employment
  • Contingencies

Job Offer Template

Dear [First and Last Name],

We are pleased to offer you a [Full Time or Part Time] position at [Name of Your Company] as a [Title]. You will report directly to [Name of Supervisor], our [Supervisor Title]. Should you accept this opportunity, your employment will be subject to the following terms:

Start Date Month, Day, Year
Salary You will receive an hourly rate of $X and 
Non-Exempt Classification Under the non-exempt employee classification you must record your hours worked, including meal and rest periods, and overtime hours. 
Benefits *Will vary depending on your company*
Vacation/Sick/Personal Time *Will vary depending on your company*
Representation You represent that you are free to accept employment with [Name of Company] without any contractual restrictions, express or implied, of any kind.
Policies and Procedures You agree to fully comply with all of [Name of Company]’s employee policies and procedures.
Confidentiality and Non-Compete You agree to adhere to [Name of Company] confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-complete policies.
At-Will Employment  You understand that in compliance with [State] law, you are an At-Will employee and that this document is not a contract of employment.

If you accept this offer, please sign and date in the space below. Please return a copy within [X] days. We look forward to having you on our team.

Hope to hear from you soon,

[Your name and signature]

Best Practices for Rejecting

Just like it’s frustrating to be ghosted by your applicants, the last thing job seekers want is to wonder why they were rejected from a position at your company. Ghosting is unprofessional and disrespectful. Applicants took the time to fill out your application, adjust their resume, and maybe even crafted a cover letter. Follow up with a rejection email. The message should be concise and straightforward. You’ll want to thank applicants for applying, explain why they were not selected, and invite them to apply again.

Here are some templates you can use and customize to fit your business’s needs: 

Template 1: Emphasize Other Opportunities 

Dear [First and Last Name],

Thank you for applying to [Name of Company]

We are unable to offer you a job at this time. Luckily, we anticipate hiring [Number] people between now and [End Date], and you are still under consideration.

Kind regards,

[Your Signature]

Template 2: Opportunities at Multiple Locations 

Note: This is a perfect option if you own multiple locations.

Dear [First and Last Name],

Thank you for applying to [Name of Company]

We are unable to offer you a job at this time. However, [Employer X], and [Employer Y], are interested in your profile. Simply respond “yes” to this email to give us permission to share your file with them.

Best wishes,

[Your Signature]

Template 3: Provide the Candidate with Feedback

Dear [First and Last Name],

Thank you for applying to [Name of Company]. We are unable to offer you a job at this time. [Personalized sentence about why they were not selected]. However, we encourage you to improve your [specific skill(s)] and reapply. 

Sincerely,

[Your Signature]

Sample Feedback for Rejected Candidates

While there are various reasons applicants are ultimately rejected from a job, common reasons include: lack of industry experience, failure to demonstrate knowledge about the company and required skills, misalignment of values, and not a good team fit. 

  • Lack of Industry Experience: While it is easier to train for skill and hire for coachability, sometimes businesses need people with specific qualifications. If this is the case, we suggest stating that in your rejection email. For example, you might say, “We encourage you to apply again when you have more experience with [Name of Skill].”
  • Failure to Demonstrate Knowledge: This justification usually happens during the interview process. It’s possible an applicant couldn’t give specific examples when asked questions like “Explain a time when you failed and how you overcame that challenge.” Maybe the applicant was underprepared and clearly did not research your business or practice communicating their strengths. Addressing this in a job rejection email might look like, “We encourage you to apply again when you have a better understanding of our company’s mission. Here are some helpful resources.”   
  • Does Not Fit In With Company Culture: The key to building a high-performance team is to make sure everyone aligns with the company’s values, mission, and beliefs. Sometimes, applicants simply are not a great fit. If this is the case, we recommend the following language in your rejection message: “While you possess many skills we are looking for, we felt the cultural fit was not quite there.”

Predict Applicant Success With This Hiring Solution

Know which candidates will succeed and stay long-term like your current top performers with Sprockets. There’s no need for resumes — our simple one through ten scoring system will tell you everything you need to know about a candidate with pinpoint precision. Plus, Sprockets’ users spend 37% less time on the hiring process, empowering them to focus on daily operations. Hiring has never been easier! 

Interviewer and applicant talk during an interview

6 Easy Ways to Streamline the Hiring Process in the Hourly Workforce

6 Easy Ways to Streamline the Hiring Process in the Hourly Workforce 1016 528 Sprockets

The candidate experience plays a crucial role in the people who ultimately choose to work for you. Unfortunately, the traditional hiring process can be tedious and time-consuming for both employers and applicants. It also can mean the difference between a bad and excellent hire. Streamline your hiring process and ensure your candidate experience is a positive one by following these helpful tips. You’ll even learn how a tech solution reveals which applicants are the best fit, reducing time spent on the hiring process by 37%, on average. 

Benefits of Hiring Faster and Making the Process Simpler

From the time an applicant sees your job posting to the minute you offer them a position at your company, the candidate experience refers to an applicant’s impression of your hiring process. You’ll be rewarded with a plethora of benefits when you take the time to streamline your current procedures:

  • High-Quality Hires and Higher Acceptance Rates: Top performers only spend an average of 10 days “on the market.” They also typically receive multiple job offers. Timely communication and a simpler process empowers you to hire the best applicant before your competitors. If you want to remain competitive, you’ll need to speed up your time to hire. Otherwise, your ideal candidate will decline your opportunity for a better, faster job offer. 
  • Save Money: Hiring the right person from the start can save you thousands of dollars. Each bad hire can cost your business $5,864. In high turnover industries like hospitality, the cost can really add up. Avoid these expenses and an endless cycle of employee turnover when you take the time to streamline your hiring process. 
  • Reduce Time to Fill: A faster, simpler process means it will take less time to fill a position, empowering you to hire more people to support the rest of your team. 
  • Better Candidate Experience: You want to hire individuals who will speak highly of your business and continue to be engaged, productive team members. A satisfied employee is more likely to praise your accomplishments and even refer other candidates (who could turn out to be top performers). 

Steps in the Hiring Process to Optimize

  • Recruiting: The first step in the hiring process establishes your talent options. However, relying too heavily on recruitment can pose risks, especially during a labor shortage. Other common pitfalls include a lack of qualified candidates and failure to maintain equity, diversity, and inclusion. 
  • Screening: This stage of the hiring process narrows down your applicant pool as you decide which candidates you want to spend time interviewing. Problems may arise when employers feel pressured to hire candidates quickly, especially if they are understaffed. Not all candidates who excel in the screening process are the right hires.
  • Interviewing: The objective of the interview is to get to know the candidate and determine whether or not they are the right fit. First impression bias, lack of communication, and failure to prepare specific questions and utilize technology are common pitfalls in this stage.
  • Hiring: Taking too long to make a hiring decision can have detrimental effects. Research shows that it takes an average of 33 days — over a month! — to make a job offer after an interview, causing a 16% reduction in acceptance rates. If you want to remain competitive, you’ll need to speed up your time to hire. Otherwise, your ideal candidate will decline your opportunity for a better job offer.
  • Onboarding: Effective onboarding increases employee engagement and overall job satisfaction. It’s their first real taste of what their day-to-day will look like at your business. You want your new employee to be happy and certain they made the right decision. Common pitfalls include lack of training, unclear goals and expectations, and overwhelming new hires with too much information at once.

Streamline the Hiring Process: Tips to Simplify and Accelerate

1. Assess Your Recruiting Strategies

If you have a shallow talent pool, you may not be effectively utilizing various recruiting strategies. Luckily, there are many ways you can find qualified candidates. Use popular job boards like Indeed, Snagajob, and Adzuna. Try to think like your ideal hire. Where would they be searching for employment opportunities? You’ll want to post job openings there as well. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to seek out ideal hires yourself. You can also use social media to build your candidate pipeline. About 35% of the workforce are millennials while 30% are Gen Z — two groups who are active on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok

You aren’t alone in the recruiting process. Ask your current employees for referrals for candidates. Consider offering a stipend or referral bonus if the candidate is hired and stays at least 90 days. Another great way to find great candidates is to promote from within. One study found that external hires underperform in their first two years compared to internal hires. Plus, current employees are familiar with your company. You have a deeper understanding of their work ethic than you would an external candidate. Finally, reconnect with past applicants to see if they are interested in applying to your open positions, even if they declined your offer the last time. Circumstances may have changed and you never know unless you ask. 

2. Optimize Your Job Listings

People spend an average of 14 seconds reading a job posting before deciding to apply. With limited time, you want to make sure your posting is informative, clear, and concise. We recommend keeping it around 100 to 300 words as postings within this range receive 8.4% more applicants per views. One of the key components your applicants will be looking for is salary details. Transparency from the beginning instills a sense of trust between employer and applicant. One study found that candidates are 67% more likely to apply when a salary is mentioned in the job description.

Suggested Reading: How to Craft Job Postings That Boost Applicant Flow

3. Make the Process Mobile-Friendly 

As the number of smartphone users continues to grow, 66% of businesses are leveraging mobile-friendly processes to find the best possible hires. Be sure your job application is easy to fill out on mobile by going through the steps yourself. You may also consider using mobile recruiting tools like auto-scheduling calendars or artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots. Some tools even allow applicants to apply via text. Communication is key and texting dramatically reduces time to hire. 

4. Communicate Often, Communicate Quickly

The last thing you want is to lose top talent simply because you took too long to respond. Whether you text, email, or call, reply to good candidates quickly. Consider asking your applicant their preferred method of communication — everyone is different! Also, be transparent with your timeline. Let candidates know when they can expect to hear back, where they are in the hiring process, and how long it will take to come to a decision. Finally, avoid ghosting. No one enjoys waiting around for a business to communicate whether or not they were hired or have moved to the next stage in the hiring process. 

5. Pre-Screen Candidates

Why waste time interviewing the wrong people? Pre-screen applicants to determine whether or not they meet the basic requirements you desire in your ideal hire. This includes background checks, drug tests, and pre-interview questions. For example, you might ask a few easy-to-answer questions on your initial job posting like “Can you lift 50 pounds?” or “Are you at least 18 years old?” to eliminate hires who likely wouldn’t succeed in the first place. You might even conduct a 20-minute phone interview to gauge an applicant’s interest in your organization. 

Many businesses in the hourly workforce have started using Sprockets — a hiring solution that predicts applicant success based on shared personality traits between a company’s current top-performing employees and potential hires. Incoming applicants simply answer a three-question pre-screening assessment and receive a score of one through ten. Those who score closer to a ten will fit in with your company culture, be engaged employees, and stay long-term. The Sprockets platform is proven to increase employee retention by 43% and will save you time, money, and one heck of a hiring headache. 

6. Be Intentional With Interview Questions

Once you’ve conducted a pre-screening and decide you want to move forward with a candidate, it’s time for the interview. Use this time to share more about your company, rather than learning more about the applicant. Remember, candidates are evaluating your organization, too. In a sea of over 10 million job openings, they want to know why they should invest their time and experience in your business. Don’t be afraid to get creative and instill excitement to increase candidate engagement. 

A streamlined interview process should also include specific questions that you feel will help you make an informed hiring decision. Try not to ask questions that can easily be answered in a resume or quick LinkedIn search — do your research! You’ll also want to ask questions that help you understand an applicant’s soft skills. For example, if you want someone on your team with strong problem-solving skills, you might ask: Can you tell us about a time you were faced with a challenge that you had never experienced before? 

Streamline Your Hiring Process with Sprockets

The bottom line is that a streamlined hiring process makes for a better candidate experience. Sprockets’ simple solution is proven to reduce time spent on the hiring process by 37%. And, there’s no need for resumes or even interviews! Why? Our platform instantly reveals which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like a business’s current top performers, empowering owners and operators to make the right hiring decision every time. It’s even trusted by top brands like Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, and Papa John’s. 

5 Convenience Store Management Tips

5 Convenience Store Management Tips 1016 528 Sprockets

Between the rising cost of gas prices, continuous supply chain issues, and the never-ending labor shortage, convenience store management is not an easy task. You’re probably burnt out trying to find a solution for everything that is out of your control. Take a deep breath because we are here to help you with what you can control. Whether you just opened your c-store or have years of experience under your belt, here are five convenience store management tips to help your business thrive. 

How to Manage a Convenience Store

1. Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, keeping up with c-store trends is a must. Regularly read credible publications like CStore Decisions and NACS Magazine. You can also listen to c-store podcasts, talk to your customers, visit other stores, and network with industry professionals at trade shows to stay in the loop! To save you some time, here are a few current c-store management trends:

  • Frictionless Technology: Top c-store retailers take advantage of the latest and greatest technology to ensure a seamless experience for their customers. Solutions like Mashgin enable c-store associates to focus on daily operations and provide guests with an instant, 22-second checkout. Say goodbye to lines and wait times! Plus, this technology provides insight on what customers are buying, so owners can make smarter decisions. 

 

  • More Food Options: Some c-stores have found success focusing on healthier, more elaborate meal options like fresh sub sandwiches for their customers. One Thronton location in Kentucky, for example, found that over 30% in annual profit came from fresh food. Similarly, a Neon Marketplace location began thinking of their c-store as a “quick-service restaurant hybrid” in order to satisfy the needs of multiple types of customers: coffee, food, fuel. 

 

“We really wanted to grasp that consumer who’s going to fill up their gas in the morning, but then they’ll pick up their order from Starbucks for breakfast, and then maybe at lunch they’ll take a trip to Panera.”

Elise Babey, Neon Senior Manager of Product Development & Supply Chain

2. Take Care of Your Employees

Like you, your employees are stressed, exhausted, and burnt out. Their mental health and well-being is crucial to your c-store’s success. Praise your employees for their accomplishments and even consider recognizing them in front of their peers. 40% of employees say that they’d put more effort into their job if they were recognized more often. Recognition makes your workers feel appreciated, leading to higher productivity and an increase in morale. A recent survey even found that 91% of HR professionals believe recognition leads to an increase in employee retention. 

In the same vein, another convenience store management tip is to offer competitive employee benefits and pay, if possible. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted what people want in a job. In fact, a 2022 report found that the top four reasons workers consider another position is to have better pay, benefits (in general), health-care benefit (specifically), and work-life balance. The last thing you want is your best associate to leave your c-store for better employee benefits. Gym membership discounts, child care resources, and tuition reimbursement are just a few creative ideas to ensure your employees feel appreciated. 

3. C That Your C-Store is Clean 

This may seem obvious, but the cleanliness of your c-store can easily get overlooked when you’re overwhelmed. Your customers’ first impressions of your business should be inviting! In fact, studies show that a messy, disorganized store reduces the time customers spend shopping. Cluttered stores cause confusion, so the chances of customers leaving without purchasing anything are greater. Don’t miss out on easy sales and do your best to ensure cleanliness at your c-store is a priority. Your customers will thank you. 

4. Implement Convenience Store Management Companies

If you’re a multi-unit c-store owner or operator, consider looking into retail management companies to clear your plate. Companies like StrasGlobal and LPT provide a number of solutions that can be customized to fit the needs of your locations. Need assistance with preparing food? Training new employees? Or maybe even marketing? There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help, especially when you’re feeling burnt out.

5. Add Sprockets’ Solution to Your Hiring Process

Your c-store won’t succeed without a strong team of reliable, driven individuals. They are the foundation of your business and influence your customers’ experiences. Luckily, Sprockets’ solution is the easy, effortless way to hire and retain top-tier talent. Our convenience store management software reveals which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like your current best associates. Say goodbye to wasted time — Sprockets gives you three hours of your day back. Plus, the platform is proven to boost employee retention by 43%, on average.

A woman holding a sign and text reading "How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide"

How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide

How to Open a Convenience Store: The Complete Guide 1016 528 Sprockets

Starting a new business can be stressful, time-consuming, and overwhelming. Luckily, we’re here to help put you at ease with some top tips for how to open a convenience store. Find out what you need to know to minimize risk and maximize profits in the c-store industry. We’ll even teach you how to identify the ideal applicants so you can start off on the right foot with an all-star team of employees!

Opening a Convenience Store

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Convenience Store?

It usually costs about $10,000 to $50,000 to open a convenience store. This includes the cost of buying or renting a space, stocking your c-store with its initial inventory, and installing necessary equipment and technology. The price can vary, though, depending on the size of your store and which route to ownership you take. You can build a new, independent c-store from the ground up, purchase an existing c-store, or open a new location under a franchise brand. If you’re new to the industry, we recommend opening a franchise location so you can receive guidance, business advice, and an established customer base. Buying a franchise location is also typically cheaper and easier than building and stocking a whole new store on your own.

Are Convenience Stores Profitable?

The average gross profit margin for convenience stores can be around $450,000, making it a potentially lucrative business venture. However, keep in mind that it takes some time to reach the tipping point of making that profit after all of the initial costs to set up your c-store. Be patient, be consistent, and be disciplined about how you approach your operating plan. With any luck, you could achieve a decent profit and be able to expand to additional locations.

Tip: Consider running a food service operation within your c-store to increase profits. Despite what the general public might think about rising gas prices, c-stores only make about two cents of profit for each dollar of gasoline they sell. Maximize your profit margin by increasing food sales instead of depending on gas and tobacco sales.

What Is the Biggest Challenge Facing C-Store?

Unfortunately, there are downsides to opening a convenience store. One of the toughest obstacles facing c-stores right now, besides supply chain issues and inflation, is high employee turnover. It can be extraordinarily difficult to hire and retain high-quality c-store associates. As soon as you onboard one associate, another could be on their way out.

How Do I Hire the Best C-Store Employees?

Once you begin hiring your first employees, you’ll quickly be able to differentiate the best from the rest. Then, the key is to find more workers like those current top performers. Ideally, you’ll want to do this as soon as possible before you get stuck in an endless cycle of employee turnover. It’s time-consuming, stressful, and cuts into your profit margin due to the cost of the traditional hiring process. Sprockets’ hiring platform removes this obstacle from your path to success by instantly revealing which applicants will succeed and stay long-term like your best c-store associates.

Reveal the Ideal Applicants With Sprockets’ Hiring Platform

Any convenience store owner can tell you how difficult it can be to struggle with employee turnover. That’s why so many businesses turn to Sprockets’ unique hiring solution that shows you precisely who to hire, removing the guesswork and improving employee retention by an average of 43%. You’ll be able to spend less time on the hiring process and more time on daily operations, which is crucial when opening a convenience store.

Schedule a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring employees who will drive success for your new c-store!

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A person part of the LGBTQ+ community proudly holds a pride flag.

How to Support the LGBTQ+ Community and Diversity in the Retail Industry at Your C-Store

How to Support the LGBTQ+ Community and Diversity in the Retail Industry at Your C-Store 1016 528 Sprockets

June is Pride Month, though your c-store should be supporting the LGBTQ+ community — customers and employees alike — year-round. Diversity in the retail industry is crucial to your c-store’s success. Everyone deserves equal rights and to be fully accepted for who they are. We’ll discuss four ways your c-store can foster an inclusive, welcoming environment without falling victim to the rainbow-washing bandwagon. 

 

“Right now, in the hourly workforce, there is tremendous pain around diversity and inclusion. We want to give everyone a fair shake.” 

AJ Richichi, Sprockets CEO 

 

Sprockets’ mission is to transform the broken hiring process into an equitable one for all, regardless of gender, age, sexuality, or race. Our platform is proven to increase diversity as it evaluates applicants’ mental makeup to reveal who will succeed and stay long-term. And, unlike humans, it’s completely objective.  

Top c-store brands like Wawa, BP, Meijer, and Shell all received a perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index. The tool evaluates “corporate policies, practices and benefits pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees.” According to the index, these c-stores are considered the best places to work in the LGBTQ+ community. Make sure your c-store maintains an inclusive environment by following their examples!

Diversity and Inclusion in Retail Examples 

1. Avoid “Rainbow-Washing”

While you may think rainbow-ing your company logo throughout June shows support for the LGBTQ+ community, it actually does the opposite. See, a true ally actively engrains LGBTQ+ equality long-term into their company culture and values. According to Forbes, the term “rainbow-washing” refers to companies who profit off rainbow-themed products but fail to support the community long-term. The lack of authenticity is merely performative, or in other words, another social media post. 

2. Donate to LGBTQ+ Organizations

Consider giving back to organizations that provide resources for the LGBTQ+ community. Here are a few reputable ones:

No matter the monetary amount, donations have a direct, positive impact on these individuals’ lives. Regardless of which organization you chose, be sure to do your own research. Encourage your employees to support your chosen organization as well. You could even consider having a small fundraiser in your c-store. 

3. Add Pronouns to Employee Name Tags 

Addressing someone by their desired pronouns is a basic form of respect that everyone — regardless of sexuality or gender identity — deserves. Top brands like Target now offer employees name tags with pronouns to be more inclusive of all genders. This eliminates confusion and misunderstanding, especially for non-gender-conforming individuals who are more likely to be misgendered. It’s easy for these folks to feel singled out, so by adding your pronouns to your name tag, you are actively showing your support for the LGBTQ+ community and normalizing the conversation around gender identity. 

4. Use Gender-Neutral Language

Take the time to redefine how your c-store associates address customers. For example, instead of greeting customers with “hey, guys!” your associates could say “hey, everyone,” “hey, folks,” or even “hey, y’all.” Small, simple changes like these foster inclusivity at your c-store. Plus, it signals that your location(s) are welcoming towards all individuals. Remember, it can be uncomfortable and even frightening for non-binary, transgender, intersex, and other LGBTQ+ folks to speak up, especially if they are misgendered. 

5. Implement Sprockets’ Hiring Solution

The Sprockets platform is proven to increase diversity and eliminate bias since there’s no need for resumes or even interviews. “Right now, there is tremendous pain around diversity and inclusion. We want to give everyone a fair shake,” explains Sprockets CEO, AJ Richichi

Our hiring solution uses natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and over 80 years of psychological research to determine which personality traits make your best associates so special. Sprockets’ simple red-yellow-green scoring system makes it easy to see which applicants will succeed and stay long-term, empowering c-store owners and operators to build diverse, reliable teams.

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Employee Referral Programs: Templates and Tips to Improve Your Recruitment Process

Employee Referral Programs: Templates and Tips to Improve Your Recruitment Process 1016 528 Sprockets

If you’re struggling to find high-quality applicants, you need to stop relying on external recruitment efforts and tap into an often-overlooked resource: your current employees. They often know someone who would be an excellent fit for a role you have to fill, and all you need to do is ask! Employee referral programs reduce recruitment costs, save time, and often help bring in better candidates than traditional methods. Plus, they help improve company culture and teamwork since employees recommend people they already get along with.

Find out how to begin your employee referral program with the suggestions below. Just don’t forget to check out The Essential Guide to Attracting Hourly Workers. This free guide outlines even more proven strategies to amplify your sourcing efforts with ease.

How to Create an Employee Referral Program That Works

Be Transparent About Hiring Needs

First and foremost, you have to be comfortable sharing your hiring needs with the current staff members. There’s usually no need to pick and choose who you tell — it’s typically best to establish communication with everyone at the company. That way, you maximize your reach and potential to get great applicants. You never know who has someone in their network that would be a fantastic fit for your company. A restaurant manager might have a friend looking for work as a chef and vice-versa. 

While being transparent about the position you need to fill, make sure you also clearly communicate its specific requirements. You don’t want your employees suggesting a bunch of candidates who don’t have enough experience or lack the skills necessary to perform the job, especially in technical roles. You’ll end up wasting everyone’s time — including yours. Consider drafting the job description ahead of time and sharing it internally before posting online to better inform your employees in their search.

Offer an Incentive With Clear Requirements

While many employees would simply be happy to work with one of their friends or someone they get along with well, others need an extra incentive to help with your recruitment efforts. 92% of employers with a referral program offer a monetary incentive, and the majority of them consist of a $500 bonus. Just keep the timing of the bonus in mind — not just the amount. Only 27% of those employers give the employee the bonus immediately upon hiring the applicant they referred. We recommend awarding the bonus after the new hire has been there and proven their reliability for at least 90 days.

Tip: Make the requirements as straightforward as possible for employees to earn the referral incentive. The last thing you want is one of your best employees (and the friend they referred) to complain and get disgruntled over a misunderstanding of the program.

Make the Referral Process as Simple as Possible

Also, make sure you don’t hinder referral efforts by making it a long, complex process. Nobody likes having to fill out piles of paperwork or read through extensive stipulations, especially in addition to their regular work. Try sending an email to employees with a brief overview of the job and incentive with a link to a convenient Google Form they can use to submit contact information about who they think would be a good fit. You can even make it as simple as replying to the email.

Maintain Communication With Employee

Remember to stay in contact with your current employee about how the hiring process is going, especially regarding the person they recommended. It’s not a good feeling to be left in the dark after trying to help the company and a friend. It can be as detailed as you feel comfortable with, but just make sure you let them know as soon as possible if their friend is just not a good fit for the role (but that you’re highly appreciative of your suggestion). 

Employee Referral Program Email Template

Here’s an example of an email you can send out to the company when you want to begin your employee referral program:

Hi [Employee Name],

We’re looking to expand our team, and we’d love your help finding the right person for the job. You’re an important member of the staff here at [Company], making your opinion extremely valuable to us. You’ll even get a $500 bonus if the person you refer gets hired and stays for 90 days!

Here’s the role we need to fill:

  • [Job Title]
  • [Requirements]

Please take a moment to fill out this Google Form so we can get to know the person you recommend and hopefully get you on the way to earning an extra $500!

Thank you for your help,

[Your Name]

Tip: Be sure to mention the incentive bonus in the subject line to increase the open rate!

Hire the Best Applicants Every Time

Even with an employee referral program in place, the hiring process still involves plenty of human error. If you’d like to make sure you hire the best applicants every time with pinpoint precision, there’s no better solution than Sprockets. It’s proven to predict success without you having to waste time reading resumes or conducting interviews. You’re up money even if it saves you from one bad hire — what do you have to lose?

Schedule your free, 15-minute demo today to start hiring with the platform that top brands trust.

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Follow These 6 Hiring Trends to Attract Top Talent

Follow These 6 Hiring Trends to Attract Top Talent 1016 528 Sprockets

It can be overwhelming trying to keep track of hiring trends when you’re short-staffed and covering shifts to pick up the slack, but staying ahead of new trends in hiring can help you retain the best possible employees. We know you don’t have much free time, so we’ll cut right to the chase: If you want to set up your business for success — and keep it that way — consider implementing these 2022 hiring trends. 

Or, you can skip this entire blog and schedule your free, 15-minute walkthrough of the Sprockets platform, the fastest, easiest way to know which applicants are worth hiring and who will only cause you more of a headache.

 

How Do You Stay Current With Hiring Trends?

1. Connect With Applicants Before They Apply

Reaching out to candidates early on in the hiring process — even for hourly positions — benefits both the employer and job seeker. Remember, your job posting is one of millions, so it’s important to set your role apart. Social media platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to connect to potential hires. Take the time to send a brief message about your company, open positions, and why you think the person may be a good fit for your team. Applicants are more likely to apply and may choose your business over a competitor simply because you found them first.  

2. Data-Driven Recruiting 

All too often, traditional hiring methods rely on a recruiter’s intuition when choosing the perfect hire. However, this can lead to potential bias against certain types of people, whether it’s intentional or not. That’s why companies across various industries now lean on facts and data to help them make the best hiring decisions. Data-driven recruiting reduces turnover costs, increases employee productivity, and empowers hiring professionals to gain valuable insight on their process. But, how exactly do companies measure this? The answer is simple —technology. 

3. Technology

How has technology changed the hiring process? It has dramatically transformed the hourly workforce as employers now have access to a wider applicant pool. Plus, advanced solutions make the process faster and easier, so hiring professionals can focus on face-to-face operations like interviewing, onboarding, and training. During the height of the labor crisis, businesses turned to technology to compensate for their lack of employees. Owners and operators quickly realized that the right hiring solutions could help them make more informed decisions in a shorter period of time. Plus, technology has the ability to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Basically, if you aren’t already using technology in your recruitment process, you’re falling behind.

1. AI Screening

More and more organizations are quickly realizing the 540-year-old resume is ineffective and time-consuming. Resumes don’t account for soft skills or an applicant’s personality, which is actually more important than direct industry experience. AI screening tools like Sprockets make it easy to see which applicants will succeed like your current top-performing employees. It’s more accurate and 37% faster than the traditional hiring process. These solutions also allow you to focus on running your business instead of stressing over which applicants will actually stay long-term.

2. Video Interviews

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic made it extremely challenging to conduct in-person interviews. To prevent falling further behind, employers turned to video interviews. This new trend (that’s surely here to stay) greatly widened the applicant pool. Employers could interview anyone – not just people that lived in their location’s city — and applicants had the flexibility to record their part of the interview on their own time. Recent research even found that video interviews are six times faster than phone ones! No wonder 86% of organizations now use virtual tech for interviews.

3. Sprockets

What would you do with three extra hours in your day? No, seriously, get three hours back in your day with our hiring solution. Sprockets uses artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and over 80 years of psychological research to instantly reveal which potential hires will perform like your best employees and stay long-term. There’s no need for resumes or even interviews. Plus, it’s trusted by top brands like Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, and McDonald’s franchise locations to increase employee retention by 43%, on average. 

Why Tech Matters in Hiring: 2022 and Beyond

Learn how technology – like Sprockets’ AI-powered platform – is no longer optional for businesses. It’s required.

Must Have Hiring Tech E-Book
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This Simple Strategy Helps Hotels Compete With Airbnb

This Simple Strategy Helps Hotels Compete With Airbnb 1016 528 Sprockets

Airbnb has drastically changed the landscape of the lodging industry since 2008. It now boasts over five million listings (more rooms for rent than any hotel chain), with hosts attracting over 500 million guests annually. The rental company shows no sign of slowing down, worrying hotel owners and managers around the globe. However, there’s nothing wrong with some competition. It can be a catalyst for positive change, and we’ll gladly guide you through it. Discover how hotels can compete with Airbnb by following the strategies outlined below.

Of course, any successful business needs a foundation of fantastic employees. The first thing you should do to compete with Airbnb is to hire more applicants like your current top performers. It’s easy with Sprockets, a hiring platform that top brands trust to build a strong, cohesive staff that stays long-term. It’s proven to boost employee retention by 43%!

How Can Hotels Compete With Airbnb?

Understand Airbnb’s Impact on the Hotel Industry

Aside from the sheer number of lodging options available to potential guests now, Airbnb has had a profound impact on the hotel industry and travel trends. It has made unique experiences just a few clicks away. People can stay in anything from a treehouse in Alabama to an igloo in Alaska with stunning views of the Northern Lights. This trend is compounded by the fact that younger generations, including Millennials and Gen-Zers, value memorable experiences more than ever before. Ultimately, Airbnb has become their preferred choice when it comes to travel.

Hotels vs. Airbnb: Play to Your Strengths

While travelers choose Airbnb for its unique properties at reasonable prices, hotels have their own advantages. For instance, many business travelers still prefer to stay at hotels, especially those with their desired amenities and a convenient location near restaurants and convention centers. Hotel guests also enjoy daily housekeeping, complimentary breakfast, room service, workout facilities, and more. They may even get access to spa services, depending on your hotel. 

Set Yourself Apart With Top-Tier Service

According to a report by Deloitte, “Hoteliers need to turbocharge the guest experience and tune into their needs to drive loyalty and increase repeat business.” Take advantage of the fact that you can offer guests amenities and services that Airbnb properties lack. Do this by promoting them on your website, OTAs, and especially your Airbnb listing if you choose to advertise on their platform. Just make sure you deliver on the value you promise guests. A positive guest experience often makes the difference between a repeat booking and a negative review that could damage your reputation.

Maximize Your Chance of Success With Sprockets

Hotels have that “human element” that sets them apart from Airbnb rentals, but you need a staff full of five-star employees to deliver a five-star experience. It’s easier than you think. Simply hire more applicants like your current top performers using Sprockets’ hiring platform. It predicts success with pinpoint precision, enabling you to make the best hiring decisions and provide incredible guest experiences that will turn visitors into repeat customers — and inspire them to leave glowing reviews online!

Get a free, 15-minute demo to start hiring the best hotel staff so you can compete with Airbnb.

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