As UK job vacancies have risen to record highs, staff recruitment has become just one of the many issues facing convenience retailers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I was at a meeting recently, and every single retailer there had issues with hiring staff. It’s extremely difficult at the moment,” says Sue Nithyanandan, from Costcutter Epsom in Surrey. “I’ve been lucky because I have some university students to tide me over the summer, but going into the autumn I’ll have to recruit.”
In a post-lockdown world, prospective staff want more than ever to be comfortable in their hours, something that convenience can’t promise as much as other professions. “One of the hardest things is to employ somebody who can’t work certain days,” says Cambridge Nisa and Budgens retailer Ronak Patel. “Then you have to cater for their needs and it’s difficult to do that in retail.”
Dave Hiscutt, of Londis Westham Road in Weymouth, Dorset, says precision is a key part of job advertising to avoid timewasting. “We’re reconsidering how we’re recruiting, how we describe job adverts and what we’re specifically recruiting for,” he says. “We’ve had to go back to the drawing board. Different positions have different functions and different people have different aspirations.” Sites like Indeed can allow retailers to craft detailed job postings with expected roles and hours.
Just as retailers don’t want to waste time recruiting, it’s important for them not to give potential staff the run-around. “You need to be straight onto an applicant, almost within an hour of them applying,” says Hiscutt. “I worry that makes us seem too keen, but I find I’m ringing someone the following day and they’ve already got an interview elsewhere. Don’t be scared to be too keen because someone else will be.”