Hardware Retailing

APR 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Page 58 of 90

HARDWARE RETAILING | April 2018 54 Raymond Fachko, a third-generation retailer who has spent the past 40 years operating Brandies Ace Hardware in Callahan, Florida, is aware that what happens after the hire is just as important as the hiring process. Fachko recalls one employee he hired because he believed the applicant was credible, even though his criminal record wasn't completely clean. Fachko was willing to overlook past faults for a person with the right attitude trying to make a new start in life. "He was honest about his past and his explanation matched the background check," says Fachko. "He also exhibited a desire to do the right thing and support his family. So we hired him to work on the salesfloor." For a while, it appeared the new employee was a strong investment. He had a friendly personality, was increasing his hardware knowledge and getting high approval from customers. He even had the potential to be the next store manager, Fachko says. Then, after nearly two years on the job, that employee's behavior began to change. The changes were subtle, such as spending more time at the computer and seeming less engaged with his work. But there was nothing Fachko could concretely identify as wrong, not until he began reviewing footage on his newly installed surveillance system. Fachko caught him forging signatures and faking returns. "We got just enough evidence for a grand theft conviction," he says. "But it was evident that this person had been stealing for quite a while." After the Hire Tips for Your Next Hire Look for trouble signs. Hiring someone who has a criminal record isn't necessarily the wrong move. Sometimes infractions are minor, one-time mistakes. There's a case to be made for overlooking past mistakes and offering people new opportunities. And any employee, regardless of record, who's not subject to some type of accountability has the potential to backslide into negative behavior. The real issue, says Fachko, is having accountability standards in place, being aware of when something starts to go wrong and taking action to fix it. "It's a consequence of being perpetually short on help in a small store," he says. "The normal checks and balances can easily be overlooked." Being understaffed means that managers who should be looking for signs of trouble among the employees have less time to do that. Having a store security system that monitors POS transactions and keeping a close watch for signs of theft will alert you to trouble soon after it happens. Focus on character. Early in the interview process, Fachko spends most of his effort discerning the character of the prospective employee. "We just try to get a feel for where they are now and where they are headed," he says. This conversation takes place before running any background checks, driving record or credit checks, so it gives the applicant the opportunity to be honest and talk about anything in their history that needs an explanation. He also puts stock in the opinion of others in the community he's known for a long time. "The biggest green flag is when someone you know and respect has spent time working around a person and says 'I'd hire them in a minute.' That is music to my ears." Use simple skills tests. Fachko has found that a few simple techniques go a long way to weeding out the wrong candidates. His application process includes a skills test with basic math and problem-solving questions. NRHA's version of a basic skills test is available for download at TheRedT.com/skills-test. While the test is simple, many retailers have found it is a good first step to narrowing the field of applicants.

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