August 10, 2021
Patients come to your independent community pharmacy for many reasons: a warm and welcoming atmosphere, expert health care knowledge and advice, and a place they can trust to deliver the best care possible.
But finding a talented team to fill these requirements doesn’t come easy.
Recent pharmacy school graduates and seasoned pharmacy professionals have numerous options to choose for employment. Big box pharmacies, national retail chains, and other independents are all seeking top talent.
Here are six tips you can follow to recruit the best possible talent at your independent community pharmacy.
Start with a concise job title that makes clear what the applicant should expect from the position.
Within your description, tell candidates exactly what they’ll be doing day-to-day. Resist the urge to make it sound more glamorous than it actually is. Even though it may get more people to apply, your chosen hire could end up leaving because the job isn’t what the description promised.
Also be frank about what skills and education the candidates need to apply for the job. Separate these into “must have” qualifications that are dealbreakers for all candidates and the “nice to have” qualifications — the things you can teach on the job if the candidate checks a lot of the other boxes.
Don’t wait until you’re hiring to make connections with potential new employees. Make it a habit to attend regular networking events in your area and build up a strong presence in the community to get your name out there as a solid local employer.
Get even more involved by attending pharmacy conferences and continuing education events. These gatherings give you a chance to meet a range of pharmacy professionals. You can also connect with soon-to-be pharmacists by speaking at your local pharmacy school and mentoring pharmacy interns.
By developing relationships with potential hires before you have a position that needs filling, you can reduce the length of future candidate searches. Next time you have an open pharmacist position open, instead of launching a full scale search, you can call on people you know from the community you know are open to work.
Don’t just rely on your own network to make recruitment connections — involve your employees, too.
Create an employee referral program to incentivize your current employees to recommend people they think will be a good fit for the pharmacy when you have an open position. If you hire a candidate referred by an employee, you can reward them with a cash bonus or a day of extra PTO.
Referred employees are more likely to stay with your pharmacy for the long haul, meaning you probably won’t find yourself hiring for the same position in three months’ time. Because they have a pre-existing relationship with a current employee, they are more likely to fit into the company culture.
Depending on where your independent community pharmacy is located, it can be tough to find a candidate with the qualities you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to expand your search for top talent outside of your local range.
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to interview long-distance candidates. Applications like Skype and Zoom allow you to communicate via your laptop or smartphone for interviews with potential hires.
Widening your search can also help you reach a more diverse candidate pool. Instead of posting jobs on one or two local job boards, spread your job posting out to boards that target specific affinity groups like Latino workers, Black workers, or women in STEM.
By casting a wider net, you may connect with a candidate who brings something to the table that you didn’t even know you needed.
Social media is a great way to connect with “passive” candidates — people who aren’t necessarily seeking a new job but might apply for one if the right opportunity crosses their computer screen.
Be sure you use the right platforms to get connected. If you’re looking for an experienced pharmacist, you probably won’t find them on a platform like TikTok.
LinkedIn is a great place to start. It’s where people go when they’re hunting for a new job, and it gives you an advantage because you can quickly check out candidates’ job history and other relevant experiences by going to their profile page.
You may be able to connect with candidates on other platforms, too. Ask your current pharmacy staff what social media websites they spend the most time on and concentrate your efforts there. If you use Twitter to find candidates, you can include hashtags like #pharmacycareers or #WorkWithUs to connect with the right sort of user.
Before you open up your job search, consider your current staff of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and non-pharmacy employees. You might not even have to look outside your current pharmacy team to find the top talent you’re looking for.
Does the hardworking intern have a knack for social media? Maybe they can fill the void for your marketing position. Or has a long-term pharmacy technician proved their capable of a managerial role?
Promoting from within also has a lot of long-term benefits. When people get promoted, they start to see their job as a career and are less likely to jump ship, improving your employee retention.
These candidates also have a wealth of institutional knowledge, which means you don’t have to spend as much time training to get them comfortable in their job. Plus, you save time by not running a lengthy search for a new employee.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.