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How to Hire Great Non-Pharmacy Employees

How to Hire Great Non-Pharmacy Employees by Elements magazine |

January 15, 2019

Inside: Non-pharmacy employees are an integral part of your business. Don’t underestimate the importance of hiring the right people for these positions.

You’re probably meticulous when selecting pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to work in your independent community pharmacy. After all, they’re the ones handling your patients’ medications.

But do you dedicate the same care to hiring non-pharmacy employees?

Non-pharmacy employees make up more than a third of your pharmacy’s workforce. According to the NCPA’s 2018 Digest, independent pharmacies have an average of 3.2 non-pharmacy employees and 8 total non-owner employees.

You might be tempted to put fewer resources into hiring non-pharmacy employees, such as clerks or delivery drivers, because of their lower wages and lower skill requirements. But hiring talented, hardworking, and dedicated people for your non-pharmacy positions can boost your sales and make your entire business run smoother.

Hiring the right people for all of your positions, especially your non-pharmacy ones, lets you spend less time managing employees and more time growing your business and focusing on patients.

Getting the hire right the first time also helps reduce turnover, which can cost you. Studies show replacing an employee who quits can cost 21 percent of their salary on average.

If you haven’t filled a non-pharmacy job in a while, you may find that hiring is more difficult than you remember. Unemployment was low throughout 2018 and is expected to stay low in 2019, making the labor market tighter and the competition for good help fiercer.

Here are six tips for hiring great non-pharmacy employees.

1. Know what you want

Before you start looking at resumes and applications, you need to know what you want from the position.

Make a list of must-have skills, attributes, and characteristics that are essential for your non-pharmacy employees. Then, make your “wish list”—the ideal skills, attributes, and characteristics.

With lower-skill jobs such as stockers and cashiers, focus on traits and attitudes over specific experience. The right person can easily be trained to refill shelves and handle cash.

 2. Network with current employees

Your responsible, hard-working employees are likely to know other responsible, hard-working people who might want to work with you. Encourage them to recommend people for open positions.

Make asking your employees for referrals part of your regular recruitment process. If you routinely have difficulty filling some positions, consider starting a referral program that rewards existing employees for putting you in touch with successful new hires.

3. Be honest

Be upfront and honest about the job requirements, compensation, and expectations. Don’t sugarcoat the position in the job description. You want employees who want the job you’re offering.

When interviewing candidates, explain the unglamorous parts of the job, such as lifting heavy boxes or cleaning, so applicants have the information they need to decide if this is the job they want. Being upfront about the ins and outs of the job lets applicants opt out if they’re unwilling to do the work. It’s much better to lose a candidate than an employee who feels duped.

4. Reach the right people

To find the best candidates, you’ll need to get the word out to the best job seekers.

Post and promote your job posting on a variety of platforms, including popular career websites, such as Indeed or CareerBuilder. Your community may also have local help-wanted websites or job-seeker groups where you can advertise the job.

Be prepared to spend some money listing your position. Free listings are free for a reason—they generally don’t have much reach.

Don’t forget to advertise the job opening on your social media accounts. Tag relevant accounts, like local job-searcher communities, work force centers, or even area schools and colleges, to get more eyes on your listing.

5. Make applying easy

It may be tempting to put hurdles into the process to find applicants who really want the job, but what you’re likely to get is weaker candidates who don’t have the luxury of saying no. The best candidates are typically the candidates with options.

Here are some tips to keep it simple:


6. Ask the right questions

Once you’ve selected a few candidates to interview, think carefully about your questions. Not all questions are helpful in determining a prime candidate.

Experts recommended these as tried-and-true:


Experts like Alison Green, who runs the popular blog Ask a Manager, advocate against more abstract questions, such as what sort of tree they would be and why. The answers to these questions are unlikely to reveal much about the candidate, Green says.

7. Get a second opinion

Don’t make your hiring decisions in a vacuum. It’s easy to miss a serious weakness or major strength when you’re the only one evaluating the candidate.

Instead, include someone whose judgment you trust—perhaps a manager or long-term employee. Have them sit in on the interview, then meet again later to talk about how it went and get their insight.

Remember to compare notes over how well the candidate fit (or didn’t fit) the criteria you identified earlier. Going line-by-line over your wish list will help you focus on choosing the right person, not necessarily the one you had the best rapport with.

8. Make an attractive offer

Attract quality employees by offering competitive salary and benefit options.

According to the NCPA Digest, independent pharmacy clerks earned $11.05 per hour on average in 2017, up from $10.95 in 2016 and $10.

If you’re continually struggling to find quality applicants for your open positions, low pay could be the culprit. Businesses raised wages 3.3 percent last year. If you leave wages stagnant, you could be left behind in the race for talent.

If you’re confident your wages are as high as you can afford and you’re still struggling to find or retain employees, consider expanding your benefit offerings. Add paid time off for part-time employees or increase the available PTO for full-time employees to give yourself an edge without spending more money.

Hiring the right non-pharmacy employees can keep your business running smoothly and give you more time to focus on patients.


An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their businesses. The company is an independently owned pharmacy services organization based in Kansas City, Mo., that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, distribution services, and more.

PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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