How To Attract & Hire Employees In A Tough Job Market

How To Hire Employees Tough Market
How To Hire Employees Tough Market

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Have you tried to hire an employee recently?

Raise your hand if you have trouble hiring reliable, talented employees!

You are not alone.

Pharmacy owners are looking for qualified and dependable talent who will show up to work consistently and do their best. At the same time, candidates are seeking higher pay, better benefits, and cool work perks.

How to attract and hire great employees during a tough job market recently came up during office hours in our private Facebook group, created for Pharmacy Profit Summit attendees – where you can become a pharmacy badass, learning how to increase profits and revenue. Email me at for questions on how you can join!

In today’s tough job market, it takes extra time, creativity, and effort to find the perfect candidate, so let’s dive right in and look at ways to attract and hire the best talent for your pharmacy in a competitive job market.

Employee Value

Be intentional with recruiting and hiring because you don’t want to hire the wrong person who quits after three weeks. Hire for talent, and hire right the first time.

A great place to start is understanding the new employee’s value, which helps determine their pay rates and offerings. Consider these questions when deciding hourly rates, bonuses, and benefits:

  • What value will the employee bring?
  • What position are they filing?
  • How much revenue could they generate for you?
  • What would your situation be like without the employee?
Pay And Benefits: The 3 Levers

To attract talent, adjust levers in the areas below to match the current job market. What offerings and benefits would attract the perfect person and keep them happy working for you?

1. Hourly Rate

Hourly rates are typically more critical for lower-end jobs like pharmacy technicians and cashiers, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter for your pharmacists. This metric is typically the first one a candidate will look at. You should aim to have a competitive hourly rate (not the lowest and not the highest) to have the best total package when combined with your other benefits.

2. Bonuses

Bonuses can be buckets of money or hourly rate bonuses. Get inspired with different ways to set metrics and pay them out. Don’t forget to document performance goals, so everyone stays on the same page, and there’s no confusion down the road. I will give you some examples a little later.

3. Benefits

Benefits are a hot negotiation tool. They most certainly include insurance, but don’t stop there. Remember to hype up your culture, lack of nights and weekend work, flexibility, anything else your employees get perks on. You’ll be leading the pack if you offer benefits like paid holidays, PTO/vacation, insurance, 401k, and other benefits that aren’t required for an employer to give. You may consider including an extra week of vacation to stay competitive. And instead of starting them off with one week of PTO, what if you offer four weeks of PTO – a great incentive to attract the perfect talent. Benefits and perks are sometimes more important to employees than hourly rates. Adjust these three levers as you’re trying to attract the perfect employee.

Maximize Your Employee Benefits & Minimize Your Cost

Get Creative With Your Job Offerings

When employees do profit-making/revenue-generating critical work, they more than make their salary back, so offering creative incentive pay is an excellent idea for these positions.

Create a bonus performance program that’s fun, challenging, and achievable for those who work hard. Don’t make bonuses so easy they continually get the top hourly rate, but do allow them to earn above more than a regular wage.

One example of an hourly rate bonus for my compounding tech is paying them an extra $5 an hour to get 100 additional compound scripts. If they overachieve and get 150 new compounds that month, I can give them $7.50 an hour because they went 50% above the goal. Other bonus ideas can include new patients, OTC sales, synchronization, gross margin per Rx, or any goal in your pharmacy.

You can advertise the hourly rate at your maximum number, including bonuses. Then break it down to show the guaranteed rate of $XX per hour, and $X per hour is a bonus if you hit specific performance metrics.

Get To Know Hiring Trends In Your Community

If interested candidates aren’t taking the job or showing up, get information by talking to other business owners (it doesn’t always have to be pharmacies) in your community. Find out what they are experiencing.

  • Where do they find candidates?
  • What are their pay ranges, and does it have candidates showing up?
  • Do they offer any incentives?
  • What does their interview process look like?
  • Can you streamline your interview process and make it more convenient while still filtering candidates appropriately?
Recruiting – Think Outside The Box

Your dream employee won’t appear on your doorstep, although that would be pretty awesome. Get creative and think outside the box. Here are a few ideas on where to find talent, to get you started:

  • Schools: trade, pharmacy, and high schools
  • Your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Your staff, patients, and doctors’ offices
  • Chain stores
    • Often, techs or pharmacists don’t like their work hours, feel overworked, underappreciated, and are ready to change jobs.
  • Hospitals
    • You may find temporary or bridge employees here; many hospital employees look for side gigs.
  • Indeed or other recruiting platforms
    • You need a robust system when using these websites. Check out my recommended strategy for online hiring websites HERE.
  • Look outside of pharmacy – think nurses or medical assistants and how they could be a good fit for some positions.
Talk About It

If you’re short-staffed, instead of grunting through it, which you are all way too good at, talk to your patients and let them know what’s going on. “We’re short-staffed today. Thank you for your patience”. They are part of your pharmacy family, so give them the scoop about what’s going on. Let them know you are hiring and the ideal type of person you are looking for.

Consider offering a hiring referral fee. If you hire someone from a referral, you can give a referral fee of your choice. I recommend something meaty like $250 or $500. This bonus might prompt someone to tell their friends and family and incentivize them to do a little extra work on their part.

I recommend creating a flyer to hang up explaining all the benefits and how your pharmacy can be a better work environment than where they’re currently. Brag about your pharmacy!

Keep The Talent You Have

To keep your current good employees, I like to crank up the benefits lever. Throw in an additional week or two of paid time off – you can even set conditions (if you want) that additional PTO can’t be used until 2022. Give your current employees bonuses and creative ways to earn more money.

Don’t lose hope if it takes longer to find the right person. And don’t pass up on people looking for temporary shift work. It might not be a perfect fit, but it certainly could be a winner in the short term.

Check out my other blog posts about hiring practices and team development here:

Hiring Best Practices For Pharmacy Owners

Pharmacy Owner Tip: Slow To Hire Quick To Fire

The Simple 4 Step Pharmacy Employee Training Process

To learn more helpful tips on hiring, and strategies to help your pharmacy grow and become more successful, be sure to join DiversifyRx’s private Facebook Group or email us at

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    About DiversifyRx

    DiversifyRx is dedicated to helping pharmacy owners kick ass and create profitable, thriving pharmacies. We strongly believe the key to success is diversifying your revenue streams and maximizing each opportunity that is right for you. DiversifyRx was created by a pharmacy owner for pharmacy owners. We offer tons of free information and our Pharmacy Badass University membership. This site contains affiliate links to products or services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

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