Play It Smart

Oct. 28, 2021

Even if you’re seeing more applicants, make sure they’re the right hire.

Word is being spread that the employee shortage is over. The unemployment assistance is diminishing, pushing potential employees back into the workplace market.

The good news is that your application file may be fattening up. The bad news is you may be filling up that file with the ones who found easier ways to make money rather than working for it. While there are some legitimate reasons for staying out of work, some have chosen to take the path of least resistance and higher reward. Now that these added benefits have disappeared, some might choose to supplement their losses with your gains.  

Time for a dad joke: What is the one jungle animal you don’t play cards with? The cheetah! 

Having the cheetah in your group can quickly change your team, customers and your P&L statement. Keeping them from entering your team is the best method, but how can you tell who they are? Some great resources to this answer are:

Criminal Background Checks

While these may be costly, they can be eye-opening. There are several vendors you can turn to who will assist you in the process and help you determine if you need consent to check, what can be deemed discriminatory practices and how to legally perform this search. 

Employment Backgrounds

This can be a call to the employers listed on the application. A quick chat can help save you a lot of trouble. Most employers will only verify title, pay and time worked (which can be helpful in determining a candidate's truthfulness). The most important question can be, “Is this person available for rehire?” Since past employers are cautious about what they can say, a simple yes or no is usually all you get. Pay attention to that “no.”

Realistic Pay Requests

If a candidate comes in requesting more money than you are offering, but takes the job for less money, this may be a sign of problems. If someone truly needs a certain pay, they will find a way to get it, sometimes at your expense. 

Of course, these are just preliminary cautions and most candidates are not going to pull money from your cash drawer. There are several ways to quickly and easily find the cheetah in your team. Here are some of my favorites.

The Painted President

Take a $20 bill and a light green highlighter and paint the hair on president Jackson. Pull in the customer’s vehicle and place the marked bill somewhere the tech can find it. If they are complying with company policy, that bill will go on the seat with other valuables, if not, it will go in their pocket. After the service is done, perform a quality check. If the $20 is there, take it back. If the $20 is gone, ask the tech to empty their pockets and you will find the marked bill.  

Extra Cash, Extra Invoice

Because of camera systems, employees are less likely to pull money from the drawer during work hours. They will wait till close to compare the tickets to the cash to determine their take. Before you leave, place $20 in the drawer without ringing up a pay-in or ticket. At the end of the night, the drawer or the deposit should be $20 over. If it is coming up perfectly, this is a sign that the extra money was pocketed.  

Alternatively, you can have a trusted friend go in for an oil change with their own oil and filter. Have them offer $20 cash for them to change it. After the service is done, return to the shop and look for the invoice. No invoice means they pocketed the cash, and since it was their own oil and filter, there was no need for inventory adjustments. 

Best Practices

Count the cash drawer often. Pull up your cash drawer often in front of everyone and compare it to the sales. Make physical inventory spot checks. Pull certain numbers of products. Check it on the computer system. Let them see you do it. Do not allow your team to ask about the intended method of payment before the service begins. This gives the opportunity to process the ticket differently.  

Post a sign by the customer to call a number or email if you don’t receive a receipt- This could be for a free service or discount and has caught someone cheating the system many times.  

These are just some of the ways to prevent and eliminate theft. What are some of your favorite ways? Let's chat about it.  

Lavana Howard, vanna d. photography
Photo 112175298 © Weerapat Wattanapichayakul |
Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez