A local tech firm uses scientific strategy to help companies find best hourly workers

McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and Firehouse Subs use Sentio as part of their hiring practices

A local tech firm uses scientific strategy to help companies find best hourly workers

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - More restaurants and businesses that employ hourly workers are using a high tech approach to hiring. If you've ever filled out a job application that required the completion of a survey, you know what we're talking about.

Those surveys may appear laid back with simple questions like, “What makes you a good fit for the company?” but there’s a lot of science behind them. And it’s all to analyze your personality, to help determine whether you’d make a good employee for a particular company.

And one of the companies behind the technology is located right here in the Lowcountry.

Hungry diners want their food served up right and with a smile. When it comes to the food service industry, the right people interacting with customers is crucial.

“That’s everything. People are everything. You’re nothing without your people,” Glowfisch Hospitality owner Joe Fischbein said.

Glowfisch Hospitality includes the Five Loaves Cafe, Sesame Burgers and Beers, and Ember Wood Fired Kitchen restaurants in the Charleston area.

He wants to find and keep more people like server Victor, who is one of the best on the wait staff at Five Loaves in Mount Pleasant. But finding other top notch employees for this type of work has been a challenge.

“They don’t show up for interviews these days which is the craziest thing, I’ve never seen that in all my life. Or you hire them and they don’t even show up for the first day of work,” Fischbein said.

Fischbein is now working with AJ Richichi, using software his company developed, that helps businesses that hire hourly staff members, find the best workers.

“I can say that our turnover rate has significantly slowed down. Which is a great thing,” Fischbein said.

Richichi’s tech company, Sentio, is located in Mount Pleasant. Clients that use his survey as part of their hiring practice include McDonald’s, Firehouse Subs, Hilton Hotels, and Chick-fil-A.

The survey is anywhere from three to five questions, some as simple as, “Why do you want to work at this company?” Richichi’s company then uses a proven science called psycholinguistics, to analyze your personality.

“Basically what it does is it breaks down language into mathematical components. So it looks at things like word choice, sentence structure, use of emoticons, syntax, punctuation, and so much more,” Richichi said.

Graded on a scale of one to 10, applicant scores are compared to the results of top employees already with the company, who answered the same questions. The highest scoring applicants, are more likely to get interviews.

Richichi came up with the idea, because of his curiosity with Tom Brady. Repeatedly passed over in the NFL draft, Richichi wanted to know what made Brady one of the best quarterbacks ever.

“And so at Sentio we discovered it wasn’t how hard he threw the ball, or how fast he ran. It was his mental makeup. It’s what he did around the field, and how he held himself. It’s how he led people, how he approached practice, how he approached coaches, and that’s what made him great,” Richichi said.

Richichi believes that in the world of work, there are lots of Tom Bradys out there just waiting to be picked by the right company that can bring out their winning talents and personality.

The word sentio is Latin for “to understand.” And just so you know, Sentio does not represent any Chick-fil-A restaurants in the Charleston area.

Sentio got its start by advising professional sports teams, and still has pro sports organizations as clients. Now its main bread and butter are hundreds of companies that use the firm’s high tech method to hire their hourly employees and managers. But Richichi says his success didn’t happen overnight.

“It’s funny. Everybody assumes that in tech that you start a tech company and the next day you’re like Mark Zuckerberg. And although I’d love to think that’s true, it’s far more of a grind. It’s more of a cockroach, where you’re building this really cool product. And you’re just waiting and surviving for the first years, until the market is ready, you’re ready, the product ready, and once you establish that product market fit, that’s when you’re able to capitalize, raise a bunch of money, get a bunch of customers. Fortunately we’re on that stretch now, but it certainly took its fair share of work to get here."

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