You could have a winning menu and an innovative restaurant concept, but without the right people to help you execute either, your business is bound to fail. Your employees are your biggest asset. Unfortunately, finding first-rate staff isn’t always easy. However, because your team is the lifeblood of your business, it’s worth investing in a hiring strategy to attract and hire the best talent from the start rather than suffer losses due to high turnover and negative customer experiences.
Here are some ways to hire the best employees:
Specific and Descriptive Job Ads
Taking the time to craft a detailed job description saves you from interviewing people who aren’t exactly who you are looking for. By describing your company culture and your restaurant’s concept, you’ll attract people who feel they are the right match for your restaurant’s distinct character and service style.
Structure and standardize all your interviews to get the most out of each encounter. This means having a set list of questions to ask that will help you create a better picture of the candidate’s prior experience and potential. Lead with these questions and end the interview by allowing them to speak freely. While not all the staff you hire will ever have to face guests, it’s key that all the members of your crew communicate effectively.
Contact Previous Employers and Character References
Many restaurant managers make the mistake of not executing this step especially when they feel an interview has gone well. However, many people can charm their way through interviews, but it doesn’t really prove their work ethic. People are rarely honest about why they left their last job. Calling their former employer may reveal that the candidate had attendance issues, took too many breaks, or was fired for misconduct.
Different Interview Methods for Different Positions
Your back-of-house staff have very different responsibilities compared to front-of-house; interviewing them in the same manner makes no sense. Once formalities are out of the way, the best way to test positions that require training and skill like line cooks, sous chefs, and bartenders is by having them show you what they can do on the line. When it comes to back-of-house, you’re looking for experience and ability to execute as soon as they join the team. Some training will always be involved, but it should be more of learning your menu or unique plating style.
Because wait staff and hosts are people you can train to get up to speed on how you do things, a sit-down interview to gauge their personality and willingness to face the fast pace of service is necessary. Prior experience and training are nice to have but because restaurants come in all shapes, sizes, and service styles, hiring wait staff based on potential and the right attitude is better than hiring someone who has years of experience who will a have hard time letting go of how they did things at their last job. In fact, many restaurant managers find that a clean slate is better than hiring an experienced employee who has difficulty deprogramming prior training that doesn’t apply to how you run your business.
When it comes to hiring first-rate staff, your gut feeling and instincts play a big part. The most successful restaurants are those that have teams that gel together well and work in tune. That’s why it’s crucial to establish company culture during the interview process to avoid miscommunications later on.