Any restaurant or hospitality industry entity that hires hourly workers knows that finding hardworking and trustworthy leadership worthy employees is not always easy. Hourly workers are critical in the hospitality and restaurant industry especially ones that can take on leadership roles.

The labor market, however, is shifting and faces several obstacles as the global pandemic continues. As a result, if you want to recruit the best hourly employees, it has never been more important to have a solid recruiting plan.

How do you find hourly employees who suit your company’s culture and perform well in leadership roles?

First and foremost, you must assess your current recruiting plan.

1. Have a well-defined sourcing plan in place

Look at where leadership orientated hourly employees are usually found. Is there something you are overlooking? You may have often placed ads in local newspapers or relied on word-of-mouth referrals. You may need to look at what your competition is doing. Are they making use of massive online work boards and digital ads? Are they working with a hospitality recruiter? Are these techniques working for them?

To advertise your hourly roles, consider using closed Facebook community groups, putting up posters in your physical store/workplace, and posting a listing on Craigslist. You will be able to meet a wider audience this way.

When recruiting hourly workers, the same strategy that you used to find salaried employees may not work. Similarly, make sure the procurement approach corresponds to the target population. Remember that the 16-to-24-year-olds are the largest demographic in this case, followed by 24-34-year-olds. As a result, keep that in mind when looking for candidates. Where do you think they will see and answer your work ad?

Over 80% of hourly workers work within a 5-mile radius of their workplace, and your sourcing strategy should reflect this. Ideally, your digital recruitment program should include geolocation search tools that allow you to pinpoint where candidates live. You can be sure you are recruiting local hourly workers this way.

Overall, be ready to change the employee recruiting plan while remaining consistent on the following:

What does the work entail?

  • Description of the work
  • The rate per hour
  • The abilities needed for the job

Consider contacting data on former hourly workers who worked for you temporarily and with whom you were pleased. You never know; they might be on the lookout for a new role!

Also, sift through any speculative applications you received when you did not have any vacancies. Check to see if there are any appropriate applicants for the hourly positions you are looking to fill.

Keep track of where the best applicants come from when applications come in for potential recruitment drives. With this information in hand, you can fine-tune your sourcing plan for better results.

2. Make the application process easier

For hourly positions, the application process does not need to be excessively complex. Ideally, you will ask applicants to submit their resumes and a summary of how they meet the job description requirements.

The longer it takes an applicant to fill out a work application, the less likely they are to do so. Assume you can cut the time it takes your hourly staff to complete your online job application form by 10%. Additionally, make sure that your online applications are mobile-friendly so that candidates can apply when on the go.

In the end, the easier it is for candidates to apply for a job with you, the easier it will be to hire good hourly workers.

3. Create a digital recruiting process that is both efficient and effective

Do not expect candidates to wait while you sort through their applications. They will almost certainly apply for several hourly positions, and if one of your competitors is quicker, you will lose out.

Make sure your digital recruiting systems are capable of rapidly responding to all your applicants (this can be automated). When you begin to speak with potential hires, let them know about the various phases of your hiring process and when they can expect to hear from you next.

4. Quickly identify the best candidates

You must determine the skills and competencies that your applicants must possess to succeed in the position you are recruiting for. After you have developed that, you can create a quick test to assess applicants for these skills.

Digital assessments are extremely effective at weeding out unsuitable applicants right away. For example, set customer service/sales/attitude-related tests for hospitality and restaurant employees and numeric tests for back-office/admin/bookkeeping employees.

Pre-employment tests will also help you find applicants with the right transferable skills, even though they do not have direct experience working in the field.

Be sure to review references as part of the screening process. That way when you have applicants in for an interview, you can easily onboard them (should you wish to hire them).

Try conducting a phone interview with candidates before calling them in for an interview. This step will filter out some applicants that may not be a cultural fit for your organization. You should never hire someone that is not a cultural fit. It is not fair to the applicant or your current employees.

5. Applicants should be able to apply to different places.

Consolidate your strategy if your company has several sites/restaurants/cafes/stores you are hiring for, rather than just one. Have a question in the application form asking applicants if they have a preferred location. Are they willing to work at multiple locations?

This attracts versatile applicants and gives you the ability to redistribute the workforce where it is most needed.

6. Keep expectations in check

In your work ad and during the recruitment process, be transparent about the position by stating the following:

  • What exactly does the work entail?
  • The number of hours available
  • Potential for overtime/bonus
  • Your goals for working weekends and overtime
  • Prospects for advancement in your profession
  • If your company faces a temporary or permanent closure because of COVID-19

Demonstrate that you are a trustworthy and open boss, which will attract workers who appreciate your candor.

Highlight other advantages, such as:

  • Discounted prices
  • Flexible hours
  • Over time
  • Opportunities for training
  • Referral programs

It is also worth highlighting something that could appeal to a candidate who needs to schedule their hourly work around childcare or schooling.

7. Make the interview a win-win situation for you.

Develop an interview plan that you can customize for each hourly position you hire for. This entails creating a set of questions that are the same but with a different twist for each role you are hiring for.

For example, when hiring restaurant staff, ask them how they would deal with a customer who is unhappy with their food or for store assistants, give them a scenario featuring a difficult situation to gauge their reactions.

Being smart about the type of questions you ask can give you a better idea of their suitability and how quickly they can think on their feet when faced with unexpected issues or circumstances.

Being conscientious about your hiring process means you can quickly sort through your job applications to make sure you are hiring the right people for your company.

If you still need help with recruiting the right restaurant and hospitality industry employees, please feel free to reach out to use via our contact page.

Kelly Kuhlmann
Witten By Kelly Kuhlmann

Kelly Kuhlmann is Founder and Chief Recruiting Partner of Hospitality Headhunter. Kelly has over 30 years in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry at all levels, and has been one of the Largest Restaurant Franchisees in the United States.