There are many challenges that restaurants are facing right now along with the challenges of hiring. In addition to hiring seasonally and finding experienced candidates while competing with other local restaurants and customer-facing industries; there is now a level of uncertainty around restrictions and changing protocols around Covid-19.

If you are looking to push your business forward and keep it moving in the right direction, hiring the right managers and staff members will be a huge part of that. We are going to look at what you can do to improve your approach to hiring and ensure you find the right employees for your restaurant despite the challenging environment.

Define the Responsibilities, Not Just the Role

It is important to define not only the role you are looking to fill but also the responsibilities and requirements that are attached to it. When you do that, you will narrow down the pool of candidates in some ways, but you will also widen it in helpful ways too. Looking at a person’s experience is key, but if you are only looking for people who have done the same job before, you will be overlooking good candidates.

By looking at the responsibilities attached to the job, you can see that the competencies you are looking for may be offered by people with different and varied job backgrounds. So, define what it is you are looking for rather than the kind of job experience you are looking for from candidates. The role itself matters less than the competencies it will require from employees from day to day.

Look for Help from Professional Restaurant Recruiters

A lack of recruiting experience is something that can really damage restaurant owners when they are looking to hire managers and other staff members. It is up to you to find the help you need, but if you want to give your efforts a boost, there are lots of recruiting companies out there that operate in the restaurant niche that you can work with such as Hospitality Headhunter.

It makes sense to get that professional assistance if you are concerned about not knowing where to look for new recruits or not knowing what you should be looking for. They will be able to help you with establishing the best practices for finding, screening, assessing and even onboarding new recruits. Recruiters can make your life a lot easier than it might otherwise be. The extra knowledge and experience they have can take you a long way.

Use Assessments to Sift Through Candidates

Pre-employment assessments can be very useful when it comes to assessing the candidates who apply for the roles you advertise. They allow you to sift through the candidates you feel might be a good fit, assessing their basic competencies and understanding before you move on through to the next stage of the recruitment process. That way, it will be a lot easier for you to spot and pick out the most appropriate candidates.

There is a range of tools and types of tests that can be used to assess candidates early in the recruitment process. It is not only about understanding their competencies but also how they measure up as a fit for the restaurant and its specific ethic and brand values. If there is an obvious clash between the candidate and what you are looking for, you can rule them out early on with the help of these assessments.

Get to the Point and Ask Relevant Interview Questions

Asking the right questions at the interview stage of the recruitment process is going to be very important. It is first necessary to get to identify the purpose of the interview and what you are trying to find out from it. When you have identified those priorities, you can start to craft interview questions centered around those specific aims, questions that intend to uncover the information you need.

Focus questions on customer interaction, find out about their past experiences and what those experiences taught them from a career point of view, and try to find out how they would respond in different circumstances when on the job. It is also a good idea to learn about their transferable skills if they are coming from a background that does not involve working in restaurants.

Be Prepared to Train Staff

There are a few benefits that come with being prepared to train your new recruits up. First, you do not need to worry about hiring people with specific types of professional experience if you are willing to offer training on the job. Instead, they will be able to learn the specifics of restaurant work through training and bring their other transferable skills from other types of work experience with them.

You will also find that your staff members are more willing to put in the work and effort when doing their jobs from day to day if they also recognize that you, as the employer, are doing your bit to invest in them and their development. Trained employees go the extra mile and repay the faith and investment that has been given to them by their employer.

Give Yourself Enough Time to Hire

When hiring for your restaurant, you will have to deal with seasonal demands and shifting staffing needs throughout the year. So, if you are planning to hire more people on a temporary basis for a season of increased demand, you should give yourself enough time to do that. Leaving it until the last minute will result in a rushed process.

And when you rush the recruitment process, all that tends to happen is you hire the wrong people and make major missteps. That is not what you want to happen, so plan and give yourself the time you need to go through the hiring process carefully and ultimately hire the right managers and staff.

Hiring great managers and restaurant staff can be tough, and many restaurant owners will tell you that it has never been tougher or more complex than it is right now. But with the right planning and a careful selection process that considers the things that matter most, the right hires can be made. Hiring the right Restaurant Manager, District Manager, and other key leadership in your organization will make all the difference.  If you need any additional help with your hiring, please feel free to reach out to Hospitality Headhunter.

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.