Separate Workflows for Hiring Restaurant Managers and Recruiting Team Members
Restaurateurs take various approaches to recruiting great talent, but what some may not realize is that effective tactics for attracting hourly labor may not be practical for hiring restaurant managers. It is helpful to view the two needs separately and evaluate the right applicant channels and screening techniques for each. Furthermore, depending on the level of skill and experience desired for kitchen staff, some restaurant owners may opt to hire chefs, cooks, or kitchen staff through a different process than they would use to recruit the front of house team. Likewise, savvy restaurateurs who have collected benchmark assessments from their current top team members on personality traits, such as integrity & math aptitude (quick-serve cashiers), empathy & and leadership (managers), work ethic & consistency (kitchen staff), and friendliness & sales aptitude (full-service waitstaff), can leverage that information to make new hires confidently.
Designing Restaurant Hiring Workflows by Team
To begin designing or conceptualizing a new workflow for recruiting, it is helpful to think about the process in steps, from start to finish. At CareerPlug we see the following stages as the logical progression of a basic hiring process:
When it comes to attracting talent for various restaurant roles, consider where your ideal talent will find information about your open position. In the food-service industry, some of the best hourly hires are already your customers – showcasing your openings in-store, detailing an easy way to apply online, and encouraging your employees to refer their friends are all great tactics for building your talent pool. For attracting experienced managers or cooks, posting free to Indeed.com or even considering a sponsored posting on Indeed will put your job in front of qualified job-seekers immediately.
Once you’ve received applications, gauge the interest and skill level of the applicants by reviewing resumes and and filtering by responses to prescreen questions. One customization that may apply here is to rely on prescreen questions to filter out many applicants to a low level position, while reviewing most applicants to the management positions to identify if there are any good candidates for other roles at your restaurant, even if they aren’t a perfect fit for the one they applied for. Another key customization at this step would be to fast track the clearly qualified candidates to an immediate interview to get ahead of any competitors the candidate may have also applied to.
When it comes to evaluating applicants, we encourage our restaurant partners to send applicants personality and cognitive assessments to measure candidates on the criteria that is most important to their success in the role and their fit in your restaurant’s culture. Using candidate assessments will reveal insights beyond the resume and empower you to continue into the interview process with data and confidence. Savvy restateurs will evaluate candidate assessment scores against assessment scores of their current top performers, by role, to identify clear matches on culture fit, work ethic, and integrity. For instance, if you are hiring an additional front of house manager, and you already employ a stellar front of house manager, ask her to take the assessment so you can benchmark her leadership traits and have a basis for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the new hire candidates. Obviously, no two employees are the same, so identifying the personality and cognitive traits that are most important to success in the role will be critical for clear evaluation.
After you’ve received assessment scores back from your applicants, scheduling an initial phone screen is the next step in a lean hiring process. A quick phone screen can reveal many of the intangible and less quantifiable insights about the applicant, and it saves time for both parties. Assuming that the candidate passes the phone screen, it’s time to arrange the first face to face interview – for lower level staff, an assessment, phone screen, and interview may be all you need to make a confident, informed hire. However, if you are hiring a manager, you’ll probably want to setup additional interview rounds with other team members to meet and evaluate the candidate, so this process, while customizable, should be consistent every time you hire for that role. Likewise, there may be interview steps that some roles require – for instance, if you want to role play with a waitstaff candidate, build that step into your waitstaff hiring workflow and leave it out of your workflow for kitchen staff. This way, you can ensure that you are building a consistent, repeatable process that leads to predictable hires, every time.
You have an outstanding, qualified candidate who scored well on the assessments, nailed the interviews, and is available to start immediately – so it’s time to extend an offer, right? Wrong. Too many recruiting horror stories are a result of skipping the verification step, and while it may seem like just a formality, it’s absolutely in the best interest of your restaurant. At a minimum dedicating a step in your restaurant’s hiring process for calling candidate references will help you validate the candidate’s claims about their experience and work history. Sometimes, it yields no surprises, and other times it can be the single most insightful step of your hiring process. Lastly, for some roles, a background check or drug screen may be required, while for others it is not necessary. A fully customizeable process allows you to set protocol by role and even facilitates reference checks with consistent guides, in case you want to delegate that task to hiring managers.
After you feel confident in a new hire and have verified that they are the right person for the role, extending an offer is the next step. A restaurant owner may want to configure standardized compensation for entry-level positions while leaving pay for management roles a bit more open. This is part of creating a repeatable process and equipping hiring managers with standard offer letter templates not only ensures consistency, it saves overhead time and costs. Taking a few minutes to configure templates for each hiring workflow can empower managers to extend offers to top candidates with ease and confidence.
Hire & Onboard
Pending offer acceptance, the final step is hiring and onboarding the new employee, and having an approved document checklist is the part of any onboarding process. With a truly paperless onboarding process, a restaurant owner can ensure compliance and streamline employee onboarding by configuring which forms need to be completed for part-time, full-time, and management (I-9, W-4, direct deposit, benefits, any custom forms, etc). This is typically a clunky, time-consuming, and error-prone process, but with a small time investment from the restaurant owner or HR manager, it can actually set a precedent of professionalism and consistency for all new employees.
Building Custom Hiring Workflows With CareerPlug
CareerPlug is a dedicated partner to restaurant franchise systems and restaurant owners, providing powerful, easy to use hiring software that empowers users who consider themselves “non-software people” to hire effectively and build great teams. If you’d like to learn more about our software, services, or approach to hiring, please reach out to our restaurant hiring experts for more information. You can also download our free ebook, How to Build a Talent Magnet.