Tricks for Hiring in Restaurants

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Employees, Labor, Training

When it comes to hiring in restaurants, your general manager should be your right-hand person. The one person you can count on to operate your restaurant the right way. After all, you can’t be there all the time, but your customers expect to have the same experience every time. So how do you find the person who sees it the way you do and understands the importance of the systems and processes you’ve put in place?

Let’s be honest, looking for a reliable general manager is an overwhelming task. In the best of situations you can’t recruit from within, but when that’s not possible, I have some tricks for finding someone who fits.

First, you have to find candidates. You can try management recruiters, newspaper ads and so forth. But you don’t usually have the luxury of a lot of lead time. To get candidates in a more timely manner, use the Internet. We’ve had great success with, and I recommend anyone looking for a restaurant manager to post here for sure.

You will find today’s marketplace is full of readily-available candidates, but not all of them will have perfect resumes. Try to look past the imperfections and find those who have the experience needed to be successful in your restaurant’s culture.

Once you’ve narrowed your candidates down to about five, come up with a list of questions to ask each of the candidates during the interview. This is a patterned interview format. Consult with your team and find out what they would like to know about each candidate.

One of the benefits to going with the patterned interview format and having questions prepared is you will get to evaluate each candidate equally because they all answer the same questions. Now you can compare apples to apples when looking at responses. It can also keep you out of lawsuit territory. You never know when you might be accused of unfair hiring practices by a disgruntled candidate who didn’t get the job. But if everyone answers the same questions, then every candidate is treated fairly.

This process should get you to the second interview. Your initial list should now be less than five — those that made you think twice. In fact, you probably find yourself trying to visualize each of them in the position for which you’re hiring.

As you approach the second interview, ask yourself, “What do I hope to discover about each candidate during this interview?” What questions were left unanswered from your first interview? You’ve already asked them to explain their past experiences, they’ve told you a little about themselves, and why they’re leaving their current job or why they left their former job. Now you want to get the details of what they know and what skills they actually have when it comes to restaurant operations, marketing, dealing with employees and how they might fit in to your restaurant’s unique culture.

For this interview you should also have a preset list of questions.

After you complete the second round of interviews, you should be ready to make a selection, which can be a terrifying process. This is when we come down to basic human instincts — your gut.

You want someone who has the skills, experience and feels right. Don’t settle for less. And if you have to — start the whole process over again. Settling will likely only cause you more problems down the road. This is a position that is too important to your restaurant’s success. The person you choose must be the right fit in every way.

When you’re ready to make an offer, you’ll likely have to answer the following questions for yourself:

1. Do I offer the requested salary? If they are asking $75,000 and you’re about to offer $45,000, you’re wasting your time. It’s important that when you narrow your job candidates down to the final interview, that you take salary into consideration. In this case, the $75,000 candidate would not make the final stage because you know you can’t afford him or her.

On the other hand, if someone is asking for $60,000 and you can only offer $55,000, you’re in range. Remember, it’s like anything in life; if you don’t ask, you’ll never get it. In this case, your candidates might be asking for more than they really think they’ll get just in case they do get it.

2. Do we tell him about your current management situation, staff, business, etc.? Yes! When you offer the position, tell everything … the good, the bad and the ugly. You want to make sure the candidate enters the job with a clear understanding of what they are about to walk into. This allows them to make an informed decision.

If you don’t tell the candidate everything up front, when they start working for you and start to discover on their own the skeletons in the closet so to speak, you may find yourself looking for a new general manager much faster than you could ever imagine.

If you follow these suggestions when hiring in restaurants, it will help you turn the nightmare process of hiring into a dream come true.

For more tips for hiring in restaurants and keeping great employees, visit our YouTube Channel.


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