Talented people are the building blocks of a people-oriented business, and thereís no more people-oriented business than the restaurant industry. A hiring manager has to be prepared as often as possible to bring in talented, motivated new hires and train them effectively. In nearly every non-seasonal environment, there is no down time for hiring. A hiring manager who dismissively waves off applicants by saying she is not hiring is doing a disservice to the business.
There are ample reasons to always be hiring in the restaurant business, but none is more important than this Ė a talented game-changer can walk in the door at any time. In most cases, these are valuable and scarce individuals for a restaurant.
Sharpen Your Staff
Very few managers are fortunate enough to say that their staff couldnít be better. If you are in this position, itís likely youíve worked years to get there. A new hire can help prevent complacency and develop a sense of competition. Motivated new hires often bring energy and enthusiasm to their workspace that can get easily abandoned in the day-to-day grind of this business.
Simply put, strong new hires make it easier to weed out the average ones. This is not simply because thereís strength in numbers. It can be easy to lose sight of performance standards and tolerate service thatís just good enough Ė or plate presentation thatís decent but not great.
A new hire whoís committed, experienced, and enthusiastic can re-frame our perspective on what to expect. He or she can remind us that our restaurant deserves better. Some of the best hires in this business have come during off-season, or when the schedule was already teeming with employees. Donít let a short-sighted view be an obstacle to a great hire.
Staffing Needs Change
Itís hard to be in this business long without suddenly realizing youíre understaffed. My experience with staffing a restaurant tells me it swings like a pendulum Ė being overstaffed one month often means that the pendulum will swing back to being understaffed the next. If a manager isnít careful, it can happen without being aware of it.
The extremes of this business make it hard to see the opposite end of the spectrum. When a restaurant is slow, itís easy to fall into a staffing lull, and not see how quickly business can grow. Itís also easy to fail to learn from past experience.
Be Ready to Hire on the First Interview
Many managers rely on the second interview, and this makes sense. A second interview lets another manager gauge the candidate and usually puts the candidate more at ease. It also ensures that the candidate can get to an interview on time and look presentable more than once.
But itís important to be ready to hire on the first interview, especially when the business is understaffed. This might undercut the authority of another manager, but there are times when having talented people trumps everything else. Be willing to abandon the two-interview rule during these times.
Find a Place for a Great Hire
One of the biggest reasons for not hiring a qualified candidate is not knowing how to schedule him, or where heíll fit into the business. Many good people have been turned away for this reason, which is really no reason at all. In fact, this might be a sign of laziness on the part of the hiring manager.
Good managers find a place for a good new hire. This place might not be ideal for the candidate, who might be inclined to pass on the job offer because of it. But a good manager will work to fit the new hire in, perhaps by:
- Letting a substandard employee go
- Working the employee in slowly
- Decreasing the hours of multiple employees, or
- Overspending on labor for a pay period or two
The business will always go on whether or not a talented employee is hired. But good managers are always finding ways to fill the building with talented, experienced, motivated people.