Hiring the Right Restaurant and Hospitality Staff

F&B profits

When a hotel or on-site restaurant is short staffed, every part of the business suffers. Hiring managers in the hospitality industry are looking for the best fit while also balancing the urgency of getting open positions filled fast. Managers are often forced to compromise based on available labor. While this strategy may solve immediate problems—like getting a chef in the kitchen today—it often results in needing to re-hire for that same job in just a few short months. How can hotel or restaurant hiring managers break the cycle and get it right the first time?


It Starts Before the Job Description

Think about who you want to hire. What attributes does your dream employee have and how do you communicate that to prospective employees? It’s worth a moment’s thought to paint a picture of what success looks like so you have a foundation on how to write your job ad and requirements. Your quick notes probably include attendance, professionalism, attitude, and loyalty but does it communicate who you are as a brand and what it’s like to work for your company? Does it convey the desire and passion you have in delivering exceptional service? Most employees, regardless of the job or the industry, want to do a good job and they want to be proud of where they work. It’s up to you to create interest in what you do and why you do it. It’s worth the effort and when you get it right, you’ll see a dramatic difference in the quality of candidates for interview.



Hiring in Competitive Markets

Having the right staff makes a difference to the bottom line. When you’re in a competitive market with naturally high turnover rates, hiring and keeping the right staff can be a daunting task. While some aspects of the position can’t be changed, like the location or compensation, you can make sure employees know what the job really entails, why it’s great, and why the not-so-great parts are important elements to everyone’s success. When employees are part of the team and understand their role in the operation, they take their job personally and go the extra mile to show pride in their work. Your goal is to seek out the employee that’s going to make that commitment.


Hiring is a Waste of Time if it Results in Firing

It takes a lot of effort to post jobs, gather applicants, screen candidates, and schedule interviews. It takes time away from servicing customers and it’s important that you’re bringing in the right talent. If you’ve perfected your job ad, at least some of your candidates should match what you’re the description. At this critical point, many hiring managers are so desperate for staff, they’re tempted to select the best of the bunch. However, service industries demand performance and suffer from high turnover rates, biting into hard-earned profits.


Tools of the Trade

What is the solution to finding and keeping excellent employees on staff? The answer may be trial and error. After years of getting similar resumes and the same scripted answers, hiring managers recognize that basic job interviews and posting boards don’t always get to the core of a candidate. Several tools can help hotels choose wisely.

Ask the right questions. The book 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire suggests that asking behavioral questions ensures candidate spontaneity. Using tailored questions for each position is crucial. Additionally, setting minimum criteria and having pre-qualifying questions ensure that candidates meet the standards of the job.

Implement a referral system. When it comes to your business, you ultimately know from experience what personalities work well together and what admirable traits your favorite staff members possess. Using a referral system is a great, free method for finding reliable talent from a hotel or restaurant’s best employees.

Create a network. Compiling a network of extraordinary talent is a must-have valuable resource during seasonal and high turnover months. Having on-demand talent will save time and money when in a pinch.

Use an applicant tracking system or talent management system to screen candidates, test applicants, check references, and complete new-hire paperwork. Some can be difficult to manage or are overly complex, costing you more than it’s saving. However, a staffing software that incorporates the tools mentioned above is a simple and easy-to-manage format can help streamline the hiring process.

Regardless of a hotel’s current hiring process, there’s always room for improvement. These tips and tools can help decrease turnover and eliminate desperate hires, leaving a hotel or restaurant with excellent staff all year long. The key to success and guest satisfaction is ultimately in the hands of employees. Stop wasting time and energy on bad hires who don’t have a hotel’s best interest in mind and start hiring smarter, more qualified staff.


About the Author

Joe MerrillJoe Merrill joined Staffed Up in January 2018 after working over three years in startup and corporate communications. As Business Development Manager, Joe is responsible for finding and acquiring new business opportunities and handles all media content. StaffedUp is a web and social based hiring software that helps employers compete for great talent, and pipeline their hiring process by leveraging their brand to drive applicant traffic.

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  1. For Mr. Dean Harkins: A good “how to” reminder article. Sadly there’s nothing new here. Perhaps the worst aspect of hiring in the hospitality industry is that it’s necessary to repeatedly publish articles just like this. And based upon historical experience, little has or will change. Why? Most hospitality businesses (for example, franchised hotels) are owned by bean counters – “deep pocket” individuals merely interested in the bottom line. Interested only in the short-term. With little appreciation for a more strategic (and more profit-generating) viewpoint. With little or no care for employee quality of life; employees are simply “throwaways”, “use and discard”. Always blaming the high-turnover employees but never considering introspection. With no understanding of the impact of “culture” has on recruiting and retention. With little interest in attracting, hiring and retaining top-notch performers. With a “get me a body, any body” attitude. It’s the “do the same but expect different results” faulty mentality.

    (An HR director with 20-years hotel experience.)

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