The restaurant industry is well known for its high turnover rates. And as a restaurant owner or manager you have a lot to gain by finding the right candidates and doing an excellent onboarding. In this article you will get our best tips on hiring the right candidates, what should you look for.
How to find the right candidates! Here are skills you should look for:
1. Good communicator and a positive attitude
If the candidate you are interviewing seems apprehensive, struggles to maintain eye contact, and communicates with a soft, inaudible voice, there's a likelihood that they would interact with your customers in the same manner. Of course it’s quite normal to have some pre-interview jitters but confident communication is a key component of the role.
A cheerful, friendly demeanor can go a long way in creating a pleasant dining experience for guests. Positivity can also help in maintaining team morale, so seek for a candidate with a positive attitude and good communication skills.
2. Easy to adapt and a problem solver
In the dynamic environment of a restaurant, the ability to think on one's feet and adapt to changing situations (like a sudden rush of customers or a change in the menu) is crucial. And when issues arise, such as a mix-up in orders or an unsatisfied customer, restaurant staff should be able to think quickly to find solutions that ensure guests satisfaction. Ask the candidates how they would solve real-life restaurant problems during the interview.
3. A great team player
Restaurant staff often work as part of a team, coordinating with cooks, dishwashers, hosts, and other wait staff. Being a good team player is essential. Ask questions like, “What does teamwork mean to you?” or, “Give me an example of teamwork at your previous job,” to see how willing they are to lend a hand.
4. Patience and have attention to details
Your candidates should be able to manage challenging situations and guests without losing their cool and willingness to help. Patience and a service minded are important skills to look for. An eye for details and be able to multi-task is also critical especially if you are going to work as a wait staff; remembering orders, notice if guests need refills or additional items, keeping track of multiple tables at once.
5. Work ethics and values
Each restaurant has its own unique culture and it's important for you to find employees who fit well within your culture. Think about how a candidate's values, work style, and personality would mesh with your existing team and the overall vibe of your restaurant. A genuine passion for food, beverages, and hospitality can make a big difference in a candidate's performance and commitment to the job.
Availability, what are your requirements?
As an employer, it's crucial to state your needs from the start. If your requirement is for staff to work on weekends and holidays, make this known! If you need someone for a few weekday evening shifts, inform your candidates. Establish your requirements upfront, allowing potential employees to comprehend their duties and ensure they are comfortable with their shifts and hours. During the interview, ask about their availability and the number of hours they can commit to.
An applicant with full availability and willingness to work a 40-hour week might be beneficial – unless your establishment only needs staffing for a few shifts. If such a candidate is hired, they may start seeking more hours elsewhere. Therefore, ensure your application form includes questions about their availability and preferred work schedule. Proceed with interviewing those whose expectations align with your business requirements.
It's always a good idea to check references. Past employers can provide valuable insights into a candidate's reliability, work ethic, skills, and suitability for your restaurant. So don’t skip this important step.
Experienced waitstaff vs someone new to the role
Depending on the requirements of the role, you might prefer to hire a candidate with substantial experience. However, you could also be open to candidates new to the industry or with minimal experience, provided they fulfill other criteria’s and appear adaptable and quick to learn.
It's often advantageous to hire staff with previous experience, but don’t forget to ask targeted questions during the interview about their experience level and their understanding of service standards. It can be valuable insights to see if it match your own service levels.
The face of your business
Your staff is the face of your business. They will be the first face your guests see – and the last. Because of this, it is imperative that they are the employees you want to have that properly represent your restaurant. Carefully select each employee and take your time doing so. The success of your business depends on it.
Do you want more tips, download our guide Opening a restaurant in 2023!