Hiring and Attracting Talent
As we continue to recover from the pandemic, there are a few things to keep in mind when attracting and hiring new team members.
It’s no secret that hiring is currently one of the biggest challenges facing businesses currently. More than four million people in our industry of hospitality lost their jobs through the pandemic and the estimates show that a quarter of those people won’t return to the industry. Combine this with an influx of people leaving their jobs and many other industries searching for talent and you’ve got an uphill battle. When we are faced with significant challenges, I believe we have two choices. We can complain about our situation and seek sympathy from those around us about how difficult it is, or we can choose to innovate and face those challenges head-on.
Hiring is one of the most important functions for businesses. Bad hiring decisions continue to be the leading cause of turnover within organizations and cost companies significant amounts of time, energy, and resources. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to attracting and hiring new team members and capitalizing on growth opportunities.
Expand the Talent Pool
Simply posting a job online and waiting for resumes to come in is not going to cut it anymore. Companies have to work harder to cast a wider net than they are accustomed to. Hiring is a numbers game and in order to make sure your talent pool isn’t full of mediocre candidates you have to target passive and sleeper candidates. Those are the candidates that aren’t actively looking for a new job, but are open to making a change if the right opportunity presented itself. They tend to be the best new hires and reaching them requires different thinking. Targeted asks for referrals, strong relationships with educational institutions, unconventional partnerships, and exploring the use of a recruiter are all strategies that are being utilized right now to reach a bigger talent pool.
Creative Job Postings
Hiring managers need to be more creative as they advertise for open positions. Marketing departments are typically tasked with targeting new customers; this is an opportunity to use their skills and expertise to attract new team members. Having the marketing team assist with creatively designing job postings can lead to an ad that stands out among other postings and one that is more likely to be circulated by networks. The marketing department also might be able to help with brainstorming on how to reach the ideal candidates with those ads.
Trust a Process
Desperation hiring is a real problem. We are busier than ever and we needed someone “yesterday.” It is easy to fall victim to hiring the best of what is in front of us, which, in a pool of mediocre candidates, ends up being the least mediocre. Designing a process for hiring helps to avoid this trap. The process may look different for each position. Hiring a server may be a two-step process, whereas hiring an executive chef may have seven steps. Instead of comparing candidates against one another, compare them against the process, trusting that if they make it through all of the steps, you are ready to make an offer.
Avoid Theoretical Interview Questions
I like to say that theoretical questions get theoretical responses. Once you’ve got candidates in for an interview, it’s important to solicit specific past examples. They are your greatest predictor of future behavior and performance. So instead of asking, “How would you handle….” Or “What would you do if…..”, ask “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give me an example of a time when you had to …….”. Once you’ve asked those questions, don’t forget to ask 3-5 specific follow-up questions to ensure your understanding of their story matches what actually transpired.
Test Their Abilities
During the final step in the interview process, we like to observe a candidate performing the actual job. This may take the form of a cooking demo, or having a sales candidate prepare a mock event. Going through this process ensures that they understand what the job entails and have the ability to do it at a high level. We also like to include other team members during this portion of the process to get their buy-in and observe how the candidate interacts with multiple people. How a chef treats other team members and works in a kitchen is much more important than what he or she prepares during a cooking interview.
Finding top talent is harder than it’s been in a very long time. In addition to the suggestions above, creating a desirable workplace can be the differentiator that attracts people to your organization. The “great resignation” is also creating “the great attraction,” where employees are looking to join companies that will invest in their success, create inclusive environments, and value them as a person. Companies spend a significant amount of time working with their clients and ensuring their product is executed flawlessly. It’s time to match that investment of time in attracting and hiring new team members.
Anthony Lambatos grew up in the catering business working for his father and founder of Footers Catering in Denver, Colorado. Anthony and his wife, April, purchased the business in 2010 and have successfully made the transition to a second-generation family business. They recently moved Footers Catering into a new facility that also houses their newest venture – an event venue called Social Capitol. Anthony is passionate about helping other companies create great places to work and inspiring people with heart leadership through Footers’ sister company MIBE (Make It Better Everyday).