One of the most well-worn concepts in restaurants is the notion that you hire for your skills rather than your experience. After all, the classic industry position as an entry-to-work employer lends itself to blank resumes. Wesley Suitt, Customer Success Manager – Americas at Harver, a volume hiring solution for hourly roles that works with McDonald’s and Chili’s, believes brands that base their recruiting process on resumes today are failing. That would have been true before COVID, he adds, but now you’re associating a climate where 6% of the hospitality industry’s total workforce quit in February, more than any other industry.
Solving this hurdle is not as basic as hiring for personality. Suitt says traits such as cCommunication, collaboration, social skills or availability/flexibility can perfectly match candidates for restaurant roles if operators know how to identify them. According to Suitt, there are certain types of assessments, like situational judgment tests or personality questionnaires, that should be included in the application process to assess target skills as restaurants attempt to turn the corner on work.
Suitt chatted with RSQ on recruiting best practices, interviewer mistakes and what hourly employees are looking for before the summer season.
First, tell us about your business and what you all do, and the restaurants you’ve helped.
Harver is a volume hiring solution that helps companies around the world hire better, faster, and fairly. Our goal is to help clients digitally transform their candidate screening process into an enhanced and seamless experience for recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates. Some restaurants we have worked with include McDonald’s, Chili’s and Burger King.
I’ve heard the notion, focus on skills not experience, often in restaurants over the years, especially lately. But how do you really identify him as a recruiter or manager?
You first determine the type of skills you are looking for in a candidate based on the vacancy you want to fill. Then, recruiters can identify whether a candidate has these skills through two main assessments: Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs) and personality tests. With SJTs, candidates are presented with a series of open role-specific scenarios and are asked to select the best and worst response within that scenario. This test offers the recruiter insight into how the candidate would react in real-life situations. Personality questionnaires show whether a candidate fits the company culture and highlight their transferable skills. Technology is available to automate this assessment process to ensure a fast experience for candidates and recruiters.
What do investigators in the restaurant space typically get wrong?
Recruiters and interviewers in the restaurant industry who still have outdated application processes in place are wrong because it is currently a candidate market. They need to focus on the candidate experience, remove all barriers, and make sure it’s light and informative for the candidate. Additionally, interviewers who are not upfront and transparent about the requirements of the vacancy will likely experience higher turnover rates, which can result in wasted time and money.
What would you say that employees, namely hourly workers, are actually looking for in restaurants at this point?
A key thing that hourly workers value is flexibility, especially when companies give their staff the autonomy to adjust schedules on their own using on-demand scheduling solutions. Others include a strong work environment and culture, opportunities for growth within the company, and additional perks like a pay raise or vacation bonuses.
Talk about the job listing process itself. What are the tips and techniques for brands to get the right message across?
Standard job descriptions are no longer a viable way to attract talent. Candidates want to know more than just a blurb about the position, as well as responsibilities and requirements. Candidates want to learn about the culture of the organization, opportunities for growth, and get a sense of what it’s really like to work for this company. It’s arguably harder to do, but companies that attract top talent have made this type of messaging a priority in job postings.
What kind of skills should restaurants be looking for in their employees? And how do you identify them?
Some beneficial skills for restaurant workers include communication skills, collaboration, social skills, adaptability, initiative, customer focus, and results orientation. These skills are central to customer service roles, as these roles involve constant communication, teamwork, engagement with customers, the rapid change in daily tasks, and the need to improve the customer experience.
Is loyalty as much about making a restaurant work better today as it is about providing better perks?
Yes. While companies that invest in their employees with additional perks and benefits should see more loyal and long-term staff, creating a great work environment is also key to increasing staff loyalty. For example, if increased benefits are not an option, companies should put more energy into building a strong team and relationship with staff.
Generally speaking, where do you think this manpower challenge goes from here? It looks like the workers are coming back, but the industry may never return to previous levels.
Even though some workers have returned, some workers have left the hospitality industry altogether and moved on to gig work or more reliable jobs like clerical positions, education, and other industries such as logistics jobs. . However, the restaurant industry is a staple industry across the world and is not only an amazing part-time or “for now” job, but also offers long-term careers. I believe the current job market has brought to light some systemic issues that the industry is addressing now and in the long run, be stronger for it!