Hiring Employees Part 1: Do It Right, So You Can Do It Less

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Between tracking food costs and inventory, and building your customer base, it's easy to hastily hire a new barista when you're short staffed. But don't hire too quickly just so you can get back to running your business. Even if it means you and your staff will be working extra hard until you hire right, be sure to find the right person.

Good hiring practices involve at least two interviews, reference checks and possibly background checks. The can take a few days, but the due diligence will pay off.


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A wrong hire will reduce staff morale, productivity and your reputation. If the person quits in a week or two before they mistreat a customer or coworkers, consider yourself lucky. If they do show they're not cut out for customer service, you'll have to start the hiring process all over and do some damage control.

Traits to look for in a new hire

How will a potential new-hire fit into your company culture? If they’re going to spend several days a week there, they should be surrounded by people they resonate with.

Also, when an interviewee is humble rather than overly confident, consider it a plus. It’s nice to have employees who are energetic, but if they always think they know the best way to do things, they won’t be as trainable.

Hire someone who smiles and makes eye contact—a minimum requirement for working with the public. If you get a negative gut feeling about someone’s attitude during the interview—when they should be on their best behavior—don’t ignore it. Think of how your customers would feel about any signs of aloofness, disregard, etc.

Get a second opinion from your employees

At some point during the hiring process, have interviewees meet your staff so they can help you determine how a new hire will fit into your team. Or, have one or two trusted employees meet with the applicant to answer questions about the job. Give them a few interview questions to ask, and then get their impression of the person.

Always check references

Don’t be blinded by relevant experience on a résumé and a friendly smile. Call former employers and ask, “Why doesn’t this person work for you anymore?” Some of them will tell you. Others will only verify employment dates, but even knowing the applicant didn’t lie on their application is helpful.

Advertise open positions on the right platforms.

Using a variety of advertising methods can bring in quality applicants. If you’re OK with people stopping in at all hours to apply, put a “help wanted’ sign in the window. Online listings are another great tool, and craigslist.org is still the go-to site, for ease of use. But SnagAJob.com and FohBoh.com are nice options in that they are targeted toward hourly workers, which could help you attract real foodservice pros.

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Related posts:

Hiring Employees Part 2: How to Reduce Staff Turnover

Tips for building your staff