4 Easy Ways to Find Great Candidates For Your Restaurant Jobs

By: Jack Hott

4 Minute Read

Sep 01, 2017

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Hiring for restaurant jobs is not an easy process. The days of simply hanging a Help Wanted sign in the window are long gone - but that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective strategies for attracting talent.

By leveraging your and your staffs’ personal networks, using social media, and posting on job sites, you can find the best candidates for your restaurant jobs.

Before we jump into the details, let’s go over the lay of the labor landscape.

As of May 2017, the national unemployment rate for the United States is 4.3% and dropping. In major metropolitan areas, the numbers are even lower.

  • New York City is 3.9%.
  • Seattle is 2.6%.
  • Nashville, Tennessee is at 2.7%.

For context, in 2009, at the height of the Great Recession, the national unemployment rate stood at over 10%. With more people working, the labor market is tight and many industries are seeing severe labor shortages.

Agriculture, construction, light manufacturing, and especially restaurants are having a harder time than ever attracting workers.

Here are four simple ways to find the best candidates for your restaurant.

1) Use Your Personal Connections

You are - at most - six degrees of separation from someone who is looking for a job. If you’re a restaurant owner, you should ask your non-industry friends, especially parents of teenagers and college students, if they know anyone looking for a job.

Nationally, the youth unemployment rate is 9%. Don’t get too excited, as that number is also a historic low, but there are opportunities to find talent in younger workers - especially those motivated by social connections.

Another use of your personal network is to ask other restaurant owners for referrals. It’s more common than you think for restaurants to share intelligence on available employees. Often, a restaurant will make a hire, but also like a candidate enough to refer them to another restaurant for consideration.

2) Use Your Current Staffs’ Personal Networks

Word of mouth is the best advertising; it’s also the best restaurant recruiting tool. Many restaurants have started programs that give workers bonuses for referring their potential candidates. Generally, programs will award bonuses once a recruit has finished 90 days of work.

The programs work since they encourage current employees to act as recruiters. Your staff is motivated to find workers who will not only stay on the job, but are fun to work with. By using the social networks of your employees, your business can quickly become a community of its own, making additional hires even easier.

3) Use Social Media

Social media is more than just a marketing channel to attract new customers - it can also bring in new employees. By posting open positions to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a restaurant can find potential candidates that are already familiar with the brand.

On LinkedIn and Facebook, there are even some groups dedicated to finding restaurant jobs, like this one for Kansas City and this one for St. Louis. These restaurant groups exist for cities all over the world. Do a search for your area and see what you find!

Another advantage is people tend to share social posts with their friends, expanding a restaurant’s reach. Since social media is so… well… social, it’s a good idea to highlight your restaurant’s culture when promoting open positions. Find images of your employees having fun together and describe the kind of workplace you have created, like Layla has on their Facebook.

4) Post a Job on a Restaurant-Specific Website

Ultimately, the most effective way to find the best candidate for your restaurant job is to use a restaurant-specific job site.

While Craigslist and other generalist sites are often more well-known, they don’t attract candidates with much restaurant experience. A restaurant-specific job site, on the other hand, promotes your job listings to dedicated restaurant professionals.

Big names like Momofuko, Union Square Hospitality, and The Standard Hotel all post restaurant jobs on sites like these – ranging from dishwashers to general managers – and are happy with the results from restaurant job sites.

Speaking on restaurant job site Poached, Nate Weber of the Schulson Collective in Philadelphia said, “I have been impressed with the candidates we’ve received, the audience that the site reaches, the ease of using the service and perhaps most importantly…the price point.”

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