Start Up: Screening Out Applicants

When it’s time to hire your staff, you need to make sound decisions based on the initial interviews as well as your gut instinct. Not everyone is going to work out, so don’t get down on yourself if an employe doesn’t work out. It happens. Especially when dealing with teenagers. They’re a rough lot, aren’t they?

Anyways, in the restaurant business lack of experience is common and many hires will only learn by doing the job. If an applicant does lack experience, but they have the right attitude, give em a shot. Here’s some more things to keep in mind when hiring, courtesy of One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment.

It’s recommended that you perform at least two interviews for most positions. The first interview should be used as a screening interview to see what vibe you get from the applicant and what kinda attitude they have. Second and even third interviews are more like an audition. If you’re hiring for a bartending position, put them behind the bar and see what they’re made of. Same with a chef position.

Remember, employees in the restaurant business should have a natural hospitality about them. Even if they’re new to the trade, customers will be much more understanding and forgiving of mistakes if the employee treats them well.

Most businesses use a probationary period to help them screen out who’s gonna work out and who’s gotta hit the bricks. Probationary periods for new hires are commonly 60 to 90 days. Always consult your local labor laws regarding these probationary periods. If you’re new to the restaurant management business, ti would be wise to get yourself a seasoned labor attorney. These experts can save your money, your reputation, and even your business.

As I mentioned earlier, that first round of interviews should tell you who you are definitely NOT going to hire. The questions should be general and brief – enough to give you an overall feeling about the applicant. Here’s a look at some common first round interview questions:

• Why do you want to work here?

• What kind of employment background do you have here?

• What do you consider your strengths? Your weaknesses?

• Why did you leave your last position?

• What makes you the right man/woman for this position?

• Are you looking for a career or a job?

• Do you like movies about gladiators? (just kidding)

Pick the applicants you have a good feeling about for a follow-up interview or audition. Try to put yourself in your patron’s position. Would I want this person serving me food? Or mixing my drink? If they’re applying for a back of house position, think to yourself, does this person seem like they want to learn? Is this person a hotshot who’s gonna be stubborn about learning how we do things around here?

The second interview should include hard questions that get to the heart of who this applicant is. Fill them in on more of what the position entails – even the ugly parts. Find out why they want to be hired at your location. “Because you’re hiring” is not an acceptable reply.

Dig deeper into the applicants employment history, skills, and specific experiences. It should go without saying that you should NEVER ask an applicant about their religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, race, disability, and other personal items that don’t pertain to their ability to perform the duties. Also, if these kinds of questions are asked and the person isn’t hired, they can sue you for discrimination. Use your head.

Once you’ve gone through the interviewing process a few times you’ll start to feel more comfortable and have a better instinct for who’s gonna work out and who doesn’t have what it takes.

One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment

One Fat Frog • 11473 S. Orange Blossom Trail • Orlando, FL • 407-480-3409
One Fat Frog • 1137 W. Airport Blvd. • Sanford, FL • 407-936-2733

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2416 Sand Lake Road • Orlando, FL • 407-480-3409

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