Any restaurateur knows that hiring the wrong employee can be very costly for business. Not only will a bad employee cost you literally, by spending the money to hire and train them and the employee that eventually replaces them, but the level of work they bring to the table in your restaurant can also be very costly. While employed this problem employee is representing your business to the public. This can be more costly than the money spent to hire and train them because your company may lose current or potential customers as a result of the poor customer service.
This makes employee interviews and knowing how to recognize a good worker when you see one an important skill for a restaurateur to master. This skill does not come easy; people can seem like a very capable candidate in an interview and turn out to be a below average employee after they are hired.
Before starting an interview it is always important to be prepared. First thing to do before an interview is know exactly what characteristics and experience you are looking for in a potential candidate. Setting a clear list of required skills and work experience will help you judge the candidates and find the ideal employee. Also, before the interviews, review each candidate’s resume carefully and form a list of questions for each one. It is important to ask open-ended questions that require the candidate to do most of the talking. This will give you a better insight into the person’s personality and work history. Some key questions are asking them to describe previous jobs, how they preformed and why they left.
It is not always easy to identify a good candidate in an interview but there are a few personality traits to look for that can indicate a good restaurant worker. The characteristics of a successful restaurant worker can be outlined by the acronym: E.M.P.L.O.Y.E.E.
When working in a restaurant atmosphere it’s always important for an employee to be engaged with their work and the customers they are serving. This means that they are always focused on the task at hand and are ready and capable to handle any problem that may arise. A good way to test if a job candidate possesses this quality is to judge the way they carry themselves in the interview, an engaged person will not only give you their full attention but also capture yours with their answers. Also talk with past employers to get a feel for if this characteristic was evident in their past working experiences. This includes being engaging with customers who come into the restaurant by being able to interact with them and keep them comfortable and satisfied throughout their visit
Many workers in the restaurant industry are students and young adults. This demographic can be tricky to judge and manage in a work environment. If you aren’t careful it can be very easy to hire someone in this age group that simply is not mature enough to thrive or even survive in a work environment. An employee like this can be very toxic to a restaurant’s work environment. An immature employee will struggle to carry themselves in a professional matter when dealing with coworkers and customers which will hurt customer service and staff teamwork. This may be the easiest personality trait to identify in an interview by judging the way they carry them self and looking at the quality and importance of their prior responsibilities.
Attitude is contagious in a work environment. The way one employee carries them self in the restaurant affects the attitude and work ethic of the staff around them. For example, if an employee is constantly complaining it will bring down the morale of the whole team and negatively affects productivity. And the opposite is true as well; a positive attitude can raise the staff to another level. This personality trait will be evident in the interview and when checking on past work experience.
Having leaders on a restaurant staff is crucial. It is important for staff members to know what they need to do at all times and be willing to take the initiative when they know something needs to be done. An employee that always needs to be told what to do and needs help with simple tasks is not a very productive employee. Leadership skills will be evident when looking at a person’s extracurricular activities and other tasks that they have voluntarily taken on.
Being well organized in any professional setting is crucial to an employee’s success. In a restaurant this skill is paramount. A restaurant worker needs to be organized in order to stay on top of incoming orders and customer requests. An unorganized restaurant staff can be a big headache for a restaurant manager. A well-organized candidate will be very easy to spot. A well put together resume and appearance are good indications of this skill.
A restaurant employee must be able to take orders from managers, customers or anyone else in a position of power without resistance. This is especially important when dealing with customers. In the restaurant industry the customer is always right; even if they really aren’t. When customer makes an employee aware of a mistake that has been made it is that employee’s job to accept the complaint, admit they made a mistake, apologize to the diner and immediately fix the mistake. Many people struggle with this and it can be very detrimental to customer service if an employee can’t swallow their pride and fix the problem. This characteristic may be hard to spot in an interview but can be verified by checking with the candidates past employees.
As stated before jobs in the restaurant industry are demanding. Restaurants are fast paced environments where timeliness and quality of the product being served are very important and is commonly how a restaurant gains an advantage over the competition. Employees must be able to complete tasks quickly and without mistakes. Efficient employees help the business run smoothly and make up for the inefficiencies of others on the staff. This is another trait that will be obvious upon contacting the candidate’s references.
The last but absolutely not the least important trait is energetic. Having energy in the work place can be contagious just like attitude. One employee’s level of energy can either bring others down or raise them to new heights. An energetic candidate will bring energy and great work ethic to your restaurant and help to positively influence workers around them. Energetic people will obviously bring energy to the interview and come across as extremely active on their resume.
These are in no way set in stone as qualities that every good employee must possess, but this is a good place to start when judging the quality of a job candidate. Some potential employees may be very well organized but not possess any leadership skills or they may be highly energetic and not as efficient. These types of candidates can still be highly successful but combining all of the qualities together should describe the ideal employee.