Top Tips For Restaurants To Hire The Best Candidates

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Determining the keys to success for restaurant hiring is paramount to building a sustainable brand that can grow. Turnover runs rampant in the hospitality industry. However, attracting and retaining top talent is possible with the right tools.

Jake Nolte, GM for the Efficient Hire Applicant Tracking System, discusses best practices to ensure you’re building a team for longevity. Additionally, Jake educates on how effectively measure if what you’re doing is successful.

Common Restaurant Hiring Mistakes

All too often restaurants use recruiting and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that were designed for large corporate companies. Most of the companies contain salaried employees and low turnover, or some have a dedicated HR manager at their disposal. While those solutions are outstanding for other industries, they simply don’t support the more challenging environments that restaurants face. Hiring hourly employees with high turnover is a challenge. Moreover, a location manager with multiple responsibilities and little to no background in recruiting or hiring makes the process even more difficult.

Another misstep is when you see employers using a standalone ATS solution. Although this is helpful in improving the recruiting and hiring process, it still requires manual data entry. This leads to human error and ultimately slows the recruiting and hiring process down overall.

A crucial point to a successful recruiting and hiring process, like the Efficient Hire + RASI Solution, is comprehensive integration. With this, support is provided for the full lifecycle of recruiting and applicant tracking through onboarding, on to I-9, and even to WOTC. Therefore, the entirety of your data flows seamlessly into your payroll solution.

How The Recruiting Process Looks Different With The Pandemic

Covid has clearly impacted many facets of the restaurant industry. When it comes to recruiting, there’s much more pressure on the location or hiring manager because of the vast changes.

  • Most often there are no more in-person interactions
    • With social distancing, the normal interaction with an applicant and the hiring manager (for the most part) no longer exists
  • There’s a major shift towards a reduced paper application in the hiring and onboarding process
  • There’s an overarching demand for virtuality in almost all realms
    • This has created a strong need for a more streamlined process than what most restaurants currently have in place

How Restaurants Can Make Things Easier For Hiring Managers

The key is to build out and put a process in place that makes recruiting a no-brainer for the managers. Especially when they have limited time and oftentimes no background within the hiring process.



That’s where Efficient Hire’s ATS has excelled. They’ve built the technology to take work directly off those managers and support that streamlined process.

The Applicant Tracking System for restaurants was built specifically for hospitality clients. Users are constantly on the go and speed is critical in the recruiting process. It’s not realistic for these hiring managers to sit behind a computer and wait for new applicants to apply.

How does it work? With Efficient Hire’s ATS,  users receive an email or text notification when a new applicant has applied. That link takes them directly to their Dashboard to review the applicant’s resume. This is available on their phone. Because of this, they have the ability to text back and forth with each candidate. This enables hiring managers to stay on top of all their candidates. Additionally, it streamlines their hiring process while still actively managing their stores throughout the day.

How Restaurants Can Increase Their Number Of Applicants

There are three key areas restaurant should address:

  1. Convert more candidates with a streamlined process that’s mobile-friendly.
  2. Take a more analytical look at exactly where you’re attracting candidates.
  3. Make better use of the candidates you’re already getting.

Examples Of How Restaurants Increase Their Applicant Pools:

  • Sell your brand to potential applicants and possibly re-evaluate your job titles.
  • Review job descriptions and benefits and highlight some of those key drivers;
    • Talk about your culture and the other parts of your business that help drive applicants wanting to be part of your team
  • Maximize the application conversion rates from all of your recruiting channels
    • Looking at the analytics is crucial, so you’re improving the places from which you’re driving applicants
  • Make it easy to apply to your job in less than 3 minutes
    • This makes it easier for candidates to find and apply to your position
    • When the process is streamlined it ultimately helps get more applicants and maximize conversion rates
  • Don’t forget about the variety of available recruiting channels
    • Referrals
    • Career Pages
    • Social Media Avenues
    • Job Boards
    • Flyers on your door as you enter the restaurant


Strategies To Help Determine More Qualified Applicants

“Especially in the restaurant industry, oftentimes your customers are your potential candidates now, so that’s where it’s important to sell your brand and highlight the culture and benefits of your organization, which will help drive into track that top talent.”

Jake Nolte, Efficient Hire – GM Applicant Tracking System

To attract top talent you should get specific and ask your applicants custom questions:

  • Ensure each question will help you know more about the candidate and their specific skill sets and experience
    • This will easily help determine if this is someone that you ultimately want to move forward with, or not
    • Identify your top candidates with preferred requirements so you can focus on those people and recruiting efforts.

This can all be done through the Efficient Hire ATS solution. It allows you to screen candidates with questions customized for your organization. It also has the ability for automated phone interview questions. This way, you’re able to hear and listen to their response, which may be more detailed than you’d get on just a paper application. Restaurants have utilized this feature most specifically for front-of-house or customer-focused roles.

How Restaurants Can Effectively Manage Job Advertising Spend

Having a defined advertising strategy across your organization is crucial, otherwise, you’re just posting and praying that your job posts are getting enough applicants to fill your roles. This leads to increased costs and a lot of additional time spent recruiting. To mitigate this issue, think about the following:

  • Clearly define your recruiting strategy across the organization
    • This helps your managers feel empowered and know that they’re in line with their organization
  • Once you build that process internally, use the insights to help make better decisions
    • Transparency across which channels are ultimately successful and which channels are not, enables managers to move more quickly
    • Additionally, you start to weed out better candidates for your spend

Measuring Overall Performance & Effectiveness of Restaurant Hiring Efforts

First, you need to have technology in place that allows you to measure overall performance. Then you can start to focus on where you can improve. The reporting and analytics ultimately drive the accountability for hiring managers. In the Efficient Hire ATS solution, reports are provided that help drive KPIs both at an admin level as well as just the individual hiring manager level.

For example, with the right technology your world opens to the following knowledge:

  • Application conversion rates
  • Job board conversion rates
  • Recruiter responsiveness
  • Are you getting enough hires?
  • What are those costs per hire that you’re making?

“That’s where this this ATS solution will improve the recruiting process. And the integrated onboarding solution will just make it easy and seamless to get those new hires on board quickly and ultimately compliantly.”

Jake Nolte, Efficient Hire – GM Applicant Tracking System

Additional Items That Can Positively Impact The Recruiting Process

Taking into consideration Efficient Hire’s Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Solution. WOTC is a federal tax credit for employers who hire and retain individuals with significant barriers to employment.

Some examples of these targeted groups are veterans, long-term unemployed, those on state assistance programs like food stamps or temporary assistance for media families and supplemental Social Security income.

The value of a WOTC program is another facet to the recruiting and hiring process that can drive far more success to not only your restaurant but loyal, long-term employees.

For example, a restaurant with 100 annual hires can expect to earn between $9,00 to $14,000 in annual tax credits for putting a mobile-first integrated solution that has WOTC at the forefront.

This will allow them to spend less time in hiring and more time doing the million other tasks that they have on their day today, and in some cases, like in the WOTC integration, even get some credits back for their organization.

How To Maximize The Value Of WOTC Credits

Restaurants can maximize the value of work opportunity tax credits by moving a WOTC questionnaire earlier in the recruiting process, hiring managers are able to make your decisions based on whether a candidate is likely to be WOTC eligible or not; because ultimately, if you have two candidates who apply with the same qualifications, hire the applicant that’s WOTC certified.

Ultimately, the more informed you are about specific candidates, the better your hiring decisions will be, and the more you’ll be able to maximize some of those opportunities such as hiring a WOTC candidate versus hiring someone that’s not.


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