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12 Steps for Hiring Quality Restaurant Seasonal Employees

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Jenny Day
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Hiring seasonal staff can be a cost-efficient solution to help your restaurant remain productive and profitable during the busy summer season without sacrificing the quality of service expected of your brand.

With the US seeing no end to the worker shortage, the competition among organizations looking for seasonal workers is stiff, and employers are trying a range of tactics to entice job applicants. In a job seekers market, often times it is the smaller restaurant operators that struggle the most because they simply can’t compete with the larger chain’s financial prowess. Many lack the brand power, the funds, and the resources necessary to recruit the seasonal help needed during these busy months.

If you are navigating the challenges of seeking out seasonal workers when there are more jobs available than there are job seekers, don’t despair. We understand that hiring top restaurant employees has never been so tough, but with some planning, persistence, and patience It can be done.

Below are tips to improve your hiring efforts to recruit the best seasonal employees.

Start Early

The sooner you begin the recruitment process, the better your chances in finding quality candidates. In this tight labor market, you will be competing for the same job candidates with other employers in the area. Starting early will allow you ample time to find quality candidates, review resumes, conduct interviews, and train new employees.

Evaluate your needs

Conduct a solid assessment of the full time positions and part time positions that need to be filled and what qualifications are needed for each specific role. Understanding which roles need experienced staff and which roles are easily teachable to inexperienced staff will help you get the right candidates into the proper positions with everyone having the opportunity to be quickly trained.

Look for candidates specifically seeking seasonal work

During the interview process, ask for the employee’s intentions for this position. Some people might be seeking permanent employment and simply taking a seasonal position out of desperation. If that candidate were to be offered long-term employment by another restaurant during your seasonal period, they’ll likely accept it; leaving you short-staffed.

Ask for recommendations

Ask your employees, family, and friends if they know of people who might be looking for seasonal work. Research shows that about 70-80 percent of job listings are never made public. Instead, they’re filled through word-of-mouth or networking.

Tap into past employees

You may have had some real stars on your team that left during circumstances caused by the pandemic. Whether they were forced to quit in order to care for children while school was closed or simply burned out and needed an indefinite break, they might now be ready to test out if they are ready to return to work.

Recruit from local schools and colleges

Seasonal jobs are a great fit for students, as well as teachers and staff who may have some downtime or be looking for some extra spending money. Post ads or host a job fair on campus. If possible, conduct on-site interviews to speed up the hiring process. You’ll still want to have these applicants fill out an application and complete the proper process, but on-site interviews allow you to immediately vet out applicants that are not a good fit.

Make use of mobile platforms

Younger workers are typically tech-savvy and primarily use mobile apps and mobile-optimized sites to connect with would-be employers. An applicant tracking system (ATS), allows you to automatically post your jobs to multiple career sites in one click, reaching a greater number of potential employees.

Remember the background check

In the rush to get staff on the floor fast it might be tempting to skip this step, especially if the new hire was a referral from a current employee. However, there is always the risk that an unchecked employee could  put your restaurant at the risk of theft or other misconduct.

Act quickly

In a candidate’s market, the longer your restaurant business deliberates on a hiring decision, the more likely you’ll lose the candidate to a competitor. But be careful not to let hasty decisions lead you into choosing the wrong candidates because it’s still important that you hire the right employees. Recruiting faster does not mean that you ignore your standards, but that you conduct your process quickly without unnecessary steps or delays.

Stick to your full-time standards

It’s important to not relax your normal employee expectations for seasonal help. You need them to deliver the same experience as your full-time team. If your current staff sees that you hold seasonal staff to lower standards, it is likely that they will follow suit. Adhering to your full-time standards will ensure a much better experience for you, your current employees, and your customers.

Set up seasonal employees for success

Treat your seasonal employees as you would treat your permanent staff. Try not to cut corners in your standard onboarding and training procedures due to the fact that they are not going to be around long. Doing so will not benefit your restaurant, your customers, or the employee. Your onboarding process should be thorough and make your new employee feel like a valued member of the team from day one.

Keep in touch

Once the busy season ends and it’s time to say goodbye to the temporary staff, keep their contact information on file for future use. Should you need help during the holiday season, you’ll save time and effort in hiring people who have already been onboarded, trained, and are ready to work.

If you are ready to overcome the restaurant hiring challenges with an easy-to-use applicant tracking system (ATS) that streamlines the hiring process, consider R365 HIRE. It’s an applicant tracking and onboarding system created specifically for the restaurant industry. R365 HIRE makes it easy to attract, filter, hire, and onboard the best employees for your restaurant group and is part of the Restaurant365 all-in-on restaurant management suite that incorporates accountinginventoryschedulingoperationspayroll +HR, and reporting within one cloud-based platform. R365 integrates with your POS system, vendors, and bank.