There was a song by Steven Stills in the 70's that went " And if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one your with". This is a situation that most restaurants may need to find themselves in regards to hiring.
One of the most common questions that I come across when meeting new restaurant owners is "Do you know of any good cooks, I need one". Unfortunately it is a employees market in the food industry right now. The reality is that living is expensive and to the point that near minimum wage it unrealistic to survive. So remember that the next time a new hire candidate asks for a starting wage that is $3-$5 above minimum wage. You might as well get used to it as minimum wage in Ontario is going up to $15 an hour and it won't be long before all the other provinces follow suit.
So what's the answer? Well, vetting your candidates is probably a good start. Be selective, ask the right questions, try to "read between the lines" when listening to there answers. It's amazing what you can learn about a person by how they choose to answer a question designed properly.
Another super important aspect of hiring the right person is to, not only determining their job description, but to determine what type of natural personality this person needs to do the job. For example, you are looking for a server. Think back to the last time you went out for a meal and you had excellent service. What was it about the server that made you go "wow that was excellent"? Chances are the server had a outgoing, warm, friendly personality. They made you feel that they actually cared if you had a good time. They were organised enough to make sure your drink was always full, they quality checked you at the right time, and were prompt getting your bill when you were ready to leave. So when I am looking for a server, I am looking for someone who has an super friendly, outgoing personality but detail oriented enough to be able to multi task on the fly. I then gear my interview questions to search out those characteristics.
The other aspect I want to touch upon is, the reality that you might have to settle for someone that may not have the skills you need them to have; but someone is better than no one. This unfortunately is the predicament that most restaurants find themselves in in this hiring market. I see this all the time, looking on Craigslist or Indeed.com, the same restaurants posting the same ads every month, sometimes for 6 months straight. You are not doing yourselves any favours. Burning and turning employees is not a great strategy, especially in this market. The answer is to hire the right natural characteristics and train, train, train. Yes that means even you putting aside whatever you feel that is more important in your day to day activities and work with them. I can't stress enough how important proper one on one training is to your success. Don't give up on them as well, be patient, and tell them why we do things this way- not just do it.
Like the song pertains, if you can't afford or find someone with all the skills you need because you can't afford them or maybe they just aren't around, love the one you have. Take the time and mould them into what you want and need. That is how you get loyal long term employees. Oh yea and be nice to them, as the days of Hell's Kitchen owners/chef's are in the time capsule with Walkman's and parachute pants.
Until next time ......
See ya on the flip side.