This post is by Brian Bruce, vice president and executive restaurant recruiter for Premier Solutions in Oklahoma City, a restaurant recruiting firm that works nationally.
While the market is improving, many factors still negatively affect the restaurant industry on several fronts. Some concepts are cutting back on their recruiting efforts, and many managers are hoping to ride it out with the concept they are currently with. The perception is that the sky is falling and neither restaurants nor restaurant managers should make a move.
In some ways, this is the best time for a quality restaurant manager to make a change. During uncertain times, restaurants need strong leadership from managers who can produce. My job search practice is as busy as ever because the restaurants I choose to recruit for don’t want to waste their time talking to candidates who can’t produce, and most of those candidates can be found answering ads in the newspaper or on the Internet.
Recruiting and hiring great managers are critical to any restaurant’s success — and that means bringing in “A” players. The issue here is that high-quality candidates tend to already have good jobs. How can a restaurant concept find this caliber of candidate and get them on board? The most qualified and talented candidates are generally going to be passive candidates. In other words, they won’t necessarily be looking at other opportunities but will entertain options should something enticing come to their attention.
The best candidates aren’t generally on the job boards, and these candidates will still be receiving calls from other restaurants long after you’ve hired them, making it likely that you’ll be trying to fill the position again should they leave.
I know placing ads is popular but unproductive nonetheless. Why should a restaurant company spend money to advertise their openings to the masses and spend time filtering through the stack in hopes of finding a decent resume, with not even a guarantee to have a viable candidate from their efforts? I’ve seen hiring managers try to make a questionable candidate fit to justify the money they already spent. This will come back to bite them every time. A good restaurant management recruiter who works on a contingency basis doesn’t require any financial investment until the right candidate starts working for the company. That makes a lot more sense (and cents)!
You want to hire the candidate who’s next in line for a promotion, and that means contacting them directly. This is where I’m called in by my client companies to pursue such candidates directly, making first contact, pre-qualifying managers who are interested and motivated to make a change, and presenting them to my clients.
In my searches, I use my communication skills to quickly develop rapport with prospects, and I can often secure the interest of the most passive candidate because of how I approach them on the phone. And that’s what sets apart a good recruiter — bringing high-performing candidates to the interview table and providing the information necessary to bring those candidates aboard.