Are You Ready for the Wave of Job Applicants?

As states begin to reopen across the country, restaurants are looking for ways to bring back customers and employees in a safe way. Unfortunately, many of these locations are now understaffed due to furloughs or layoffs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hospitality industry lost more than seven million jobs in April

With restaurants opening back up, hiring managers will need to find applicants to quickly fill positions. While some roles will remain the same, new positions around sanitation will likely be required to address not only CDC and State guidelines, but also customers’ concerns around safety in a post-pandemic world. Staffing open positions amid a surplus of available talent is creating a perfect storm for restaurant owners across the country. Instead of not having enough talent, hiring managers will now need to sift through hundreds if not thousands of job applicants quickly and efficiently to get their businesses back up and running. 

The process of sorting through the number of applicants will be impossible to manage manually. This is where technology can do a lot of the heavy lifting, while also improving the ways in which talent acquisition teams fill open positions with the best candidates. Beyond finding the best applicant, companies should strive to make sure the candidates feel valued and appreciated throughout their entire hiring process. To help manage the incoming wave of job seekers, I put together three tactics for companies to consider. 

Find Ways to Enhance Your Current Solutions

If there’s anything we are learning from COVID-19, it’s that businesses must be able to quickly adapt. Typical tech stacks for hiring managers include an applicant tracking system (ATS), allowing hiring managers to automate previously manual tasks. These types of automation tools are great as they help companies track candidates throughout the entire hiring process. However, with the influx of applicants expected to impact restaurants and businesses, additional tools at the forefront of the application processes, such as a visual-based personality assessment, can aid in prioritizing the pool of candidates, while maintaining completion rates. 

While some companies are incorporating text-based assessments into their hiring process to prioritize and screen candidates, there is only so much these solutions can do to find the ideal candidate without serious impact to the candidate experience. Especially for hourly workers in the restaurant industry, a visual-based assessment is convenient and allows the candidate to apply easily through a mobile-based application with quick turnaround time. No longer are assessments just for your managers and above, and candidates do not need to plan out 45 minutes in their day to sit down and read through a personality assessment to get their results. With an image-based solution, they can receive valuable insights in under two minutes. In doing so, candidates aren’t the only ones who save valuable time, but hiring managers also get time back in their day by having a prioritized group of applicants, while gaining necessary insight into how to evaluate each candidate based on their individual strengths and weaknesses.

We’re all experiencing changes at this time, requiring many of us to pivot away from processes we previously relied upon. Hiring teams that don’t make enhancements to legacy practices will soon be bombarded by the influx of applicants, causing them to miss out on good candidates and further lengthen their time-to-hire.

Use Data to Find Your Ideal Candidate 

With so many applicants to choose from, candidate prioritization will be extremely important. Rather than rely on gut instinct, hiring teams should seek data and insight into what type of individual would thrive in each role, taking into account its place within the restaurant.

For hiring managers at restaurants, it can be easy to hire a body to simply fill the position rather than find someone who is the best fit for that position. Unfortunately, this approach often leaves the new employee unhappy with their role and potentially puts the hiring manager back into a cycle of hiring, trying to recruit yet another new employee. Sound familiar?

Implementing new solutions to the hiring process not only helps HR and talent acquisition teams but also improves the candidate’s overall experience. With the data and insights pulled from a visual-based personality assessment, interview processes can be tailored to each potential employee, showing the candidate they will be a valuable member of the restaurant’s team.

To effectively identify the ideal candidate, hiring teams must define a fit score, a tool used to provide insights into results created against industry or company benchmarks. The fit score helps compare candidates, utilizing personality and performance information to determine an ideal candidate profile. By having a fit score in place, hiring managers can identify the best-fit applicants and have more time to connect with the right candidates.

Check Your Processes

As the restaurant industry starts to come back, owners and managers are taking the time to implement new social distancing and hygiene processes to improve the customer experience and ease concerns post-pandemic. Similarly, restaurants should take a moment to review their hiring practices before the initial wave of applications hit. Investing in new tools like the visual-based personality assessment and creating a new protocol for hiring processes are both things that can be done now to improve the candidate experience immediately and in the future. 

With restaurants already beginning to reopen and bring back revenue, the last thing any restaurant hiring manager wants to worry about is adjusting and implementing new tools as their hiring is in full swing. Strategically allocating resources is of the utmost importance to accommodate the incoming influx of applicants. 

There is no way to avoid the incoming wave of applicants. Unemployed servers, bartenders and hosts will apply for multiple roles, testing the limits of hiring manager’s capacity. By incorporating new methods and technologies into the hiring process, hiring managers can turn a challenge into an opportunity and more importantly, leave the candidate with a memorable experience.