It seems we’ve just recovered from the holiday season, and now it’s time to gear up for the summer. How did that happen? Time moves quickly and so should you when it comes to staffing up for one of the busiest times of the year—summer vacation!
As soon as the kids start singing “School’s Out!” you’ll have hordes of hungry road trippers, travelers, and festival-goers at your doorstep. Summer brings more hours of daylight, and for many restaurants, more hours of business. Are you ready?
U.S. restaurants expect to hire about 500,000 seasonal employees in an average summer, many of them high school and college students, according the National Restaurant Association. So it’s no surprise that competition can get pretty fierce. The sooner you get your summer hires squared away, the more prepared you’ll be for peak season.
Here are six hiring tips to set you up for success this summer:
- Get social. There’s a big talent pool out there, and you don’t have to wait for walk-ins. If your summer staff is made up of high school and college students, go where they are—social media! And if you don’t already offer online applications, it’s time for an upgrade.
- Promote your brand. Summer job seekers are starting to weight their options. What makes working at your restaurant better than working next door? Amp up your job description and market your company as a fun place to work.
- Add assessments. Although the work may be temporary, staff quality still matters. Guests won’t forget a bad experience, and in peak season, the pressure’s on. Make sure to hire people who fit your culture and have a special knack for food service.
- Tailor your interview questions. Think about the daily tasks and skills needed for the job, then create a list of interview questions that specifically address those tasks. For example, if you’re hiring a restaurant manager, ask them to tell you about a time when the kitchen got backed up and guests were getting frustrated. How did they handle the problem?
- Don’t get sloppy. Follow your process. While it may be tempting to skip a reference check when you have a lot of positions to fill, fight the urge. It’s better to hire right the first time than to fire mid-season (or worse—mid-shift!)
- Repeat what works. Reach out to last year’s shining stars. Do they want to spend another summer with you? And, while you’re at it, ask them if they have friends who are interested too.
Hungry to hire this summer? Don’t sweat it.