These days finding good staff is like searching for a needle in a haystack. It’s always one of the biggest challenges independent business owners have, but recently, it’s become seemingly insurmountable to recruit people.

We don’t need to tell you that, you’ve been in it neck deep.

We’ve got some tips to share on how to conquer your staffing challenge. We’ll give you creative ideas on how to find qualified employees, and we’ll also offer some advice on how to get them to show up for the interview, along with some great questions to ask once they are there.

How To Find Staff (The GOOD Ones!)

The first myth we’ll dispel is… do not waste your money on the online job posting sites. They are in the business of selling space. You’ll pay for an ad regardless of whether or not you find employees. Their sole purpose is to drive traffic to their site – to have as many applicants go to their site as possible – where thousands of employers are waiting. You are fishing in a pond that is too large when you try to find employees online with them.

Instead, one option is to take control and create your own Google Ads, spending money to highly target the geographic region and specific future employees who are using the relevant keywords to find you. It will get you MUCH better results for less money.

Job Sites

Your staff and customers are your next best source of potential candidates. Both have a vested interest in finding good people. Create a referral program for staff and customers – who else knows better? Use your social media accounts, your customer list, and a referral bonus to solicit interest.

How About Some Creative Recruitment Ideas?

Like so many other times in life, it pays to think outside the box. Traditional methods will only go so far. Without knowing the specifics of your business, community, and location, it’s hard to give you a specific direction. But here’s some groups of people that might be untapped resources that you can market to.

  • Veterans

  • Moms back into the workforce

  • Moms with kids who need flexibility

  • People with disabilities

  • Students in related fields of study

  • Formerly incarcerated individuals

  • Seniors

  • Past employees

  • College newspapers

Don’t Be Shy!

It’s important that there’s no question that you are hiring – use whatever means you have available in-house – bathroom signage, a card with the bill, exterior signage. A Big Challenge requires MASSIVE ACTION!

All of the sources you use should lead to your online hiring page with all the necessary information: a recruitment video, the application, and interview booking calendar.

Cast a wide net when you set out to find good employees. The larger the pool of candidates you have to choose from, the better your chances of finding the right ones. You can’t have too much response – it’s inevitable that only a small percentage of the interested candidates will become qualified candidates – one’s who show up to the interview and are suited to the job.

Here’s a sandwich board we saw at the drive-thru at Starbucks. It does a good job of giving key details and also a little insight into the company culture. And the call to action is easier to remember with a simple URL. I would’ve turned this into a “QR” code as well, so people can just scan it with their phones and go right to your online application site.

How Do I Get Job Seekers To Pick My Business?

This is where independent businesses get to shine. Here’s the chance to set yourself apart from the large chain options, where an employee can get lost in the masses. Your company culture, your interest in the individual, and the flexibility you can offer are what really appeals to current candidates.

Encourage your current employees to share testimonials about their jobs, either written or on video, and use them on your hiring page and in your hiring social media posts.

Focus on what makes you better than the other options they might be considering. If you have trouble coming up with those things, ask your employees. What do they like about working for you, why do they stay, what do they think are the key benefits to their position?

Interview Secrets

Interview Secrets

Once your candidates find you, you’ll set up interviews to meet them in person. Ideally, this is done through an online application and scheduling platform to limit your workload. The online process also allows for reminders texts to be sent, which increases the chances of the prospective employees to show up for their interview.

Then, when you are sitting with them face to face, you’ll have the best opportunity to see if they are suited for the job.

In addition to the standard questions that provide you with the facts you want to know, there’s a set of questions you might be forgetting. These questions reveal people’s “soft skills” to consider.

  • What is their personality like?
  • How well do they work with others?
  • Will they show up on time?
  • Will they take initiative?

Those qualities are harder to ask specifically and get honest answers, so your questions need to flush them out in a more conversational manner.

  • Tell me about something you were asked to do that you have never done before. How did you react, and what did you learn?
  • What is one of your greatest life lessons?
  • How did you handle an urgent problem when your supervisor or manager was away?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where being honest landed you in trouble?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you successfully dealt with an unhappy customer?
  • What do you value in your teammates?
  • What makes you excited to get up and come to work?
  • Tell me about a time you messed up. This is one of the most popular interview questions that is a great test of humility and self-awareness.
  • If you were a superhero, which one would you be and why? (This always shows me what type of person they are and what they value.)

And here’s one you’ve probably never considered before, but it is said to be one of the best tests of intelligence and communication skills and a way to gauge passion.

“Explain something to me in five minutes that is complicated, but you know well?”

One of the most important things to look for in a candidate is their communication skills. Can they express themselves clearly and confidently? Do they have good listening skills? Do they make sound decisions? Good communication is essential for any team to function well, so it’s important to hire someone who will be a good communicator.

Another important thing to look for is maturity. You want someone who will be able to handle the stress of the job and not let it get to them. They should also be able to take direction well and not take things personally. A mature candidate will be a good addition to any team.

These types of questions help you see their personality, work ethic, communication skills, and maturity. You want to find the right person who has the skills and personality that will fit well into your team. Sometimes, you must decide based on gut feeling, and there isn’t always a “right” answer.

For more great questions to ask when conducting interviews, see this blog post.

Your Hiring Process Needs A System

Don’t limit your search – you need to be constantly seeking potential candidates and funneling them into an online recruitment process that does not require a lot of work on your part.

If you’re having trouble finding the right candidates, getting creative with your hiring process can help. Try looking for people in unconventional places or thinking outside the box when it comes to job descriptions. Sometimes, the best candidates are the ones who don’t necessarily fit the mold.

Then send them to a dedicated career page with the job openings, why you are the best option to choose, a recruitment video that shows your culture, an electronic application, and an interview booking platform. You should only have to get involved once it’s time to check references and take part in the interview process.

We’ve only touched on the tip of the iceberg in this article. If you own a restaurant and are ready for more insight and specifics on how you can automate a streamlined hiring process that works, filling your inbox with qualified candidates ready to work…

Click the link below for a video recording of a masterclass I recently put on, How To Fully Staff Your Restaurant In 45 Days Or Less!

Access Hiring Masterclass Now
Michael Thibault
Michael Thibault

Michael Thibault

Known as “The Done For You Marketing Guy for Restaurants.” International Speaker on Restaurant Marketing. Published contributing author of 4 Marketing Books. Industry expert on Google Searches and Review Sites. Recovering Independent Restaurant Owner and Caterer of over 21 years. And, all-around good guy.

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