It's no secret. In the last couple of years, we have seen a complete 180 in the restaurant labor market. Five years ago, when I was hiring to open our downtown Nashville location, we had 700 applicants show up to the job fair. After opening, I could post a Craigslist ad for servers and have three general managers apply just to get their foot in the door somewhere.
Today is a very different story. Across the country, restaurant markets have exploded and my hometown of Nashville has been no exception. It seems that there is a new restaurant opening every day. I want to stress here that I am not complaining. This is a great sign for the economy, and personally I believe iron sharpens iron. Competition makes us sharper and if you choose to simply whine about it or worse, ignore it, you are more likely to become one of the restaurant failure statistics.
In the past, I have shared my tactics on how to get the most out of an interview (Part One, Part Two, Part Three). Today, I want to focus on crafting the initial job listing, whether it's on Craigslist, Indeed, or an industry specific site. With a competitive market, it is absolutely crucial that your job listing is top notch and rises above the rest of the noise. At the end of this post, you can sign up for a FREE job listing template that you can download, copy, paste, edit, do whatever the heck you want with (can I get an amen??). Here is how you can create a kickass job listing.
First things first, you need to grab their attention. Don't be generic (XYZ Restaurant is hiring all positions!). Also don't be dramatic (ABC RESTAURANT IS HIRING SUPER AWESOME PEOPLE!!) or vague (We love our job! $50k+!). That's a real one I just saw on Craigslist. Can you say scammy? Make listings for specific positions, and keep it simple and to the point:
- XYZ Restaurant is hiring experienced servers
- ABC Restaurant is hiring craft bartenders
- LMNOP Restaurant is hiring prep and line cooks
You get the drift.
1. Introduce your restaurant and what you are hiring for.
[RESTAURANT NAME] is hiring dishwashers to join our team! The Dishwasher provides guest service by assuring that all tableware, glassware, chinaware, and cooking utensils are sanitary and clean. The Dishwasher is the person most responsible for making sure that guest health is protected by always using the highest standards of cleanliness in all areas of the restaurant. Although the Dishwasher rarely serves guests directly, the work done by the Dishwasher is critical to every guest and the people who directly serve guests.
2. List the requirements for the position. These are the absolute musts for the position. (Note: Bullet points are easier to read than a long paragraph)
- 18 years of age or older
- Clean and professional appearance
- Reach and lift overhead up to 25 pounds
- Stand for long periods of time
- Work in hot and cold temperature extremes subject to fluctuations for long periods of time.
- Work around, handle, operate, and control hot equipment and products in a safe manner
3. List the qualifications for the position. These are qualities that you are looking for in a person.
- Work at a pace consistent with changing business volume and demands
- Ability to learn quickly
- Ability to understand and carry out oral and written instructions and request clarification when needed
- Ability to work as part of a team
- Positive attitude
4. List the benefits of working for your company. Remember that they are shopping you as much as you are shopping them.
- Family-friendly and positive work environment
- Competitive pay rates, willing to pay for experience
- 50% off in-house meals and apparel both on and off shift
- Supportive management team with a focus on hospitality
- Health insurance available for full-time employees
- Career growth opportunities, we love to train and promote from within!
5. Wrap up with a little more about your company. Just 2-3 sentences and where they can find more information.
We are a busy family-owned & operated restaurant that invests in our people. We care greatly for our employees and are looking for people that we will positively contribute to our business. For more information please visit our website at www.xyzrestaurant.com.
I like to include a few instructions at the bottom. For staff level positions, we prefer that they simply apply in person. For management candidates, I ask them to email a resume and a brief introductory paragraph about themselves. List the best times for them to come by, and include any other useful information for when they come. You're trying to put them at ease by giving them the best shot to impress you, and also seeing if they pay attention to details and instructions.
**PLEASE NOTE** DO NOT apply via email, we want to meet you! Apply in person M-F 8-10am and 2-4pm.
PARKING: Most reliable and affordable parking for in and out is found at the Public Library Garage, accessed from 7th or 6th Ave. between Commerce and Church Street. Visit parkitdowntown.com for more options. Street parking is also available near the restaurant, but is limited during peak traffic times.
Yes! Photos! If the site you are using allows photos (like Craigslist), USE THEM. This makes you stand out far and above the rest of the listings. You are setting the tone for the applicant and giving them a window into what their life would look like if they worked for you. A word to the wise though: poor quality pictures can have the opposite effect so invest some time into taking some decent photos. If you aren't confident behind the camera, hire someone that is. This is one of the smartest ways you can spend your dollars because you will use them all the time (just make sure that you have full rights and ownership to the photos, we've made that mistake before!). Here are some of the photos I use when I post a listing for Puckett's.
How you craft a job listing is incredibly important. You are telling the candidate who you are, that you are someone that has their sh*t together and that you'd be a great person to work for. A lazy or incomplete listing tells them that you are just that -- a lazy and unappreciative boss -- whether it's true or not.
So what do you think? What are your job listing tricks?
Photo credit: Amy Whidby. All images are property of A. Marshall Family Foods. All content is copyright of Claire Crowell/Raised by the Fork. Please credit Raised by the Fork when sharing content, and link back directly to this post.