Man, has anyone else's job market been extremely tough lately? It's definitely a job seeker's market out in the restaurant biz these days. I try not to grumble too much because I know that it's a sign of a stronger economy, but that doesn't make it any easier when you're desperate to fill a position. As I mentioned before, here in Nashville a new trendy and awesome restaurant is opening every single week, sometimes every day. Every restaurant owner I know is holding on to their good employees for dear life, and rightfully so. I know I sure am.
Well today I want to tell you about one little trick that I used recently to get over 40 resumes in just 3 short days.
Craigslist is still the best job board for us here in Nashville, though I know bigger cities have restaurant specific boards that do well like Poached. I've also used other general job boards like Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter, which tend to turn out fewer but more serious candidates. That being said, they are more expensive and I still get the same candidates from Craigslist. The downside of Craigslist is that if you post an ad for a Chef, for example, you tend to get everyone under the sun from people that simply like to cook at home and would like to try being a Chef to actual qualified and experienced Executive Chefs. I suggest weeding out the less-than-qualified with a robust job post (which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago here and included a free job post template that you are welcome to steal).
Enough rambling. You're here because you want to know what one simple trick I employed to have over forty qualified resumes -- yes, qualified I say! -- flood my inbox in three days. I shared this little trick with my email list a couple of weeks ago (psst - you can sign up here, I share all kinds of inside stories, tips, and resources), but I thought it was so good that I had to share it with the general public as well. It's so simple, that it's a little silly. Ok, here it is.
I posted my ad for an Executive Chef in multiple cities on Craigslist.
Boom. That's it. I selected about eight cities that I think have 1) a good connection to food and 2) that seem to connect with Nashville. I posted in some smaller cities that I thought may be attracted to moving to a slightly larger city like Nashville (Louisville, Raleigh, Florence), and conversely posted in larger cities where I thought people may be looking for a different lifestyle (Austin, Chicago, Atlanta). I will tell you that I definitely had better luck with the bigger cities, specifically with Chicago. In my experience, Chicagoans love Nashville as they are our biggest visiting city when it comes to football and hockey -- so you may consider that factor when determining where to post. What city seems to travel to your city the most? Who has the biggest visiting crowd at your local football, basketball, baseball team etc? If you don't have a professional team, just shoot for a variety: a couple of smaller or equally-sized cities either within your state or one state away, and a couple of larger cities that are fairly accessible to your city. I want to add that eight cities was probably excessive (I was getting desperate) and I will likely post in 3-5 in the future.
A couple of details to note when posting in other cities:
- Make sure your ad is crystal clear that the position is in another city. In mine, I put our city and state in the opening line and also included just a little bit of information about the area (you can link to your local visitor's center or convention and visitors bureau.. as long as it's an attractive website).
- When they email you their resume, send a nice follow up and clarify again that the role is in your city, not theirs. No surprises! In all of my initial response emails I said: "Thank you for your interest in working for our company. I am processing resumes over the next 2-3 days. In the meantime, can you send me a brief description of your experience with locally sourcing food and/or working with local farmers? Also, I did want to clarify that the position is in Thompson's Station, TN, in case you missed that detail in the ad :-) " [We were hiring for an executive chef of our restaurant that has a farm on property and that kind of experience was listed in our requirements]
- I recommend only posting leadership roles in other cities, rather than staff-level roles like server or line cook.
- Decide before posting if you are willing to pay someone a relocation stipend to cover moving costs, etc. If you do, I don't necessarily recommend including that in your ad, but rather using it as a tool when negotiating.
Your next question once you receive these resumes might be...
How do I interview someone from a different city?
You can get my step-by-step guide for interviewing someone remotely for FREE, right here! Just fill out this handy little box and I will get it sent on over to you. Happy hunting my friends!