You have a clear vision of how you want to run your bar or nightclub but getting there through your staff seems difficult. Now, even though hiring the correct individual can be a daunting task don’t revert to a candidate that isn’t perfect just because you need someone. Why put the time and energy into properly training someone when you know ultimately they may not work out.
Effective recruitment and selection strategies are extremely important to a successful venue. And when it comes to the hospitality industry, first impressions matter. If you do not have a positive initial reaction to the individual you are interviewing neither will your guests. For the simplest of examples, a clean cut preppy guy comes in but you have a grunge dive bar. Not the best fit.
Your service staff needs to be your front lines for profits and good hospitality employees tend to be highly social and in tune with others. Therefore, say to hell with experience and initially hire for personality. Experience or training can come after figuring out if this individual meets the esthetic and persona of your venue.
Jon Taffer, star and co-executive producer of Spike TV’s hit show Bar Rescue and president of Nightclub & Bar Media Group states that you need to figure out “what the ‘star’ employees have that others don’t. Then sum them up in eight adjectives.” Utilize these adjectives in the job descriptions. For example if your venue is a sports bar you might say - 'Looking for a highly motivated, outgoing, sports loving individual to join a team of hardworking service professionals in a fast passed environment.' This way you will set yourself up to draw in more appropriate candidates.
After deciding on the top prospects, then call them in for an interview. Again, utilize these eight adjectives during the initial conversation. Ask them general questions (i.e. did you catch the game last night), if they answer “Yes, I can’t believe they won in the last three minutes,” then you can check of sports loving. If you are able to check off the majority of the adjectives selected then move on to experience. However, remember that everyone can be trained if they have the right attitude.
Examine your interview process to identify the right experience based questions to ask. You want to look over the resume carefully and ask appropriate questions. Ask the candidate questions which are not easy to answer like:
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What do you believe are your biggest weaknesses?
- How do you handle customers who have had too much to drink?
- What do you do if you suspect another employee is pocketing others’ tips?
This is where you want to be wary of the red flags and always check references. Lastly, know the law. You can’t ask questions related to age, race, or marital status during the interview. In the end, remember that hiring great staff is a critical step in your success.