The ongoing recruitment of quality candidates is one of the biggest challenges restaurant operators face. When you are under pressure to establish a consistent pipeline of talent, it's easy to become reliant on the same tactics time and time again.
But instead of posting an ad on the same online job board or placing a hiring sign in the window yet again, try these ideas to get out of that hiring rut once and for all.
Here are 20 "outside the box" recruiting ideas to find talented crewmembers and managers.
1. In-house referrals. Tap into the power of your existing staff's social circles and ask them to send referrals your way. Better yet, incentivize it by offering a gift card or paid day off for every referral who is hired and stays on at least six months.
2. Community posting. Post job ads on public bulletin boards at high-visibility locations such as grocery stores, laundry mats, apartment complexes, fitness facilities, and community centers.
3. Positive spin. Turn a negative into a positive for those who may be losing their jobs due to downsizing, layoffs, and business closures. Contact the businessowner to see if you can provide their departing employees with information regarding employment opportunities at your restaurant. Don't limit your outreach efforts to just food-related businesses either — you can find amazing talent with the right mix of personality, attitude, and outlook anywhere.
4. Put it on the big screen. Have a movie theater or drive-in nearby? Inquire about advertising placement during movie previews. Short promo videos highlighting the company's culture and opportunities are great to use here.
5. Opt for editorial. Offer to write a weekly column in your community newspaper. Anything food-related can be fair game — from cooking tips to a Q&A with local farmers and food suppliers. This is a win-win as editors are frequently looking for new content and you'll be positioned as an expert while also reaching potential candidates and customers too.
6. Go back to school. Get involved with local primary and secondary schools. Participating in Career Day, job fairs, and other educational opportunities like Junior Achievement means you can introduce students to food service careers, connect with students who are in the job market, and reinforce your restaurant's image within the community.
7. Meet up with others. Recruiting doesn't have to be so formal. Seek out likeminded individuals by joining groups on social networking sites like Meetup. Depending on your location, you may find groups centered around everything from farm-to-table cooking to veganism…not to mention, some incredibly knowledgeable people who are passionate about food.