Attracting the best employees

Having a hard time creating a solid front of house staff. I’m losing some key players this summer and I am having a hard time finding replacements. Craigslist seems to attract a not so desirable demographic. Any thoughts, suggestions?

I’ve given up on CL for the most part. I still post there when I have an opening, because what the heck it’s free… but I never hire anybody that comes in from there any more. Find the biggest jobs board in your area (probably connected to a newspaper website) and buy an ad. Ours costs 85 bucks and that’s much cheaper than hiring wrong people for the job.

Generally speaking though, what it takes to attract the best employees is money. Pay the best and you’ll attract the best. I learned that lesson the hard way over the years.

We are kind of quick serve where the customer orders at the counter, but we take care of everything after that like a full service restaurant. It’s a highly tipped position, but we still pay a full $7.25 hourly. My front of house is averaging around $17 per hour over the pay periods right now… not bad money for a college student working part time. As you might imagine, I have an amazing front of house staff.

We take a paid post on Facebook and target to our employee demographic, post on craigslist and put help wanted box toppers on our pizza boxes. When we do all three for a few days we generally get about 15-20 applications.

I agree on the money. If employees can make a dollar an hour more working for you, over time you will get a great crew.

They say “pay peanuts and get monkeys” But sometimes you pay bigger peanuts and get bigger monkeys.
Money is not always the motivator.
Steve, I bet people want to work for you because your run a great operation where employees are valued
I find the best workers I have are ones who’s parents either have their own business or work in managerial positions. Work ethics rub off. These are the types you should be looking for

Dave, I would add that always treating people with respect goes a long way. Even when you are unhappy with the job someone is doing telling them in a way that shows respect for them as a person goes a long way. It is something I insist on from my managers. The wages do not hurt though. Employees know what they can get around town for similar work and paying under that will not keep people on the job. Similarly, if they know they are making a buck more than they might elsewhere the whole pay thing goes away and they stay or go based on other things. (like moving on in life… can’t be a pie tosser in a ski town forever!)

As a destination resort, we attract employees from all around the nation who want to come here and ski/snowboard. But, they come and go. Young people (early 20s) come to town and work and play a few years and then move on so turn-over is built in. I notice a big difference in work attitudes regionally. I have had great luck with employees from the Midwest and New England. If I have a core crew with some managers, cooks and drivers that have been with us for a year or two that is about the best I think I can expect here. Right now our GM has been with us 7-8 years in various jobs, one assistant manager worked for us for 2-3 years, left and then recently came back. The other assistant manager is new to the job but has worked for us for 3 years. We have one cook for 4 years (part timer) and another for 2. About the same for drivers with a couple that have worked for us a couple of years. The rest have been with us less than a year. Right now, we have only one new hire in the store that has been with us less than 90 days.

Yup! Sad but true.
I am currently trying to get a few “Vocational Rehab” specialty cases up to speed in my dish area, The state actually pays their wage for the first 30 days so an employer will give them a chance. They provided a job trainer to work with them for their first few days too.
But, these guys cannot seem to do any work without direct (and constant) supervision. Dealing with that these last 10 days has about got me to the end of my patience.
When we advertise in our local paper, all I seem to get is people that want to keep getting unemployment compensation, so they fill out applications, waste my time with an interview, and do not show up their first scheduled day. The most memorable one was a guy that I hired last summer, he didn’t seem pleased that he was hired, when he shows up for his first scheduled day, he is wearing pajama bottoms, a bath robe with no shirt under it, bath slippers on his feet, and a bandana wrapped around his skull. He was given an hour to go home and come back dressed appropriately (as outlined in his employee handbook) and we never saw him again.

This is a great idea! Why has that never occurred to me?

I’m becoming a big fan of open interviews. We set aside a 2 hour block of time within the time the employee would be expected to work and take applications, interview & screen during that time. When the application process is done on our time, we seem to get a better crop of applicants than just taking them whenever it is convenient for the applicant. We use a modified version of Bill Marvin’s screening interview to grade the applicants: It works as well as the person doing the screening wants it to work…

I was told a while back that only 0.70 per hour extra was needed…That and making employees feel important and empowered gave you an edge over the run of the mill minimum wage worker…

I could see 70 cents making the difference. It has been a while since we did anything other than whole dollars though. If we hire a hire a high school kid it would be at $9.00 but anyone older with some job history is $10. They get another dollar usually 2-3 pay periods later when they know the kitchen and the menu and they can keep up on the line with the veterans. $12 is for the ability open the store. $12 plus bonuses that take them to $13-$16 depending on how busy we are and other factors is for assistant managers (can run a shift and close). GM makes $16-$20 depending on sales, costs and other factors. GM and assistant managers get season ski passes and paid vacations.

Steve, I bet people want to work for you because your run a great operation where employees are valued

I believe that’s important to getting great employees to stay and perform well, but that’s not what gets them hired on in the first place.

I was told a while back that only 0.70 per hour extra was needed…That and making employees feel important and empowered gave you an edge over the run of the mill minimum wage worker…

I suppose it’s regional, but putting up an ad for starting pay of $7.95/hr here would get me a lot of applications from the unemployable, but nobody solid. I need to start at $9.00/hr to get worthwhile applications these days.

Yes, feeling important and empowered is important to employees (especially good ones) but that’s a management process, not a recruitment one. None of that matters if you aren’t offering enough to recruit good employees in the first place.

Do you use this in person, or as a phone screening? I could see it being valuable for phone screening applicants prior to doing an in-person interview.


Create an environment where your employees are happy to come to work and pay them fairly. If you do this correctly you will have a stack of referrals from their friends and family. Friends have a higher success rate in my experience because they do not want to make their friend look bad. Just do not schedule them together often :slight_smile:

Just upped my pay scale 14% across the board and amazingly my applicants are way better looking than the ones I was attracting before.