Hiring Best Practices

In a recent trade magazine, I was reading an article about the hiring practices of a large franchise who hired with the motto “Hire hard manage easy.” While I believe the turnover in our store is better than the industry standard, I would like it to be lower. We all know that training new employees is expensive & an employee that already knows your systems is much more efficient. With that being said, I would like to hire more winners & less of the alternative.

This has caused me to look at our hiring procedures. Does anyone in the tank have any special tips or procedures that has helped keep the idiots at bay? Questions you ask, hoops you make them jump through, test you make them take?

We have been throwing around the idea of a simple intelligence test to give potential employees that would test simple things like math and problem solving.

  1. Get rid of trouble makers and idiots promptly.
  2. Communicate a high expectation of performance and insist on fullfilling it.
  3. Figure out what the going rate is for employees in your area and pay $1.00 more per hour.

I’ve always been a big fan of Bill Marvin’s screening interview. We use a slightly modified version, you can check it out at http://www.averspizza.com/ScreeningInterview.pdf . The idea is to screen as many applicants as possible, grade them and then call back and fully interview the best scores.

We’ve also been kicking around running to the dollar store and getting one of those play cash drawers full of play coins and bills. Use it to see if a potential cashier/driver can make change correctly in their head.

Another idea: Ask them to open up their wallet/purse and “show me the money.” Crumpled, disorganized bills are a sign of a disorganized person that doesn’t respect money. A billfold where all the bills are flat, faced and grouped by denomination should flag someone with their act together… either that or an O.C.D. Can’t win 'em all!

Brad thanks for the link. I really like the quantitative way to compare candidates. How did you modify the version I see online?

If i remember correctly, I added the 1st question after reading ideas from another hiring guru.

And often my G.M. modifies it by not bothering to ask the “How do you organize your time off” question - he can tell by that point in the process whether or not the interviewee will even understand the question. When we 1st started using it, he found it disturbing how many people gave the bad answer exactly as worded on the form.

Although, I think he often grades on a curve (lots of benefit of the doubt “maybe” points). I’ve considered cutting out the “maybe” and declaring any non-match for the good responses to be automatic no’s. Either that, or just making a multiple choice form and screen them from the back of my application.

I am lot more interested if whether they are outgoing, look me in the eye and speak in complete sentances than in whether they can make change or toss dough. I can teach them to make change and toss dough.

I care more if they will get along with the crew, communicate well with customers and show up on time and presentable than I am in whether the personal life is organized. I can teach them to organize the work.

This is low skill level work. I hire for the person not the resume. I would much prefer a newbie to the make line that gets along with people and is cheerful and reliable to a pizza rock star that is a jerk.

I could not agree more, I am just looking for additional ways to catch more undesirables in the hiring process rather than once they are in the store. Any tricks, techniques or things I can do to facilitate that process is a win for me.

Are you a good judge of people? Trust your instincts. Take them across the street for coffee and talk about anything for a half hour. If you don’t like to be around them, your customers and other employees will likely respond the same way.

I am with Steve on trust your gut. You will be right more times than not. If something or someone seems off…there probably is a problem. One other thing… kind of what Steve said about take them for a cup of coffee or something… a lot of people are really nervous while being interviewed. That being said…you run the risk of passing on a really good person because they came across as “off.” Narrow your list down and meet the short list group for lunch or a quick drink or something. Talk about something other than the job for a few minutes. Do they open up? Can they converse with ease with you…someone they just met? I have always had great luck with this technique but it is not 100% as nothing is. Just trust yourself.

my most important quality I look for is personality its an intangible that you can not teach no matter how organized or efficient someone is if they cant convey a level of friendliness and a upper customer service than its hard to place you in my restaurant

I offer a cash bounty on employee referrals. We have a small crew and it helps that everyone gets along. People are not going to refer someone that they do not want to work with, or are lazy. The new employee needs to work a minimum of 6 pay periods before the bonus gets paid. Overall it has worked out quite well for us.


If you were to go with a hiring test make sure you give it to everyone and not selectively as this could cause legal problems given the right circumstances and make sure you are testing for bona fide job requirements (these shoudl be formally documented). Also I’d buy something off the shelf verus making it up on your own for the same reasons. Years ago when i worked for a coporate pizza hut (boy what a difference from the franchisee’s I worked for) they had as part of the app a short test. I think it was like 5 or 6 questions. It dealt with simple math, ability to read a schedule, ability to comprehend instructions, etc. This test seemed like the stupidest thing I had ever seen. But after I had been there a while and got to see applicants scores I understood why they had it.


If you need 6 people hire 12 and get rid of the ones that suck and the others will find their way out if they can’t cut it.