Just like any job or career, not every person is the right fit to work in a hospitality or tourism business. With hiring, training, and retention being such critical issues in the industry, it is essential to focus business management’s energy on hiring the right people who are the right fit for your business.
Skill has always been a prerequisite for most careers, and although expertise and experience is a crucial area for hiring new staff, there is something that is far more important in my mind. That is taking the time to get to know your potential hires, and seeing if they are the right fit for your business in personality, lifestyle, and emotional maturity.
I have always said that you need to “Hire for personality, Train for skill”. The reason I say this is because when you work in a customer-service focused business, having the right people who are friendly, accommodating, caring toward the customer, enjoy communicating, and most of all who ‘like other people’ is key to a successful service-based business.
You can hire someone with 15 years of experience and skills who is surly with your customers and doesn’t want to work the way you want them to, or you can hire someone who is a bit newer to the industry, “a bit greener”, and train them in the way you want to do service. The likelihood is you will need to prepare them anyway, so taking the extra time to train the right fit for your business, even if they have a little less experience can often make for a better hiring decision.
Another key thing to think about is to hire people that fit your vibe. Find your vibe and hire your tribe. The industry hours are long and odd, and it can be heated and stressful. You want (and need) people who believe in what you do and will go the extra mile when the going gets busy. The type of hire for an all vegan café inner-city is going to be very different to the type of person you hire for a high-end regional restaurant with a focus on wine, and that’s Ok. There is a job that is right for everyone, it is just about taking the time to ask the right questions and finding out why they want to work for your venue.
Skill is important, no doubt. However, a lot of hiring and getting the right people for the job is more about recruiting personality, looking for people who will work hard in your business, who are honest and genuine, and fit with your business personality.
The rest can be taught, but personality cannot be bought.
Trust your gut, take the time to ask the people you are potentially hiring why they want to work for you, what they like to do in their down-time, and how they deal with stress professionally and personally as these will be key answers that you need to decide on a potential hire.
It is so important to try and read the person you are looking to hire, much more so than just looking at an impressive resume on a piece of paper. I believe you find out far more about a person in asking some of these key questions than a resume alone will tell you. You also want to know what food, wine, and dining they like. Why? Because the staff you hire will become your number one sales people. They are out on the floor every day, in your shop front, or at your tasting table selling your product. If they don’t even like it, then why should the customer.
Love to hear your thoughts, KB
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: