You know restaurant managers would love to prescreen job candidates without plowing through a stack of resumes or conducting going-nowhere interviews. One company claims its new video technology can make it happen.
We know that high turnover is a given for most restaurants, which is why managers are always on the lookout for potential new employees. However, working through a list of job seekers can be a painful process that consumes too much managerial time and energy.
It’s no fun on the other side of the hiring equation, either. Job candidates typically spend a lot of time and energy trekking from restaurant to restaurant in search of their next job.
It’s the same in retail and other industries, too, not just restaurants. That’s the reason a Virginia-based company called JobOn decided to get into the video job application business. We’re not endorsing their product. But we can see where this company’s approach might be of interest to many restaurant operators.
JobOn works on the same principle as an online dating service: see the person first on video, proceed to the in-person meeting if you’re interested.
The process begins when the restaurant posts a notice about its openings on the JobOn website (www.jobon.com). Interested applicants reply by submitting a video application they’ve recorded via a webcam or smartphone.
The video’s content isn’t all that much. It consists of the applicant answering a few common interview questions. But much more importantly, the restaurant manager gets to see how the applicant looks and sounds—critical factors when filling many restaurant jobs.
The service is free for job seekers; restaurants pay to list their open positions on the JobOn website at a rate the company describes as “less than the cost of a classified ad.”
It’s a simple process, but we see how it could work well for some restaurants. Restaurants ranging from McDonald’s to McCormick & Schmick’s are already on board.
“Traditional job searching and hiring is backward because the interview is the most important part of the process,” says JobOn c.e.o. Jody Presti. “Employers know within a few seconds if someone is a good fit, so we put the interview first. This prevents employers from wasting time on paper applications in which all applicants look the same, and on inappropriate interviews.”
It’s hard to argue with her logic. However, the video method makes the assumption that every restaurant job applicant owns a web-enabled device with video capabilities and knows how to use it. Many may not. The JobOn people point out that 50 percent of the Generation Y population owns a webcam, 80 percent of laptops are now webcam equipped and 40 percent of Skype minutes involve video-to-video calls.
The upshot: A large part of the job-seeking pool is equipped to submit videos to potential employers via this method.
JobOn touts a lower turnover rate as a potential hidden benefit of its approach. If restaurant managers are able to sort through a larger pool of candidates quickly before filling open positions, the odds of finding employees that are a good fit for a particular restaurant should increase. This theoretically will result in lower turnover—an outcome every restaurant manager would endorse.
We’re not saying the JobOn approach is perfect. And if you’re happy with the caliber of applicant your CraigsList ads attract, you might not need it. But it might be a tool worth exploring for those who want to cast a wider net in their search for new employees.