There’s no denying that many businesses, including restaurants, are facing a talent shortage. In general, more than half of employers admit that it has grown increasingly difficult to find qualified candidates over the past five years.
So, how can you get more high-quality candidates walking through your doors? One way is to brand the candidate experience. In short, this means helping a candidate immediately understand who you are and what makes you different. If what makes your restaurant unique doesn’t immediately jump out at them or if they don’t see how they can be a valuable part of your team, they are certain to move onto the next company. This is especially the case for high-quality candidates and millennials. These individuals do their research and know what they are looking for in a company and job.
On average, job seekers use 18 different sources when searching for a job. The number of sources candidates use today has steadily increased from previous years, which further reinforces the idea of a “consumer candidate.” Prospective employees aren’t afraid to “shop around,” so you better make sure your “storefront” — aka your job posting — looks attractive. Candidates will use all of the information available to them before they decide whether to apply. You must convey in a job posting what your company does and how it relates to their personal values.
The top two things employees of all age groups want from work is the opportunity to “make a positive impact on my organization” and to “help solve social and/or environmental challenges.” They need to be able to process the information you provide to them and determine if it sounds like your job is the right one to fulfill their needs. Millennials want these even more than gen Xers and baby boomers, so it is imperative you convey your brand’s message clearly if you are trying to attract younger candidates.
How can you brand the candidate experience?
• Share your employee value proposition. This is a consistent message regarding what your restaurant can do for candidates as employees. Share your benefits and perks. Know the type of candidate you are trying to attract and share a clear message that will resonate with their interests and needs. Share why your company receives high ratings from employees. Highlight awards you may have won and anything that shows the value employees experience.
• Tell your story. Describe your values and what makes your restaurant unique. Engage candidates in the bigger picture of what your organization is trying to do beyond making a profit. Let candidates hear it from your people through video, infographics and engaging quotes from employees. Use team member testimonials to tell your brand’s story with pictures.
• Treat candidates like customers. Candidates are volunteering their time to apply for a job and currently have the power in this labor market. Make sure they feel appreciated and receive affirming communications throughout the process. Send auto texts at each step along the way regarding receipt of the application and/or a reminder about a scheduled interview. Share how (email, text, snail mail) and when they will hear from you. Let them know how quickly you plan on making a decision… and follow through with your plan.
• Use simple, engaging language. Provide short and interesting job descriptions that describe your culture and what they can expect when working with you. Highlight the most important parts of the job and what makes it unique at your restaurant. Avoid a long, generic list of job duties. Focus on the elements of the job that are the most important to you and the aspectsd that are most important for a good fit.
• Implement a life-cycle branding experience. From recruiting to hiring to onboarding to performance management activities, employees need to experience a consistent brand. Be clear about your vision and values and make sure they permeate every step of the process. Once you sell a candidate on what makes you great, you need to actually live it or they will just leave. Ensure that you are evaluating how you are doing and collect feedback from your people about key parts of your culture. You can do many things to create a positive candidate experience. Whatever you do, make sure you consistently apply the process for every prospective employee.
If you take all these steps, your restaurant is sure to generate positive reviews that will help you stand out from the competition. Start mapping out your strategy today.
James Ringler oversees Corvirtus’ Consulting Solutions, ensuring quality design and implementation of solutions that support customer success.