Best practices for hiring staff

Nov 22, 2017 bcrfauser01

In a move to address the critical skilled labour shortage in the kitchens of many Metro Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island restaurants, the BC Restaurant & Food Services Association (BCRFA) has focused on establishing industry-wide best practices for recruiting staff.


“The challenge facing our industry has become so prominent that we need to be proactive with how we tackle recruiting. The focus here is on quality so we are introducing best practices for vetting applicants and hiring the top ones,” says Ian Tostenson, President & CEO of the BCRFA. “Of course, once they’re hired we need to keep the enthusiasm by creating opportunities for growth, as this will reduce turnover.”


As an industry that employs 174,200 people across the province, the restaurant sector is looking for a large number of new workers on a consistent basis, using both a mix of unskilled/skilled and part-time/full-time workers. The demographic shift and a growing restaurant sector means that operators are facing a competitive hiring field – frankly, there are more jobs than employees. Still, restaurants are looking for people with a good attitude and, preferably, previous experience that can be built upon. To get the right team members, restaurateurs have to be good promoters and great employers.


A recent BCRFA study has shown that operators are using all available tools for recruiting, including: 82% social media; 72% career websites; 54% word of mouth; 41% using WorkBC Programs; 40% signs in the business; and 22% international recruiting. With the right advertising being used, the goal is to encourage employers to personalize their postings and stand out from the rest.


Best practices to use when looking to hire staff:

  • Create detailed job descriptions. Define roles and responsibilities. Include benefits or perks. Talk about the company culture. From the job title to the qualifications required, it is important to be clear and detailed in order to attract skilled applicants.
  • Determine business’ core values and hire people that embody and understand them.
  • Make sure recruitment efforts are exciting and are targeted to the people that you see filling the position. If you want a young adult, create a package that would attract a 20-something. If you want a career chef, someone who will stay with you for 3-5 years, include benefits that will entice a person with family.
  • Everyone wants opportunities for advancement. Set up your workplace and your job postings so that your people can grow with your business.
  • Post photos of your food style to attract the creative talents of Chefs.
  • Commit to schedules that create a balanced life for your workers. People value time with friends and family, if your business doesn’t value their time off – they won’t value your position.
  • Flexibility is king. Understand what flexibility means to your new hire, and create alignment with their lifestyle and goals that add value to your business.
  • As tempting as it may be, never hire just to fill an open spot. You’ll rush the process and you may even bring someone on board who will hurt your restaurant – not help it.