In a recent piece about hiring staff and what to steer clear from, I discussed inexperienced workers and the issues that come with them. However, there are ways that inexperienced workers can present themselves in a positive light that often go overlooked. This is a guide on how to coach your applicants as they come in, as well as the workers you already have, to make sure they end up in positions that they’re well-suited for.
It may seem odd to spend time coaching applicants before you’ve even offered them a job, but if you can provide a few pieces of important information when people hand you an application or ask if you are hiring, it will improve your ability to find the right people and screen candidates. If you’ve ever hired a problem employee, you know you have to spend plenty of time covering for them while they learn, when they make mistakes, or when they create problems. Invest some time in your applicants early on, and save yourself the unwanted headaches with problem employees later.
Keep in mind that we more often see poor employees created by a lack of systems, a lack of organization, and a lack of leadership, rather than poor employees knowingly doing a bad job. The key is ensuring you have the right systems and culture in place before they get there, and it starts at the interview and the application.
Don’t Be Afraid to Put Non-Traditional Jobs on an Application If You Have a Short (or Nonexistent) Work History
This means all the summers you spent cleaning out your grandparents’ house/garage and preparing their yard for the summer. Don’t be afraid to include sports teams if you have consistently been a part of them over a long period of time (2-3 years+). If you don’t have a job history, put items on your application that show you can be responsible, you are reliable, and that you have the drive to succeed towards a common goal.
If you’re an employer, take a moment when you receive applications or job inquiries from inexperienced workers and explain to them exactly what you are looking for. The goal is to find the right people, and the more information you give your applicants — whether through an ad or in person — the better chances you’ll have of reaching that goal.
If you get an application from someone who is inexperienced or has no job history, give them a call to feel them out and see what they have done in their lives to demonstrate the qualities you are looking for. Even if you are hiring an experienced employee, you need to constantly retrain and keep an eye on them to ensure they are doing the job the way you and your brand want it to be done. There is no such thing as an easy fix when you are hiring for “non-skilled” jobs as they are called in the restaurant industry and retail.
When You Apply Is Just as Important as What Is on Your Application
If you are looking to hire for a job as a bartender, going in on a busy Friday night and asking to speak to the manager is not going to get you very far; going in an hour after open when it’s still slow allows you to get the attention of a manager much easier. Don’t be afraid to call the location and ask them when are the slower times to come in and drop off an application/resume, and if there is someone in particular to speak to. Many of the staff, especially the veterans, already know the best time and who to talk to, so when applying for a job use that information to ensure you get the best chance of handing your application to a manager and talk to them on the spot. Even if it is not a formal interview, a good first impression can give yourself the edge needed to get the job.
From the employer side, sometimes the best people for the job will have obligations that don’t fit your perfect schedule, but that doesn’t mean we don’t hire them. If you can have an A+ employee 10 hours a week, it’s better than a B- employee for 40. That A+ employee will have an impact on you and your staff, elevating the B- workers to an A- or higher. Even if a person comes in during peak hours and you just don’t have the time to speak with them, ask them if they can come back at a different time to interview. You might be passing up a great employee with experience to help your “bar-rush” who might only be available (because of another job) to come interview during bar rush. Though the timing might not be perfect when they first come in, they still might fit the role of what you are looking for.
It Takes Two to Hire an Employee
It’s just as much on the employer to present the proper information to the applicants as it is for the applicants to give you the right information. If you’re an employer, ask yourself the last time you tried to recruit great help from another business? If you see someone in your competitive area doing a great job, it never hurts to ask them to come talk to you about an opportunity. Many of us have worked at places we don’t truly enjoy because we need the money, and had someone come along and recruited us; even if it’s just a small increase in pay, the attention and recognition alone can be the positive reinforcement needed to drive us to a new challenge.
Often times the biggest issues in hiring we see come from lack of information from the employer, and a lack of expectation from the applicant because of it. When you are hiring for a minimum wage job (or close in scale) you are often getting people who are new to the work force, second or third job applicants, or job hoppers. It is up to you as the employer to have the right structure to empower the best people you can find, and hiring the right people with the right traits is more important than if they can work full time for you. Having a part-time Ace that can have a full-time impact is the key to growing culture and sales.