Restaurant Service

Do Your Candidates Know How to Put on a Smile?

The hospitality industry is a customer-focused one; keep your customers happy and they may keep returning again and again, but don’t and they will go elsewhere. Supplying a great service comes down to many elements, and how friendly and helpful your employees are, is definitely one worth paying attention to. Your employees are at the forefront of your company – meeting, greeting and serving your customers. They are often responsible for that valuable and lasting first impression and will influence customer feedback, whether positive or negative.

Therefore, whilst the hospitality industry is renowned for having high staff-turnover, and of course there will always be employees that are using you as a stop-gap simply to make some money, it is worth paying attention to who you are hiring, and in this case, personality is extremely important. Not everyone has the patience to perform well in customer service roles and it can be hard to tell who has the right qualities at first glance. But refine your recruitment process, and you are likely to end up with a team of genuine employees that really do greet your customers with a smile.

Define your expectations When searching for employees it is important to identify your expectations. Once you know what you are expecting in terms of skills, experience, personality and behaviour then it is easier to find it. Not only will identifying your perfect employee enable you to target the job advert and post it in the best places, but it will also speed up your review process as you will be able to quickly determine who is likely to meet your expectations and who isn’t. This is especially true when using a Candidate Management System (CMS) like e-Talent, which not only manages applications but also assesses candidates and compares them against criteria set by you.

Look in the right places – Hospitality roles are often filled by employees looking to simply bring in some money whilst they look for their ideal job, so not everyone who works in the industry is passionate about it, and job adverts will attract a wide range of candidates. Advertising on hospitality specific job boards should help to get your advert in front of those who do care and that have a desire to achieve and progress up the hospitality career ladder. This should not only bring your turnover rate down, but is also likely to ensure you find candidates that have personalities and traits needed to be successful in the industry; people doing what they like are likely to be much happier at work and that will come across when they chat with your customers.

Focus on personality – For many roles in the hospitality industry, a bit of good quality training can arm even the most inexperienced employees with the skills they need to do their job. Therefore, when recruiting customer-facing employees, focus more on the things you can’t change, like their personality and behaviour. It can be difficult to glean this information from CVs and interviews, so psychometric testing is ideal when recruiting in this industry. There are many psychometric and behavioural tests to choose from, but e-Talent includes customisable tests as part of their CMS. And, furthermore, candidates are ranked in order of suitability, making it immediately obvious to you which candidates are most suited for your role.

Ensure values are aligned – Customer-facing employees spend a substantial amount of time interacting with your customers and they are more likely to do this enthusiastically if they believe in your company and its core values. Hiring employees with values and beliefs aligned with yours, will ensure they promote your company in a positive light, and they are also likely to be happier and more content at work, and therefore more likely to go above and beyond for your customers.

Be honest when hiring – If candidates know exactly what to expect when they start a new role, they are more likely to be happy and motivated to work hard. If you exaggerate benefits or under or overestimate working hours or expectations, you may find you end up with resentful employees that are at work because they have to be and not because they want to be. Look after your employees and they are more likely to have a smile on their face and to spread positive messages; after all, it says something about your company to customers if all your staff appear unhappy at work.

Trial your candidates – With hospitality and shift work it is easy to build trials into your interview process. If you want to know how someone behaves and interacts with your customers, then why not test it? Getting candidates to do a trial shift or to shadow existing employees will give you a good idea of how they will perform in the role and also how they will get on with the rest of your team; if all your staff are raving about them, there it is a good chance they will fit in longer term.

Don’t cut corners with training – Going past recruitment and into employment, providing effective training will ensure that your new employees know how to do their job properly and also what is expected of them. Proper training will better arm new employees with the knowledge and skills they need to deal with customer questions and potentially stressful situations in a more relaxed manner and with a smile.

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