Having a solid training program will provide benefits every time your employees work a shift. The best training programs begin by hiring the best employees. This can be the difference between immediate success and possible failure.

Here are the first steps to take to put the right people in the right places.

1. Determining Staffing Needs

Every establishment is different but the theories behind determining staffing levels are similar all around.

Think about the flow of your business and every step a customer will take on their way to an excellent experience, from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they leave. To ensure service, you’ll need employees who’ll engage the customer at each step, and then you’ll need a support staff. The support staff are employees who the customer may not deal with directly, but still affect the final customer experience. Examples of support staff are barbacks, busboys, prep cooks, and housekeepers.

Based on the size of your establishment and the level of service you plan on providing you’ll want to have at least two (if not more) of each position during your peak hours.

Of course, you’ll want to employ more than two people for each position to account for day and night shifts, for days off, for extra coverage when needed, and as backups in case of emergencies.

2. How To Hire

Now that you’ve determined your staffing needs, it’s time to put the word out.

There are many ways to let potential employees know you’re hiring. The best way is to post your open positions to a job site specific to the hospitality industry, preferably one that partners with the big job search engines as well as with local sites and with trade associations. This ensures you’ll connect with the most enthusiastic and professional candidates.

The best way is to post your open positions to a job site specific to the hospitality industry.

Of course, there are always the traditional ways such as word of mouth, employee referrals, and the trusty old “Help Wanted” sign.

It’s a good idea to tell any and all applicants you’re always accepting applications, even when you think you may be fully staffed. By doing so you’ll always have possible employees in the pipeline ready to begin training at a moment’s notice. Don’t wait until an employee resigns or until you involuntarily lose an employee before hiring their replacement. This gives you peace of mind knowing all possibilities are covered.

3. Who To Hire

If you’re always accepting applications and interviewing potential employees, you’ll find the person you spend valuable training dollars on will be of a higher quality.

Unfortunately, it’s common in the industry to hire out of necessity. This can affect customer service and employee morale in the long run. Try to avoid backing yourself into this corner at all costs.

Before you begin interviewing potential employees, take the time to list the personality traits and skills you’d like your perfect employee to have.

Each position requires a certain type of person. Before you begin interviewing potential employees, take the time to list the personality traits and skills you’d like your perfect employee to have.

After you form a profile of your superstar employee(s), you’ll want to tailor your interview questions accordingly. Always remember to ask open-ended questions to keep the candidate talking as much as possible. This allows you to get an idea of how they’ll deal with service as well as how they’ll fit into the team. Of course, you’ll want to include a few skill questions to make sure they can meet your skill level requirements, too.

Here are a few other quick hiring hacks to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be afraid to be creative or out of the box with your questions. You want to force the candidate to think quickly, as they’ll be doing this continuously during shifts.
  • During the interview, don’t just show your amiable side. Remember, it’s their goal to impress you, not the other way around.
  • Also, keep in mind there may be some strict guidelines you’re required to follow when interviewing. Rules and regulations vary from state to state. Click here for more information on the regulations where you’re located.
  • Last, schedule a follow-up interview for a day or two later so you can think about things first. Avoid hiring a candidate “on the spot” if at all possible.

One of the best quotes we’ve heard from a small business owner when asked about their hiring practices was, “Every horse runs a good first lap.”

“Every horse runs a good first lap.”

He meant everyone puts their best foot forward during interviews so take the time to think about how the candidate will fit into the big picture. It’s tough to build a cohesive and successful team when new hires let you down or move on within a few weeks. If you find this happens frequently, you may want to revisit your hiring process.

Finding a good hire is the first step in a successful training program and should not be taken lightly. It’s rare that an employer finds the perfect employee who’s always on time, enthusiastic, and able to handle anything thrown their way…all while providing the best service possible.

Protect your business by establishing and following great hiring practices. That’s the best way to start training off of the right foot.

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