The restaurant industry employs more than 1.2 million people in Canada–that’s 6.9% of our workforce–making it the country’s fourth-largest employer. According to recent Statistics Canada data, the unemployment rate has continued a downward trend to 5.7% in December of 2017, the lowest it’s been since 1976. This has made the battle for talent in the hospitality sector tougher than ever.

Here are three powerful ways to recruit restaurant staff in a competitive market.


Encourage referrals

Enlist the help of your own team. They’re more than just great service staff–they’re also potential brand ambassadors. You hired them because you thought they were good people. And good people tend to know other good people.

Consider incentives like a points program, awards, referral bonuses, or staff discounts for sharing job postings on social media and with friends. One study found a correlation between encouraging team members to share company news and information online (33% of employers surveyed) and the likelihood of employees recommending their employer to others as a great place to work (68%).

There are multiple advantages to the referrals approach:

  1. It reduces your recruiting costs and fill time.
  2. It helps attract strong and reliable talent who are already familiar with your employment brand and culture.
  3. It improves retention and morale.

Referred and referring staff like working together and both may stay longer as a result.

(Pull quote: In order to ensure referred hires are a good fit, it’s wise to divide the bonus payouts between new hire start date and passing a threshold, like 3 to 6 months.)


Build a candidate pipeline

Of course, you can’t rely entirely on your staff to recruit for you. It’s important to build and maintain a pipeline of possible candidates. With the turnover rate in the hospitality sector topping 70% and notice periods of less than two weeks, having a database of candidates available to interview, hire or even parachute in on short notice to cover a shift is critical for your business continuity and staff morale.

Recruitment is an ongoing process, so make sure you’re always advertising online, screening resumes, setting up intro calls or interviews, and keeping good candidates ‘warm.’ Sometimes, timing is off and good ones can get away. Don’t let that discourage you. Maintaining a robust talent pipeline means one less thing to keep you up at night.

When it comes to keeping track of candidates, it doesn’t take long for hard copy files or desktop spreadsheets to become time-consuming and cumbersome. If you haven’t already, you should invest in an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS keeps track of applicants, resumes, roles, references, and steps taken in the job search process. You can quickly search by name, role, hiring manager and more, and manage a massive volume and history of recruitment this way.

Don’t waste your time or frustrate candidates looking up old applications manually or duplicating efforts. Automation streamlines the process, keeps you organized, and makes sure you don’t accidentally leave a candidate hanging.

Create that pipeline. Make sure all efforts contribute to moving candidates smoothly and happily from one end to the other, even if you have a sudden influx or absence of applications due to seasonal differences.


Weave recruiting messaging into your social media

Besides selling your food, service and dining experience, always be selling your employment brand. Incorporate recruiting messaging into your social media posts. You should mention current job opportunities, team culture, or your employer awards once every 5-7 posts. Show employees enjoying their work, and how you support them on and off the job. Share photos and videos of your restaurant and its atmosphere.

This is all part of building your employer brand, and both passive and active job seekers will take notice.

Keep adding tools to your arsenal to meet today and tomorrow’s recruitment challenges. To learn about more ways we’d suggest recruiting great restaurant staff, drop us a note here.



About Mindfield

Mindfield is a Recruitment Outsourcing solutions provider that partners with companies to create powerful hourly workforces. Our solutions combine a recruitment team, simple to use technology and a data-driven hiring strategy that promises to improve the quality of your hourly workforce. This approach focuses on tying business outcomes such as sales performance, tenure, and engagement to the selection, hiring and measurement of quality candidates.