Veteran food and beverage consultant Jon Taffer has worked with more than 800 businesses in his career.
Today, he is best known as the host of Spike television’s “Bar Rescue,” a reality show in which he attempts to get failing bars in the black using his signature high-energy style.
Throughout Taffer’s career, he has learned how to find employees who will make a business stronger. In his guide for restaurant and bar owners, “Raise the Bar,” Taffer breaks down his four steps for exceptional hiring, which apply not just to the food and drink industry but all small businesses.
1. Identify whom you want to work with.
“Rather than relying on job descriptions that simply quantify various positions’ duties and correlating them with matching experience as a tool for identifying and hiring great employees, I use a more holistic approach,” Taffer writes. His approach entails thinking of eight adjectives and descriptive phrases for the person he wants in a particular role.
It’s an exercise to get you thinking of an actual person with whom you would like to work rather than just a name that is qualified on paper.
2. Properly advertise the role.
It’s important to describe the ideal employee in your job posting. Taffer says you would be surprised how many companies post generic employee descriptions that would never appeal to highly talented people.
Taffer also recommends that you keep the application as simple as possible, limiting requirements to the absolute minimum you would need before getting a feel for the candidate in an in-person interview.
3. Find a winning personality.
“If a person’s personality and interpersonal skills seem right, then (and only then) does his past experience become relevant to the discussion,” Taffer writes.
During an interview, Taffer keeps a list of the description he came up with in his first step of the hiring process and notes any time the candidate meets one of the criteria.
He uses the “three Cs” as the foundation of an interview: “I have a Conversation by asking questions that require expressive answers; I demonstrate Conviction about my company and the job I am offering to gauge if his passion matches mine; and I show Curiosity about the other person …” he writes.
4. Select people who are going to make your business better.
“Remember, selecting your new team is the biggest opportunity you have to impact your business,” Taffer says. That means that you need to always keep your customer in mind before signing a deal.
Taffer considers only candidates who fulfilled at least six out of eight of his adjectives, and he then considers which traits are essential.
Above all, Taffer writes, never make a hire out of convenience.
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