By Jeff Pieta
Online social networks have become the new marketplace. It is where people meet, discuss ideas, buy and sell, and make plans. With so many transactions making the transition, why shouldn't hiring take place on social networks too?
Restaurants are also now more than just a place to eat; they are a community and an experience. It is crucial to cultivate a sense of connection with each new generation to maintain that unique dining dynamic. As the community, you seek to engage moves to online platforms, it is important to understand these new spaces and, more importantly, employ people who know how to use them to your advantage.
The benefits of having a social media-savvy staff are immeasurable. Social media presence is becoming an important value-add for businesses. For the younger demographic, those with the most expendable income, social networks are often their first source for information. They follow businesses they like to get first dibs on discounts and specials. They share pictures of their food and check-in to locations, immediately broadcasting to all their followers that they have chosen to dine at your establishment. A little effort on these platforms can turn a few minutes from your staff into a major marketing play.
Where is the best place to find these social influencers for your restaurant? On social networks, of course! Social hiring is on its way to becoming the most relevant way to find employees. Simple job boards like craigslist or Indeed are just the beginning. The search for staff online has evolved as social networking becomes more than just a way to procrastinate. Sites like LinkedIn led the push by creating a professional network for a career-driven audience.
However, it is only recently that social hiring has been applied to shift workers, such as those who are employed in restaurants. Websites such as Proven.com and Shiftgig are building networking communities that provide these candidates with a more engaging way to reach employers. This method of finding staff is especially effective in dynamic industries like foodservice. Social hiring appeals to the same demographic that you want to bring into your establishment. Candidates with wide influence can share their networks and display their skills and personality in a way traditional resumes and hiring methods can't provide. This gives you, as the employer, a more insightful look into a potential employee even before deciding to bring him or her in for an interview. These sort of hiring sites also protect both you and the candidate, as it allows a level of privacy and discretion without skimping on character.
Staff turnover in the restaurant world can be a costly problem and, at an average yearly turnover rate of nearly 80 percent, hiring is a constant need. With so many other expenses that are necessary to running a successful restaurant, solutions have to be as affordable as possible. Social hiring sites offer cheap, and sometimes free, opportunities to find candidates. With more extensive profiles that provide not only resumes, but a peek into personality as well, you're also more likely to find a candidate that fits the culture of your restaurant more quickly than traditional methods, saving you hiring costs in the future.
Technology can be hard to keep up with, but social networks are an accessible way to find candidates who are dialed in to the desires and attitudes of a plugged-in audience. They offer an expanded reach and better insight into the staff you'll be counting on to bring in the sales and treat your customers right. Pizza and burgers are classics, but an upgrade in your hiring methods will ensure that your restaurant doesn't become just some golden oldie.
Jeff Pieta is the president and one of the founders of Shiftgig, a professional networking site for the service industry. In the past year, Shiftgig was the youngest company named to the 2012 Brill Street Top Gen Y Employer list, included in CIO’s 10 Hot Social Media Startups to Watch and the 25 Coolest New Businesses by Business Insider, and featured as an Up and Comer in Forbes.