The black hole, that place where job applications go when they aren't looked at or responded to. There's no restaurant job seeker — quick-serve, fast casual, pizza or otherwise — who enjoys a trip to the black hole wondering if their job application was received and whether or not they're going to be interviewed. And in the restaurant industry, especially, this could damage your relationship with the customer: a bad job-seeking experience can easily result in the loss of a loyal customer.
Adding insult to injury, disgruntled candidates might negatively sway other potential customers with their critical opinions. Eventually, these negative brand experiences can eat into company profits.
However, there are some relatively easy fixes that can correct this situation. At the core, we need a better understanding between hourly job seekers and restaurant employers when it comes to communication practices. Some recent Snagajob surveys of job seekers and employers are showing disconnect when it comes to following up after applying to an hourly job:
- Follow up is actually ok with most employers: Just 15 percent of employers requested that job seekers NOT follow up. More often than not, employers are actually receptive to some follow up from job seekers, according to Snagajob data. It's the "how" that becomes important so that employers can be efficient in other areas of restaurant operations instead of being distracted by hiring at inopportune moments.
- Email, please: Email is the No. 1 way employers would like to see follow up from an applicant, whether it's to see if their application was received, whether they will be scheduled for an interview or if they will receive a job offer. That said, sometimes it can be difficult for job seekers to find an appropriate email address, which may cause job seekers to then follow up in unwanted ways. Employers can correct this problem by sharing specific follow-up instructions at each stage of the process. For example, maybe an automatic reply when an application is submitted lists the appropriate follow-up timing and corresponding email address. Importantly, though, that address must be monitored by a hiring manager who can give feedback on a certain job. Listing an email address that is then not monitored and replied from only creates another frustrating black hole, and you have done the job seeker – and your restaurant – no favors.
- Phone, if they must: Job seekers aren't just waiting around to see if they will become a candidate or employee: 42 percent of job seekers indicated they follow up by phone in the Snagajob survey. And, frankly, employers are more tolerant of that than we might have guessed - 31 percent of employers said they actually prefer follow up by phone. From a restaurant's perspective, though, phone calls to follow up can come up at inconvenient times, such as the lunch or dinner rush. In that scenario, politely ask a job seeker to follow up in the manner you prefer – perhaps they can call back in one hour or send an email to an address you can give them over the phone, moving the follow up to your preferred platform.
When it comes to follow up, moderation on both sides is key, too. Restaurants should set some internal expectations of what is appropriate in terms of getting back to job seekers. More often than not, a little communication goes a long way in impressing potential employees, often your current customers. To set the right tone with job seekers, keep them informed about a job's timeline and the best way to follow up.
Jason Hamilton serves as Snagajob’s vice president of product and marketing. In this role, he is responsible for creating products that instantly connect workers and employers. He also leads Snagajob's marketing strategies – from customer acquisition and retention to marketplace development and growth. Oh, and he had a cameo in a Bollywood film.