guestXM – by Black Box Intelligence

Recruiting Best Practices from Outside the Restaurant Industry

Securing top notch candidates is difficult in a tough labor market. Liz D'Aloia shares best recruiting practices outside of the restaurant industry.

Best Practices for Recruiting Outside the Restaurant Industry

Finding Talent Beyond the Kitchen

We all want to hire experienced, professional people in our roles. But with unemployment at record lows, the restaurant industry is competing with other industries for talent. Here’s a summary of best practices outside the restaurant industry.


Attitude is everything. Having a learner’s mindset, curiosity, and willingness to try new things can lead to all sorts of exciting new career opportunities and pathways for candidates.

From a hiring manager’s perspective, look for competencies and transferable skills. Create behavioral-based success profiles based on these competencies to help you with the screening process.

Remember, with the right attitude you can teach technical skills all day long. But teaching someone how to have a heart for service is an impossible feat. It’s important for both the hiring manager and the candidate to accept mistakes and failures as part of the learning process. So, create a safe environment and provide plenty of support for technical training. If your new trainee has the right attitude and a lot of creativity, both of you may learn from the experience, and you may even end up with a new process or recipe.

Campus Recruiting

Focusing on entry-level hires and promoting from within helps preserve your culture and embed behaviors. Campus recruiting can help boost these efforts since recent graduates want to be able to see a clear career path in the company they join.

Education and Benefits Programs

If you combine a clear career path with a tuition reimbursement or student loan program, you’ll get a deep candidate pool to select from, especially at campuses. Keep in mind that your programs need to reflect your workforce. For example, if you’re hiring a lot of women and millennials, you need strong work/life programs beyond family leave. Tailor your benefits programs to your population and offer as much flexibility as possible. Ask yourself who you are as an employer, and how you want this benefit to be reflected in your branding.

Survey Candidates

Imagine you’re a candidate whose only access to the internet is from a smartphone, and who doesn’t have an email address. You’re also juggling work, school, and a family. How easy do you make it to apply and communicate with this person? What’s your follow-up like?

You’re doing a disservice to candidates and your brand if you’re:

  • Not responsive to candidates
  • Not offering a quick and easy mobile platform for applications and communication
  • Not remembering that hiring is a two-way street. Candidates have a lot of choices, so they won’t jump through a lot of hoops, show up to fill out applications in person or work for a distracted or disrespectful hiring manager


Data is incredibly valuable, so survey your candidates to find out what the entire process is like, even if they’re not hired. You can also survey your hiring managers to identify process improvement opportunities. Finally, don’t forget to check your website and ATS analytics. They can show you who clicks on your career site, how long they stay, and whether or not they complete an application. It’s not unusual to have up to 90% of candidates drop out of an online application process because the process is too long. Ask someone outside of your organization to apply to one of your openings on their mobile device to see if it’s simple, fast, and easy.

Best Practices

Look outside the restaurant industry for other best practices. No company is perfect but take a cue from leading hospitality and retail brands such as Apple and Nordstrom to deliver on customer service. You can also glean a lot from the Great Places to Work and Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) data. You don’t need to replicate another company’s best practices, but you can learn from them and tailor them to your budget and culture.

6 Ways to Improve Your Recruiting and Hiring Experience

Download a Free Guide From Black Box Intelligence

This guide produced in collaboration with CareerPlug, features tips on optimizing your recruiting and onboarding experience Discover how to make the most out of your hiring process with detailed insights that cover the following:

  • Where to look for candidates
  • When to promote from within
  • Hiring incentives
  • Employee Benefits
  • Application process
  • Staff Training

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