January 30th 2020
Avoiding buyer's remorse: 5 mistakes to avoid when sourcing permanent talent at short notice
by Rosina Bucknall Catering, Industry Advice
The average employee retention rate in catering and hospitality is 70% – well below the overall UK average of 85%. As a result, contract caterers often find themselves struggling with skill shortages and competing for talent.To escape that cycle, it’s important that contract caterers get permanent recruitment right – so you don’t go through the time, money and effort only to experience buyer’s remorse on your hire.
Here are 5 mistakes to avoid, along with recommendations on tweaking your processes to mitigate the risk.
There’s a talent shortage in contract catering. This means there are no high-quality chefs or managers just sitting around waiting for you to make a decision. If you want the best in this industry, you have to act fast. That doesn’t mean you should evaluate candidates less rigorously, but it does mean the relevant decision-makers must be ready to act.
Whether you’re hiring a chef, manager, or someone in between, get key decision-makers on board early on. Coordinate diaries in advance, blocking out times for interviews so it’s easy to get candidates scheduled in. And when you find the right candidate that ticks the majority of your boxes, snap them up before someone else does.
Most hiring managers take a phased approach to recruitment, looking at each stage of the application process – from CVs to interviews to trial shifts – individually and phasing candidates out as they go.
But while this approach has its benefits, when you look at each part of an application in isolation, it’s easy to either weed people out too early, or to miss the bigger picture. A CV review might reveal a lack of contract catering experience but miss important transferable skills which would be evident in an interview, for example. Or a chef who performs poorly in an interview might rock a difficult trial shift.
Look at each candidate holistically and be prepared to think laterally. Remember that transferable skills can add incredible value, so don’t discount people with hotel, retail and restaurant experience before putting them through their paces.
This goes back to the talent shortage in contract catering. We live in the reality of a candidate-driven market.
Undervaluing people or trying to get away with lower-than-standard salaries will put off the best talent. Even if you do succeed in securing a bargain, they’re more likely to leave sooner if you’re underpaying them, costing you more money in the long run.
Do your research and understand industry benchmarks for the roles you’re looking to fill (we can help you understand market rates for different roles). Negotiating is fine and expected, but you should manage expectations internally as to what seniority and skill level you can get for your budget.
Although money is important to candidates, they’re attracted by a range of benefits. Consider that many people go into contract catering for that range of benefits, particularly a better work/life balance.
An early start/early finish, generous holiday allowance and health insurance for the family can be very attractive. The chance to work with a big brand can be enticing. Think about the wider package you offer, and make it as competitive as possible.
The hiring process is as much about you selling yourself to a candidate as a candidate selling themselves to you. Don’t be afraid to big-up your holiday allowance, health insurance, pension, internal training opportunities and culture.
Too often, feedback is left to the last minute or forgotten entirely. This is a missed opportunity to reflect on what the business needs. Taking the time to offer proper feedback to unsuccessful candidates can help you home in on what you do and don’t want, which will make future hiring processes easier and quicker.
Build feedback into your hiring process, especially if you work with a recruitment agency. Let them know what you do and don’t like and what did and didn’t work, so everyone can refine their approach and make the next round more efficient.
If you haven't already, download our guide to boosting retention rates in contract catering:
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