Judge Restaurant Employee Character in Interview

Talk can be cheap in the interview process. To truly judge a candidate’s character, you need to set up a better process. Watch the video to learn more!

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Hey restaurant owners! This week I got a great question submitted to me by a user that said, “How can I be a better judge of character in an interview rather than finding out later?”

There are some questions that are gonna be better than others for judging one’s character. But here’s the reality – I believe talk, talk, talk is sometimes total BS. To address that I like to provide a test. I want to set up an interview process that judges ones character rather than the questions I’m asking.

First – Do Group Interviews:

Stop wasting your time with one-on-one interviews that people don’t show up for. Start doing group interviews for your first interview. Pick a time and day every week where you’re always doing interviews. Then anytime someone is interested in a job you can tell them to “Come back on Tuesdays at four o’clock that’s when we do interviews.”

One of two things are going to happen: 1) They’re either gonna come back at that time, which is great and no different than an appointment. 2) If they’re unavailable that should start a conversation that goes “You know what I’m really sorry, Tuesdays at that time don’t work because I have to be at my other job. Is there another time that we can get together?” That right there is a good judge of character.

Sure, we can work something out but a lot of times they’re not going to show up so they failed the first test and you didn’t waste any time. It was a group interview, two or three other people showed up or if no one showed up get back to work.

Second – Ask for a Resume and Cover Letter:

I always ask people to bring a resume and a cover letter to their interview. This isn’t to test someone if they know how to make a resume; rather, it’s a test of whether can you show up with something. I always email them a link to a post, YouTube video or something about how to make a resume and how to make a cover letter.

You may be thinking that a lot of my employees have no experience, they don’t speak English or whatever. It’s fine! Just a cover letter or something that shows they put some effort into wanting this job.

Third – Always do a Skills Test:

My interviews always include a skills test. If it’s a bartender position, then they have to make you a couple of drinks. If it’s kitchen staff, they have to demonstrate some cooking skills for you. My test for kitchen staff, no matter what the position is, is to slice some chives or green onions, dice a potato, cook two eggs over-easy, and make a medium rare burger.

I have had Executive Chefs applying for $100,000 jobs fail this test because they don’t put salt on a hamburger before they throw it on the grill, or they completely overcook a hamburger, or they have no idea how to flip two eggs over-easy in a pan.

If it’s a server, put them on a shift one day and pay them for some work. Have them shadow around or if you don’t even want them on the floor for various reasons, have them carry a tray. Sit down at a table with a couple other servers and have them greet your table to see how comfortable they are. Give them a menu to study and then give them a test the next day.

They have to earn it! You can’t just give your jobs to the first warm body that walks in your door.

Summing it up:

Three big takeaways here are 1) Develop a process to better judge their character and start doing group interviews. 2) They have to bring something to that interview, something to show they care like a resume or a cover letter. 3) There’s has to be a skills test – no matter the position.


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