Seasonal Hiring for Success in Your Busy Season


Hiring for the busy season? While it may be tempting to simply post some “Help Wanted” ads and hire whoever walks in the door, that restaurant staffing strategy may make your busy season more stressful than ever. Seasonal hiring may cover a short-term need, but it can have long-term effects on your restaurant. No matter how long an employee is with you, every second they spend with your guests can impact your restaurant for months, even years. When interviewing for holiday positions, ask questions that will uncover the applicant’s strengths and challenges rather than just their work experience. Here are a few ideas:

  • “Tell me about yourself.” Watch body language here. Is there eye contact? Smiling? Good diction? It’s more important that a person can communicate well here than what is said.
  • “Have you been applying with restaurants or other businesses?” If so, what type? Those who truly enjoy serving others are only looking for jobs that involve service.
  • “Would you consider yourself to be an honest person?” Of course, an applicant will say “yes” here, but then make this request: “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated your honesty.” Was there an honest response?
  • “On a scale of one to 10, how hard do you work?” Then ask “Why do you rate yourself a __?” A truly hard worker will mention past work schedules, school achievements, athletic endeavors, etc.
  • “Why do you want to work here?” If you don’t hear an answer that includes the applicant enjoys working with people, keep interviewing.

Another important tip about seasonal hiring – don’t skimp on training for your short-term folks. Remember, if you’re not serving the guest, you had better be serving someone who is. Be sure to set your seasonal hires up for success by providing them the tools they need to serve and sell on every shift. Explain your training process to all candidates, and ask them how they approach being trained.  How do they learn best? Are they open to new ideas? What types of training have they completed in the past? Ask for specific examples. You won’t have much time with these seasonal hires, so make sure you select people who are open to being trained and are willing to put in the work to get up to speed quickly.

Restaurant Service and Sales Training

The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.

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