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How to Identify Action-Oriented Applicants

Managing a restaurant is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, planning, and a commitment to excellence. The one thing that can set your restaurant apart from all others is the people you hire. How well your restaurant runs is dependent upon hiring the best of the best, which includes action-oriented, self-driven applicants. 

Better screening of candidates results in less turnover and more profits.

Very few people are actually cut out for working in the fast-paced, physically and mentally demanding environment of a restaurant. Statistically, the average turnover in the restaurant industry is around 75 percent. Employees who survive are those who are already driven to success by their own personalities and stamina. Those who lack the proper attitude and ambition are quickly chewed up and spit out by the restaurant business. 

The process of advertising, interviewing, hiring and training is time consuming and costly. When a candidate doesn’t stay with the restaurant for more than a few months, it impacts your bottom line in a big way. 

You are reading this article because you are probably frustrated by the lack of candidates out there who have the right qualities to get the job done well. You have likely been searching for tips for hiring for restaurants only to find very little information available. There are no simple answers, but we suggest there is one specific type of candidate that restaurant owners should always be on the lookout for, and go after before another business gets to them. 

What kind of candidate should restaurant owners focus on to improve their chances of building an outstanding team? We suggest that you seek out action-oriented applicants to work in your restaurant. 


Why the action-oriented candidate? 

There are many reasons to focus on hiring applicants who have a natural go-getter personality. In fact, Ken Sundheim who contributes to Forbes, puts action-orientation as number one on his list of 15 Traits of the Ideal Employee. Sundheim says, “Hire employees who take action and take chances.  While chances may lead to failure, they will more often lead to success and mold confidence while generating new ideas. 

It’s fairly easy to see how managing a restaurant will become more efficient with staffers who are self-driven and action-oriented. They need less daily direction because they’ve been shown what to do and they can carry tasks out as requested. Sundheim points out how action-oriented employees impact the business revenues and, “stagnant employees won’t make your company money; action-oriented employees will.” 


How to identify action-oriented applicants

It can be challenging to find the job seekers who have what it takes to work in a restaurant. They are generally already working for other restaurants or hospitality employers. Your first exposure to them may be as a customer. You notice a very professional and outgoing member of wait staff who goes out of his or her way to delight you. This is someone who anticipates your every need and delivers a truly memorable experience.

Using this as your vision for action-oriented candidates, look for those who possess the following qualities:

Personal goal setting

Action-oriented candidates have personal and professional goals set for themselves. Or they may have already achieved a few life goals. For example, an applicant may have already earned a college degree in restaurant management or hospitality. Or he may be working towards some other personal goal, like climbing Mount Everest. 



In order to identify potentially action-oriented candidates, consider using pre-hire assessments to learn more about them. Use a proven assessment that includes multiple layers of validation to determine if an applicant fits this personality type. This can help weed out candidates who require a lot more hands-on direction. 


Power Words on Their Resume

Self-driven applicants oftentimes present a resume that includes subtle hints about their nature. Power words like “ambitious”, “motivated”, “self-managed”, “leader” are all indicators of a candidate who may be self-driven by nature. 


Extracurricular Activities

It’s always good to see an applicant who is active in the community or participates in volunteerism, playing a sport, or is working on an idea that may someday revolutionize the restaurant business. Action-oriented candidates need to stay busy because they have a lot of life experiences to pursue. 


High-Degree of Energy

Applicants who present themselves as highly energetic, bouncy, and eager to stretch their limits are often self-driven in other aspects of life. They enjoy their freedom, but they also demonstrate being able to play by the rules.  


Outstanding References

Don’t forget the importance of checking an applicant’s personal references. This can reveal much more about candidates and their personality. Ask each reference questions that are related to being self-driven. For example, “When you went to classes with the candidate, how did he approach homework assignments”? “The candidate started working on assignments immediately” is the sign of a self-driven person you want on your team.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Now that you have had a chance to review these tips for hiring action-driven applicants for your restaurant, you will likely spend a little more time reviewing potential candidates, but less time replacing employees. Hire smart and your results will be much better. 

When you’re ready to take the next step in your hiring process, learn how Sprockets’ Applicant Matching System can reduce employee turnover and improve productivity.


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