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    Hiring Restaurant Hiring | 8 min read

    8 QSR recruitment strategies to source top candidates

    There is no shortage of specialized ways to attract and source job applicants—but all of them fall into one of two camps: inbound recruiting and outbound hiring.

    And if you understand the differences between them—and why they both matter to a successful and sustainable hiring strategy—you can increase the odds that you’ll have the best talent available working for you. 

    Sounds pretty appealing, right? That’s why we’ve put together this blog post that’s going to walk you through:

    • The difference between these two recruitment strategies
    • Examples of inbound and outbound recruiting for QSRs 

    Let’s get started! 

    Inbound vs. outbound recruiting 

    Inbound recruiting and outbound recruiting share the same goal, but how they look in practice is not the same. Here’s an overview of what each term means: 

    • Inbound recruiting, or passive hiring, is the method of attracting potential candidates to your business. You put out honey, and the bees come to you.
    • Outbound recruiting, or active hiring, is when a business goes on the search for potential candidates. You bring honey with you, and you offer it to the bees.

    Now, the honey is an apt image because all employees take jobs to meet certain needs. An income is the obvious one, but candidates have other needs that your company might match: a particular benefits package, a strong community culture or opportunities for career growth.

    Inbound hiring strategies broadcast those aspects of your organization—the flavor of your honey, if you will—on an ongoing basis, to build brand awareness. The idea is that potential employees will like what they see over time, and the right ones will decide they want to work with you. These long-term strategies are based on the premise that you will always need to seek out new team members, which is particularly true in the QSR space.

    Outbound hiring strategies are more immediate. If you need to fill a particular role, and you announce you are hiring for that role or you recruit specific individuals who are suited to that position, you’re using active hiring practices. You’ll still use your company culture and benefits as incentives, but your goal is to get them to apply for that job—not to sell them on your company.

    8 inbound and outbound recruitment strategies for QSRs

    QSRs traditionally conduct more outbound hiring practices. But relying on these as the primary driver for applications limits your flow of candidates. Incorporating both inbound and outbound recruitment practices will create a more sustainable rolling hiring strategy.

    Let’s look at examples of both recruitment strategies and how you can start integrating them into your overall hiring strategy. 

    #1 Develop and promote your brand and culture 

    Your company culture is a critical part of sourcing the best-fit candidates who want to know what they’re applying for—beyond a wage. According to recent surveys, nearly half of hourly workers find culture to be important. 

    But culture is one of those hard-to-define and even-harder-to-explain concepts. So, how do you translate the on-the-job experience to a pool of potential employees? And how does it impact your hiring results?

    Start by asking yourself (and your team!) questions like: 

    • “Why would a motivated person feel drawn to work for this business?”
    • “Why do our most dedicated team members continue to stay working with us?” 

    The answers to those questions can form the basis for how you show off your restaurant in your job ads, social media, career page, and overall website.

    The culture you promote can also dig into the shared ethos of the organization. What are the shared values, goals, attitudes and practices of your company? Candidates who jive with those core tenets of your business are more likely to apply for jobs—and to stick with them once they’re hired.

    #2 Build a branded career page

    One of the first places to implement your culture is a branded career page on your website. Candidates will have an experience with this page that will shape their impression of your entire business, and it will be a major factor in deciding whether they want to work with you. 

    According to one survey, 56% of job applicants believe they can tell what it will be like to work at a company from its career page. 

    To attract top candidates, your career page should:

    • Share the company’s story by providing genuine photos and videos (NOT stock imagery or footage), employee-created content, employee testimonials and messaging tailored to your culture.
    • Reach the right candidates by creating content and job descriptions for the applicants you want—which can go so far as personalizing content based on what’s relevant to them.
    • Drive applications by helping candidates to self-select whether they are a good fit for your company, culture and available positions.

    Remember, too, that a career page is about more than just the content—it’s also about the feel of the content. Everything from your color scheme to your font choices, the accessibility of the layout, and the functionality of the page reflect your business’s values and attitude. 

    #3 Use diverse job board platforms

    Some strategies are tried-and-true because they work. There’s a reason businesses still put “Now hiring” signs in the window, after all. And certain online boards, like Monster.com, are here to stay. But more avenues for hiring exist now than ever before.

    You should use as many of these job boards as reasonably possible so that you’re not missing out on all the new applicants turning to these new and diverse channels. Not only are you losing out on some top candidates with your absence, but they are going to work for your competitors instead. To start, make sure you’re at least posting on these top 14 job boards.

    It’s also important to maximize your time and efforts. Posting job openings on multiple platforms can consume all of a hiring manager’s time, not to mention handling all the incoming applications and inquiries. You can reach a wider audience of potential candidates with exponentially less effort on your end by using a platform that automates this process.

    #4 Involve your current employees

    Your current employees are your single greatest recruitment resource. Third-party endorsements, such as your employees’ positive comments, add depth to your business’s credibility. Their testimonials, photos and videos on your career page will do more to advocate for your company than any marketing-speak you can dream up.

    Starbucks’ careers page on Instagram (@starbucksjobs) is one great example of incorporating current employees into a hiring strategy. Beyond their expert ways of broadcasting their culture through concise copy and wordplay, they have an abundance of employee portrayals on their feed. 

    This inclusion offers prospective hires a glimpse into how their work lives could look, if they apply to one of the many Starbucks locations.

     #5 Incentivize referral programs

    When current employees recommend friends and family to work for you, that is more effective than any job posting. Think about it: Wouldn’t you be most likely to suggest a workplace to your best friends if you enjoy working there yourself?

    You might be benefitting from organic referrals from your employees already. Great. But you can increase your reach simply by incentivizing your employee referral program. (As an example, you might pay a referring employee $300 for each referral that is hired and stays on for 60 days.)

    And they will be worthwhile investments—even beyond the costs of hiring. Because of that personalized recommendation from someone who experiences your company culture, referred candidates tend to fit right into the culture and stick with the company 20% longer than non-referred candidates.

    #6 Leverage social media platforms

    Social media platforms offer you to enact inbound and outbound hiring practices all at once. Your posts are a stellar way to engage both customers and potential employees—who are most likely already customers themselves. 

    And a truly engaging social media presence is itself a branding tool: look no farther than Wendy’s willingness to roast anyone and everyone on Twitter, and you’ll understand the power of an active account. However you implement social media, your presence will cultivate your audience’s expectations of what it’s like to work with you. 

    Diving into how to use each platform for your hiring strategy is beyond the scope of this blog post. But here’s a helpful guide from Sprout Social on recruiting via social media platforms

    #7 Diversify your team

    Diversity in your workforce, attained through a conscientious hiring practice, can make your team more versatile, more creative and more relatable to customers.

    Think about it: you have a diverse customer base. That’s likely true in terms of age, ethnic background, gender identity and socioeconomic status. The more your team behind the counter reflects the customers in front of it, the more your employees will be able to relate to customer needs and desires. 

    And this is true for more than just hourly workers—if your hiring manager and your marketer reflect different aspects of your customer base, for example, they’ll be better able to develop an effective hiring campaign that speaks more directly to the community.

    #8 Hire both internally and externally

    The debate between hiring in-house employees for other roles and hiring outside candidates is often framed as a build-or-buy conundrum. Do you build up from within, or “buy” from outside the company? A comprehensive, sustainable hiring program requires you to think more build-and-buy.

    Internal hires have an understanding of what the hourly workers are doing and experiencing. They also understand your culture, and they’ll see how you’ve invested in them and believed in them. Promoting from within tends to be faster and less costly, as well.

    But external hires have benefits too; namely, you can draw from a much larger pool of applicants. These candidates might have more experience in the particular role you’re filling, especially if it’s a supervisory or skilled position. However, they will need to learn the culture as they go.

    In the QSR space, many hourly workers are external hires simply because these are fairly entry-level positions. You might hire within to fill other hourly positions, though—say if a cook has an interest in moving to a front-of-house role. But, if you’re looking to hire for a position that could go either way, here’s a resource from Indeed on the pros and cons of internal vs. external hiring

    Key Takeaways 

    When it comes to recruiting for QSRs, there are two main strategies that hiring managers and business owners can use: inbound recruiting and outbound recruiting. 

    And while you may be able to build a hiring plan using just one of these strategies, you’ll have better luck sourcing the most qualified candidates if you use a mix of both. To do that, implement the 8 tips we’ve shared in this blog post:

    1. Develop and promote your brand culture
    2. Build a branded career page 
    3. Use diverse job board platforms 
    4. Involve your current employees 
    5. Incentivize referral programs 
    6. Leverage social media 
    7. Diversify your team
    8. Hire both internally and externally 

    And if, during all of this, you realize that you’ll need a new tool to help you recruit and onboard new hourly employees, check out Workstream. We’ve designed a hiring platform and mobile app specifically to help business owners maximize the effectiveness of their hiring strategy. 

    Request a demo and see how your business can start hiring hourly workers faster!

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