Hiring personnel is a challenging process. You may have dozens of applications to review, all of which need to be examined in great detail to ensure that they meet minimum standards. From there, you check references, do interviews, and then agonize over which ones to hire.
Complicating this process even further is the prospect that not all candidates are at a consistent level of every qualification. That is, the applicant with the most experience may lack certain credentials, but the one with a long string of certifications may not have a work history to match. When they’re great in one way and mediocre in another, how do you compare them to someone who’s the opposite?
There are no foolproof answers to this question, but there are some guidelines you can follow that should get you close enough to a can’t-miss answer. Think of your personnel quandaries in this framework.
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Businesses of all kinds require a variety of certifications, and anything involving food is particularly well populated with such mandates. Because there are new things being added to these curricula on a regular basis, it’s unrealistic to expect a veteran worker to be well versed in every possible area of knowledge. Instead, you can rely on State Food Safety to fill in the gaps and get those workers up to speed.
You’ll find several positive results from doing so. First, an experienced worker has a much better frame of reference for such training. If they’ve never worked in a kitchen, they may not see much value in what’s being taught. But after several years of cooking, they’ll understand exactly what’s being taught. And as an added bonus, they’ll also be more successful in the training, giving them confidence.
The days of doing the same job day in and day out for 30 years are over. No one retires doing the same thing they were hired for, even if the position is still considered the same. This evolution can reveal the value of an experienced worker.
Someone with ten or twelve years on the job has undoubtedly experienced some changes in the way they do their job, so it can be to your advantage to hire that person and take advantage of that adaptability. Workers with this type of experience can be vital to the morale of the organization. When newer workers see changes, the veterans can reassure them that they, too, can adapt and handle a new routine.
If you’ve run a business very long, you’ve hired (and possibly fired) quite a few people. While you may not remember every line of their applications, you know which ones worked out and which ones didn’t. As new applicants come in, trust your instincts. Set aside the rubrics and charts—and sometimes even their interviews. Go with the people who look and sound the most like the people who’ve worked out the best in the past.
Think back to the workers who have set a good example, produced at a high level, and made suggestions that helped your business. Think of the traits and experience that they had and how you might identify those characteristics in newer applicants. And with all other things being equal, follow your instincts.
Hiring will always be a complicated task. No application blank or interview question will ever give you a perfect idea of which person to hire, and your own experience and knowledge should never be undervalued. The right combination of job description, application, candidate interaction, and thoughtful consideration will give you the best chance of hiring people who can help your business grow.