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Hiring Service-Oriented Employees
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How do you handle an influx of resumes and find the employees that can provide positive guest experiences? This is an issue that Patrick Yearout, Director of Training at Ivar's restaurants in Seattle deals with regularly. Patrick shares his perspective in a Foodservice Radio interview.

"Five years ago as a recruiter, trainer or manager, you would have loved to have gotten a hundred resumes," says Yearout. "There were a lot of good jobs and nobody wanted to work in the restaurant industry. Then about four years ago the economy tanked and all those great jobs out there disappeared, started getting smaller or paid less. People started to take a second look at the restaurant industry. The other thing that started happening was the increased use of the internet as a recruiting tool. Whether it is sites like Craigslist, the big job boards like Monster, or even Facebook and Twitter, all of a sudden there are all these great ways to get the word out that you need people. So the reality of the industry is that you are going to be flooded with applications."

Yearout gets through the sea of potential applicants by making his recruitment efforts very specific. "I think it is very important to invest some time in the process of recruiting. This is the key place where you need to spend some time and think about what you are really looking for. Make sure you craft a very specific ad so that people aren't confused and have an idea of what they're applying for. If you can, also use prescreening questions to automatically knock-out applicants who are not qualified for the position."

There is one key element that Ivar's looks for each new hire. "If I am looking for one thing when I am hiring, that is someone who can bring positive energy to the workplace" Yearout continues. "For me a positive attitude is much more important than skills or experience. Emotions are contagious. Positive people will create positive workplace that will result in more satisfied customers. Generally, when you are a positive person you will look for solutions to your problems as opposed to just complaining about the obstacles that are in front of you. Positive people tend to be more accepting of constructive criticism."

Training is one key to motivating and retaining good hires. "I think the most important thing I have learned as a trainer working with employees is to give them the why before the how. Start by explaining to them why this is important to them," Yearout concludes.