So much has changed in every industry in the last 10-15 years. When I got in this industry, unemployment was 3%, markets were booming, consumers were spending money and new restaurant construction was growing at unbelievable speeds. Competition was non-existent. If you were a restaurant manager, you were almost guaranteed a job.
Fast forward to 2013, and there is plenty of competition for restaurant managers as growth as slowed and some restaurants still haven’t replaced managers they let go. The economic climate of 2007 at el has created plenty of issues that are difficult for a manager to explain on a resume. Many candidates had to take steps back in their careers and most have some gap in their employment. Credit scores are lower than ever and candidates who owned homes don’t anymore and all of them are living paycheck to paycheck. We used to discount candidates with bad credit, gaps in employment, or candidates that were not salaried managers. We can’t do that anymore. This situations are difficult to articulate on a resume and if we will take the time to listen to the candidate we will find managers that need a break and will impact your bottom line.
In addition to the economic collapse, changes to employment laws change the way we define positions and restaurant managers. For example, we used to always disqualify managers who were not salaried managers. Now, because of employment laws, a lot of companies only pay a salary to the General Manager. Shift Managers are completing almost all Assistant Manager tasks and many times are being underpaid and you can help them advance their career. We used to disqualify a Shift Manager because of the position, we can not do that anymore. It is important to listen to these candidates on a phone screen to ascertain if operational skills that can not be an asset to your organization.
The resume is important. There is no doubt. I also spend my time teaching candidates how to write a resume that will grab the attention of an HR professional. But let’s be honest, HR Professionals, when is the last time you took your own advice? It’s HARD! Especially as you enter decade 2 and 3 of your career, it is very difficult to capture all of that information on one piece of paper.
What is the answer? You certainly don’t have time to pick up the phone and call every candidate associated with every piece of paper on your desk. You should consider using a recruiting firm or hiring an in house person who can screen these candidates for you. It is important. Your competitors are doing it; they are using a recruiting firm—they are trusting their business with professionals who can and will screen the candidate on the phone (and sometimes in person) regardless of how the resume looks. Good recruiting firms will provide good notes on candidates, and from there you can decide if you would like to proceed.
When we recruit restaurant managers, we get pertinent information that would indicate the qualifications for a given manager for a given job. But more important than the actual information, we are listening for communication skills. We are screening for professionalism. We are listening to their voicemails and their ring tones. We are asking situational questions that will absolutely tell us if they are qualified. We have candid conversations about money. We allow explanations for gaps in employment and background and credit issues. All of these things are difficult to capture by reading a resume.
If you don’t have time to listen to a candidate speak, find somebody who does. Do not judge by the resume alone. You will lose in the end.