Staff shortages are worse than ever, and the same-old advertising won’t fix the problem.  Improving recruitment starts with smarter advertising. Effective job ads need to take a marketing approach and highlight the benefits you offer a potential employee.

Most ads are just a list of demands asking for a hard-working, keen, creative, energetic team player who’s enthusiastic, ‘committed to our ethos’, loves split shifts and is available every night and weekend. Really? If an ad talks about a profit bonus, it’s a major red flag for chefs, as is ‘opportunity to do your own thing’, which is code for ‘we are completely disorganised’.

Replace this waste of words with the tangible benefits everyone is looking for. Share the business name and location and provide information on transport and parking. People will research you on Facebook and Google, so be upfront about who you are. Talk about the daytime shifts, flexible roster, provided uniform and award pay.

If it’s a permanent position, remind applicants that it includes annual leave and holiday pay. It may mean it’s time to cut back on split shifts and endless weekends – do you need to rethink your concept and service style if you can’t get people to staff it? The supply of workers won’t be changing any time soon.

Describe the modern, well-maintained kitchen and any prestige brands you have such as a Josper Oven, Rational combi or Synergy grill. If it’s a front of house position, talk about the La Marzocco or Synesso coffee machines and the well-designed workflow. High-volume is a plus if the business is organised and efficient with good systems and a team that works well together.

Talk about the work culture: this is not about movies and music; it’s when people look forward to going to work and stay with you for years. Create an atmosphere of appreciation and encouragement for young people taking on their first job and for workers who may not be familiar with the location. Be careful about saying ‘we are a family’ – sometimes this is code for ‘never argue with the owners’.

A positive culture has clear rules and a commitment to people developing their skills with regular training and feedback. Mentioning ‘support for you to achieve certificate two, three or four’ tells prospective workers that time will be dedicated to helping them acquire recognised industry skills.

Are you recruiting for a rural area? Talking about a lifestyle change is empty if the reality is scarce, expensive accommodation and a loss of city services. Be prepared to offer genuine help with housing and moving costs and talk proudly about the benefits of living in your town. It could be a major attraction for a family person. If you use a lot of great regional produce, don’t forget to include that.

Staff shortages lead to pay rates increasing – sometimes, the award is not sufficient. You’ll need to meet the market with salaries and conditions, which could mean a rethink of menu prices and opening hours.

Professional recruiters and consultants know the competitive pay rates and other places to look for applicants, even those who aren’t actively seeking a new position. They’ll also move much more quickly with applicants – same-day conversations, Zoom calls and a thorough vetting of background and experience happen fast. Upgrade your recruitment advertising and systems, and the leads will start to flow in.

Image credit: Employment Innovations