The Candidate Driven Market

Written By: Gecko Hospitality President, Robert Krzak

In today’s job market companies are finding it more difficult to find strong management talent to grow their business.

With so many new restaurants opening up, candidates are now in the driver’s seat. They have become discerning shoppers, looking for companies providing the best benefits, growth potential and work/life balance. In an effort to retain quality managers and chefs, many companies are being forced to address work schedules, staffing levels as well as bonus and benefit programs.

Recruiters have to change gears and focus on the candidates and their needs now, more than ever before. Job seekers have become intolerant to weak brands and long drawn out application processes. By receiving no feedback and dealing with overwhelmed hiring managers, candidates will be likely to accept another job offer. “I let my clients know if their interview process takes longer than 10 days, they will not get the best candidates because the best candidates are grabbed up quickly by hungry companies. Because of this, my conversion rate has become much higher,” states franchise partner Brian Blum, CPC. Below is an email Brian sends after receiving a “we’ll call the candidate when we have a chance” response from his client:

I want to let you know that “candidate name” is nearing the end on the interview process with two other companies and he is hoping to accept an offer next week so he can start the next chapter of his management career. “Candidate name” has not heard back from anyone at your company after his initial interview. “Candidate name” is interested in your company, however he/she won’t turn down another offer in hopes of a call from you regarding another interview. “Candidate name” is available to interview this week on Friday after 4 p.m. or on Monday any time. After that, I imagine he/she will be accepting a job offer. Please let me know what you would like to do.”  Brian also copies the district operator on this email and his candidate typically receives a call within 15 minutes.

The number of restaurant managers leaving their current employer is the highest since 2008. Today, job seekers have the ability to think about what’s important to them and choose the perfect match. Managers are forcing employers to become more creative and flexible to attract talented candidates, offering them different types of perks, such as:

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Company Culture
  • Benefits
  • Retirement
  • 401(K)

Now, more than ever, employers are finding themselves using recruiters to screen and interview clients to send them the best qualified candidates.

This saves employers time and money by not having to filter through tons of unqualified resumes.

Advancements in technology have also played a role in quick hiring, allowing the interview to take place via Skype which has in some companies replaced the face to face initial interview.

While employers are spending up to 50 percent of the interview process trying to sell the candidate, talented and currently employed job seekers are finding themselves receiving several job offers during a typical search. This is allowing the candidate to be in the driver’s seat and choose the best option.

“With the economy recovering over the past few years, it’s getting harder to find good managers. For hiring an assistant manager, and in some cases general manger, the going has been a little tough. To be quite honest, even for entry level and food servers, there are a lot of opportunities out there. The job seekers all have more options. Back in the day, and that day is not that long ago, we always looked for stability in the resume, now we see those holes in the resume and it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a job hopper or they don’t have the qualifications,” states Mark Blust, vice president of marketing and operations for Fort Myers, Fla. based Prawnbroker Restaurant Group.