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The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding a Star New Employee: Boosting Success from Day One

The Ultimate Guide to Onboarding a Star New Employee: Boosting Success from Day One

5 Basic Steps

As a seasoned management recruiter with over 18 years of experience at Gecko Hospitality, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with numerous hospitality professionals as both clients and candidates. Having spent more than two decades in hospitality operations prior to my career in recruiting, I understand the significance of effective interviewing, onboarding, and training in reducing turnover. With this series of blogs, my aim is to shed light on these crucial processes.

Recently, I received a call from a restaurant owner who was struggling to retain managers at his newest location. After a meaningful conversation, it became evident he was not implementing the fundamental practices necessary to ensure the success of his newly hired managers. Bringing in talented management is vital for the growth of an established business or the launch of a new venture. In this blog series, I will be reviewing five essential steps to guarantee the success of newly hired managers.

Step One: The Interview Process

Every hiring endeavor begins with an initial interview. This is the candidate’s chance to make a positive impression, but it’s equally important for you, as the employer, to leave a lasting impact. Here are some key considerations:

  • Schedule dedicated time for the interview to avoid disruptions.
  • Make the manager feel comfortable by offering refreshments such as coffee, water, or soda.
  • Initiate the interview in a casual manner to establish rapport and get to know the person you’re speaking with.
  • Use a consistent approach by asking standard and job-specific questions. Remember, listening is paramount; the more you talk, the less you’ll learn about the candidate.
  • Assess how candidates speak about their current or previous positions and inquire about their relationship with supervisors and staff.

There are numerous articles available providing valuable insight into conducting effective interviews. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and avoid falling prey to the “Halo effect,” where one attribute overshadows all others. Compatibility in personal interests, such as sports teams or musical preferences, doesn’t necessarily indicate an ability to run your business.

Additionally, pay attention to the questions candidates have about your company. Their level of knowledge and interest can give you valuable insights into their understanding and enthusiasm for working with you.


It’s important not to rush into making a hiring decision during the first interview. Even if you feel confident about the candidate’s suitability for the role, take the time to schedule a second interview a day or two later. This allows you to check references, ensure consistency in the candidate’s story, and gives them an opportunity to reflect on the presented opportunity.

Avoid these common interview pitfalls:

  • Talking excessively instead of focusing on getting to know the candidate.
  • Engaging in a protracted interview process spanning several weeks, potentially losing out on talented candidates who secure other offers.
  • Neglecting to check references, as interviews may only provide a polished version of a candidate’s background. Reach out to previous employers, including competitors, to gain a comprehensive understanding.

I always advise my candidates; the first interview is like a first date. The goal is to secure a second interview, (not get married) and not to make a hasty decision. Both sides need to assess each other to ensure alignment between the candidate’s goals and the employer’s objectives.

By following a thorough and well-structured interview process, you can lay the foundation for successful onboarding and manager retention. Taking the time to truly understand candidates and their potential fit within your organization is paramount.


Stay tuned for the next step in this series, where we will delve into the crucial aspects of orienting a new employee setting them up for success.


This article was written by Marty Tarabar, marty@geckohospitality.com.


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