Industry Update
Opinion Article25 February 2019

How To Find Superstar Employees In 3 Minutes

By Don Kermath, Turnover Reduction Expert

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Hospitality employee turnover rates are off the charts. The productivity needle hasn’t moved in decades either. Are you tired of spending vast amounts of time and money hiring and training employees only to lose them within a short few months? Do you spend tremendous resources on employee engagement and they still leave? Face it, there is no employee loyalty.


It might be time to reconsider the hire slow and fire quick philosophy – at least the hire slow part. Maybe hiring should be more like speed dating. Put as many candidates as possible across the table from you, but spend very little time evaluating them. You’ll find the exact number of equally qualified candidates with the exact same turnover and productivity rate that your current slow and expensive recruiting and hiring process finds.

Once you determine the applicant meets the minimum job requirements, either from their application or resume, give them an unscheduled call. It seems like no one answers their phone these days; leave a clear, short message with a short deadline to call back. For example, “This is Jane from XYZ Hotel. Based on your application you look exactly like the superstars we hire. Give me a call by Friday so you and I can clarify a few minor points before scheduling a formal interview.” You’ve now just boosted their excitement level about your position and simultaneously calmed them down about a telephone interview – which is exactly what clarifying a few minor points is. Of course, leave information on how they should call you back.

Once you have the applicant on the phone, take just three minutes to ask these screening questions. If they pass the screening questions, immediately schedule an interview for a later date.A negative response to any of your questions disqualifies the candidate for hire – end the interview. Initial, date and note on the application why you disqualified the applicant. Move on to the next applicant. This is speed dating, remember?

  1. Have you ever been convicted of a Felony? We don’t hire felons. If you do, remove this question.
  2. Do you currently have a valid driver’s license and a car that is for your use only? Clarify that the car is available all the time, and in good working order. Oh, the number of times I’ve heard, “My car isn’t working,” or “My license is suspended,” or other excuses an employee can’t get to work. In the day of Uber, there should be no excuse for not getting to work – on time. Nonetheless, we don’t hire you unless you have a car for your personal and sole use, and a valid license to drive it.
  3. Are you available to work 7 days a week? Hospitality is a 24/7 business. They aren’t going to work seven days a week, but if they want hours, they better be available to work when needed.
  4. Can you work Saturday and Sunday? I know, we just asked if they are available 7 days a week, but somehow people still think that doesn’t include the weekends. Best to ask and see if there is hesitation or back pedaling. Sometimes they’ll ask, “Do I have to work every weekend?” That’s an indication you’ll have more problems than not getting them to pick up a weekend shift.
  5. If you hire students: Are you involved in athletics, drama, music or other after-school activities? Do not hire any student involved in after-school activities. They’ll tell you, last minute, “I have a mandatory meeting/event/game/practice so I can’t come to work.” Save yourself the headache, don’t hire students involved in after-school activities.
  6. Will you have another job if you work with us? Are you planning to make us your first priority? We don’t hire if the applicant has another job. One hundred percent of the time there is a scheduling conflict. If you are willing to deal with the frequent scheduling conflicts, determine if the applicant only wants your job to fill in around their other job. If so, they are disqualified.
  7. Fulltime Applicant: Are you available every day and all hours the business services customers? We let part-time applicants slide on this, because they are usually students or have other regular obligations. Fulltime applicants must be available to work when our customers expect us to be open. It’s hard enough to work around the schedules of part-time employees, you don’t want to have to manage the variable schedules of your fulltime staff too. You may have a different opinion; it’s up to you on this one.
  8. What are your professional goals for the next 6 months? You are looking for professional goals that indicate the candidate will not be working for you in 6 to 12 months, like becoming a stylist, nurse or emergency medical technician (EMT).

This screening interview saves time. Use this interview questionnaire to determine if it’s worth scheduling an in-depth meeting of a potential employee. You’ll drastically reduce the number of applicants who make it to the interview process which will save you time, money, and headache later.

Don Kermath

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    Don Kermath
    Turnover Reduction Expert
    Phone: +1 217 621 4797
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