Hiring staff members for your mobile food business is hard work. When you are a food truck owner and you don’t have an HR department to help there is a lot of opportunity to make a lot of hiring mistakes.
Here are 10 that you should avoid:
This is actually two mistakes rolled into one. Usually when you hire a friend you don’t really consider whether the friend is the best person for the job. The first mistake is to hire without getting as many candidates to apply as possible (more candidates means a higher chance that at least one of them is great). The second mistake is that since your friend may not be the most qualified, you may have to fire them someday. Not only will you lose an employee but in many cases also a friend.
Reviewing each resume
If you’ve done the first thing right and properly advertised to fill a position, you’ve attracted a pool of great candidates, which could end up as 25 to 50 resumes. You certainly can’t screen all 50 of them quickly; there just isn’t enough time in the day. If you don’t have any other employees to help you, explain in your ad how long you expect the process to take.
Skipping the phone screen
Once you’ve finally screened all of the resumes, you will likely still have 5 – 10 good candidates; too many to efficiently meet face-to-face for a busy food truck owner. Your next step should be a phone screen. A 15 – 20 minute phone conversation will help you see if this is a person you’d like to meet. What have they really done? Do they care about the things you care about? Are they on time? The phone screen is a great way to eliminate some folks that you don’t want to even spend 5 minutes with face-to-face.
No written questions
If you go into the face-to-face interview without questions that you plan in advance and write down for yourself, the interview has as much predictive value as a coin flip. Instead, write some questions down. Ask about the candidate’s actual experience (what did you do in that role?) and some behavioral interview questions. Ask each candidate those same questions to get an apples-to-apples comparison.
There are some things that are easy to assess in an interview and others that are hard. If you are hiring line cooks, you should ask them to cook something for you. Ask service window staff to sell to you. You want to see someone demonstrate their skills. Good candidates will leap at the chance to show their stuff.
Doing it alone
You need some other eyes and ears on the candidate too. Some truck owners do tandem interviews, where you have one person asking questions and another listening. Others let the candidates’ future peers have a crack at them.
Hiring too fast
When you have an open position on your team it can be debilitating. You can’t keep doing your job, their job and the job of hiring. I can almost see food truck owners thinking, “I hope this is THE ONE.” When you go into an interview with that thought process you can easily overlook warning signs. You may not probe in areas where you see potential weakness because you don’t want to find weakness. You want this person to be THE ONE.
Not understanding pay
It can be tough to figure out what the market rate for a job is; but you have to know that going into a hiring process. Do some research, look at other food truck job postings or ask other local food truck owners what they pay their staff so you know what to expect.
Not selling your business
It’s easy to be critical of the candidates and you should. But if you’ve got a good candidate you need to also sell them on your mobile food business. They need to know that you want them and that this position has exciting possibilities for them.
Not closing the deal
When you’ve found the right candidate, it’s time to make a solid offer. Don’t try to low-ball them; make an offer that they will feel good about accepting. Be prepared with all the information they will need to make a decision, such as benefits and vacation time. Show enthusiasm that you really want them on the team and you can see them making a big difference in your food truck business’s performance.
Hiring staff members for your mobile food business can be hard, but if you avoid these mistakes you’ll have a better chance of success.